Reader’s letters - Friday August 15, 2014

Old Etonian politicians like Boris Johnson and David Cameron have no empathy for the working classes
Old Etonian politicians like Boris Johnson and David Cameron have no empathy for the working classes
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Elite has no compassion

In his interesting and timely remarks about Boris Johnson Barry Freeman (LEP August 11) draws attention to some of the unsavoury aspects of Johnson’s character but omits some significant others.

The main omission is that Johnson’s formative years were spent at that most exclusive of public schools - Eton. Recent research has provided considerable evidence to show that wrenching children away from their families in order to expose them to the not so tender mercies of a public school regime is a traumatic experience which can have severely damaging results.

Children who emerge from this process do so convinced of their own superiority, unable to empathise with their “inferiors”, and fanatically committed to preserving the status quo.

Johnson is a prime example of this kind of psychopathic personality, along with every cabinet minister in this so-called “coalition” government.

This clique of upper class delinquents has repeatedly demonstrated its limitless capacity for not only attacking the weak, the poor and the disabled, but also for kicking them while they are down.

Johnson, however, does not think that they have gone far enough and is champing at the bit to lead the next onslaught. If this occurs I doubt that many people will find him quite so amusing.

John Prance, Penwortham

Children need to learn risks

After reading Dave Swanton’s article (LEP August 11), I can reassure him that in none of the instances he mentioned would be covered by health and safety law and that all the restrictions he mentioned have been put on by perhaps well meaning people who do not know what they are talking about. He mentioned health and safety is celebrating its 40th birthday but what he actually means is that the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 has been in existence for that period and yes it has contributed to a massive reduction in workplace deaths.

The emphasis is “at work” and none of the instances he mentioned come into that category.

Health and safety law was introduced in Victorian times. Dave may find it fun to look at the Health and Safety Executive website and particularly health and safety myths in which they have clearly stated these sort of stupid restrictions are nothing to do with health and safety law and so he can continue playing conkers without goggles, allow market traders to shout, pin a poppy to his clothes, play football with a leather ball and do all the other activities he mentions and in actual fact he would be encouraged to these and many more by the HSE! We should teach our children to be aware of risk but you cannot do that by wrapping them in cotton wool.

PR, Ingol

Armed forces been weakened

While the Government considers combat missions in Iraq it should also consider the impact it will have on our Armed Services.

They have already faced senseless cuts to both the numbers of personnel, equipment and the numbers of aircraft and ships.

We are still committed to protecting our overseas interests and still in Afghanistan despite our reduced resources.

The threat and brutality from IS - Islamic State - militants is real, not only to the religious minorities in Iraq, and the region, but to all of us.

It is time that our Government realises this and restores the strength of our Armed Forces and provide them with the equipment, ships and aircraft that are needed to cope with the future threats that face us.

Philip Griffiths, North West President UKIP, Lancaster

Research into army history

I am researching into the role of the Army Pay Services during the Great War, and in particular of the role of women in administering and managing the personal accounts of soldiers and their dependents.

The photograph (see above) is taken from a larger regimental type photograph from the Adjutant General’s Museum at Winchester and shows a group of uniformed officers and soldiers, male civilian acting paymaster and clerks together with women clerks.

The photograph shows a woman in the centre wearing a hat. The lady in question appear to be ethnically mixed race or black, which in a group such as this, working within a British military establishment would have been most unusual. It was even rare to have women working within in a military establishment. However, as the source of manpower became scarce women were allowed into areas that before 1914 and after 1918 were male denominated.

Unfortunately I don’t not know the name or history of the lady, other than she is one of two women wearing a hat. This may denote she is a lady superintendent who managed a section of the Army Pay Office No. 2 at Preston.

A section would manage about a thousand accounts. The regimental Pay Office Preston in peacetime occupied part of Fulwood Barracks and was responsible for the accounts of all infantry regiments recruited from the North West of England.

During the Great War the Preston Pay Office expanded into commandeered accommodation including hotels and schools in order to cater for an ever expanding Army and increasing bureaucracy.

I am attempting to find out who the black lady was and any other person in the photograph. The photograph is on of the most interesting that I have accessed. There are a lot of stories here.

For example the bald civilian gentlemen to the right of the black lady is the only one folding his arms and looking very unhappy. Is this a protest of having to stand next to the lady?

Any assistance readers of the can give me to enhance my research further, I would be extremely grateful. Nothing has been previously written or researched on the Army Pay Services and the Great War. It is my intention to write a book on this theme.

Dr. John Black (formerly Sergeant RAMC/RAPC), 2 St Margaret’s Drive, Henleaze, Bristol BS9 4LW