My favourite pages in the Herald are the letters. It is the first place I go to try and gauge the mood of the town, and to see who has written in to vehemently disagree with me.
If I’m doing my job, at some point I’m bound to push somebody’s buttons enough for them to get up the energy to write in.
Few will ever bother to write in to agree, so most letters are borne of anger, frustration and a sense of incredulity.
Verbal feedback on the other hand is usually positive and in the “Couldn’t agree more; about time somebody said it” camp.
Of course those in officialdom will never appreciate alternative versions of the truth getting out.
The editorial and letters last week discussed the benefits of a unitary council, the planning crisis into which we have been plunged, HS2, and the state of the roads, all subjects I have tackled, so I guess I must be on the money?
All of which takes me to welfare which is a subject that divides us.
On the one hand it has to be right that those who fall on hard times need a safety net, but on the other it can’t make sense for us to support multi-generational welfare dependency amongst a significant minority in our community.
While the ‘Benefit Street’ hype is clearly a sensationalist examination of the issues designed for maximum TV ratings, the fact that so many believe it to reflect reality is worthy of examination.
In a nutshell, many would say that what one person gets without the need to work, another person must work for without receiving.
This is because the Government can’t give anyone anything it does not first take from somebody else.
Every penny was our money before government in its many guises took it from us.
At the margins wealth redistribution can work well, but when half of us get the idea that we don’t have to work because the other half will take care of us, and if the working half come to suspect that there is little point in working because somebody else is going to get what they work for, society reaches a dangerous tipping point, which is why the Coalition have attacked the issue of welfare reform.
Japan is one of the top three economies in the world, has twice our population and does not have a welfare system – just a thought.