No substitute for leadership

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ONE of the strongest accusations against Labour councillors has been that they were too autocratic, creating the impression that they knew better than anyone what was good for the city.

So it is encouraging to learn that the ruling Labour group is to write to every household seeking views as the authority struggles to slash £50 million from its annual budget.

This shows that the party is ready to listen to others and has learned that such a survey conducted online, as was attempted on bin collections, risks only eliciting a lukewarm response.

However, nothing will substitute strong and clear leadership. And we eagerly await to see where the axe will fall.

Enjoy childhood and schooldays

THE mother of an eight year old Sheffield schoolboy is campaigning on behalf of her son’s right to express his individuality. She also says that his mohican-style hair cut helps his confidence and self-esteem.

These are all powerful lessons to learn as youngsters grow up. But also important is the lesson that we must abide by rules laid down by others. And there lies the problem between Corbin Castledine and his education.

For Parson Cross CE Primary has banned ‘extreme hairstyles’ and the head teacher is adamant that all pupils should conform.

We believe that the school is right. Though it is purely a subjective view whether one hairstyle is more ‘extreme’ than another, the fact is that all pupils should appreciate that school rules must be followed.

Corbin has plenty of time to learn about the more adult side of life which comes with following fashion.

In the meantime, he should enjoy his childhood - and his schooling.

Help businesses

TODAY, as we publish a list of the Top 100 Small and Medium Enterprises in our area, is a good time to take stock of the importance of such businesses to the local economy.

For small and medium-sized are taking on an increasingly significant role in local workers’ lives.

That is why it is worrying to find that more and more SMEs are reporting that they are feeling the squeeze as the sluggish progress of the national economy impacts on local prospects.

These businesses hold the future of our region’s prosperity in their hands. They need - and deserve - all the help they can get and anyone with any influence in this direction should offer as much support as possible.