Readers' letters - May 17

An alternative to plastic packaging was used by the National Trust. See letter
An alternative to plastic packaging was used by the National Trust. See letter
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Plants not plastic – we need to care about our planet

I have just received my National Trust magazine in the post, bearing the words “Plants not Plastic”.
A common enough comment these days, but lo and behold, someone has finally done something about it.
The plastic (that we’ve all come to expect) providing the envelope for the magazine and its other contents was in fact not plastic, but made from potato mash!
Boldly displayed was the advice to put the envelope in the compost!
Even if you don’t have a compost, this means that it will biodegrade when it hits the landfill.
Whoopee! Now at last I can put something into the black bin without feeling guilty.
All I can say is well done the National Trust.
We know they care for our national treasures, but now they’re caring about our planet, and us, to experiment with an alternative to what was once considered one of the “best things since sliced bread” items – the dreaded plastic wrapping. Personally, I’ve started reusing those flimsy veg bags you get in supermarkets.
I know it’s only a small thing, but every journey starts with one step.
We can grow more potatoes for this replacement for plastic, we can grow more trees to provide more paper.
Is it just greed and lethargy that is taking us to a future where we will, all of us, actually be made of plastic, because that’s what we’ll all be eating?
Denise Marsden
via email

Why penalise elderly for being responsible?

Karl Sheridan (WP Letters, May 10) is so right to protest because the older generations are blamed for the problems now facing the younger generations.
Now some way into my ninth decade, I, too, was brought up to act responsibly with my finances and never spend money I didn’t have on things I didn’t need.
I, too, do not understand why the lucky chance that the value of my house has vastly increased is a reason for recrimination, while putting crosses in the right boxes on a lottery ticket brings a shower of praise.
I would guess that I am some 10 years older than Mr Sheridan and therefore that much nearer the next discrimination against the responsible citizen.
I wish to spend my last few years quietly and soberly in the love of my surrounding family.
I only have a small bungalow and modest savings but I wish to pass them on to that same family.
But unless I waste the lot on unnecessary luxuries or pay some smart accountant to show me how to salt it away, I will be unable to do so if I have to go into a care home, where I will be charged a four-figure sum each month because I have chosen to save my money.
Worse still, if I develop dementia, my relatives will effectively “lose” me and their inheritance at the same time.
This already happens to thousands of families.
Why should the careful and responsible citizen be discriminated against in this way? If I had spent my life in petty crime, demonstrating daily, by my actions, a contempt for society and my fellow citizens, my care in old age would be provided with no charge – no questions asked.
And as I await my fate, as an English taxpayer, I will continue to subsidise, through the totally outdated Barnett Formula, free care homes for people in Scotland with much more money than I have.
C J Ball
Address supplied

Donald Trump or Forrest Gump?

Trump reminds me of Tom Hanks’ magnificent portrayal of Forrest Gump.
Here was a man with few brains and little sense, whose extraordinary and unpredictable actions succeeded in making him a millionaire.
Remember that wonderful scene where Gump had a go at running a fishing business?
He foolishly went out to sea in a raging hurricane when none of his competitors would have dared.
His boat survived, while all his competitors’ boats were smashed to pieces in harbour.
No doubt Kim Jong-un could happily defy and deceive responsible and predictable politicians like Obama, but what was he to do when faced with an idiotic and unpredictable man like Trump?
No wonder he backed down. Perhaps sometimes it is an advantage to have a buffoon in charge of foreign policy!
Paul Andrews
via email