Letters, Thursday, December 8th, 2011

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What constitutes a fair society?

MY critic E. Royal (Letters, November 29) claims the Archbishop of Canterbury is protesting about an unfair society. In that case he should be able to tell us all what a fair society will be. Do archbishops get higher incomes than mere vicars?

The problem with all egalitarians is they are a sort of political version of Iago who sow the seeds of envy in the minds of poor people with the idea they are poor because the rich are rich. It’s not so, for the basic reality of life is that only very few can be successful in any field of life. Very few vicars get to be archbishops, or priests, Pope or even to get to play for Sunderland AFC.

Does E. Royal think just because everyone can’t be rich nobody should be? Although a pauper myself, I’m all in favour of there being a few millionaires and even a billionaire or two too. For, as Dr Johnson once remarked: “No man is more innocently employed than in merely getting money”.

My slight aversion to the Archbishop of Canterbury is the fact he is Welsh and the Church is not established in Wales or Uganda either, so does being established in England give the Church a privileged political platform in England? The Archbishop should be English. If the Church wants to appoint non-English people to the post it should get itself disestablished then it can appoint whoever it wants without any protest from me.

In recent months there has been more than one revelation that it was a deliberate policy of the Scottish Blair and Brown regime to flood England with millions of migrants in order to undermine the political stability of England and, as both non-English Archbishops were appointed to their posts during those years, were their appointments during those years of Blair and Brown part of that policy to undermine England? Incidentally, E. Royal, it was Gordon Brown who sold off half the national gold stock at rock bottom prices.

The price you pay if you bring in millions of migrants into an already over-populated England is an increased shortage of housing, school places and hospital waiting times. So if the Labour Party wants to bring about a more equal distribution of wealth they should have a policy of more equal distribution of populations between England, Scotland, Ireland, Poland and everywhere else too.

J. Young, Alexander Terrace, Fulwell, Sunderland

Hotel workers

I RECENTLY visited a hotel in Scotland for a four-day break. Very nice it was. Food, coach trips great and the service by the hotel staff couldn’t be bettered.

I believe they numbered about 60 staff for a full compliment of 130 people (i.e. three coachloads). They worked their socks off too, nothing too much bother at any time.

The money left in the “tip buckets” on the last day you wouldn’t believe, the guests bubbling over with gratitude.

I spoke to a waiter and asked him what his basic salary was. Unsurprisingly, minimum as allowed by the Government, just over £6 per hour plus living in. However, he confirmed the tips were the icing on the cake – a happy man.

Incidentally, excluding the receptionists who have to be Scots, obviously, the remainder were exclusively Eastern European, Poles and Hungarians in the main. Apparently this is common in Scottish hotels.

Makes you think, doesn’t it? Where were the Brits, most of whom will tell you they will take any job if they get a chance? You tell me.

Allan Wilkinson, Ferrand Drive, Houghton

Balls on the box

IT seems lately the BBC seems to have been taken over by Ed Balls MP. He has never been off our screens, on Question Time, This Morning, news interviews and on Tuesdays at Prime Minister’s Questions.

You could not keep the man quiet. He goes on and on, talking about finance, pensions and cuts in economy, and things he really knows nothing about, unless he reads them from a script.

Yet still Mr Balls will not admit to himself that it was the last Labour Government who got us into all this debt in the first place. During his speech poor Red Ed had to lean over to one side so we could see his face.

It looks very much like Mr Balls would like to take over the Labour leadership, given half chance.

Both Ed Miliband and David Cameron (who has troubles of his own) would do well to follow the words of Marlon Brando in the Godfather film. Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer. Then they might both survive this Parliament and live to fight another day.

D. J. Wright, Appley Terrace, Roker

NHS changes

HERE we go again. Last week it was housing, this week the NHS. Sharon Hodgson MP seems to have assumed the mantle of scaremonger in chief within the Labour Party while at the same time displaying a level of political amnesia that beggars belief.

These are the facts: between 1999 and 2010 the Labour Government committed taxpayers to multi-billion pounds worth of additional expenditure to the NHS. Anyone who has attended a meeting of the Sunderland TPCT or read the quarterly performance analysis during that period will attest to the fact that whether in relation to waiting times around cancer, urology or orthopaedics, in accessing a GP or diagnostics or making any significant impact upon mobility and mortality rates on Wearside, the taxpayer did not receive value for money.

The only part of the NHS that has flourished has been its bureaucracy, which in relative terms is now the size of the Chinese People’s Army.

Robert Oliver was right to remind people of the Coalition’s commitment to real-term increases in NHS spending for the duration of this Parliament, something the Labour Party conspicuously did not promise in their election manifesto.

However, with this investment must come reform which puts GPs at the heart of commissioning, gives tax payers value for money and, most importantly, makes patients the focal point of treatments and choice.

The days of bloated public sector spending funded by unsustainable borrowing and tax-paying largesse are over, a reality that Hodgson and her fellow travellers need to grasp, and soon.

Dennis McDonald, Winifred Street, Fulwell

Labour’s aims

THE article by Dr Thurlbeck (Echo, December 1) reminded me of when I first started in local politics over 60 years ago. I was told that the aims of the Labour Movement were to get rid of the House of Lords because it represented the class culture which was divisive, and to use the mechanisation invented during the war to benefit the peace by putting it to work in manufacturing and services. That way workers would be able to retire earlier with adequate pensions. Unemployment would be a thing of the past.

I also read the Dad’s Life column, as I always do, my interest being as a parent who helped bring up two boys in Sunderland. Ours started school here, the eldest at Hudson Road and the other at Thorney Close. Both went on to Bede Grammar School for Boys then to higher education. They are now aged 60 and 58.

This makes me ask myself what life will be like when the editor’s boys are at that age – especially with what is going on at present.

Joe Hall, Irene Avenue, Grangetown

Legion’s thanks

ON behalf of The Royal British Legion Club, New Silksworth branch, we would like to thank the following: Sainsbury (Silksworth), Asda (Leechmere), Morrisons (Doxford Park), Royal Hospital, Barclays (Doxford International), Dunelm Mill and all businesses and members of the public for all their help in helping us raise £23,490.

R. Newton, Royal British Legion Branch, Vane Street, Sunderland