Dear Editor, Our Victorian forebears certainly knew something, not least about human nature, as instances the work of the Christian social reformers of that age. We have to thank our Victorian forebears for the committee system of local government that has served our nation so well since 1888.

The late Field Marshal Lord Slim of Burma once said in a speech at Sandhurst on leadership: “There are no good battalions, no bad battalions, only good officers and bad officers. See that you are good officers!”

The unpalatable facts of the Elected Mayor/Elected Leader and Cabinet system of local government, sees the politically well-connected surrounding themselves with sycophants when in power, This ensures a self-perpetuating oligarchy of ineptitude, at the expense of the taxpayer and council taxpayer, as such individuals “feather their nests!”

This allows the brainwashed, usually higher-education hot-house educated local council chief officer to have his own way, indeed, for policies to be decided by the officer corps, which is a negation of the British democratic system. The conscientious, elected backbench member has no say in the proceedings. Haringey?

The system of local government is under review. May I urge thinking readers to make their views known in respect of what form local government ought to take.

When I was first elected in 1972, councillors were not paid, the principles of public service being strong! What has happened since is a matter of history, our future generations will, of course, have to pay for the consequences!

Tom Wareing (retired county councillor),
Plymouth Close, Redditch.


Act now to help those in most need

Dear Editor, It is with some disbelief and regret that I read about Birmingham’s Tory council and its fumbling attempts to find a resolution to the funding deficit which is costing many of the city’s most vulnerable adults dearly.

It is a disgrace and a shame upon the council that in this day and age the residents who need the most help are being let down and losing out as a result of Tory incompetence in local government.

I would ask the council, who in 2006-7 managed to spend some £10.3 million on publicity, to take urgent action to resolve this situation and secure the services so desperately needed by disabled people across Birmingham.

This is their responsibility as representatives of the people of Birmingham and the Tories should start showing some proper leadership on this issue.

Neena Gill,
Labour MEP for the West Midland.


Two-metre-high Christmas tree is a sorry effort for residents

Dear Editor, What a pity that our citizens in Weoley Castle have a council planted Christmas tree but two metres high in the middle of their Castle Square central shopping area.

A city councillor has stated ‘It will look better when decorated’. I wonder? This third attempt to provide a tree is a consequence of a well meaning, but frustrated effort, by the authorities, to improve the green aspect of this large open area.

The first tree planted a few years ago died naturally. Number two tree failed, it was alleged, because the planters ‘forgot’ to remove the plastic root protection before insertion into the ground!

This sorry tale can be happily resolved in time for this Christmas if action is carried out immediately. Perhaps some enterprising ‘Santa inspired’ garden centre could donate a tall temporary ‘free-standing’ conifer for this coming festive season and show the City (Parks Department?) how it’s done?

We in Bournville have the finest festive decorated tree, probably in the UK, and I wish our neighbouring families could enjoy something similar too.

Albert Cox,
Willow Rd, Bournville.


It’s time to Barack this voting system

Dear Editor, Now that the media have ‘done to death’ the US Presidential Election I’m surprised that their bigger northern neighbour hasn’t rated much coverage of their General Election.

Canada, with far greater British connections, recently went to the polls resulting in a colossal waste of time and dollars.

Saddled with the same voting system as ourselves the turnout was at an all-time low (59%), extra support for the opposition was split amongst four parties so Canada now has the prospect of yet another General Election in a couple of years as the Conservatives struggle on.

The country now has its third minority government in four years.

Who ever said that our ‘first past the post’ voting system produced stable governments?

Steve Kirkham,
Grange Road, Kings Heath.