The Tories should not be forgiven for cheering after passing their public sector pay cap

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Thursday 29 June 2017 21:58 BST
Theresa May's party has backtracked on its promise to get rid of a cap on how much people in the public sector get paid
Theresa May's party has backtracked on its promise to get rid of a cap on how much people in the public sector get paid (AFP/Getty Images)

In the wake of the Manchester bomb atrocity in May, Tory Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt told NHS staff in Manchester and the surrounding areas “we are so proud of what you have done”.

In her speech made in the immediate aftermath of the terror attack at London Bridge in early June, Theresa May praised the work of the emergency services. But yesterday the Tories – along with the 10 DUP MPs they bought with £1bn of public money earlier in the week – voted against a proposal to end the pay freeze on the wages of nurses, firefighters and other public sector workers a pay rise.

And they laughed and cheered when their “victory” was announced in Parliament, at their success in blocking a pay rise for workers they praised as heroes only weeks before.

This must never be forgotten or forgiven. The Tories have proven once again, that they are lower than vermin.

Sasha Simic
London, N16

Scotland should be allowed to stay in the EU

It is more than a little ironic that as Scotland – through being part of the UK – prepares to leave the European Union, Estonia, with a population around a quarter that of Scotland, will take over the EU presidency on 1 July.

The presidency is responsible for driving forward the EU’s work, ensuring the continuity of the EU agenda, orderly legislative processes and cooperation among member states.

Estonia, which next year will celebrate its centenary of becoming independent, takes over from Malta, an island with a population less than that of Edinburgh.

During the independence referendum, the Better Together camp claimed that the only way to guarantee Scotland’s place in the EU was to vote to remain in the UK. Indeed, Scotland was to “lead the UK” not “leave the UK”.

Times have indeed changed since September 2014 and we are, despite these assurances, heading for the EU exits.

Of course, we could have the best of both worlds: part of a single market with the rest of the UK – as promised to Northern Ireland in its relations with the Republic of Ireland – and still members of the EU. For that to happen of course requires the confidence, as Malta and Estonia have demonstrated, to take full control of our own affairs and be the masters of our own destiny, leading not leaving the EU.

Alex Orr

The recession wasn’t Labour’s fault, it was the bankers’

In Joe Watts’s article he quotes a Downing Street source stating that ministers, including the Prime Minister and Chancellor, would listen to the messages sent out by the electorate regarding austerity. The source is reported to have said “they had to balance the books after Labour’s crash’”.

Maybe my memory is failing but as far as I can recall the crash was caused by greedy and incompetent bankers, not by Labour, and Gordon Brown rescued the banking sector by bailing out several institutions using taxpayers money on the basis that without this bailout financial chaos would result.

That silly note about there being “no money left” has been used by the Tories to beat the Labour Party and label them financially inept when in fact their friends in the City were the real villains.

Patrick Cleary

Sainsbury’s shouldn’t launch a Fairtrade equivalent

I read with interest your recent article about Sainsbury’s plans to launch “Fairly Traded” tea.

As the authority responsible for implementing the robust standards and independent accreditation processes of the Social Enterprise Mark and Social Enterprise Gold Mark, we were very sad to hear of the decision by Sainsbury’s to apply their own “fairly-traded” scheme to Red Label tea in place of the widely trusted Fairtrade mark.

Much as Sainsbury’s is loved and trusted by its customers, this move risks opening the door to less reputable businesses creating their own in-house schemes. We are very concerned that this will lead to a proliferation of social and environmental claims that will confuse consumers and ultimately erode their trust in all such schemes, far beyond the sectors in which Fairtrade operates. The extent of these concerns is apparent in the response to the online petition on this topic which has quickly attracted over 5,000 signatures.

Lucy Findlay, managing director at Social Enterprise Mark
Address supplied

Charlie Gard’s parents may not be right to want to prolong his life

Mary Dejevsky’s article articulates clearly and compassionately the dilemma raised by the case of Charlie Gard, but I would add one idea. The parents of children terminally ill do, as she says, want only the best for their child. However I know from my own experience that “the best” may seem to be a longer life, and parents often need others to be the arbiters of the moment to let go.

Thirty years ago my son died of leukaemia. At the end of his life his consultant came to visit at home. He examined Thomas and said he wouldn't give any treatment “just now”. I took this to mean he would treat later, but in retrospect he was telling me that he was letting Thomas go. If he had asked me directly I would have asked him to continue, but I would have been wrong. He took that responsibility on himself, and I continue to be grateful to him for his humanity.

Jo Russell

Why did it take this long to get justice for the Hillsborough victims?

Let’s hope it doesn’t take 28 years to suggest manslaughter charges for the Grenfell catastrophe.

Mike Bor
London, W2

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