RAPID RESPONSES

Ponzi pottiness

The German government criticising the UK for not doing enough for the Eurozone really brings to mind a Ponzi scheme.

Assume I don’t join a Ponzi scheme because I think it’s a Ponzi scheme but my colleague does in spite of my warnings. When the scheme goes wrong, if my colleague criticised me for not joining the scheme to keep it going, I’d think he was a bit potty.

It seems to me that’s what the German government is doing now. We don’t join because it’s a bad idea; now it’s falling apart we should be doing more? Not sure with what, however. Likewise, Peter Mandelson with his suggestion the crisis would not be happening if the UK was to have joined the euro. Potty!

Dave Bryan,
finance manager

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Motor of growth?

[Responding to: Motorists are massively over-taxed, yesterday]

Motoring is a means of getting from A to B. In America they have found a way to get from A to B as inefficiently as possible. In Europe we have high fuel taxes, which is why individuals and businesses are strongly incentivised to be efficient: our motoring fleet has a MPG around half of that of America. If we used as much energy per capita as the Americans we would be adding to our trade/current account imbalance by a significant percentage.

Allister Heath cites a study that calculated the social costs of motoring at £3.5bn. That is woefully low. Forgetting about the incredibly expensive potential cost of climate change, forgetting about the damage done to the environment by the need to drill in increasingly complicated places for oil, forgetting about the cost to people’s health who breathe in this pollution – I would rather not have to put up with the smell and noise, and £300 per annum looks like good value to rid this from my life. Fuel taxes are the easiest and cheapest way to encourage people into being efficient; we should have more, not less, and while they are at it they could reduce taxes on work and enterprise.

Finally, Heath’s argument about parking charges affecting shops and businesses does not hold true: central London is over-crowded, and the problem is some of the businesses he refers to don’t offer what people want.

Finally, Heath’s figures for growth make sense with current economic policies, if we do nothing different to the last thirty years. However, such growth is completely unacceptable and reflects general apathy in society and a complete lack of ambition. Indeed, in his columns Heath has made many excellent suggestions that would boost growth.

Matt Winton

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Insanity defence

Stuart Fraser, the policy chairman of the Corporation of the London, this week cited “reports” of “vulnerable” people within the vicinity of St Paul’s Cathedral as legal grounds to go to the high court. Is Fraser still living in the days when Bedlam was considered appropriate to contain the mentally ill?

The mentally ill are one of the most vulnerable groups in society and are routinely discriminated against in relation to employment, housing, accessing sport and health facilities, and in consequence of their condition they often lose contact with their families, suffering high levels of estrangement and isolation.

The Occupation of the London Stock Exchange is a peaceful gathering of ordinary people agitated and troubled by the cares of the day, which includes those who suffer from mental illness.

In my opinion, the stigma of mental illness should be challenged. If a close friend suffered a broken arm, you would naturally offer your sympathy. If that same friend suffered from a broken mind, would you still offer the olive branch of sympathy?

Mental illness affects all walks of society. Ill health and treatment should be talked about openly and should not be hidden away in a cupboard. This responsibility falls upon all, from the media to the Houses of Parliament.

Liam T Kirk,
floating press officer,
Occupation of the London Stock Exchange,
common ground adjacent to
St Paul’s Cathedral,
London EC4M 8AD

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Decision time

When I returned from Canada at the end of the seventies, I joined the European Federation. (I still have the membership card.)

In three weeks I realised that political union was the name of the game. I left.

At last we are at the decision point. Leave the EU to protect and develop ourselves, or succumb.

We will not be allowed a third choice.

Even Margaret Thatcher couldn’t negotiate successfully. I can’t see David Cameron doing any better.

David Crowson

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Euro-exhaustion

Surplus countries of the Eurozone have benefited enormously because of the single currency.

Time for Germany et al. to fund the EFSF now. No conditions – just do it.

The time for pontificating about how to have closer fiscal governance can be done at a later date.

Very tired lawyer

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Cross-party issue

Blaming Gordon Brown [UK set for a decade of deleveraging, Tuesday] is a tired and worn-out excuse and far too simplistic. Brown’s excess as chancellor was coupled with arrogance when he loudly proclaimed “economic stability not boom and bust”. But every Western nation was doing the same thing. It wouldn’t have mattered if it was Labour, Conservatives or the woefully inept LibDems in power in Britain. Whomever was in charge would have inevitably become a pariah. But I remember very few mentioning anything about government excess when the milk and honey continued to flow.

Shawn