Globalisation is a modern plague
Dear Editor, So, there are those of influence (parts of the city council amongst them apparently) in our great city, with its unique history of manufacturing who seem to believe that 'offshoring' (moving work and jobs overseas) is to be commended to what remains of our industry.

How sickening this is. The argument seems to be that a few more jobs (superior ones of course) will remain in the hollowed out firms than may otherwise have been the case. To my mind it's like giving a potential burglar a call and saying "here, come and take these belongings" in the hope that he'll leave you with the rest. A foolish hope of course - he'll be back for more.

More than this, the motivation for offshoring, usually lies in greed for profit rather than survival. Globalisation is a modern plague and we should be doing all in our power to resist this malign influence on our self-respect, as well as our industry.

It should be clear by now that no playing fields will be level unless we raise our own end and that, in more senses than one, there is no such thing as 'free' trade any more than there are free lunches. Some people, usually those with less influence, will pay with their jobs. And so of course will the environment, befouled as it is in countries such as China.

Lest I be accused of resistance to change, let me commend a different sort of change - a change to standing up and fighting for what is ours. We need to ensure that cheats paying lousy wages in vile conditions do not prosper and that rank hypocrisy and the corporate greed that knows neither loyalty nor shame are flushed out of our system before they are the ruination of us all.
 Coun MICHAEL WILKES, Hall Green

Thank you for supporting the NSPCC
Dear Editor, We would like to publicly thank all of your readers who have supported the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) this year.

Whether they have helped us by campaigning on our behalf, given donations, attended or helped at events or simply taken the trouble to read our literature and raised awareness by talking about the plight of the most vulnerable children in our society, their assistance is appreciated. The NSPCC, which since February 2006 has included ChildLine, is the leading children's charity specialising in preventing child abuse.

There are over 32,000 children in this country on the Child Protection Register, including 1,865 from Birmingham. And more than one child dies each week as a result of child abuse.

It is only with the support and generosity of the public that we will succeed in stopping this, as 87 per cent of our funding comes from voluntary donations and fundraising. People in Birmingham contributed to raising well over £1.5 million to support services for children in the Midlands last year.

We will continue to educate, campaign and work directly to help children and families through local projects to bring about an end to child abuse, but we will always need the support of the general public. We urge anyone who feels strongly about our cause who can help to raise funds in their local area to contact the Community Appeals Office on 0844 892 0217.
 DEBORAH CHANDOS-HALL,  SANITA GUDDU

A party in a tailspin
Dear Editor, The Liberal Democrats seem unable to get out of the tailspin that started with the demise of Charles Kennedy through his drink problem.

Then came Menzies Campbell who singularly failed to set any agenda other than his age - endeavouring to make a virtue of it in fact. Finally, after the unedifying spectacle of the spat between Nick Clegg (pictured) and Chris Huhne during their election campaigns, they now elect a leader who no one in the country has ever heard of.

It's such a shame, when both the Tories and Labour are indistinguishable with their combined spin and phoney rhetoric, that the Liberal Democrats should not be seizing the opportunity to surge forward in the polls and become a force to be reckoned with.

Instead they are constantly presenting the image of a party whose chief concerns are themselves.
 JOHN LACEY, Stratford-upon-Avon

Have we really sunk so low?
Dear Editor, It's a sorry state of affairs when the West Midlands Ambulance Service is forced to provide a 'drunk tank' for festive revellers ('Drunk tank' haven for the party-goers in need of help, Post December 21).

Have we really been brought so low by a "torrent of gin and beer" that we have to provide special services for these binge drinkers?

Our medical staff - who give up their family Christmases to work - are under enough pressure, without having to deal with these drunken louts. Anyone ending up in this 'drunk tank' should be made to supply their details, and forced to go to sensible drinking lectures
 PHIL BIRD, By email

A nation's debt of gratitude
Dear Editor, The Queen has been a fixture for so many of us for so long that it would be easy to miss the milestone that she recently passed.

She is now officially the longest living British monarch. She has outlasted 11 prime ministers, from Churchill to Blair - many of whom have often said that she was the only confidante who could ever be relied upon not to break a confidence.

In a few years time (September 9, 2015) she will become the longest-reigning monarch and I for one believe the nation owes her a debt of gratitude for being such a rock-like figurehead for so long.

When so many other institutions of the British way of life have been found wanting, she has never let us down.
 DEBORAH KINGSLEY, Nuneaton

More effort to catch mindless cowards
Dear Editor, It's desperately sickening to think that after years of investigations into the Omagh bombing that no one has been bought to justice.

The loss of 31 lives, the biggest single atrocity throughout the whole of 'The Troubles', was such a terrible shock at the time, impacting on so many families. The fact that the mindless cowards who committed this act are still walking free is an abomination. But rather than police spending a fortune on inquiries looking into what went wrong with the investigation they should redouble all of their efforts into catching these low-life and locking them up.
 N BLANDFORD, Coventry

Why destroy an excellent library?
Dear Editor, Why is the current excellent library scheduled to be demolished for an inferior creation? (New library offers less space and fewer books, Post December 20).

I have used the library regularly since its construction in about 1970. I cannot tell whether there are any constructional faults which make its replacement desirable, but I have found it useful and well designed as a technical library. The fiction-lending library is only a minor part of its function.

I appreciate the difficulties of a library which must gradually accumulate books and especially journals. Revised storage arrangements must be made for those which now only appear on disc or similar form with the appropriate reading screens.

For economy some journals are no longer stocked, eg chemical abstracts, especially where they are included in the libraries of Birmingham and Aston Universities, but arrangements are made for readers to consult them.  Equally some commercial reference volumes are also only available via the web, and requires organising by the library.

However the organisation seems efficient, and the staff are helpful, which is more than can be said of the monster in Euston Road, London, known as the British Library, where numerous security officials stare suspiciously at readers and examine folders and notes as if the owner was about to steal the Magna Carta.

The chief problem of the library is the escalators between floors, especially as they are unusually narrow above the first floor. No Brummie should be allowed to use an escalator until a certificate is obtained from London Transport that they follow the rule "stand on the right and let others pass". Brummies seem incapable of even walking down an escalator.

Perhaps a new series of lifts can be constructed immediately outside the present compass of the building to improve rapid access to upper floors?

Another problem has been the practice of young people using the building as a social club. This was especially noticeable on the fifth (technical and scientific) floor in the early days when young people, probably not from this city, accumulated around the tables in this section, often taking journals from the shelves in which they had no obvious interest to cover their presence. This is also true currently of the first floor education section, where I have noted that library staff have requested young people to cease using mobile phones for gossip.

I am aware of the criticism by the Prince of Wales of the external design of the library as a place to incinerate books rather than to read them. The only comment I may make is that a handrail or two should be placed on the stairs leading to the entrance from the civic building side.

A comprehensive library of this type obviously caters for a much greater population than that of the City of Birmingham alone. I suggest that the library be renamed the West Midland library, and that the adjacent boroughs of Solihull, Sandwell, Dudley, Walsall, and possibly Wolverhampton and Bromsgrove, be asked to contribute to its maintenance.
 HENRY WARSON, Solihull