Home   News   Opinion   Article

Opinion: Proposals to introduce National Service, the two-child benefit limit and hard-working carers among topics discussed on letters to the KentOnline editor

Our readers from across the county give their weekly take on the biggest issues impacting Kent and beyond.

Some letters refer to past correspondence which can be found by clicking here. Join the debate by emailing letters@thekmgroup.co.uk

‘National Service instils discipline, self-determination, loyalty and resilience, much of which the young of today could well do with’
‘National Service instils discipline, self-determination, loyalty and resilience, much of which the young of today could well do with’

National Service needed at this dangerous time

I disagree with the views of Ralph Tebbutt (letters last week) who stated that National Service does not reflect British values.

Sorry Ralph, but you try saying to Putin or any other despot about loving thy neighbour.

What would you say to the thousands of Ukrainians who have lost loved ones and their homes and way of life destroyed because of a madman like Putin who has no respect for anyone or anything?

National Service instils discipline, self-determination, loyalty and resilience, much of which the young of today could well do with.

I experienced all the above at the tender age of 15, learning to wash, iron and take care of myself, which has stood me in good stead for the rest of my life. To simply sit back and do nothing like we did in 1939 trying to appease Hitler was a useless gesture.

You cannot fight the enemy with appeasement, no matter how genuine your thoughts and suggestions may be.

We should never have stopped National Service, which should be on a compulsory basis and nobody should be exempt unless they have good medical reasons.

My father served for six years during World War Two. What rankled him most was that up the road was a conscientious objector who lived the life of Riley whilst my dad put his life on the line for him. As abhorrent as war is, to do nothing and just sit back and be invaded is something that I find abhorrent.

Sid Anning

Only investment will improve social cohesion

I fear Mr Tebbutt misses some very salient points in his opposition to the Tories’ National Service gimmick, about which Messrs Putin and Xi in Beijing will hardly be quaking in their boots.

UK military chiefs are not that in favour and it may only affect around four per cent of 18-year-olds anyway!

It should be recalled it was Cameron and Osborne who slashed the UK defence budget across the board as part of ruinous austerity measures which also further undermined social cohesion after years of deregulation and privatisations.

This while cosying up to China and doing nothing about Putin when he invaded Crimea and then Mrs May merely waffling and feebly just ejecting a few diplomats after the Salisbury poisonings.

Before even that it was Blair et al who buttered up Putin, with economic contracts and membership of the then G8, while turning a blind eye to his military build-up.

It's all typical of the on-the-hoof policies of the Tories, who promote freedom of choice and individualism then, when in trouble, revert to the top down, we know what's best for you control freakery and playing the young off against the elderly.

What's really needed to restore so-called social cohesion, albeit financially tricky, is the phasing in of a Universal Basic Income, restoring our youth services and rebuilding our NHS and public services.

Ray Duff

Scrap two-child benefit limit

I find myself in complete agreement with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, in his latest public announcement.

In it, with one eye on the coming general election and a possible change of government, he has asked Keir Starmer and the Labour Party to scrap the two-child limit on benefit payments to families.

It was introduced by David Cameron’s government in 2017 and has created much hardship ever since. The Archbishop is right when he says that it is a cruel and immoral policy which creates child poverty which in turn “will have an impact on their long-term health, wellbeing and educational outcomes”.

Unfortunately, Keir Starmer has refused to promise to lift the limit because he wants voters to see that the Labour Party is cautious in its plans for spending public money.

Under the policy families with three or more children do not receive benefits relating to these children. This was introduced with the dual aim of helping families into employment and provide an ‘incentive’ to have fewer children.

However, in the succession of Conservative governments we’ve had since 2017, not one has carried out research to find out if these have been the effects.

What is known is that more than half the families affected by the limit already have one parent in paid employment and it is low pay rather than unemployment that is driving poverty. On top of that, high childcare costs make it hard for both parents in large families to go to work.

What research has shown is that restricting the child element to two children affected 1.5 million in 2023 and of these 1.1 million were living in poverty. This reflects the fact that in larger families all the children suffer and not just those beyond the second, with families losing £3,200 a year for each subsequent child beyond the second.

It is a fact that the last Labour government lifted hundreds of thousands of children out of poverty and Keir Starmer has the opportunity to do this again if he comes to power.

What better recognition of the Archbishop’s truth that “all children are of equal and immeasurable worth”, which the present two-child benefit policy denies.

John Cooper

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby

Carers deserve our gratitude

Sadly, once again a story has appeared detailing betrayal of a vulnerable person by a carer.

I am always very disappointed when I read such a story because I know many carers personally and all of them are dedicated, conscientious and caring people, and despite having to endure years of being undervalued for the often challenging work they do, they would never even dream of taking advantage of any person they care for.

Although I think their tireless commitment to their work is genuinely newsworthy, I have also learned to accept that it will never make headlines in the same way as a person who betrays not only the person they were caring for but also all of them.

I hope this letter is published because I wish to convey to the legion of honest carers who are carrying out their difficult work every day for precious little reward, that there are numerous people like me in the community who really value what you do and we know too that you would never betray the trust that is placed in you.

Thanks beyond measure to you all.

C. Aichgy

Make climate action a priority at election

Party manifestos are not out yet but it is a crucial moment for us, the voters, to show our wishes about climate policy.

Although climate change has not yet devastated the UK to the extent it already has elsewhere in the world, now is the time to make sure we are not putting politicians back into Parliament who actually use their influence to promote climate change.

Because the election date was called by Rishi Sunak when it was, a Conservative Bill which would have legally forced the UK to further invest In damaging fossil fuels will not go through, so that is some good news. The current party in power is in cahoots with the powerful fossil fuel lobby.

We have a chance to make a change at this election.

Governments should have taken action long ago on this. Now time is so short to protect the future of our children.

Caroline Raffan

Don’t let infected blood scandal be forgotten

Well done Chris Britcher for his excellent article on the contaminated blood scandal.

Sir Brian Langstaff did a brilliant job of chairing the enquiry. His report comprises 2,500 pages. To put this into context, War And Peace only has approximately 1,200 (depending on edition and print size).

In 1983, then health secretary Kenneth Clarke stated that there was no conclusive evidence that AIDS is transmitted by blood products. This despite a warning to Britain way back in 1974 by the World Health Organisation (WHO) not to import blood products from areas with a high prevalence of Hepatitis C, including the USA, exactly where the contaminated products were coming from.

Tainted Blood, the campaign group mentioned in Mr Britcher's article has a very detailed timeline of events on their website (711 entries). The site also contains other information including a contact page for anyone who needs help from them and ways to make a donation.

Every person affected by this appalling scandal - either by being contaminated themselves or those who have lost loved ones - is a tragic story in its own right.

This is a story that deserves to continue to have a high media profile.

Mark Kennett

People fed up with being patronised

In the past, the National Trust was one of those quintessentially British institutions, representing one of the fundamentals of the national character, like Devon cream teas, holidays at Blackpool, or the changing of the guard.

However in recent years, it has been captured by the woke left, reducing it to yet another organisation obsessed with virtue-signalling nonsense.

The Trust’s rewriting of history reminds one of Orwell’s 1984, where the mutability of the past is one of the major elements in the tyranny of the Party. This is exemplified by the provision of notices in properties drawing attention to objects that may have had a relationship to slavery, or anything else that does not meet with the agenda of the liberal left.

Advising people to avert their eyes from artefacts that may offend is attracting derision from some visitors, as we all know slavery was, and remains, abhorrent, but people take offence to being patronised in this way.

Now the Trust has decided to replace the term ‘ethnic minorities’ with ‘global majority’, as it launches an inclusive walking project. The latter term is now used by the woke in its efforts to provoke conflict between the non-white and white races. Although the vast majority of those using it are themselves white, they are those who hate the nation, race and gender into which they were born.

The National Trust has lost its way, and those in charge should be replaced with those who love this nation, its history, and its culture.

Colin Bullen

Too much evasion by executives

As the inquiry into the Post Office/Horizon scandal rumbles on, it has become patently clear that the executives at the Post Office were less than forthcoming when being cross-examined.

They were prevaricating and seemed to have had a bout of collective amnesia.

If the inquiry is designed to bring matters to light, then it will fail to succeed since the people responsible for destroying the lives of so many sub-postmasters are deliberately being evasive.

The Metropolitan Police are currently conducting an investigation into the affair but are not expected to complete it until 2026.

It would be a deserving victory for the maligned sub-postmasters and indeed, seen as a just end to the saga by the general public, if prosecutions were handed out to those complicit in a cover-up, unperturbed by the effects their nefarious actions would have on the blameless people in their employ.

M. Smith

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More