SOCIETY: Concerned at mind-set

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I feel that your correspondence regarding litter tells us much about modern society.

I agree with Jean McLaughlin and P Bennison that North Tyneside Council’s approach to the environment looks, at best, superficial and the reality seems far removed from the illustrations in its glossy periodical Our North Tyneside.

However, I cannot disagree with others who lay the blame for North Tyneside’s litter problem upon the shoulders of those who are ignorant enough to leave the rubbish.

This is a sad reflection upon modern society, which increasingly subscribes to a culture of entitlement. In this case, the payment of council tax is seen to legitimise the dropping of litter since the council is obliged to clear up.

Yes, this is simplistic, but it does reflect the mind-set of some, and it does extrapolate into wider issues.

Some parents consider a continental holiday is an entitlement, even if this necessitates removing children from school. Many feel they are entitled to a new car every two years, unaware that through PCP they have no equity in it.

Such entitlements prevail, despite austerity.

The average UK household has accumulated £6,000 in unsecured borrowing, and this continues to rise by £50 each month. Unfortunately, as a society and a local authority, we are apparently unwilling to accept that we must cut our coat according to our cloth.

Those of us who have lived through austerity after the Second World War and have experienced governments of many political persuasions, consider that the atavistic rhetoric of Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell (the abolition of student fees; nationalisation of rail, energy and water; introduction of collective bargaining) is, in the medium to long term, a recipe for disaster.

The impression that tax rises would leave most voters unaffected is not right. As Paul Johnson, the respected director of the Institute of Fiscal Studies, tells us, tax rises on companies will be paid for through higher prices, lower wages and reduced investment.

So North Tyneside Council, please desist from relentlessly blaming Tory cuts – try redirecting resources from political advisers and glossy magazines to more meticulous care of our environment.

And parents, please take a more responsible attitude by setting a better example to your children (take your litter home) and if you cannot afford a continental holiday, do without – it will teach your children a valuable lesson about life.

Finally, should Jeremy Corbyn take over in number 10, I will be writing to him for a refund, having spent the last 10 years scrimping and saving to help my offspring repay their student debt.

Chris Johnston

Tynemouth