Growing our own
Sir: Rod Liddle is clearly right that ‘the people of Europe do not want any more immigration on the scale we have seen in the past five years’ and that this is one of the reasons for the rise in the populist vote (‘The populist revolution has only just begun’, 10 March).
However, the people of Europe do want more cleaners, fruitpickers and vegetable harvesters, not to mention care home workers, paramedics, nurses and doctors. We in the UK need more teachers of science, maths and languages.
It’s unforgiveable that no politicians of any party have pointed out that if we don’t have enough children of our own and educate them to the highest global standards, starting about 20 years ago, in about a year these workers will have to come from further afield than the EU.
Sir: Craig Goldsack (Letters, 10 March) writes that the people of Sunderland’s vote to leave the EU was ‘not anti-European but anti the EU administration… regarded as a self-serving, unaccountable, bloated bureaucracy.’
‘Self-serving’ may or may not be true, but the EU Commission is accountable to the Council of Ministers of which the UK has been a member over the past 40 or so years. And when it comes to ‘bloated’, Sunderland can show the EU a clean pair of heels. The EU Commission employs some 25,000 bureaucrats for 500 million citizens; one for every 20,000. Sunderland City Council employs some 7,000 for 175,000 souls; one for every 25.
I am sure that the good people of Sunderland are not ‘xenophobic philistines’, but were they well informed?
Sir: Lord Vinson recycles the same old arguments about the short-selling of borrowed shares (Letters, 10 March). I was one of several hedge-fund managers invited in January 2009 to help the Treasury Select Committee with their, er, enquiries: had short-sellers forced HMG to be the buyer of last resort of banks’ shares?
There was no case to answer and the committee piped down when Sir Paul Marshall said that blaming short-sellers was ‘like blaming the passengers in a bus crash’. Frankly, Lord Vinson should be glad that at least some fund managers made money in the Carillion debacle.
Why not in our back yard?
Sir: Martin Vander Weyer asks ‘What on earth can central government do to accelerate the number of homes at the lower end of the price range?’ (10 March). He goes on to suggest identifying and lauding progressive planning departments to combat Nimbyism.
What about lauding a modest role for local co-operation between communities and enlightened local landowners? Shouldn’t all communities be encouraged to find ways to provide housing for their young residents? What is needed, especially in rural areas, is to adapt the planning ‘roadblocks’ constructed over decades, and encourage local initiatives. This will increase the number of homes in places where they are most needed. Democratic local approval will counter nimbyism.
Peril in the parks
Sir: Close to Harry Mount’s patch in Tufnell Park (‘Two nations’, 10 March), weaponised Somali drug gangs now ‘own’ Finsbury Park. Terrified locals are being driven out of their homes. Occasionally, lightly manned police vehicles shoo the hoodlums beyond the traffic barriers which border our streets. But the gangsters immediately regroup on the next parallel street. Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick has few resources to contain violent criminal disorder such as that which spread like wildfire in August 2011. Nonetheless, she must deploy enough armed ‘snatch squad’ riot police to pincer, chase and arrest escaping drug gang members. Openly displayed ineffectualness is not a solution.
Sir: I would like to propose two new scientific units of the kind mentioned by Rory Sutherland (‘Why I’m not on board with quiet carriages’, 3 March). The Kuenssberg, as a measure of political hyperbole and its inverse proportion to the actual reality of the situation, viz. cliff edge, cabinet mutiny, red lines.
And the Harrabin: a measure of the (almost infinite) capacity of the BBC correspondent to unquestioningly broadcast any old guff supporting the relentless march of climate change. This frequently becomes ‘the dog ate my homework’ school of journalism.
Sir: Andrew Marr was correct to point out that St Mary’s, Primrose Hill, is desperately short of cash (Diary, 3 March). I wonder if I might draw attention to one of their more ingenious fundraising ventures.
Since last year they have been brewing excellent beer in their crypt with all profits going towards youth work. There are five varieties available, including an Abbey-style ale to make monks proud. This fine addition to London’s continually expanding craft beer scene deserves more recognition.