Letters, October 7: Health service pay rise, Government protects scroungers and Michael Heseltine wrong over Europe
A kick in the teeth for health workers
What a final kick in the teeth by the Government to the millions of dedicated health workers now being told they are unable to have their promised 1 per cent pay rise. They then have the nerve to claim if they are paid, what they rightly deserve, it will put patients in danger.
Once again the hard-working, low-paid health workers are being made a target by the nasty ConDem Government. I would suggest that it's the ConDems that are putting patients in danger, and not others; if they funded the health service properly there wouldn't be a problem.
Recently the maternity unit had to close at Trowbridge Hospital, due to the shortage of staff. It had to recruit staff from Spain, Portugal and Eastern European countries. My guess is that this is due to the low wages being offered.
This final kick in the teeth will do nothing when it comes to recruiting the hard-working, valued staff that we need to work in the health service.
Councillor Terry Chivers
Independent Melksham Without North
Government protects group of scroungers
We hear much condemnation of "scroungers" these days, usually targeted at unemployed benefit claimants. I won't defend those who choose this as a "lifestyle" – but they are a very small proportion of the workless, and the amount of public money they manage to rip off is tiny compared with the tax avoidance schemes of rich individuals and corporations.
But one group, mostly already wealthy, who shovel up vast amounts of public subsidy are generally ignored and need to be exposed – our large landowners and farmers.
In order to further enrich and privilege its members, most especially its large-scale farmers and landowners, the NFU has in recent months:
Successfully lobbied for the abolition of the Agricultural Wages Board, robbing labourers of most of what little protection on wages and conditions they had.
Fought off an attempt by the EU to impose a cap on the subsidy any one farmer can receive.
Resisted an attempt by the EU to devote a mere 2 per cent of payments to new entrant young farmers.
Gained an exemption on road safety rules for tractors and trailers.
Ensuring that the new Common Agricultural policy is even less "green" than the old, they have:
Obtained automatic entitlement to payments for protecting the environment, whether they're doing it or not.
Reduced the proposed "ecological focus" areas from 10 per cent to 5 per cent, and so weakened the rules governing them that they can effectively be intensively farmed.
Reduced the funding for environmental schemes.
Ensured that they do not need to comply with the Birds, Water or Pesticides Directive to continue receiving public hand-outs.
Arranged for farmers on highly marginal land, such as mountains, to get payments for grazing these areas, despite it often being ecologically damaging.
Indeed, blood-sports are also subsidised. Grouse-moor estates are entitled to payments for "preserving" their bio-diversity poor heather moorlands – even though they would do this anyway. Yet still they whinge and try to grasp ever larger quantities of taxpayers money, and ever greater exemptions, while the poor and needy have their benefits cut and have to resort to food banks and the real wages of most workers fall further.
Whenever the practices of livestock farmers cause some disaster – such as BSE or foot-and-mouth – they seek to blame someone else and demand vast compensation, in those cases running to billions, from public funds. The current scapegoat for their own failings is, of course, the poor, bloody badger.
I fervently hope the next government will seriously target the real scroungers who so damage our public finances.
Heseltine wrong over future of Europe
I agree with everything that David Pilton-Slade had to say in his letter (Daily Press October 5) and would like to add that Lord Heseltine has been wrong on European subjects more than he has been right.
For example, the speech he made to the Conservative China Group in Westminster on the November 11, 2011, in which he said: "We made a big mistake in not joining the euro, it would have been good for Britain. All my political life, we have suffered in this country from a vile disease called inflation. If we had joined the euro, the Germans would have forced us to be more competitive. I am telling you this country needs to become like Germany. We should still join the euro! Let me tell you this, the nation state is in decline everywhere superceded by supra-national structures and blocs. We have unleased forces that nation states cannot regulate. That is why we need not just political union within Europe but yes, ultimately, some kind of global governance. The Chinese know this, I know this, believe me it is the future!"
This speech made as Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Italy and Greece were all toppling into economic ruin because of the euro tells us all we need to know about his opinions.
Alcohol campaign wins my backing
I agree with the campaign by Northamptonshire's Chief Constable to highlight the harmful effects of alcohol. Binge drinkers should be charged for their overnight stay in police custody, also if they have to go to hospital because of the effects of too much drink.
We are constantly being told that ignorance of the law is no excuse, so why was Denis Toporov let off? "Estonian gun trader 'naive'" (Daily Press, October 1). He has lived in Britain for eight years and I cannot believe he didn't know it was illegal to import and sell imitation guns.
Here is yet another case where our legal system is letting the public down badly.
"Ballet star's attacker has sentence increased" (Daily Press, September 28) which was certainly the right judgement, but the reason given for his increased prison sentence was that it could take years after Mohammed Ali Mohammed – a failed immigrant who managed to stay in Britain for five years. – is released before he is deported, because of "his human rights".
When will the Government wake up to the fact that criminals/illegal immigrants use the human rights law just so they can stay in Britain but they don't care about the rights of their victims, and nor does it seem do the justice system? Illegal immigrants should automatically lose their human rights, instead more often than not, the victims lose theirs.
On another subject, I was appalled, but not surprised, when I read Robert Readman's letter (September 25) "Blairs should pay for their own security". Who in Government authorised the cost of the Blairs' security? Why wasn't Parliament consulted before, as it is taxpayers' money?
I agree with Robert Readman, it just proves if you have money and your name is Blair, you don't need to worry about spending it as some irresponsible fool in government will pay your security costs for your family.
Winscombe, North Somerset