Letters to the editor

If you want to comment on an article or submit a response for publication please email: letters@centralbylines.co.uk (please note, we reserve the right to edit submissions, which should be no more than 300 words as well as to refuse publication. Names will be published unless you expressly ask us not to)

Subject: Letter: the Electoral Reform Bill will undermine democracy

Dear Editor

The government has decided against the introduction of vaccine passports for the moment, on the grounds that they don’t like the idea of people having to show a piece of paper for everyday activities. Yet they persist with their deeply undemocratic Electoral Reform Bill which passed its second reading in the House of Commons last week.

This bill requires people to show a piece of paper for an everyday activity – we would have to show photo ID in order to vote. The government says this is to reduce voter fraud at the ballot box. In truth, there is almost no voter fraud (at the last general election there were only 6 cases out of 32 million votes cast) while 2 million people do not currently have any form of photo ID. The plan discriminates against older people, the less well off, the disabled and the homeless. All of whom are less likely to have such ID and who will become increasingly disenfranchised.

The bill also destroys the independence of the Electoral Commission. The organisation which is supposed to oversee free and fair elections in this country will come under the supervision of Michael Gove. Mr Gove will also get to decide which individuals or organisations are allowed to campaign or donate and which aren’t. 

In short, the government is advertising the Electoral Reform Bill as a fix to a problem which doesn’t exist. What it would actually do is rig the electoral system heavily in the government’s favour. It’s little short of a heist.

With best regards,

Anna Lidstone

Harpur Hill

Dear Editor,

Yesterday’s GCSE results highlight the resilience and determination of our country’s young people, who on average have missed 14 weeks of learning. At Nacro, our Further Education and Skills Centres teach some of the most disadvantaged 16–19-year-olds. Around 50% of our students started the pandemic without a digital device or Wi-Fi to study on. Yet today, despite coming to us without GCSEs in English and maths, they have gone to achieve great re-sit results, with an increase of high passes 4 and above. For them this is the golden ticket to a good job or further education.

This success has been a result of the hard work and determination of our learners, with support from our staff. But it has been bolstered by the use of the Government’s recovery tuition funding. Early analysis of our data shows that those who took part in the scheme achieved 15% higher pass rates compared to those who did not participate. We now need this funding boost to become permanent for those who need to fill gaps in learning or faced multiple barriers to education and skills. Well done to all those who are celebrating their achievements this week, in a year to remember.

Lisa Capper MBE
Director of Skills and Education, Nacro

Britania weights

From when I was nine we learned both imperial and metric at school. I believe that this blights children’s learning – often for the rest of their lives. From 1963 medicine converted fully from imperial and troy to metric: just in time for me. Otherwise people would be trying to calculate doses of drugs, for example 25 microgram a pound for a child of four pound six ounces. Fortunately this is obviated (though I have seen people trying to do this). In 1975 midwives were telling mothers (all familiar with metric) their babies’ weights in grams and this was all well understood. Since then I have noticed regrettable backsliding by midwives, I regret, showing poor professional standards. Science had double systems – but metric allows much easier calculations and use.

The other night on the press review two commentators who are normally well informed absolutely failed to grasp what is at stake. A seventy year old said, ‘I’ve never been at ease, for example, buying six ounces of meat’-proving my point.

John Morrissey

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