Readers’ letters - October 31

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Irony of universal credit and the unelected Lords

It must be the supreme irony that, when Parliament is agonising over universal credit with all its potential problems of delayed payments to those in desperate need, the obscene pocketing of money by members of the House of Lords goes on regardless.

Ordinary people are told that ‘welfare to work’ is all important for the good of this country and its finances, yet the unelected House of Lords is not only a job for life but one where you don’t have to do any work at all.

It is to the eternal shame of all party leaders that neither abolition nor reform of the Lords has happened, and is unlikely to, although the greater shame lies with the Labour Party whose leading lights grabbed peerages, and the money, with both hands, despite calling for the institution’s abolition.

DS Boyes

Address supplied

Poppies are a personal choice

It’s coming up to that time of year again where left and right wing politics clash in this country and there is debate whether it is right or wrong to wear a poppy on

Remembrance Day.

Some, whether it be in politics, sport or whatever, will comment on the choice of others whether or not they choose to wear a poppy in remembrance of the fallen who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. It is a simple choice, either choose to wear one, choose not to wear one, donate to the poppy appeal or don’t. Whatever your choice, it should be respected by others and should not be an excuse to hang a political label on anyone. This debate around whether it is left wing not to wear one or right wing if you choose to wear one is becoming tiring.

Some trade union members’ decisions to wear a poppy over the years has proved controversial amongst some who see it as supporting imperialism and a symbol of the right.

So how do we reconcile our left wing politics with our decision to wear a symbol that many who share our politics see as inherently imperialist?

We are all familiar that class is at the core of left wing politics, and the British armed forces are a minefield of class issues. A career in the Armed Forces is one of the most popular professions for young working class Britons and former upper class private school students alike.

The working class within the forces originate from many rundown areas with high rates of unemployment, who have been left with no option in escaping poverty. The latter, however, often find themselves on a fast track to higher ranks.

The front line is made up predominantly of soldiers from a working class backgrounds. Not only are the working class more likely to die or be injured in battle, they suffer from higher rates of PTSD. They are more likely to be left behind by a government quite happy to put them in harm’s way, but unwilling to support them when they return.

So this year I will be choosing to wear a poppy.

Not because I support war, I wear it because remembrance should be about people. I wear a poppy as a sign of remembrance and a show of support for veterans left behind by society. It’s not about left or right, it’s about personal choice and your right to express your respect as is your right to do so.

In Solidarity Steve Shaw

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