Letters - June 8, 2017

ELECTIONSocial media has many MPs on tightropeAs news now spreads much faster than it used to, today's politicians are often faced with walking on a tightrope in their professional and personal lives.

Thursday, 8th June 2017, 2:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 8th June 2017, 2:06 pm
Tony Benn with trademark pipe and cuppa

Due to social media sites, politicians can interact and score election campaign points on a mass scale. Equally they can fall on their own swords if a particular word or phrase is edited, misinterpreted or manipulated by the media sharks.

On balance it’s fair to say social media has certainly created a greater level of transparency and accountability in politics.

It is unlikely establishment figures today could behave in a ‘closed ranks’ manner such as the well recognised immoral accountability cover up relating to the Hillsborough disaster in 1989. Nor would the public today allow MPs to claim outrageous expenses.

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In a democratic society we need MPs of all parties who believe in social justice, equality and not just ‘nodding dog’ type characters.

The late Tony Benn was an intelligent, articulate honourable Labour MP. He was at one time the most feared MP of his era. Why? Because he was not afraid to stand up, speak out and challenge what was wrong in Government without fear or favour. Tony Benn dedicated his life to politics and his legacy is well remembered. In my view Jeremy Corbyn has those priceless qualities. Let’s have an honest election, without media bias in cahoots with the richest members of society.

I had the greatest privilege and pleasure to share a table seat train journey with Tony Benn from Manchester to London about 10 years ago. I asked him why as an MP he did not travel first class he replied “travelling first class does not get you to your destination any faster” I have never forgotten that phrase or the wonderful two hours I spent talking to certainly one of the finest politicians of his generation.

Stephen Pierre



Garden Tax plan will hit homeowners

I am very concerned about the Land Value or Garden Tax proposed by Labour in their manifesto. For some reason which is beyond me it has attracted little attention in the media.

The proposal is to introduce a tax not only on the notional rental value of your house but also on the value of the land on which it stands.

As far as I can see you do not have to have much in the way of greenery around your property to attract a substantial increase in your council tax.

I suggest anyone with a bit of greenery around their home takes a close look at this particular manifesto pledge (Labour manifesto, Page 86 on line) before they vote for Mr Corbyn. In my case it will nearly double my council tax.

If Labour is returned to power and the Garden Tax is enacted it will have an immediate and far reaching effect on the living standards of all home owners.

Hon Alderman 
Gordon McCann



Which party really a magic money tree?

Tory politicians are constantly claiming that Labour’s policy pledges are funded by a magic money tree.

This, despite their funded programme, in contrast to the Tories’ plan, which is trust us, we will tell you after the election.

The only magic money tree I know of, is the one that funded the Tory Party to the tune of £5.46m in the first quarter of this year.

Would this money be from companies the Tories claim would leave this country if Labour’s tax plans affected them?

They could join those other well known companies, that are keen to maximise their profits in this country, but not so keen to pay the level of taxes the rest of us have no choice in paying.

Denis Lee



Constant coverage is aiding terrorists

Why is the media aiding terrorism?

This constant attention showing images of the distress caused is just what their aim is. How many more recruits to their cause is inspired by these constant images.

During the Second World War a lot was kept from the public and with good reason.

I think now is the time to apply that same principle.

Kevin Gooder

Clinton Avenue



Spare a thought for working animals

Working animals – such as horses, donkeys and camels – are fundamental in supporting the livelihoods of the world’s poorest people.

More than 200 million working animals do the jobs of trucks, tractors and taxis, helping to provide a small income for one billion people in developing countries worldwide. But, this vast global workforce is largely unknown and ignored.

It’s easy to forget that these animals played a key part in our own history, even for large parts of the last century. Today, 40 per cent of people in the UK don’t even know what a working animal is, but – from cart and plough horses to pit ponies – they were a familiar sight in the streets, fields and workplaces of Britain for centuries.

Many working animals currently endure hard lives and very few have access to the veterinary care they desperately need when they are sick or injured. These invisible heroes need our help.

Which is why I’m asking everyone to back SPANA’s ‘International Working Animal Day’ on June 15. We need to recognise the massive contribution of working animals and ensure they get the veterinary treatment, respect and compassion they deserve.

Geoffrey Dennis

Chief Executive, SPANA