COLUMN: Rosemary Westwell of Ely says honesty is the best policy

COLUMN: Rosemary Westwell asks ‘are we really in the Christmas spirit this year?’

COLUMN: Rosemary Westwell asks ‘are we really in the Christmas spirit this year?’ - Credit: Archant

Why such dishonesty? While we accept Father Christmas leaving presents for our children and the tooth fairy exchanging a baby tooth for cash, there are some situations that should never go unchallenged.

Recently a woman had to fight her firm when it made her redundant while on maternity leave. Apparently some notes on white paper were produced as evidence from a relevant meeting. It was only when it was pointed out that the person who wrote the notes only used brown paper that the truth was out. Why lie? After all, the staff member was also working for a firm, not necessarily for herself.

One of the latest disastrous cover ups concerns surgeons using mesh in their operations. The fact that sometimes it didn’t work was conveniently kept quiet in many cases. Why? Most of us are willing to be used to try out something new if we are told the truth about its possible failure in the first place.

Then there are those who send messages of hate because they believe no one will bother to challenge them. They tell us that they can say anything they like because we all have the freedom of speech. Fortunately there are laws of slander and libel, but how often are these applied?

A spate of hate pamphlets was distributed around Cambridge recently. They contained messages of hate against Jews, refugees and homosexuals. Why try to rouse hatred? Theoretically, the fact that we have freedom of speech means that we can have all types of people with all kinds of beliefs being able to live in peace. Why try to destroy this peace? In any situation it is often harder to make peace than it is to stir up trouble – are these actions a sign of taking the easy way out? Whatever the case, people should be stopped from going too far.

Another difficult area is the move to make us ‘go digital’. We are told it is much easier and more secure, but actually it is only easier for the powers that be demanding our money. It is certainly not easier for us when there is a problem. You cannot argue with a machine, can you? More and more firms are hiding behind the internet. We cannot find anyone to approach when there are problems and quite often we have to give up and let them have the cash that they should not be receiving so that we can at least stop them from taking more.

It is time our culture supported honesty above all, no matter how this may initially spoil a reputation. An honest firm is bound to have more genuine supporters in the long run than a dishonest one.