Great Britain

As the lonely festive period approaches, spare some kindness for carers and the cared for

While we all enjoy a well earned break over Christmas and new year, I ask you to spare a thought for a group of people often overlooked at this time of year.

Social care staff are working all over the community to ensure people get the care and support they need.

Unpaid carers too will be ensuring other vulnerable people get care over the festive period.

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Care doesn’t stop for Christmas and the work they all do is invaluable and worthy of our praise.

So while we remember the emergency services, doctors and nurses who will be giving up their holiday to keep us safe and well, please also spare a thought for the carers.

And please, if you have older or vulnerable people living near you, do try to call in on them if you can during the holidays to see if they are okay. For some, it might be the only contact they get over what can be a very lonely time of the year.

Mike Padgham​, chair, Independent Care Group

No delay in entering the world of work 

The Royal College of Nursing suggests that providing bursaries will encourage school leavers to apply for a nursing degree, but doesn’t say why such a degree is necessary in the first place.

In the 1970s, I taught HNC physics in a technical college night school. Any one of my people was better prepared for the industry than someone with a BSc and four years of lolling around campus.

All a trainee nurse requires is five GCSEs, compassion, common sense and a willingness to learn. On-the-job training, split between classroom and wards, should be free and last three years.

Nurses could then sit the state registered exam and after a year as a registered general nurse, decide if they want to tackle the additional training needed to specialise. At this stage, a degree might be relevant.

Dr John Cameron
St Andrews

Bet365 bonus for CEO

When the government announced it was to place restrictions on fixed-odds betting terminals, we had the usual bleating from the gambling industry that it would ruin many bookmakers and lead to massive redundancies. It would seem that hasn’t been the case with Bet365, which, along with its CEO, continues to benefit from the deregulation of the gambling industry, likely to the detriment of many citizens of this country. Probably won’t be long before Denise Coates gets her knighthood or more.

G Forward

I agree with Tony

Many of us on the centre-left will find ourselves in agreement with what Tony Blair said about Labour this week. However, perhaps we need to go into a bit more detail about what is required to craft suitable opposition to Boris Johnson.

Nationalisation is dear to the heart of many Labour folk. However, it does not resonate to any extent with the ordinary voter or indeed many economists. Rather than continuing to beat the public ownership drum, it would be much more sensible for Labour to seriously engage with the thoughts of Will Hutton on what he terms “stakeholder capitalism”.

Doing this sincerely, along with joining forces with Greens, Lib Dems and possibly others on constitutional reform and environmental change, could form the basis for a wide-ranging and principled progressive alliance.

The Rev Andrew McLuskey
Address supplied

Tony Blair was on the news on Wednesday night blaming Corbyn for Labour’s election defeat. Yet 20,000 people have signed an open letter, on, thanking Jeremy Corbyn for his calm, compassionate, strong behaviour, which has inspired them and given them hope. 

What is wrong with our media that one person blaming Corbyn is “news”, whereas 20,000 people thanking him is not?

Dr Bob Banks

The political blame game

As we lurch into the Labour leadership contest, I find it extraordinary (among other adjectives) that the Tories consistently manage to pin the global financial crash on the UK Labour government, while Corbyn’s Labour Opposition consistently failed to stick austerity and all its hideous offspring (Universal Credit, child poverty, a huge increase in homelessness since 2010, a systematic reduction of public services and more) to a Tory government.

I’ve never seen it, but is this a Downton Abbey moment – a national tugging of the forelock?

Beryl Wall
London W4