Letters, Monday September 10, 2012

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Poor education is scurvy of nation

EARLIER this week, on a rare sunny day, I decided to take a walk starting at the Cat and Dog Steps. Sitting there were two well-mannered teenagers. Having engaged them in conversation I pointed out that the sun was good for them as it allowed the body to convert it into vitamin D which could then be stored to be used during the winter. I then pointed out that vitamin C is the only vitamin that cannot be stored so it must be taken daily, which among other things, prevents scurvy.

 I then asked them if they had heard of Captain Cook who is credited with being one of the first Europeans to discover Australia. Unfortunately, they knew nothing about either vitamin which is so essential to health and had never heard of Captain cook. I then asked their ages for which the girl was 14 and the young gentleman 16.

 Saddened, I turned away and set off on my walk. I’m afraid this is a black mark against their school if they are turning out teenagers who don’t even know the basics of two such vitamins. I mentioned Captain Cook because he is the only known sailor to have systematically logged the symptoms and deaths of every sailor of board his three major voyages of discovery which student doctors still consult.

 Of course, I did not go on to mention this, as the bewilderment on their faces from my first three questions told its own sad story. Should the headmaster read this, I’m afraid it indicated there should be a re-alignment of its nutritional teaching. I am not trying to cause trouble. I am trying to be helpful.

 The greater the truth the greater the libel.

Geoffrey Docherty,

Astral House,

Sunderland

Pay policy fears

I write in response to the article in respect of the report produced by the Policy Exchange on regional pay.

As a public sector worker and Unison’s Regional Convenor, I am deeply concerned about the consequences for the region if George Osborne’s policy of promoting regional pay is introduced.

The premise of this report is flawed. To suggest that the introduction of regional pay in the public sector would stimulate job creation in the region is disingenuous to say the least.

The truth is that regional pay will suppress wages across the region including in the private sector and will do nothing to stimulate economic growth.

To suggest that the savings made would be ring-fenced for the region to boost growth and cut unemployment is insulting.

Our region has the highest unemployment levels in the country outside London with one in eight people unemployed.

The number of part-timers looking for full-time work has also significantly increased.

Sheffield Hallam University academics have said the real level of unemployment in the North East is 60,000 higher.

The Government’s abolition of the Regional Development Agency and the introduction of Local Enterprise Partnerships has further failed to create the level of new employment in the region.

The private sector is just not creating jobs at the rate that they are being lost in the public sector.

How can it make economic sense to increase unemployment through a draconian attack on the public sector workforce?

Introducing regional pay is a false economy as reducing public sector pay will lead to an increase in benefits paid out as more people will be earning less. Local pay bargaining is costly, complex, unfair and divisive.

We are already seeing those on low pay being forced to look to local food banks to feed their families. Low paid jobs do not take families out of poverty.

What the region needs is for David Cameron and George Osborne to rethink their failing economic policies and devastating austerity measures.

Clare Williams

Unison

Northern Region

Expensive protest

I WITNESSED the demonstration by the National Front in St Mark’s Road and thought, if they are as patriotic as they claim to be, they would find a less expensive method of protest. Think of the cost of having so many police officers present.

 They have the right to express their views, but I would like to persuade them to use the Letters’ Page of the Echo which is cheaper and a more polite means of communication.

John Watson,

Granville Street,

Sunderland

Let’s have a vote

IN the letter from Tahir Khan (Echo, September 1), he mentions indigenous members of the community. I take it as a supporter of the Labour Party he believes in democracy. So let’s have a vote by the community to see if the people of the said community want a mosque there.

William Rowe,

Amble Tower,

Lakeside,

Sunderland