Readers’ letters - January 5

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Sir Ivan’s left and Brexit is doomed now

Sir Ivan Rogers’ decision to quit as the UK’s ambassador to the EU before Brexit talks begin at the end of March raises alarm bells, not just about the forthcoming talks themselves, but about the current Government’s ability to actually proceed with these talks.

Sir Rogers is regarded as one of the leading experts on the EU and, without him, Brexit becomes an almost impossible task.

David Cameron’s original decision not to have a ‘plan B’ in place for Brexit, not only displayed political arrogance taken to a ridiculous extreme, but arguably indicated the actual scale of difficulty in putting together an alternative package to the European Project.

Sir Rogers has already indicated that it would take at least ten years to negotiate new trade terms with Europe.

However, the UK has become so integrated and assimilated into EU legislation itself that even knowing where to begin to unravel such complexity will be a major operation.

It is certainly something that could not be resolved within two years from the triggering of Article 50.

We forget that our politicians are often only figure-heads for their departments, and it is people like Sir Rogers who actually have to do the real work.

And Brexit will surely fail without an army of Sir Rogers in place.

Paul Dodenhoff

via email

honours

Ken deserves to be made Sir

For those who have never seen the living legend Sir Ken Dodd perform live on a theatre stage, I urge you to do so before it’s too late.

He is now 90 years of age, and undoubtedly the hardest working British comedian of all time.

He started his career in 1954, playing many of the northern working men’s clubs.

His energetic and eccentric appearance made him very different to the other comedians of his generation.

By 1965 he was a household name, at the top of his game, performing 42 weeks of sell out shows at The London Palladium and doing three marathon shows on a Saturday!

He also has a fine light baritone singing voice and actually out-sold the Beatles in 1965 with his ballad song Tears.

He sold millions of records in what was then a very lucrative easy listening market.

In 1971 he was invited to play Malvolio in William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.

He also appeared in Kenneth Branagh’s film version of Shakespeare’s Hamlet in 1996.

His comedy act today still features a mix of song and ventriloquism with his ancient puppet Dickie Mint.

Ken Dodd has the brilliance of taking the ‘Mickey’ out of himself with being a poor vent act.

In 1989, having worked non-stop for 35 years, he was the subject of a major Inland Revenue tax investigation.

He instructed the late George Carmen QC to represent him, who famously quoted “some accountants are comedians – but comedians are never accountants”.

When asked by the judge: “What does £100,000 in a suitcase feel like?” Ken Dodd famously replied: “Its very light M’Lord”.

His Crown Court trial lasted three weeks, he was finally acquitted.

Although the trial took its toll on his health, in hindsight it reignited his career and, before long, he was back at The London Palladium performing sell-out shows in 1990. Ken Dodd has performed many times at various theatres in Lancashire during his long-standing career.

Ken Dodd has stated publicly that The Grand Theatre in Blackpool is one of his favourite places.

He has a brilliant brain, blessed with a comedy gift, with delivery and timing that may never be seen again.

A definite one-off unique character.

He has also done a lot for charity and made his home town city of Liverpool proud.

He duly deserved to be knighted by the Queen in the 2017 New Years Honours List.

Stephen Pierre

Via email

nhs

End this pay cap for nurses

The RCN is asking your readers to sign a petition (www.rcn.org.uk/nursingcounts) demanding an end to the one per cent pay cap on nurses. There are currently 24,000 vacancies in the nursing workforce across the UK, of which more than 2,000 are in the North West.

Our NHS is already struggling to cope with hospital bed shortages, long waiting times and under-staffed wards. More than ever, we need to encourage people to consider nursing as a career and ensure we retain those already in the profession.

The evidence is strong that nurse numbers have a direct impact on patient health.

It was recently announced that MPs would receive a 1.4 per cent pay rise and yet the Government has imposed a pay ‘glass ceiling’ on NHS staff who work long and unsociable shifts to try and keep the nation healthy.

Nurses enjoy a diverse and rewarding career that really makes a difference but they must be wondering exactly what they have to do to merit a pay award which reflects the value of their work.

We need 100,000 signatures otherwise nurses’ pay will not be considered for debate by Parliament.

Paul Wood,

Operational Manager, RCN North West

football

Fan’s verdict on PNE result

I was one of the Fans in the Crowd (LEP, January 2). I was pictured with my nephew and my brother. I thought it was disappointing we didn’t come away with the win. We played a lot better than we did against Leeds on Boxing Day.

I thought McGeady and Gallagher were excellent.

We gave Sheffield Wednesday nothing. The only disappointing thing was the time wasting in the corner which gave them the equaliser.

We should have pushed for a second goal. The added time gave them momentum to push for an equaliser.

Things like that cost you points. We had three but came away with one. Great for Sheffield Wednesday, disappointing for us. Onwards and upwards and Happy New Year to all the PNE fans.

Brian Kessick

via email

technology

Break from the internet

After a four-day break from the internet, my private email account had just one message on my return. This shows the web isn’t as vital to our lives as many think it is.

Tim Mickleburgh

Address supplied