Readers’ letters - December 20

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Priority should be care not HS2

I really don’t know how I feel about care costs.

I suppose I should be getting in a rare old paddy as one who could soon be affected, but I am controlling myself.

What I am more incensed about is the dreadful waste of money this Government is engaging with, namely giving overseas aid to countries which are far better off than we are.

India is now a wealthy country and houses call centres for British firms and engineering projects.

I could go on.

To cap it all, there is the dreadful proposed waste of money on HS2 to save 20 minutes on train times to London, and yet the Government can’t afford 
to look after their golden oldies.

What planet are we living on?

Care of the less advantaged and elderly should be the prime aim of this Government.

I had great hopes for Theresa May, Brexit and this Government which have fast flown through my window.

One thing for certain, they are all not going to 
make me feel guilty for 
my advancing years.

B F

Address supplied

seasonal

Lessons of Christmas

Bah humbug!

I wasn’t at first sure if it was Ebenezer Scrooge or Oliver Cromwell (who banned Christmas as it clashed with his Puritan ideals) who wrote the letter re: Christmas – it’s just a chore (LEP December 10).

But in a way I agree with your correspondent Harry Francis.

Too many families spend beyond their means, and there is too much consumerism and overindulgence in food and drink.

To be fair to Christmas, this sounds a little like the worst aspects of capitalist society in general to me.

Black Friday, Boxing Day Sales, Christmas, any excuse for a spending spree.

It’s not just at Christmas that people’s greed gets the better of them. But is this what Christmas really about?

The Christmas story, whether one believes in God or not, is, on one level, about a couple expecting a child and fleeing from persecution in another country.

After many doors shut in their faces, they eventually find refuge ... and, after the mother gives birth to a son, family and hope.

Not relevant for our times? Maybe, if you feel you have to believe in God to appreciate lessons from a story, whether historical and real or a fable. But even if one looked at it from a non-religious, secular angle, even if it is just a ‘fairy tale’, I believe it still teaches a lot.

Every time I have a negative thought about those who are less fortunate, I try to think of this family and their modern day counterparts.

Obviously the birth of Jesus is the reason for Christians to celebrate Christmas, an important and special time in the Christian calendar, but I think we can all share another spiritual meaning of Christmas – one which religious and secular can share alike –and that is about appreciating loved ones and trying to be more charitable to those people and animals less fortunate than us.

Now, if we think of Christmas in this way instead of as a consumerist greed-fest, is it still a meaningless irrelevance?

Jane

via email

society

Failure to plan for baby boom

Now we are told that councils will be allowed to increase the amount of council tax to fund improved care for the elderly.

Since the Second World War, successive governments have been aware of the ‘baby boom’ but failed lamentably to plan for the costs of the long-term consequences.

Short term fixes / vote catching have been the rule, not prudent saving towards the increasing costs of the NHS, care for the elderly and state pensions.

Instead of local authorities being allowed to raise more money through council tax, it should be the Treasury that increases the rate support grant to authorities – with a specific requirement for allocations to improve community care provisions.

Graham Branston

Address supplied

trading standards

I felt like the guilty party

Two years ago I had the misfortune of employing a cowboy plasterer who did what cowboys plasterers do and ripped me off.

My excuse, I was going through a stressful period and just chose someone form Yellow Pages.

I reported him to the consumer ombudsman.

He ignored them.

They gave up.

I fail to see the reason for their existence.

I reported him to Trading Standards.

So politically correct and impartial were they, they must have pressure sores from sitting on the fence.

I felt like the guilty party.

Trading Standards has his address which I don’t.

They refused to give it to me under data protection.

This I understand but they also refuse to pass on any communications to him, via them. So I am in limbo.

He knows where I live, as that’s where he did his sub-standard work, but I don’t know his so I cannot bring a claim against him in the small claims court.

I think the name Trading Standards is inappropriate as they don’t seem to care about the standards of the traders reported to them.

If the trader is innocent, he should have nothing to fear and shouldn’t mind meeting me in the small claims court. Every future victim of this cowboy will have no means of redress because they won’t know where he lives.

Cissie Scattergood

Ashton

politics

A question of judgement

PM Theresa May and Nicky Morgan MP have, respectively, paid £1,000 each for trousers and handbag.

Does this not call into question, if not their sanity, their judgement and total disconnection with the realities of millions? Perhaps we are paying them far too much?

Most worryingly of all; I can feel myself starting to warm to scruffbag Boris Johnson.

ME Wright

via email