Dear Editor, Councillor Rudge thinks that his latest offer on pay review for Birmingham council employees "makes everyone a winner" (Post March 13).
Strange, as my pay will go down by thousands of pounds, over a fifth of my salary. So will my pension, robbing me of contributions paid over many years.
The council's detailed paper on protection (appendix three) reveals the truth behind his bold statement of "no losers". The paper assumes an 18 per cent turnover among its staff. Those who go because of pay cuts will not appear in the statistics as losers.
The council also pretends that those whose pay is protected for a period will not lose. This conveniently ignores the fact that inflation will eat away the value of their frozen salary by 10 per cent or more over three years.
Cynics might see Coun Rudge's presentation of the figures as dishonest. The more charitable would put it down to his innumeracy. Remember – he originally claimed that major losers could be counted on the fingers of one hand.
The cynics might have a point when they look at his 'robust' appeals system. Managers that will conduct the appeals admit they have no idea of how they are to judge cases. There is no right to appear before the Appeals Panel and the council's decision is final. This is contrary to the principles of natural justice.
The council has tried to prevent employees getting the information they need to mount a proper appeal. Without this information, an appellant has less chance of success than a blindfolded person has of hitting a bull's-eye with a crooked rifle. Many staff do not even know that they have the legal right to this material, which should have been sent to them as a matter of course.
The council has backed down only in the face of Freedom of Information and Data Protection laws. If Coun Rudge thinks this is "open and honest" then what does devious and dishonest look like?
A DISILLUSIONED PROFESSIONAL, Name and address supplied
The end of an era
Dear Editor, I was sad to hear about Sir Paul Scofield's death. He was involved in Ring Around the Moon in 1950 at The Globe (now Gielgud) Theatre with Wednesbury born actor Richard Wattis, and he became a long-term friend and colleague of Richard's.
This stage play was Richard's debut role in post-war theatre, and it was also Claire Bloom's debut role in theatre. It was a translation into the English by Christopher Fry, from the French original.
Paul was in the last intake of students at the Croydon Rep during the late 1930s, while Richard trained there in the early 1930s. In my book Richard Wattis - Gentleman Actor, I wrote the following:
"Sadly Croydon’s Repertory influence only lasted for eight years and when war broke out in September 1939 it wasn’t long before the Croydon Rep sadly closed down for good in 1940. In Garry O’Connor’s biography of Paul Scofield in 2002, he states: 'The air-raid sirens wailed. The Croydon School closed down'."
Sir Paul read a lesson out at Richard's Memorial Service at the Actors Church in Covent Garden in 1975.
Sir Paul was a great actor who was probably more akin to the type of actor representing the style of Sir Ralph Richardson, Sir John Gielgud, Sir Laurence Olivier, Sir Godfrey Tearle and Lye-born Sir Cedric Hardwicke.
End of an era – may he rest in peace.
IAN PAYNE, Walsall
A family looking for answers
Dear Editor, I wonder if your readers have any answers to questions that have been troubling our family for 75 years.
I am 53 years of age and finally, after many years of refusing to talk about it, my father, Gerald Alfred Ernest Brunjes and I had a heart-to-heart about his family. You see, my father immigrated to Canada just before I was born and, while we were still connected to my mother's family, and my father's mother, through letters and visits all those years, there was never any mention of my father's father.
My paternal grandfather, named Alfred Henry G Brunjes was British, but he and my grandmother, Rosa Maria (De Inverno) Ibbetson Brunjes, separated about 1930, when my father was three. They had a daughter as well, Jean Brunjes (later Jean Jeffrey) born September 12, 1925.
My father never knew his father, Alfred Brunjes, as he left when my father was young. I do know that Alfred moved to the Birmingham area sometime after my grandparents parted. Alfred is listed as having died in the Birmingham area on or about 1988.
My father has always wondered if he had step-siblings and also what his father was like. My father is now 80 years old, and has spent his entire life wondering this. What a shame! My father's family would never talk about his father.
When I was visiting England with my older brother in 1971, my great-uncle arranged for us to talk to my grandfather on the telephone, but that was the one and only time we ever talked to Alfred Brunjes. All the while, my great-uncle warned us not to let our grandmother know that we had done so.
I was wondering if anyone knew of Alfred Brunjes, and if they do, what he was like, and whether there are any contacts for his children, grandchildren, and so on after he and my grandmother parted.
I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
KATHLEEN BELCOURT (nee Brunjes), Ontario, Canada
Failing to trust the people
Dear Editor, Mike O'Brien's recent letter is the height of hypocrisy itself, after his party, in its manifesto, promised the people of this country a vote over the EU Treaty (Post , March 19).
Gordon Brown, failed miserably to trust the people who elected him and his party to power, and the consequence will haunt him and finally end his short term as PM of this country, taking with him the likes of Mr O'Brien with him, who like so many in their party are clutching at straws in their marginal seats.
If anyone doubts my assertion, the faces on the Labour benches at PM's Question Time, in the House on Wednesday, said it all. David Cameron once again tore to shreds the Labour leader, leaving him shell shocked, confused and more uncertain than ever.
How the party must wish war-monger Blair had served his term of office (but, as he was aptly named, Teflon Tony, got out in time and left his arch enemy to carry the can).
Gordon Brown's refusal to hold a referendum or an election will go down in history, because he knew darn well he would lose.
NORMAN STEVENS, By email
Why define Britishness?
Dear Editor, Lord Goldsmith has been to a lot of trouble recently to try to define 'Britishness' and make it part of the nation's consciousness.
I noted that when Mr Brown began this great adventure of his, he said there should be a national day – like Bastille Day in France and the Fourth of July in America. These days commemorate revolution. What revolution had he in mind?
Might I suggest National Health Service Day or Welfare State Day?
And why does he really want to define 'Britishness'? Is he worried that Scotland and then Wales might secede from the UK and send no more Labour Party members to Parliament?
T TAYLOR, Birmingham