EACH year there is an announcement of the New Year Honours that are to be presented to the good and worthy by the Queen.
In the past, these honours were something to be admired and respected, but it is hard to see how this can be the situation today.
Among those that are to receive honours is Martin Broughton, chairman of British Airways.
I have to ask, what has he done to deserve recognition in this way? Has he made BA the airline of the world? Has he engendered a new relationship with the workforce that is to be a model that all others should aspire to? Has he made fares the cheapest without affecting the quality of the airline?
The answer to these questions is a positive no, and there must be many other questions such as this, which would elicit the same answer, so what has he done?
The short answer is nothing, and, in effect, it devalues the honour to the other recipients.
It seems to me that there are a number of honours to be given out, and the powers-that-be scrabble around for someone to give them to, after the few that are deserving got theirs.
I suggest that the whole management of honours needs to be overhauled, so as to make it of some value yet again.
A G Goldsbrough, Leeds Road, Ilkley
Protecting the Establishment
This year's Honours List once again enrols new recruits to the Establishment army to protect the class system, inequality and an undemocratic monarchy.
But, like all armies, it has its own class system.
There are capitalist generals to provide wealth, celebrities for propaganda, politicians, military and police for power and the obligatory postmistresses for social acceptance and credibility.
This process of renewal goes on every year and is music to the ears of the Establishment. It is the cleverest way imaginable of sustaining an unelected monarchy so that those at the top luxuriate in power, privilege and wealth.
It may be true that life in this country for "some" has improved, but this is not true for all. And it is this fine balance that the Establishment tries to maintain using the Honours List as one weapon in its armoury. Therein lies its strength.
So the Queen has an army of Establishment lackeys to fight her propaganda battles and maintain the class system on which her position of privilege depends.
But the danger is the belief that this system is democratic, which it certainly is not.
An unelected hereditary Royal Family, an aristocracy created by royal patronage and a government elected by only 23 per cent of the electorate is irrefutable proof.
In hard times the monarchy should be the first to go. This will not only save money but also open the way for real and lasting progress in social equality and democracy. Put this on your wish list and on David Cameron's website but I am afraid that is all it will ever be in this pseudo democracy. A wish.
Malcolm Naylor, Otley
Coalition on track
PEACE on Earth and good will to all men? Not in Malcolm Naylor's household if his Christmas Eve howl of abuse (YEP, December 24) is anything to go by.
Yes, bankers continue to enjoy hefty bonuses – but George Osborne's bank levy will get some of that back. As will the taxpayer since the Government owns large pieces of several banks.
And yes, the Government has had to make savings – but only because Labour had overspent so massively that the outgoing Chief Secretary to the Treasury had to leave his successor a note saying there was no money left.
Leaving Mr Naylor's Agent Mulder-esque conspiracy theories about oil companies to one side, let us instead answer his three questions.
Who's running the country? Not Gordon Brown, thank goodness.
Is this a democracy? The electorate proved it was by getting rid of Gordon Brown.
What we going to do about it? Let the Coalition clear up after Gordon Brown and leave Ed Miliband on the sidelines where he belongs.
Coun JOHN ABBOTT, Conservative and Unionist Group, Bricknell Ward, Kingston upon Hull
THE matter of our Dis-United Kingdom vis vis all the 'freebies' enjoyed by both Scotland and Wales at the expense of English taxpayers was well covered by Brian Johnston, of Burmantofts, but did even he realise the full extent of our betrayal as exposed by the recent freeze-up of water pipes in Northern Ireland?
It was revealed in a TV news report that consumers in Northern Ireland pay no water charges at all, courtesy of HM Government, aka England's taxpayers! Unlike in Leeds, where Yorkshire Water charges the earth.
With 60 per cent of the Northern Ireland economy dependent on public-sector employment anyway, how much more are we supposed to pay?
How many more secrets like this are there, is the question many must be asking themselves, and why has all this preferential treatment for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland been given in the first place, let alone deliberately kept secret from us in England for so long?
Never mind devolution or independence, let the first priority of our government be to give equal benefits to everyone, as we all pay the same Income Tax, National Insurance, VAT or duties on fuel, alcohol and tobacco, or let England be independent as it always was, as we are sick of being just a cash cow for unscrupulous politicians of all parties to buy votes in these regions.
DS BOYES, Leeds 13
Jumping on the bandwagon
AS investigations into the recent student riots continue, it should have been evident to every thinking adult that they were going to end in wanton vandalism, confrontation and aggravated assault – irrespective of whether or not the Prince of Wales and Camilla were going to get caught up in it, because of controversy regarding the route taken.
Before angry parents jump to the defence of their errant student offspring, they should ask themselves the following questions.
Why were 15 and 16-year-old school youngsters encouraged to play truant by their teachers, and join a volatile demonstration (emboldened by university staff) which was always forecast to become violent?
And, whilst no-one advocates the use of indiscriminate baton-wielding by the police, what were they supposed to do, caught between a rock and a hard place, confronted by metal bars, wooden staves, cans of paint, banner poles and in at least one case, snooker balls?
If ever there was a case of "damned if you do, damned if you don't" this was it.
Again, "rentamob" – those seasoned Left-wing agitators who are ever ready to hang their own grievances on any demonstration – were in evidence.
What were 'Free Gaza', 'US Aggressors out of Afghanistan', 'No War with Iran' and 'Stop the War Coalition' banners doing there – apart from hoping to foment trouble and futilely parade their own causes?
It was Lloyd George who coined the saying 'Britain, a country fit for heroes', thankfully he wasn't at the Cenotaph or Parliament Square.
R MILLER, Leeds
NOT for the first time is somebody suggesting that unemployed people should do "this" or "that", so that their payment of unemployment benefit or jobseekers' allowance is justified.
Fine, no problem ... just as long as those who do suggest it try living on a person's unemployment benefit or jobseekers' allowance for a week, make sure the unemployed person is adequately insured to do what they have in mind – and if not, arrange for the relevant justifiable compensation to be paid, just in case of "problems".
The words, "people", "a", "hot", "lot", "of", "talk", "air" and "these" arranged in the correct order come to my mind. I don't suppose unemployed people wanted to do these things in 1947 (12 years before I was born) and in 1963 (when I was three) but I suppose the justification will be far fewer people were out of work then. However, I wonder how many of the people wanting unemployed people to do these things in 2011 were born then.
MARTYN STANKLER, Leeds 17
IT'S bad enough that more than 330,000 copies of glossy diaries have been doled out to British schools by the EU commission at tax payers expense.
But it is outrageous that they exclude mention of Christmas Day and all other Christian festivals but include Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Jewish and Chinese festivities. And, of course, Europe Day and other key EU anniversaries.
Christianity is the EU's majority religion but even on the Commission's Christmas cards there was no reference to religion, just the words "Season's Greetings".
This is out of order and I am highly sceptical about the diary omission being described by a Commission spokesman as "a blunder". And their proposal to correct this in future years? To make no mention of any religious festivals at all.
So the EU communist bloc rolls on.
Godfrey Bloom, UKIP MEP for Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire
Resolve to vote
NOW is traditionally a time for people to make New Year's resolutions. Can I suggest that students living in Headingley and Weetwood resolve to contact Leeds City Council to ensure that they are registered to vote in this May's local elections?
This election will be an opportunity to show certain politicians that their party's deceit shown this past year is not forgotten or forgiven.
Stephen Clark, Bawn Approach, Leeds