Cutbacks putting young lives at risk

I SEE this government, in its infinite wisdom, has withdrawn the programme Labour put in place last year to inoculate all children under five against swine flu.

I am aware there wasn't a great uptake as the threat didn't materialise, though we were warned this year it could return with a vengeance, and it has.

It has been said that the risk group is from babies to 19 years old. Now I am no mathematician, but that seems to be the next generation whose lives are are being put at risk.

In the USA that is the precise age group that is being innoculated. What happened to the old adage "prevention is better than cure"?

This strain of flu is such an insidious one, it doesn't, as is suggested, target the "at-risk groups" and leave the rest of the population alone; the death of that beautiful child Lana Ameen last week is a tragic example.

Not forgetting all the other unfortunate people who have lost their lives to this virus, be they in the at-risk group or previously fit and healthy.

This goverment must not be allowed to "bury bad news" and brush this aside and hope it will go away; every parent in this country must demand their children be protected.

It is obviously an issue of money, as a government official hinted last night on the news, then went on to say "the advice has been clear", healthy children will not be vaccinated. That was said immediately after the tragic picture of little Lana near death was shown on television – a previously healthy child!

Instead of bombarding the public with the dangers of obesity in the long term, deal with the imminent threat of swine flu, Mr Cameron. You have had enough warning, Gordon Brown heeded the warning last year and was well on

the way to providing vaccination for most of the population.

Mothers around the country, put pressure on your GPs to lobby the powers-that-be on your behalf. This problem is not going away, now or in future winters.

Carole Johnson, Cross Gates

Don't axe mayor

FIRST, may we please have a rest from Cherril Cliff, J Shedlow and LE Slack, especially the latter, who caused me to break into print re 'Mothball mayoral robes'.

To be specific, as the same robes are worn for every occasion it does cut down the need for an extensive wardrobe.

However, seriously, surely LE Slack realises that every association, firm, club, city and country needs a figure head, be it the Queen, president, chairman, and for a city, the lord mayor.

I can only speak for a few, but having known several lord mayors personally, this office is a great honour (I put it above a knighthood) bestowed on a man or woman by his/her colleagues, after years of unstinting hard work.

Furthermore their year of office is the most exacting of the lot. He/she can be likened to the Queen, in that the lord mayor, who renounces all political bias for the year, chairs the council meetings, opens galas, crowns queens, visits hospitals, greets VIPs etc and lends an air of dignity to many and varied occasions both large and small, and as to their excuses for being late for engagements, this is usually because their itinerary is much too crowded, or their previous encounter was with person(s) with whom it would have been unkind or plain rude to push aside.

P M CLAYDEN, Halton

Save our pool

HANDS off our pool!

There has been talk that East Leeds Leisure Centre is to close. How can they do that when it's the only one in our area?

The pool is used for schools, aquarobics, swimming lessons, mother and toddlers play swims, family swims, adult swims and lastly, disabled use.

The rest of the centre had badminton, squash, bodyline gym, aerobics, football, active life, heartwatch, yoga, after-school activities and activities for children during school holidays.

On the East Leeds leaflet it says 'Smarten up to sport' and we are always being told to do more exercise by everyone, so why are they shutting down swimming pools? Please, please don't shut us down, just let us know what is happening.

M Beckworth, Pinfold Hill, Leeds

Just say no

I SEE in the YEP Stuart Golton, Lib-Dem councillor for Rothwell, is sticking out his chest as to what the Lib Dems have done during their tenure. One being a referendum on a new voting system.

Here's a message to every student in the country. You know, Stuart, the ones your party stabbed in the back regarding tuition fees.

Don't vote yes to change and ask your relatives to vote to vote no also. What a smack in Clegg's smug face. It's the only reason Clegg joined the coalition to get that through. If he doesn't get the new voting system through he's finished and as for you gloating Golton, get a grip and get some real policies through your consitutents.

B Dillon, Haighside, Leeds

Feeling the pain

NO gain without pain, says Coun Stuart Golton, leader of Liberal Democrats in Leeds.

The only people to gain from the policies of the Con-Dem coalition government are the bankers and the rich.

The pain for the rest of us is the hammering of our living standards by rises in VAT, bus and rail fares, food, fuel, rents and higher mortgage payments to come. All this from a government that was given no mandate for such policies from the electorate.

J Appleyard, Liversedge

So misunderstood

ROBERT Tee misuses a New Testament quote ('Gospel untruths?', YEP, January 17) to denigrate Jesus' attitude to family life, but he misses the point, as do so many who quote from the Bible without real thought or to try to ridicule Christian beliefs.

Jesus sometimes used phrases from Jewish law or history to make people think about what He was saying, and in this case He was paraphrasing words already used by the prophet Micah (ch.7, v6), over 700 years before Jesus, to make the point that following Jesus in having true faith in God would not necessarily make for an easy life, and that even amongst your own family and friends you could well be derided, even disowned, for deciding to take a stance against worldly attitudes and be more rigorous and devout in your religious belief.

He was obviously speaking for those in His time who would understand the symbolism of a sword meaning division, but His words still have meaning in 2011, with division between those who believe that Jesus is the example to follow in life, and those who scoff and ridicule anyone who doesn't "follow the crowd", whether within families or in society in general.

Jesus' idea of peace was not simply to "go with the flow" and keep your mouth shut, but to speak out and try to get people to see a better way to lead their lives, one which would ultimately bring real peace in their hearts. Speaking out does sometimes mean using words which shock simply to make people stop and think seriously about what is being said, and Jesus recognised the need for this when He was so often faced with apathy and suspicion by those around Him.

Quoting from the Bible can be helpful or mischievous, depending on what message you are trying to get across, and I am sure there will be further examples from YEP Readers' Letters contributors soon!

Tony Stott, Leeds

Setting up camp

Plaudits are due to our current councillors for the siting of the new permanent travellers' site at the junction of Beeston Ring Road and Geldard Road. I say permanent, which, after six weeks, I presume is permanent.

What a wonderful advert for our city, where we can all live in peace and harmony and filth.

If councillors Gruen and Carter read this letter, perhaps they could supply their addresses where it could be arranged where these misunderstood people could come and camp for a few weeks.

Colin Gill, by email

Broken promise

AS, I think, most of us suspected, the promise to axe the quangos was just that – another broken promise.

Successive governments have devolved government responsibility to the EU and quango-cracy for many years.

Fat-cat salaried plenipotentiaries beholden to no-one, usually incompetent, mainly granted as a reward for political patronage past or future. They cannot be axed – too many of the great and the good would lose their lifestyle.

Last year a friend met two such minor quangocrats on the way back from Venice, having been promoting tourism to Barnsley.

When will a newspaper start a name and shame campaign to get these monkeys off our backs?

Godfrey Bloom, UKIP MEP for Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire

Cowardly act

HOW times have changed people from kind and friendly, to vicious thugs (some of them).

A man kicked his girlfriend in the face, breaking her jaw because she finished with him. He got four years jail but will probably appeal against it.

When I was young you never heard of a woman being kicked by a man. In those days you would have been called a coward to even hit a woman, as a man is stronger, but not anymore it seems.

A Hague, Bellbrooke Grove, Leeds

Ban alcohol

ANOTHER New Labour legacy coming to fruition. Extended and liberalised opening hours linked to the confetti-like granting of licences has, with all the other "good intentions", paved the road to the present hell that we in society are experiencing.

The only rational, safe and secure policy is to go back to the Lloyd George administration's intention and finally implement that for which they had an overwhelming mandate: prohibition.

Louis Kasatkin, Wakefield