Dear Editor, I am heartily sick of hand-wringing politicians telling me that Britain s epidemic of youth crime has complex causes.
It has two extremely simple prime causes that a five year-old child could understand, but a five year-old child has more chance of being knifed than receiving an ounce of honesty from those who govern us.
MPs have spent the last ten years demolishing any lingering fiscal incentive to marriage, and rolling out apanoply of benefits that render multi-generational single parenthood under the same roof an attractive alternative to paid employment.
This has effectively embedded a Shameless -style criminalised underclass in British society. MPs consolidated this last month by voting to roll out fertility treatment on the NHS to single women, thus endorsing their reproductive right to a child in any circumstances.
Though many single parents struggle heroically to discipline their children after being deserted or abused, this represents a signal that fathers are officially irrelevant and that single motherhood is a legitimate lifestyle choice.
Nor have our politicians the guts to offend feminist orthodoxy by suggesting that a single mum might have some difficulty frisking a heavily built teenage son for weapons every time he goes out.
A rich blend of foreign criminal cultures have meanwhile been imported (many of them knife-carrying) with the abandonment of border controls, doubtless fascinating to academics and criminologists but fairly destructive to local communities and hard for British police forces to penetrate.
Our prisons, already infested with drugs and in capable of rehabilitation, are home to an increasing proportion of foreign criminals (11 per cent at the last count), though others accept bounty payments to leave the country before coming straight back to reoffend, as we also saw last month with one Algerian.
Sheer perversity could not have created a more perfect storm. MPs must be very satisfied with their handiwork. And the heart-rending parade of grieving parents on the television news will continue, because as someone once said, A society that believes in absurdities will end up committing atrocities.
Andrew Schofield, Sutherland Square, London.
Listen -advice is the best step if your company is at risk
Dear Editor, We read your piece 'Directors - forwarned is forarmed' (05.06.08) with interest. Although the tone of the piece was positive in highlighting the responsibilities of company directors, we felt there was one omission.
Taking advice is key, and as early as possible. If looking for guidance on the value of the company, or how to sell, then your auditor or corporate finance advisor is best. As soon as the business is in financial difficulty and the questions are how to avoid insolvency or even preparing for the right form of insolvency, then really a Director must see a licensed Insolvency practitioner. Other sources of advice, unless from an acredited turnaround specialist, might be detrimental as some are capitalising on economic uncertainty. Insolvency practitioners are acting now more as healthcare specialists for companies rather than funeral directors and can advise on avoiding insolvency altogether.
If the inevitable happens, usually down to poor decision making by company directors, IPs if given enough notice, will act in the best interests of all parties, ideally saving the company and safeguarding jobs.
R3, as the Insolvency Trade Body, representing 97 per cent of all IPs throughout the UK, has a'find apractitioner' facility on its website (www.R3.org.uk).
Sincerely, James Martin
Midlands Regional Chairman R3 (the Insolvency Trade Body)
I'm glad to see Liam is keeping busy
Dear Editor, I'm glad to see that Liam Byrne has had in his own words "an enormously busy year"(Birmingham Post, 9th June). Like so many others, I expect no less from a Government Minister!
Liam, however, misses the point of my criticism - perhaps deliberately so? Yes, he has outlined five important measures for our region - and yes they are important. But, with the exception of of the skills framework, the schemes he mentioned were in all probability heading towards our region anyway.
My criticism is of a promise to consult and produce an "Action Plan" which he made to the people of the West Midlands, whereby the Minister himself could be judged on delivery. This so called action plan, one assumes, was designed to enable other schemes and policies to develop from it. If Liam's consultation was unable to produce a creditable document but allowed for individual projects to be advanced then the honest way forward should have been to say so.
It does and continues to, make me suspicious when a Minister takes a policy document to his own party's governing executive dressed up and termed a "Labour Party consultation document for the West Midlands".
The central questions still remain to be answered and Liam Byrne still needs to offer clarification - Did two consultations take place? If so, declare that only public money went into the government consultation. And finally, would it not just be easier to publish the original consultation?
To allay further mistrust with the West Midlands, answering these simple questions would not only show genuine engagement with the West Midlands, but, would also show some substance over style.
Holbeche Road Sutton Coldfield.
Dear Editor, The new NatWest building will, according to Mr Dutton, "improve views of Birmingham from a distance".
If by this he means that it will look better from a long way off than close up I can only concur. I say the further away the better.
Alan Clawley, by email.