Yorkshire Post letter 28/12/2013
Beacon of Humanity
As your readers will be aware, 2014 will mark the 100th centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.
By the end of 1914 a number of battles had been fought with significant losses on all sides, and as the year’s end approached it slowly dawned on the various participants that this war would most probably not be over by Christmas after all.
The set-piece battles of past conflicts were consigned to the history books and were replaced with the horrors of trench warfare. Though few could have guessed it at the time, the scene was set for a slaughter of Europe’s youth on an industrial scale that would shape the rest of the century to come.
Yet as Christmas Day in 1914 approached, the guns increasingly fell silent. In many sectors troops from opposing sides offered one another a hand of friendship. Soldiers erected makeshift Christmas trees, sang carols together, and exchanged cigarettes and chocolate and other gifts. Some played football.
I find it heartening and yet heart-breaking that such a spontaneous truce was possible. Heartening in that for this short time the youth of Europe could put aside their artificially imposed enmity and join together in the celebration of a common custom, and heart-breaking in that a short time later these young men who had been happily socialising with one another would be killing each other on a colossal scale once again.
I regard the Christmas Truce of 1914 as a beacon of humanity among the unimaginable pain and suffering of the Great War and think that this is a story worth reflecting on as we celebrate the festive season and see in the New Year which will mark the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of this tragic conflict.
Yorkshire Post letter 19/12/13
The true price of a pizza
The surprisingly frank call by Domino’s Pizza chief executive Lance Batchelor for immigration laws to be loosened further to help the firm to fill thousands of jobs caused quite a stir recently.
These comments demonstrate the fundamental economic principle of supply and demand. In a nutshell, this states that when the supply of something is increased (in this case, labour), its price decreases.
What chief executives call ‘labour costs’, the rest of us know as ‘wages’, and nothing helps to keep wages down better than an ever-expanding supply of labour, ideally from poorer countries.
As consumers we all have a choice where we spend our money. Perhaps it is time to reward those companies which recruit local staff and pay them a reasonable wage and stay away from those which do not.
Yorkshire Post letter 18/11/13
Your letter from Terry Watson (‘Take a stand on EU and immigration’, Yorkshire Post, 13 November 2013) contains much good sense. I feel obliged, however, to pick him up on his claim that Tony Blair ‘never thought about the consequences of unfettered immigration’.
As was revealed by Blair’s former advisor Andrew Neather in an article published in the Evening Standard some years ago, mass immigration into the UK over the past decade was facilitated due to a politically motivated attempt by Labour ministers to radically change the country and “rub the Right’s nose in diversity”.
Yorkshire Evening Post letter 8/11/13
Why no FGM prosecutions?
I was truly shocked to learn of the number of girls who have been treated at Yorkshire hospitals following the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM), with 450 victims recorded at St James’s Hospital in Leeds in the last three years, for example, and 120 at Bradford Royal Infirmary last year.
As campaigners against FGM have found out, political correctness has spread throughout our society to such an extent that this practice is tolerated due to people’s fear of being accused of ‘racism’ should they be seen to oppose it.
The Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Stammer QC, is quoted as stating that; ‘[FGM] is a crime that will not be tolerated in a modern multicultural society.”
Considering the fact that there has not been a single prosecution for FGM since it was banned in 1985, despite so many young victims having been treated in hospitals, the statistics do not appear to support Mr Stammer’s claim.
It is high time that we eradicated this barbaric practice – along with the political correctness which encourages it.
Yorkshire Post letter 6/11/13
Education failing our young people
The recent report from the Department for Education (DfE) which revealed that pre-schoolers in Yorkshire are falling behind quite significantly, with Yorkshire children finishing bottom in maths, is certainly a cause for concern.
This is even more so following the recent report by the OECD which found that England’s young people are near the bottom of a global league table for basic skills. The evidence demonstrates that our education system is letting our young people down from their earliest years right through to when they leave school.
Improving educational standards in England is key to solving many of the problems which plague our country. It is the key to creating a stronger economy and a fairer and more harmonious society. Until education receives the priority it so desperately needs, we should not be surprised to see those nations which evidently value the futures of their young people more than we do race ahead of us.
Children in Yorkshire, and England as a whole, deserve so much better!
Metro letter 13/2/12
Jester of North Lanarkshire argues (‘Don’t make us angry’, Metro Talk 8 February 2012) that it would be an egregious affront to democracy should the rest of the United Kingdom be allowed to wield a veto over the issue of Scottish independence were the people of Scotland to vote the ‘wrong’ way in the referendum planned for autumn 2014.
I agree wholeheartedly.
I must point out to Jester, however, that it would not be possible for ‘England to revamp their own parliament’ in the event of Scottish independence, as he suggests, for one rather significant reason; unique among the countries of the United Kingdom, England does not have its own parliament or assembly.
This too is a thoroughly unsatisfactory and undemocratic situation which should be resolved through the creation of an English parliament which will help to correct the representational imbalances that exist within the United Kingdom.
An English parliament is needed quite irrespective of how the people of Scotland choose to vote regarding their constitutional destiny.