What couldn't we do with £500m?
Build several post-hospital care homes for older patients to ease bed-blocking. Staff them, and pay care workers a reasonable wage while they visit people in their own homes.
Or fund some of the hospitals trying to set up so-called GP surgeries in A&E departments to ease the pressure there.
Do something, however small it might seem, towards tackling the enormous and shocking problem of homelessness and rough sleepers. A significant number of genuinely affordable houses could be built for that amount.
Or invest in effective rehab schemes, those with a proven high success rate, for first time prisoners so that they won't reoffend.
Give grants to schools for much-needed equipment and books, or ancillary staff, presently unaffordable on their reduced budgets.
Keep a few libraries or day centres open.
Or even mend a few million potholes.
Oh no. It's a much better use of public money to provide us all with navy blue passports when we leave the EU. Then we can really be proud to be British!
I am very saddened by news of Rupert Cornwall's death (Rupert Cornwell, award-winning foreign correspondent for The Independent, dies, 2 April, Andrew Buncombe). His was always one of the must read writers in your paper. As was said, it was clear that he was beginning the process of deconstructing the Trump euphoria. That would have been fascinating but unfortunately not to be.
My condolences to his family and friends.
Guilty until proven innocent
The new 28 day pre-charge bail limit, (Police bail for suspects capped at 28 days, 3 April, Tom Peck), introduced as part of the Policing and Crime Act, is welcome news.
Over the past decade we have seen first-hand the devastating effects that can result from doctors being left on bail for several years. I recall one GP in particular who had an unblemished career and had dedicated his life to the NHS. He was accused of accidentally causing the death of a patient and waited several years before he was released from bail with no charge. During that time he took retirement and suffered a heart attack, which he puts down to stress.
Aside from the reputational and psychological harm associated with a police investigation, doctors who are on bail may also need to adhere to strict conditions to their practice or may even be suspended from work altogether by the General Medical Council or their employer, pending the charging decision. Many doctors understandably feel they are presumed guilty until they are proven innocent.
We hope this new limit will ensure that the police turn their minds to what is “proportionate and necessary’” and that magistrates will hold them to account – preventing the current situation of waiting in limbo which many doctors today find themselves in. It is of course right that police investigate serious complaints properly but it is also fair for all that justice is administered swiftly.
Pallavi Bradshaw, senior medico-legal adviser
The only answer to the insoluble tangle that is Brexit, is for England and Wales to secede from the UK leaving Scotland, Northern Ireland and Gibraltar to remain in the EU.
This wouldn't please many unionists and it would be a constitutional nightmare but it might be easier than the alternative confusion, altercation and enormous cost
Exception to the rule
Tom Morgan must revise his claims about Saturday's Boat Races (plural: women now share the same course). "You are Oxford or you are Cambridge!" he asserts in his article (Oxford reclaim their title on the Thames after seeing off Cambridge rivals in 2017 Boat Race, 2 April, Tom Morgan). "There is no middle ground and no opportunity for reconciliation of that fact." William Warr saw the light and transferred from Light to Dark Blue.
The fate of footballers
There is much lobbying around the topic of Brexit. Doctors and nurses from Europe want exemption from immigration rules, as do teachers from Europe. Car manufactures want special business deals and Gibraltar wants special recognition.
But what is never mentioned is: what is going to happen to all the European footballers who play for UK teams? Are they going to be sent home? Are new European players not going to be allowed in? Or, as is rumoured, are UK football clubs going to get a quota system imposed – two EU players per team?
I have a petition on the issue. We need to lobby Parliament now before it is too late!