Letters, Wednesday, September 18,2013

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Put the kettle on in aid of Macmillan

MACMILLAN Cancer Support would like to invite everyone to take part in our World’s Biggest Coffee Morning on Friday, September 27.

 Just get together with family, friends or colleagues and enjoy cakes and a coffee – a very enjoyable way of helping us raise more than £15m to help us reach more people affected by cancer.

 The money you raise will help Macmillan fund specialist nurses, new cancer centres and grants to support people living with cancer who have financial problems.

 Everyone who signs up will get a fund-raising pack and lots of ideas on how to make their event a success, but whether you choose to have a coffee morning on the official event day, a cocktail evening at the weekend or a quiz event the week after is up to you.

 All we want is for people to do something they enjoy with people they want to spend time with while raising some money for Macmillan.

 For more information, visit www.macmillan.org.uk/coffee or call 0845 070 1315.

 We look forward to hearing from you.

Sarah Goldie and Jane Curry,

Fund-raising managers, Wearside for Macmillan Cancer Support

It’s all fool’s gold

I SAY no to Royal Mail privatisation and I’ll tell you why.

 Harold McMillan, a Conservative and a champion of private enterprise if ever there was one, compared those trying to privatise our public services with spivs selling off the family silver.

 That was a few years ago and many of us ridiculed him, bought into the various share issues, and made a few pounds in the process.

 But old Macmillan was right.

 Our gain turned out to be fool’s gold. As a nation and as individuals, oh how we have paid for our folly.

 Energy, water, transport, including the railways, all went under the hammer, only to finance short-term vote catching schemes, with foreign entities acquiring control of many of our services.

 The privatisation notion was sold to the public on the basis that various watchdogs would peg prices, maintain good services and remove the public liability for improvement, expansion and the inevitable rising costs.

 We swallowed the bait hook, line and sinker. Successive governments filled their boots and now the stark reality regarding the state of our public services is paying us back.

 When it rains, drains overflow and houses flood but in a drought, the French company, which sells us our water, forbids us to use hosepipes. The cost of a rail fare to London would fly you to New York and when you manage to understand your energy bill, which is four times what it was a few years ago, you pay it quickly in the knowledge that Vladimir Putin, the man David Cameron lectures about human rights, has the power to switch off our lights.

So the template for a privatised Royal Mail is plain for all to see. Shares will be sold at a price attractive to investors and therefore poor value for the taxpayer.

 Institutions will buy most of the issue and another crop of super-salaried directors will be created to control the new private entity, which will be devoted to maximising the share price and, of course, their own bonuses.

 Over-paid quangos will be formed under the pretext of protecting the consumer and improving services. Directors and so-called watchdogs will meet regularly with a laudable agenda in sumptuous circumstances over an obscenely-priced meal only to discus how they may improve their own circumstances.

 I’d rather give the postman a rise and carry on as we are.

Denis Gillon,

Sunderland

Ruining country

THE only way I can describe the current political situation is – Nero fiddles while Rome burns.

 MPs brought in the bedroom tax and now people are paying for their mistake.

 Then MPs were thinking of giving themselves a pay rise and David Cameron left his red case on the train with very important papers in it.

 Who is running this country?

 Did I say running the country? I mean ruining the country.

Edwin Robinson