Letters, Thursday, February 9th, 2012

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Misguided view of Greens’ policies

I READ with interest J. Young’s letter (February 6) which criticised Emily Blyth and the Green Party.

The letter started by pointing out that history is cluttered with self-deluded groups like, allegedly, the Greens, but J. Young did not specify reasons for alleging Greens to be deluded.

It appeared that J. Young was of the opinion that the Greens are enthusiastic supporters of the EU. The party has, in fact, been highly critical of the EU, such that Green leader Caroline Lucas described the EU as “wholly unaccountable and undemocratic” and recently supported a parliamentary motion calling for a referendum on UK membership.

J. Young alleged that the giving of international aid hurts the “English poor”. I cannot see any evidence of such a correlation between UK spending on welfare benefits etc and the level of international aid. If the present government were to reduce the international aid budget, it is highly unlikely that the savings would be used to return railways to public ownership, to restore public sector pensions, or to provide for the disabled.

The letter said that “migration has always been from populations of high concentration to less crowded places”. This is clearly wrong. Recent human history has witnessed increased urbanisation of population into concentrated centres.

J. Young comments that some Co-operatives have closed in recent times. The writer is correct in identifying that the big businesses do enjoy some advantages over Co-operatives when it comes to making profit. They are perhaps more likely to utilise tax loopholes to avoid paying UK tax, to outsource employment abroad, and to benefit from sometimes wasteful economies of scale. Nevertheless, it is instructive that building societies, the Co-operative Bank and credit unions have survived recent financial problems rather better than the banks, perhaps because they took fewer risks and put the interests of ordinary people first.

We understand that J. Young is unlikely to have read our manifesto or know much about our views and therefore welcome the opportunity to provide information on our politics.

Helmut Izaks, Sunderland Green Party Millfield representative

Health spending

THE recent announcement that the death rate for heart attacks has halved in the last decade is good news. Could this have anything to do with the last Labour government targeting this area in its NHS spending?

While on health matters, I was delighted to accept an invitation to be part of the Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm screening programme. I chose the new Houghton Primary Care Centre for the check-up. What a magnificent facility and efficient service!

The conundrum? Was this spending Labour largesse, as we are consistently told by Coalition politicians, or investment in the health of the nation that will give returns for generations?

Leslie Scott, East Herrington

Unite for country

FURTHER to the article in the Echo on February 4 about councillors’ pensions: Matthew Sinclair says it is “unacceptable” to have “gold-plated” pensions.

He is right, it does need changing, but it was Labour that introduced councillors to be eligible to go into the scheme in the first place.

What used to be a public service where members of the community served their community for the benefit of all, without payment, because they saw it as a civic duty is no longer just the case. With the pensions scheme and all the other payments and allowances, it is, for a large number of councillors all over the UK, just a job, a well-paid job at that.

Yes, they often work unsocial hours, but nowadays they are very, very well compensated, for what they do.

But point scoring against any political party is pointless – they all need to tackle the huge problems that faces this country, that of massive social problems: massive immigration, massive debt, massive lack of manufacturing, massive borrowing and the massive problems in the NHS, energy production and the benefits system, all ensuring that Britain has little chance of getting out of the mire for donkey’s years.

Jim Rea

This isn’t justice

NOT for the first time we read in the Echo of a man found guilty of a serious violent crime not being served with a custodial sentence.

He was one of a gang of more than 15 Asian youths who had kicked a man to the ground. As the victim pleaded for mercy, the guilty youth broke a bottle against a wall and plunged it into the victim’s head.

I don’t think I am the only one who believes that a person who attacks another with a broken bottle should be locked up and the key thrown away. Allowing such people to walk free is a miscarriage of justice of the worst kind.

Mary Metcalfe, East Herrington