SIR – P&O’s decision to lay off its British seafarers on cross-Channel ferries and replace them with workers from low-wage countries is deeply worrying.
During my 44-year career in the merchant navy, my British-flagged ship would often arrive in a foreign port to find a replacement crew from low-wage countries standing on the quayside ready to embark. Sometimes we were ordered to board buses to take us to the airport wearing the clothes we stood in, no matter how stained with oil and grease.
Today Britain’s ocean fleet is almost entirely made up of foreigners, none of whom can be expected to fight and die for our country as 35,000 merchant seamen did during the Second World War.
That P&O Ferries is laying off its British seafarers is no surprise. What is surprising is that the British government allows it, since ferries are the only way our soldiers can be delivered to fight overseas, as they have been in the Falkland Islands. It’s: goodbye to the merchant navy and thank you for your sacrifice to save those who hold you in such low esteem.
Captain Peter J Newton
SIR – Even if P&O were able to save up to £10,000 a year in operating costs per worker made redundant, that would still be just £8m a year – a small dent in an annual loss of £100m £,
SIR – It’s tricky. Who do we hate more, the Sheikh or the RMT? Maybe XR could get involved on one side or the other to help us decide.
In the heart of Ampleforth
SIR – Ofsted found Ampleforth College had insufficient safeguard provisions (report, 16 March). In the same report, Ofsted notes: “Parents are overwhelmingly positive about the school.” So how come there is such a disparity between what parents think and what Ofsted thinks?
The answer is that at the heart of the school is the monastery. Ampleforth College grew out of Ampleforth Monastery. Over 200 years, the school has grown so that it now dwarfs the old monastery buildings. But the monastery is physically and spiritually at the heart of Ampleforth College. And the problem for Ofsted is that Ampleforth Monastery is a separate institution from Ampleforth College.
Parents who send their children to Ampleforth College want them to be brought up in the Catholic faith and to mingle with the monastic community. The parents trust the school and the monastery.
Ofsted, however, views members of the monastic community as a threat to children. And there is the disparity: parents see the monastery as the spiritual heart of the school and Ofsted sees it as a threat.
As a parent of a child in Ampleforth, I trust both Ampleforth College and Ampleforth Monastery. It’s Ofsted that I don’t trust.
Phones in case of emergency
SIR – I have followed with interest the letters on the disappearance of fixed telephones. I doubt that Ofcom or the Government fully understand the impact of this on the ability of services to respond to emergencies during a power outage.
Emergency services, the NHS, local authorities, the Environment Agency, public services and voluntary organizations depend on landlines and mobiles to manage their response.
Loss of electricity shuts off Voice over Internet phones, followed shortly by loss of mobile phone networks in an affected area. Emergency services will not be able to muster the support they will need to support the community, as they will not be able to talk to anyone but themselves.