Readers’ letters - November 3

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Differing viewpoints on issues of war and peace

I am writing in response to the letter on red poppies by Raymond Hirst (LP Letters, October 27,). It is not true that the National Union of Teachers (now National Education Union) has launched a campaign to endorse white poppies alongside the Peace Pledge Union (PPU).

The PPU had a stall at this year’s NUT Annual Conference, as did many other organisations. Individual teachers signed up in support of an education package on the white poppy – there is no formal support from the union.

Every school I know will sell red poppies and will mark the two-minute silence. Good teachers will explain the significance of this to the children so they understand what is happening. Some teachers will also talk about the white poppy. Surely it is right for children to learn something of the history of the white poppy movement? This is not indoctrination but the opposite – providing a balance so that our young people are aware there are differing viewpoints on issues such as war and peace.

Following the First World War, there was an international desire for peace from the top of society right down to the bottom. No-one wanted to see a return to the slaughter suffered by millions during 1914-18. By the 1930s, however, Fascism was on the rise in parts of Europe and militarism was on the increase. The Women’s Cooperative Guild launched the white poppy in 1933, still determined that peace, not war, was worth campaigning for.

The PPU took over production of the white poppy in 1936. For many years, people saw no contradiction in wearing both the red and the white poppy. More recently, those that choose to wear a white poppy, or not to wear a red poppy, find themselves vilified. I will wear a white poppy to remember the many millions who have died in war since 1918, the hundreds of millions more who have been injured, traumatised, and bereaved, and to remember that nowadays over 90 per cent of people killed in war are civilians.

Hilary Chuter

NEU (NUT Section)

Labour started off sanctions

Re: Sanctions during the Government’s Universal Credit (UC) roll-out. I would like to point out that the sanction system was first introduced by a Labour Government.

Many people will automatically blame the Conservatives. The Conservatives may have adapted the system, but Labour most definitely started the system as a form of punishment. The 1997 to 2010 Labour governments made significant changes to the conditions that apply to those claiming Job Seekers Allowance and increased the sanctions applied where claimants failed to meet those conditions.

For the first time, sanctions were extended to include lone parents with older children and disabled claimants, who were judged likely to be able to enter the labour market in the future. These measures were intended to promote more active job search, deter voluntary unemployment and encourage entry into the labour market by those who had not previously been required to show they were available for work.

Mark Skipworth

Address supplied

How to manage your money

Debt is a major problem in this country and many people and many families are in financial meltdown.

Over the last 20 years, a major charity has grown up in the country giving advice and trying to help people get out of debt.

At this moment of time, they have about 200 branches working through churches. But just recently the charity Christians Against Poverty have started an o

nline money management course, which gives good advice to people on how to handle their money so they do not fall into debt.

The money management course lasts for three weeks and costs nothing.

It was voted for by Martin Lewis, of moneysaving fame, as the best money management course he had ever come across.

As there are so many people in debt, I thought it was important to try and get this information out.

It can be found on

Over 100,000 people have done the three-week course since its inception a few years ago.

David Ball

via email