'Harmful content must be removed'

Does more need to be done about harmful content on social media?
Does more need to be done about harmful content on social media?
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The dangers of the addiction to social media by, in particular, the young have been obvious for a decade.

Yet it has taken the recent shocking case of 14-year-old Molly Russell to force the Government to threaten action against the multi-billion pound social media big tech companies, such as Facebook and Instagram.

These firms constantly pump appalling self-harm images into the heads of immature, vulnerable young people.

Their claim that such harmful content will be removed once they are made aware of it is simply not true.

The benefits of technology are being destroyed by images of hate, blood, cuts and suicide.

Such sick images are totally unacceptable. They must be eradicated. The six tech giants - including Apple, Facebook and YouTube - must be brought to heel.

The current situation is a disgrace.

It permits these firms to amass immense profits on the back of adverts that are deliberately undermining young people’s mental health.

Parents need to remind their offspring that constantly looking at such sick images several hours a day, including while at school, constitutes a serious danger to their health.

It would also help if schools stressed the danger of these graphic images.

At the moment they seem to have opted out, despite knowing that, for example, such images are being shared by pupils, even during lessons.

Dr Barry Clayton

via email

brexit

Brexiteers’

new Narnia

Like many of your readers, I have begun to question the latest claim by the Brexiteers of “Leaving the EU on WTO (World Trade Organisation) Terms”.

It would appear that presently, as an EU member, Britain is involved with over 750 international trade deals. Amongst other things, these facilitate free trade arrangements with other EU countries, the EEA and more than 40 other countries. Other benefits from these EU membership-derived treaties range from measures around air pollution to EU citizens’ and workers’ rights regarding food safety etc.

On March 29, as a result of an ill-informed referendum, UK citizens will effectively lose all of the benefits bestowed through these various treaties.

I, like many others, am not prepared to give up such benefits and the privileges enjoyed by other EU citizens without a fight!

While Mrs May fights for her political career within a deeply divided Conservative Party, there is a worrying absence of replacement trade deals.

As such, the UK will be reduced to trading on WTO terms.

‘WTO’ now seems to be emerging as the Brexiters’ new Narnia, although few seem to understand the implications of this approach.

In short, the UK will be entering into a highly complex system of tariffs and quotas.

WTO exists to provide a baseline for international trade, thereafter individual traders have to aim to improve on these basic WTO terms.

An examination of the literally thousands of WTO tariffs highlights an immensely complex system with different products attracting different tariffs.

For example, UK manufacturers presently sell cars to the EU tariff-free.

However, under WTO, cars are subject to tariffs of 10 per cent which means that cars being exported from the UK will be 10 per cent more expensive.

This scenario can be applied to all other goods and helps explain the growing decisions by so many UK manufacturers to relocate to Europe and other parts of the world.

As our goods and services become more expensive then this will, in effect, destroy any local industry that trades internationally.

Moreover, it’s worth remembering that while tariffs are paid by importers, experience demonstrates how they, in turn, pass these extra costs on to us as consumers.

What we aren’t being told by this new Brexit mantra of WTO, is that no country trades exclusively on WTO terms.

These terms are potentially extremely damaging to the UK economy, with a potential impact on GDP estimated to be worse than the 2008 financial crash.

Are we really prepared for even greater austerity than that inflicted over the last nine years of Tory Governments?

Do Brexiteers really see UK industry and the lives of those in local communities like ours as worthy collateral damage for their ideological gains?

Dawn B Judd

Fulwood

We’re looking for clinical champs

Diabetes UK is looking for healthcare professionals from the North West to lead improvements in diabetes care. We are searching for consultants, nurses, GPs, dietitians, podiatrists, pharmacists and psychologists to take part in our Clinical Champions programme.

Since the programme began, 85 clinicians have been recruited to develop their leadership skills and become champions for improving diabetes care.

Between them, they have trained thousands of other healthcare professionals, developed innovative new clinics, reduced medication errors and increased the number of people getting the appropriate treatment for their diabetes.

The new champions will be selected based on their leadership potential, clinical expertise and a demonstrable passion for transforming care for people with diabetes.

They will be supported with two years of training alongside their clinical work, to help them become strong leaders, identify improvements and drive vital change in diabetes services in their local areas.

Diabetes is the most devastating and fastest growing health crisis of our time, affecting 4.6 million people. When diabetes is not well managed, it is associated with serious complications.

Clinical Champions help transform diabetes care, which in turn reduces the risk of devastating complications and makes a meaningful difference to the lives of people with diabetes.

For more information, please contact clinical

champions@diabetes.org.uk or call 020 7424 1052.

Clare Howarth

Head of the North of England at Diabetes UK

We should not be shackled to EU

Any tactic to extend the date of leaving the EU is just a ploy by the remainers to keep us in the European Union for as long as possible - forever if they get their way - in the hope the majority who voted to leave will change their minds.

Around 75 per cent of our MPs are opposed to leaving the EU and their personal views appear to be taking precedent over the views of many of their constituents who want to leave.

By continuing on that path, they will, very likely, be voted out at the next election, as they are ignoring the will of the people and democracy itself.

Those who voted to leave knew fully well what they were voting for - it was to leave and not for any deal.

We have had enough of the EU and yearn to become an independent nation again.

Now we are rapidly running out of time to legislate for any deal and the default position is no deal.

Theresa May herself has stated “leaving with no deal is better than a bad deal.”

So let us not be afraid and let’s leave with our heads held up high and trade on WTO terms with whoever we please.

We should not be shackled to the failing EU economic bloc.

Paul Nuttall

North West

Independent MEP