Readers' letters - February 15

A simple word change can have a devastating effect says a correspondent
A simple word change can have a devastating effect says a correspondent
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Language being used to belittle us

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Pension is often referred to as a benefit. We all get annoyed by this, and this I think is why. I always thought that a benefit was like a perk. You know, when you get a job you sometimes get lunch vouchers, or a company car.

Benefits/perks mean the same thing in my book, but we now see benefit as a social security payment, as welfare for the sick or the unemployed.

Either way I think our noses are put out of joint because a pension is earned over many years.

You have to prove you’ve worked for more than 30 years before you’re even close to being entitled to a pension.

We’ve earned our pensions, we’ve done our time.

We’ve paid for our predecessors and when it comes to our turn, we’re refused.

Then we get hurt, we feel we’ve lost all that respect we have earned too.

Whoever changed the term welfare/social security into benefits has been very clever.

All of a sudden, all payments from government have become benefits, so they all fall under the same umbrella and when they talk about how much they pay out on benefits, this includes the state pension.

Remember child allowance?

That became child benefit, and now look, it has become child tax, so what is to come from that, I wonder?

Continuing on from this, I thought about the word benefit even more, thinking about the sick who get £73/week to just about exist.

How can this be a benefit? Surely it’s an allowance? Social security, welfare, how on earth is this a benefit?

This made me look for a definition of the word.

Exactly as I thought, the number one definition of benefit, is to ‘gain’ to ‘profit’.

This sent my mind spiralling out of control, who is benefiting here? Who is making a profit here?

We’re not, those poor sick people are not.

The government is. The government gets the best perks ever – the subsidised bar, the food allowance, the expenses for duck houses and toilet roll holders.

The poor homeless don’t even have a toilet, let alone a toilet roll, so, where was I going with this?

The government uses language to belittle us.

Whether we’re would-be pensioners, mums, homeless or sick, a simple word change can have a devastating affect on us all.

Trudy Baddams

via email


Proved right about station

It has been a while since I ventured into the bus station to see how much progress has been made and, when I did, my heart sank. Everything that I thought could go wrong has come to fruition. Let me go through the list:

1. The gate numbers and destination boards still block the bus numbers and destination boards on the actual buses, so passengers either have to bend down or go right up to the doors (which, as they are automatic, duly open, leading to embarrassment) to see them.

2. Buses, or rather their drivers, now have to fight to get to the correct gate number for that gate may be occupied, either by another bus waiting to depart or collect passengers or by another bus which can’t get into its own gate because a bus bound for another destination is occupying that gate.

As one cannot see the bus numbers and destinations, one can never assume that the bus at the gate IS the one that a passenger wants to catch.

3. How can a bus station which largely used MOST of the bays now accommodate all the buses in less than half its size?

4. Buses not in service but waiting have to queue up, not only along the perimeter fence but also outside along Carlisle Street.

This is ironic as I had previously complained about cars being parked along Carlisle Street which were interrupting the smooth flow of the buses along that stretch of road. Now buses are blocking other buses.

4. Gone are all the seats which, if one was lucky, were attached to the partitions on the concourse for the gates.

How does this comply with amenities for the disabled? In some cases, the seats are many yards away from the gate with the distinct possibility that a disabled person may not make it to the actual gate before the bus departs.

So who exactly is to blame for this fiasco?

Well, let’s start with the planning department at LCC. At the roadshow regarding the refurbished bus station, I made my views known. Was ANY notice taken of my views? From what I have seen, not one jot, yet EVERYTHING I said would happen has happened.

Then we have some historical society or other which slapped a preservation order on something that, right from the start, was not fit for purpose and thus is now responsible for perpetuating the main faults of the bus station when originally built. Remember these faults were part of what you wanted to keep and which the planners and builders had to incorporate, despite the faults being not fit for purpose to the bus travelling public.

One doubts whether members of the society have ever been on the bus station to actually catch a bus or, if they have, they’ve been blind to the serious faults with the station, yet they think it their right to put hurdles in our way simply to preserve that which should not be preserved.

So thanks, but no thanks, I’ll be seeking a bus stop instead to catch my bus.

At least then I can see which bus is coming and I’ll have a seat near to where I wish to board it.

Neil Swindlehurst

Walmer Bridge


‘Toothless’ commission

The Oxfam revelations confirm what I have long suspected – the Charity Commission appears to be toothless when it comes to the wealthier charities and seems only interested in making life difficult for small voluntary organisations if they make an innocent mistake. Do others agree with this analysis?

Jack Nicol via email