Readers' letters - June 6

A correspondent warns of the dangers of only relying on credit cards
A correspondent warns of the dangers of only relying on credit cards
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Keep cash handy – don’t put all your eggs in one basket

An expression I first heard some 70 years ago, but I never hear today, is don’t put all your eggs in one basket. If, say, you had a dozen eggs, rather than placing them all in one basket and running the risk of breaking them all if you dropped it, put them in two or more baskets so that, if you dropped one, you at least had some eggs in the other baskets for your breakfast.
But this is precisely what we are doing when we use a piece of plastic to carry out all our financial transactions on the high street, and if for some reason the system goes ‘down’, as it did last week with Visa, chaos inevitably results.
I despair when I see someone pay £1.25 for a sandwich using a card. Not too long ago, one saw signs in shops saying “Card not accepted for transactions under £5”, but those appear to have now disappeared. I suspect that those who had cash on them to pay for their supermarket shop were older, and dare I say, belonged to a more sensible generation.
Governments, particularly western ones, know that it’s only a matter of time before a terrorist cyber attack will hit their utilities, their health service and their various financial systems, and one of those ‘systems’ will be the one involving the use of the credit card.
Wouldn’t it just be common sense to make sure you always have cash in your purse, just in case? You would then be able to at least pay for those essential food items to keep you going for the next few days. The person on the till could scan them, ask for the £7.45 owing, and be paid in cash.
Alas, I suspect that the majority of those who were hit last week by the Visa breakdown will be shopping this week without a coin in their purse or pocket, the attitude being, “surely it can’t happen again?” Well, it can and it will. And this time it could well be terrorist-related, and not last just a few hours, but possibly days...even weeks.
David Craggs
Address supplied

Time to bag the plastic bag

The story of a pilot whale dying because of a stomach full of 85 plastic bags is a sad reflection on a modern day throw away society.
The whale basically died of starvation as it couldn’t consume any food with a clogged stomach – a situation that would be met with screams of condemnation if it had happened in any aquarium but has become little more than a newspaper space filler in this case.
The same situation occurs in many oceans and waterways – so polluted that you could almost walk over it but not swim in it. The provision of safe, clean water is a basic human right although not
always a reality.
Plastic is a wonder of science but its time as a common grocery bag must be stopped. All people must stop using them and legislators need to ban them – now. It’s time to bag the plastic bag.
Dennis Fitzgerald
via email

Put patients first – recruit doctors

We welcome the Home Secretary’s announcement to review Tier 2 visa allocations, further to extensive lobbying from the BMA and other bodies to end arbitrary visa caps which are preventing competent overseas doctors from working in an overstretched NHS with a serious shortage of medical staff.
It is important that the Home Secretary now acts swiftly with a practical solution, so that the NHS can recruit the several hundreds of available overseas doctors who can start work imminently to ease pressure in a health service under escalating strain.
The NHS could not survive without the vital contribution of overseas doctors, and it is vital that the Government puts the needs of patients first by implementing a flexible immigration policy that allows us to employ the doctors needed to serve the health needs of the nation.
Dr Chaand Nagpaul
British Medical Association council chairman

Powers of WTO

Oh the irony. Donald Trump slaps import duties on a few steel products from the EU, and what does the EU do but run off and complain to the World Trade Organisation?
This is the WTO that Remainers tell us has no power, and is nowhere near as good as the EU, whilst sneering that the UK would be “crashing out” if we used the WTO. Actually the WTO may knock sense into both the USA and the EU.
Nick Martinek
Address supplied

Out is out, not in

When Usain Bolt wins a race by a hundredth of a second, he still wins. When a racehorse wins by a nose, it still wins and bookies have to pay out on the result.
With the biggest democratic vote in history, Leave won by at least a short head. Out is out, not half in. This simple statement of fact appears too complex for Remain to understand. By objecting to every negotiation, Remain are handing second place the winner’s medal. Not only that, we, the British people, are becoming bookies, paying first prize money to the losers.
Barrie Crowther
via email