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Camden New Journal - COMMENT
Published: 6 August 2009
Bottom line? Readers’ kind act is priceless for youths

A GREATER critique of council attitudes could not have been made than that reflected in the extraordinary generosity of two of our readers prepared to keep a youth project alive.
The refusal of the Lib Dem and Tory coalition to spend a mere £5,000 on the project also illustrates the prevalent disease of municipal politicians to view expenditure with a “bottom-line” mentality only.
Meanness probably doesn’t come into it. It’s more a question of councillors not being able to see through the thickets of bureaucratic language.
The cost involved is, of course, a flea-bite and as such should have been approved on the nod.
But dessicated minds at work at the Town Hall were clearly not able to see the social benefits of the projects – a little surprising since over the decades academic research and reams of government reports have dealt endlessly with the importance of projects that keep youngsters off the street.
We trust the kindness shown by our readers won’t encourage councillors to think that whenever budgets are under risk – and they will be in the coming years as the government hacks at expenditure in the public sector – some projects may find a safe harbour, courtesy of the kind of charity demonstrated this week.

A sad story

IT should not surprise readers to discover how few books – fiction or fact – our councillors read . The same, unfortunately, could be said of MPs.
Councillors complain they do not have the time to read books.
But it isn’t a matter of time. It’s a question of the type of mind possessed by the average man and woman who feel driven to enter politics.
This is a great shame. Books feed the imagination. And imagination is sorely missed in the world of politics. Hence, the reason for so many blunders.

Food fright

IS there a conspiracy afoot over a report by the Food Standards Agency decrying the extra health benefits from organic food?
Whatever the scientific arguments – and some of the beneficial claims may be exaggerated – haven’t the critics missed the main point?
It isn’t so much that organic foods may be healthier, but that they are less likely to harm you than foods grown with pesticides.
Another report on the patterns of diseases possibly caused by toxic pesticides was published last week by the government’s Pesticide Residues committee.

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