January 27, 2023

Comp image of Gary Neville, Terry Hall, shopper and NHS nurse

Hot topics today (Picture: Getty/Metro.co.uk)

Higher NHS spending would push the economy further, some Metro readers have argued in light of recent strikes by nurses and paramedics.

But others have stated that it is the government’s fault for putting overworked workers in a position where they have no choice but to take industrial action.

Elsewhere, the counterattack against Gary Neville continues after his criticism of Qatar – with people saying he was paid to be a World Cup pundit there.

Read on to see what else readers are musing about.

‘Increased spending on bloated NHS will destroy the economy’

■ The NHS was founded in the late 1940s, when few people lived past 75 years. Expensive medicines and equipment were unavailable, so it’s hard to believe that some people still think the NHS can follow the same model in 2022.

The tax burden is at its highest in decades. Any further increase will invoke the law of diminishing returns and destroy the economy. That puts the focus on spending. The NHS consumes an eye-watering share of government revenue and if that continues to grow it will mean cuts in other departmental budgets.

European countries have much better health services than we do, funded under a different model. They have learned from our mistakes, but we have not. It doesn’t matter which party is in power – fundamental reform of the NHS is coming.

If we keep the same level of spending on things like benefits, little extra money will go to the NHS. We are quickly becoming a health service with a country tied to it – and I’m afraid that’s not a viable future. John Daniels, Redhill

An ambulance is driven, on the day of a planned strike, amid a dispute with the government over pay, outside the NHS London Ambulance Service, in London, Britain, December 21, 2022. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

John believes there will be a ‘fundamental reform’ of the NHS (Photo: Henry Nicholls/Reuters)

■ While the 19 percent wage increase demanded by striking nurses is high, spreading it over three years seems more achievable – and would be a way out of this crisis. However, it will lead to more workers wanting at least the same thing, if not more, and any chance of inflation slowing will disappear. Who would be a politician? Jim, London

■ I find the nurses’ strike unacceptable. Every time I go to the hospital I am amazed at the lack of activity. I’m sure some work hard, but many have it pretty easy. I’m a schoolteacher – they should try to live on that salary. It’s a real battle. Mark, by email

‘Well-paid ministers should be ashamed of the treatment of doctors’

■ The government should be ashamed of the way it treats our emergency services and the NHS. Nurses and paramedics are attacked every day, and many miss breaks and go full shifts without anything to eat. The pay is pathetic when you look at what they do.

But beware: when it comes to MPs getting a raise, there will be no qualms about getting a raise above inflation. Paul Reddick, Rotherham

epa10374650 Healthcare workers protest on a picket line for nurses on strike over pay at St. Thomas' Hospital in London, UK, December 20, 2022. Thousands of nurses across England, Wales and Northern Ireland are on a second day of strike action over pay .  The second day of the nurses' strike comes before the planned strike of paramedics on December 21.  EPA/NEILHALL

Nurses went on strike nationwide for the first time last week (Photo: Neil Hall/EPA)

■ Much has been said about the nurses’ strike and the shortage of nursing staff. Eliminating tuition fees for university degrees in the nursing and healthcare sector would certainly encourage more young people to enter the profession, rather than student nurses who qualify with thousands of pounds in debt and then take up a poorly paid profession. They don’t want to be clapped – they want what they’re worth. Michael, Essex

■ Assuming the Conservative government is still in place, the budget ahead of the next general election will be fantastic for the workers of this country. Terry, Winnersh

‘Gary Neville a bit hypocritical because he is paid to work in Qatar’

■ Agree with Bob (MetroTalk, Wed) – Gary Neville is a bit of a hypocrite speaking out about the terrible working practices in Qatar after working in exactly the same place with said bad conditions and behavior, while receiving a nice salary package gets. Don’t tell me he didn’t know this about Qatar before he started – or that his check is now paid, so it’s time to clear his conscience? David Hitchcock, Witham, Essex

■ Neville said some important things about workers’ rights when he was in Qatar, while being paid by the same people who exploited workers. He could easily have responded from the UK. People like him and David Beckham just say what they think people want to hear, but unfortunately don’t behave the same way. They should both be ashamed. Aidan, Darford

Gary Neville - World Cup commentary for ITV - seen ahead of the final - 18 DEC 2022 /

Gary Neville had criticized Qatar for human rights abuses (Picture: ITV)

■ I think that Marcel should stick to football and not get involved in politics. This is also aimed at football players who express their views on political matters such as free school meals for children. Vicki, West Midlands

■ Mudher Al-Adnani (MetroTalk, Tuesday) says those in the West who tried to ‘sabotage’ the World Cup in Qatar should vent because billions of people enjoyed it in Asia, Africa and South America. But why exactly did people protest? Because of the utter disregard for the lives and human rights of migrant workers who died building the stadiums and disregard for the LGBTQ community. Rob, from the west

■ What would Mudher say to the families of the estimated 6,500 migrant workers who died building the infrastructure? They mainly came from South Asia. FIFA reportedly earned $7.5bn (£6.2bn), but no word on a compensation fund for those families. Andy Jinman, West Worthing

“RIP, and thanks for the tunes, Terry Hall”

■ What terribly sad news it was to end the year with the passing of Terry Hall (Metro, Wed). The Specials were a fantastic ska band. I remember when it was almost mandatory or considered a badge of honor in school to own a pair of tasseled loafers or two-tone brogues, such was the influence of the band.

Hall then went on to perform what I consider one of the anthems of the decade in Thinking Of You with his later band The Colourfield. We’re all thinking of you now, Terry. Thanks for the tunes, mate. December, Essex

Terry Hall, North London, UK - January 30, 2009

Terry Hall, former lead singer of The Specials, died at the age of 63 (Photo: Richard Saker/Shutterstock)

■ I was 13 in 1979 and hearing the song Gangsters from The Specials marked a turning point in my life. It was the end of my childhood and the beginning of my adulthood.

I became a mod and in Terry Hall I had someone to look up to. His music taught me about social injustice and gave me a political conscience. His sad passing is a great loss not only to my generation, but to everyone who has been inspired by his music since then. Dave E, Guildford

‘Cheerful crush on selfish shoppers with huge bags on buses’

■ I would like to thank the usual group of Christmas shoppers for forcing me to find alternative ways to travel home after work because of their selfish cramming on buses. You’re like brain-dead sardines with oversized bags of handpicked oversized gifts.

It took me three or four times as long to get home, and I was unhelped by bus drivers’ strikes, as well as by train workers who stayed away – adding to my already exorbitant travel costs.

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 12: A man carries a Fortnum and Mason bag along New Bond Street in Mayfair on December 12, 2020 in London, England.  (Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images)

Large shopping bags drive some commuters crazy (Picture: Hollie Adams/Getty)

Why can’t you all run errands and get home before 5pm and let those of us who work get home at a reasonable time? Roll up in January, when you’ve crawled back under your rocks, ready to bother us again with your shopping from November.

Happy New Year to all of you! Ted Robson, Tyne and Wear

The commuter blues

Metro’s Book Of Commuter Etiquette is shaping up nicely. For those who missed it yesterday, we’re asking MetroTalkers to submit their dos and don’ts, their certainties, and their maybes about how to behave on the commute to and from work.

We will then hand over the first MetroTalk of 2023 to all of your suggestions – along with some other thoughts and predictions for the year ahead.

We’ve already had rules about where to stand, where not to stand, what to wear, and what to put on the floor (not the chair!).

But there is still time for more so send your ideas to mail@ukmetro.co.uk.

Start a text message with VIEWS followed by your response, name and where you live to 65700. Standard network charges apply. Or send an email to mail@ukmetro.co.uk. Views Helpline: 020 3615 0600. Full terms and conditions at metro.co.uk/terms. Metro is a member of the Independent Press Standards Organization. Comments may be edited for legality, clarity, or space reasons.

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