Letters - November 8, 2017

'˜Super rich to blame for unequal society'

Wednesday, 8th November 2017, 3:22 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 7:48 am

Having just watched BBC Two’s The Super-Rich and Us, weren’t billionaires going to make us all richer too?

Their wealth was supposed to trickle down into our pockets, making the economy big and strong.

Britain is drowning in billionaires, more than any other country, yet we are the most unequal in Europe.

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Why have we not seen a single penny from them?

The billionaires were wooed to Britain as a deliberate strategy to reconfigure the economy.

However, once here, the filthy rich were able to exploit loopholes to preserve their wealth, depriving us of even a trickle of their gold. The strategy not only failed to grow the economy but strangled it.

The OECD now says our economy would be 20 per cent bigger had billionaires not flown their private jets to our shores.

But the biggest failure of wooing the filthy rich is the fact that they have actually driven inequality, mostly by hoovering up properties which have turned Britain into a nation of renters.

Unaffordable housing is a key factor, pushing the rich up and everyone else down and Britain’s billionaires are to blame.

Tax avoidance, frequently assisted by government complicity in providing loopholes to be exploited by wily accountants, result in inadequate resources to finance areas referred to by Mr Corbyn at Prime Minister’s Questions –namely health, education, and social care.

Labour have proved again and again that taxation is necessary to provide a civilised society.

Royston Jones

Beryl Avenue 


Honesty needed on ‘green energy’

Opponents of shale gas extraction in Lancashire argue that we should be investing in ‘clean’ energy forms such wind, wave and solar instead.

But the reality is that there’s no such thing as clean when it comes to producing large amounts of energy, reliably, for a population of our size and with an advanced industrial economy.

For example, making solar panels requires the mining of silica sand which is then chemically processed at high temperatures to produce the silicone wafers that are needed to convert the sun’s energy into electricity. Cleaning the reactor vessels in between batches uses sulphur hexafluoride - the most potent of all greenhouse gases, and 25,000 times more climate-damaging than CO2. Chinese rivers and fields have been polluted with manufacturing waste, including the highly toxic silicon tetrachloride and hydroflouric acid after inadequate treatment. According to Greenpeace and the Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association, some two-thirds of the country’s solar-manufacturing firms were failing to meet national standards for environmental protection and energy consumption in 2014.

That’s just solar. Wind has similar issues, including the use of magnets made from rare earth metals; large-scale hydroelectric dams release methane into the atmosphere; anaerobic digestion plants that produce biogas have to be constantly fed with food and farm waste which necessitates the creation of lots of HGV journeys; and wood-burning biomass plants produce harmful particulates just like coal.

I’m not suggesting for a minute that we should abandon our pursuit of these and other energy technologies - I believe they have an important role to play - but we do need to be more honest about their unwanted side-effects, including those we don’t see in this country but that are absolutely occurring elsewhere in the world.

All energy is dirty, destructive and disruptive to someone, somewhere. Regrettably, that includes renewables. At least with Lancashire shale gas, it’s happening in a country with high standards of environmental protection and workplace safety.

Lee Petts

Managing Director


I wear both red and white poppies

In his letter, Mr Hirst of the Royal British Legion makes the case for the inclusivity of the red poppy and implies that the white poppy is superfluous (Your Say, October 30).

The red poppy may have originated as a remembrance for all of war’s victims and as a message of hope for a more peaceful future.

Nevertheless, in 1933, the Women’s Cooperative Guild decided to launch the white poppy as a lasting symbol of peace and to renew the commitment after the tragic loss of so many in the First World War to “never again”.

The white poppy is not, for me and many others, a replacement for or alternative to the red.

I wear both – the red for the reasons articulated by Mr Hirst and the white, with its central inscription of PEACE, because I want to translate the “hope” that he mentions into positive action.

Our successive governments in recent years have been too ready to engage in wars overseas and have not been prepared to go the extra mile in search of peace.

Meanwhile, the age of recruitment to our armed forces remains lower than that in the vast majority of countries in the world.

There is much that can be done in the cause of peace, not only politically but in our own lives and relationships and within schools.

I’m sure that the teachers who have endorsed the white poppy are working in schools where red poppies are also available.

The Royal British Legion website endorses such situations on its FAQ page: “We have no objection to white poppies or any group expressing their views.

“We see no conflict in wearing the red poppy alongside the white poppy.”

Let’s embark on a new era of peace and reconciliation – starting with the poppy.

Keith Hargreaves

Address supplied