Readers’ letters - February 3

A reader recalls memories of the  Land Rover Defender ' see letter
A reader recalls memories of the Land Rover Defender ' see letter

No friend to workers

Trades unions helped workers win health and safety law, fair wages, maternity and paternity pay and a better deal at work.

Without trade unions, we would have no paid holidays.

Days lost to industrial action are at an all-time low as unions these days are settling concerns at work before they become disputes.

Over six million working people and their families are supported by their unions. They are the drivers, carers, paramedics, oil workers, cabin crew, scientists – you name it, they’re in a union – of the nation.

So why does this Conservative government want to crush their trade unions?

Their (anti) trade union bill is making its way through Parliament.

It has been slammed by managers, ex-ministers and even the Government’s own regulators, denounced as ‘not fit for purpose’ and dangerously ‘ideological’.

Even Tory MPs feel unease about it, with one saying it was akin to something found in ‘Franco’s Spain’.

When this bill becomes law, the workers of these isles will be the poorest protected, easiest to mistreat in the EU.

Quite an achievement for a Government that pledged to be the ‘party of the working people’.

In May when the local elections come, I urge readers who can vote to do so.

When you go to the polls remember this – the Tory government is no friend of working people.

Steven Turner via email

Memories of Land Rover

In the summer of 1949, the father of a school-friend was driving me home. He was a farmer and we were in his new Land Rover. I was enthusiastic about his new vehicle so he demonstrated by driving off the road, down a one in three embankment into a field and then back again.

In 1955, (now in the RAF) we had a Hunter jet fighter with one wheel sinking into the grass. The aircraft was much heavier than the Land Rover but that did not stop the wheels turning slowly in an attempt to free the aircraft.

A few years later, I used a Land Rover to tow a Canberra Jet Bomber up a slight incline into a hanger in Cyprus. Since then, I have had nothing but admiration for these vehicles. I know all good things must come to an end but it was with a heavy heart that the last Land Rover (Defender) came off the production line.

Dennis Whitaker

Address supplied

Improve the 111 hotline

It is a parent’s worse nightmare that their child should fall dangerously sick and we all pray that the NHS will be there to deliver a first class life saving service.

But it is clear from the William Mead case that our health service let him down badly with fatal results.

And the catalogue of errors began with the 111 hotline which is manned by call advisors. They are described as ‘highly trained’. Unfortunately that training just involves box ticking. They are not clinicians and it is plain, as Williams’s heartbroken mum said, that this service is broken.

The project is all about saving money when the priority should be about saving lives. The government must act to provide a service that is fit for purpose. Sadly, I am afraid this tragedy seemed inevitable – I only hope the Government makes the urgent changes required to improve the system, otherwise I fear that another family will suffer the same appalling loss.

Louise Bours

North West UKIP MEP and party health spokesman