We must all learn to tighten our belts

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A HISTORY lesson: 1967 Labour devalued the pound by 14 per cent; 1976 Labour approached IMF for loan. International Monetary Fund took over fiscal responsibilities of our country; 1977 Lib-Lab pact saved Labour government; 1997 Labour sold 395 tons of our gold reserves, half our resources at the lowest rate for 20 years; 2010 Labour out of office leaving a mess made worse by worldwide difficulties.

PM Gordon Brown’s mismanagement almost put us into a state of bankruptcy. Perhaps if as Chancellor for many years an eye should have been on the American banks and loans they offered to the demise of the housing market. Brown could have left the coalition with less problems. I could fill in the comedy of errors if asked to do so.

Now we have to look at our current responsibilities, which leads us all to tighten our belts.

The one-day strike we have just witnessed over pensions was irresponsible.

Should the demands be met, our younger generation could be left with little or no pensions.

Printing money is no answer as the great depression in Germany found that out. Nobody wants to experience that again.

Listen to Lord Hutton and his latest comments. Nobody likes to contribute more to our retirement or maybe accept final figures to be less than expected.

Don’t go down the road of maybe making the whole system of pensions collapse.

Like plastic cards unless they are paid off month by month the debt on them is compounded and compound interest can destroy our way of life if the country cannot pay their dues.

They must teach in schools why the years between 1920 to 1940 were the years when people had little money, saving by recycling clothes making everything go a long way, no waste.

Could that happen in 30 to 40 years from now? Yes, unless we accept it cannot be a society of me, me, me.

Our children’s futures depend on us as sensible adults admitting to today’s fiscal problems.

John Judge

Brooke Close, Stamford

David de Gale’s letter about the dilemma facing floating voters made me ponder on the nature of our democracy. Who rules in today’s capitalist states?

In Greece and Italy the European Union has just imposed governments of unelected bankers – because the elected governments weren’t squeezing the people hard enough.

That’s not necessary in Britain where we already have a government of bankers carrying out a bankers’ agenda. But it’s a weak, divided and desperate government, for which nobody voted.

Democracy doesn’t mean that we have to wait another two or three years to get policies that meet the needs of the majority of people, not just the 10 per cent who own 80 per cent of the wealth.

Democracy means mobilising and expressing public opinion in a variety of ways that the government (and the opposition) can’t ignore.

The strike of public sector workers in defence of their pensions (which are just deferred wages and salaries) was a great start.

According to a BBC poll, 60 per cent of the population was sympathetic to the strikers. This is remarkable, considering that most of the media were against the strike. It needs to be followed up by more strikes and other actions in defence of jobs, incomes, and public services.

The alternative to austerity is clear: A wealth tax on the very rich; windfall taxes on the super-profits of the energy monopolies and big supermarkets; collecting the billions lost in unpaid, avoided and evaded taxes; closing tax havens; getting rid of our nuclear weapons, and bringing the troops home; investing in productive jobs, especially in green energy.

DAVID GROVE

King’s Mill Lane, Stamford

Interesting that the one day strike has made no change to overall public opinion. Labour continues to maintain its five per cent lead over the Conservatives that they have had for most of the year.

Government disapproval ratings are also stable at minus 26 per cent.

There was a time when strikes were bad for Labour and good for the Conservatives in polling returns.

However it seems that the majority of the public support the strikers objective for a decent pension for everyone if not the strike, and the Government has made no political gains at all.

I was glad to see that the Government has returned to the negotiation table. Hopefully there will be a settlement soon.

However the outstanding issue of providing a decent pension for everyone remains unresolved; as does the the growing issue of how to care for our growing older population which the Government is still ignoring.

Eric Goodyer

High Street, Colsterworth