Donald Trump’s allegation of Barack Obama wiretaps clearly shows that unless someone within the Trump circle removes his access to Twitter immediately, Trump will be the first world leader who committed political suicide by tweet.
Hammond’s vocational plans need to go further
Philip Hammond's proposal to beef up the value of vocational qualifications is to be lauded. But the measures need to go hand-in-hand with protecting artisan income. In the UK skilled, time-served tradesmen are undercut by unqualified cowboys. A simple licencing system, as found in France and other EU countries, making it impossible to engage in economic activity without relevant qualifications would protect both the consumer and industry.
Our Government only finds money when it wants to
I know we are stuck with a right-wing Government and we should not be surprised at anything they do. Yet it is particularly striking that they can decide to double the funding of the royal family in 13 minutes but can only sit on their hands and offer a string of excuses over the state of social care and the health service over many months.
Kingston upon Thames
Do Brexiteers deserve sympathy?
I read with interest Sam Farley's article about the gloating over Cornwall's sudden subsidy cut following the victory of Brexiteers in the EU referendum. I would, however, like to remind Sam that many areas of the UK are due to suffer because of Brexit (whether affluent or not), irrespective of how they voted, and have no “champion” to advocate a little understanding. Or to put it another way: if I got in my car and drove in such a way as to write off my own vehicle and someone else's (note that last bit), would Sam now advocate that it was me who deserved sympathy for the loss of my car?
Moreover, in a democracy, people play politics. In “normal” politics, those who make bad decisions get reminded of it years later (just ask Paul Nuttall). Ergo in a democracy, the people get reminded of it years later.
Kings Lynn, Norfolk
Theresa May has denounced “tunnel-minded nationalism”. Excellent – that means that we can stay in the EU then.
It’s not just fake news we should avoid
Neil Postman, in his 1985 book Amusing Ourselves to Death, crystallises this dangerously fractured moment in modern human history. George Orwell was afraid of overseers depriving us of information. Aldous Huxley, on the other hand, warned of an onslaught of news, real or fabricated, that reduced its consumers to passivity and egotism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us; Huxley contended that when truth is drowned in a sea of irrelevance, we would become a trivial culture.
Both dystopian views have proven presciently true in these uncertain times. Real facts are deliberately submerged into the swamp bottom of lies and manipulation (Orwellian) by the sea tides of their manufactured alternative cousins. The media (press and social) need to take care that this moment by moment accounting doesn’t drown us in its thought-extinguishing momentum (Huxleyian).
The US is forgetting its country’s immigrant roots
My grandfather Albert Joseph Bialek came to the United States from Poland in 1910. Per the Ellis Island website, he boarded the ship Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse in Bremen, Germany (formerly in Prussia). He had just completed his service in the Austrian army. Poland at that time was divided into three spheres of influence by Austria, Prussia and Russia.
Upon being discharged, he returned to his father’s farm. Officers from the Austrian army made an attempt to re-enlist him but tradition dictated that he could remain at home so long as he was sorely needed on the farm. Immediately after the officers departed, Albert’s father gave him his brother’s travel documents and instructed him to immigrate to the United States. His father knew that war was coming and he didn’t want to lose his son to it.
It took me longer to locate my grandfather on the passenger list than it should have because I had forgotten he was travelling under the name Jan and not Albert. Given the fact that Albert entered the United States under the name Jan Bialek and later burned his immigration papers, it is evident he was by definition an “illegal immigrant”. He went on to become a very hard-working brickmason and law-abiding citizen, raising 12 children with the help of his Polish wife Mary and the rest (as they say) is history.
Just as Cleveland, Ohio is a city of neighbourhoods, so is the United States a country of immigrants. In fact, all the major cities of America at one time served as incubators for immigrants to not only become accustomed to the ways of this country but also to intermingle with each other (often prohibited in their homelands). It’s a shame that the inner cities were handed over to the absentee landlords following the Second World War. Just imagine how much stronger and united our country might have been had this unofficial tradition continued.
Gentrification is not the answer. Preventing immigration is not the solution. Intense vetting is acceptable during these challenging times but to unfairly deny one person access to the United States makes us all orphans again.
As a popular song goes: “Let me in, immigration man.”
A youth conscription service could work in the UK
Janet Street-Porter is right to suggest that the UK should follow in the footsteps of Sweden and reinstate military conscription. In the light of the Government’s plan to scrap housing benefits for young people, this is an idea worthy of consideration. In the absence of affordable housing, shelters and sustenance, the young will be pushed into poverty, hunger, homelessness and crime, reigniting their sense of isolationism, social alienation and possibly extremism, radicalism and terrorism. Those under 21 should be seen as a source of energy, hope, innovation and creativity. In summary, they are the future pillars of society. The May Government must abandon seeing them as burdens on our society.
Munjed Farid Al Qutob