Is Westminster uproar justified?

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Have your say

AM I alone in my scepticism of the uproar in Westminster over media phone hacking revelations?

Could it be that the politicians, celebs and bureaucrats who are generating the storm of protest (and subsequent press-gagging legislation) are more concerned to shield their dubious activities from the public eye than to protect Joe Public’s interests?

It seems that almost 4,000 “personalities” have been subject to illegal phone-tapping investigations by News Corp journalists...often people in the news because of their questionable activities, ranging from international criminality, extra-marital affairs, benefit rip-offs, sex-rat scandals, corporate fraud and often incompetence in public office.

So many have sought favourable media exposure by spinning spurious “good news” stunts, yet it is only when negative aspects of their headline-hunting have been revealed that the howls of protest have been heard.

Indeed, it was only when a couple of litigants received eye-watering compensation awards that hundreds of would-be claimants emerged blinking into the daylight with “me too” aspirations.

This is not to gainsay the legitimate outrage of mostly innocent victims of tragedy or accident who have been subjected to illegal tele-tapping, and where compensation is fully justifiable.

It seems the UK public-at-large is far less consumed by Murdoch muck-raking in Westminster village – the MPs’ expenses scandal and the bankers’ bonanza have much greater relevance to Mr Everyman and his family.

As the saga develops into the criminal courts, it will be interesting to learn just how widespread the hacking technique has been embraced by other media, by the police, and indeed, by politicians and their backroom boys.

V WOOD, Leeds 25

Relief for some

EACH man kills the thing he loves, wrote Oscar Wilde but only a madman would destroy a highly profitable newspaper, with the highest circulation in the English-speaking world.

The demise of the News of the World will surely be welcomed by every politician, soap star, footballer and faintly anachronistic naughty vicar, who will henceforth fall asleep more easily on a Saturday night.

Millions will wake on Sunday mornings to a sense of something missing. The Sabbath stroll to the newsagent will never be as jaunty, though there will be, of course, imitators.

There already are and the Labour-supporting Sunday Mirror and People are as paltry and ersatz versions as the anticipated “Sun on Sunday” will surely be.

M Nicholson, Barwick in Elmet

PM’s judgment

REGARDING Andy Coulson. Would Mr Cameron accept assurances from a prospective Conservative candidate if he had received adverse comments about his conduct and he had resigned from his previous job under a cloud?

Walt Emsley, Leeds 8

‘Brainwashed’ by Murdoch press

AT long last the British public is being told the truth, for a change. The truth is how the newspapers owned by an 80-year-old Australian billionaire, living in America, brainwashed the British public to vote for Margaret Thatcher, John Major and this idiot ConDem government.

We have been condemned ever since.

Cuts all up North, closure of libraries, children’s meals, milk scrapped, gas and electricity all privatised and sold off cheaply by that dreadful Thatcher regime.

It seems like the start of apartheid to me, and I am very uneasy about it. Margaret Thatcher will tell you all about it; she called Nelson Mandela a terrorist and he spent 27 years in prison.

After that, she invited the outrageous General Pinochet of Chile over and took him to hospital, as he was ill. This despot General was wanted by the Spanish government for the torture and murder of over 3,000 prisoners.

Returning to Murdoch’s sleazy newspapers, I only bought them when I ran out of toilet paper – that’s the News of the World and other smutty rags.

I feel rather ashamed of the British public for allowing this to go on and doing nothing about it. Great Britain, we are a ruddy joke to the rest of the world.

J Wilson, Leeds 10

Putting profit before people

HOW right was G Green (YEP Letters, July 8) to state that the disastrous privatisation policies of Thatcher/Major are totally discredited.

Public transport is a shambles and recent announcements of further increases in energy prices will be a disaster for many families.

British Gas posted record profits of £742 million after the coldest winter for many years, yet still is not satisfied, proving that lining the pockets of a few is what takes priority.

Yet one more episode of Thatcher nonsense is blighting all of our lives.

How many children have been affected by aborted school outings, cancelled sports days and closed playgrounds etc? These healthy and enjoyable activities, which had always been the norm, have been drastically reduced because of fear of an accidnet followed by a lawsuit. Who opened the door to allow these bottom-feeding, ambulance-chasing money grabbers to operate?

This created a bunch of legal vultures, fattening themselves on tax payers’ money in many cases, using any small grievance as a threat to sue. When money is all that matters, who can blame the vultures for feasting? Stifling the joys of childhood is a smal price to pay when profit before people is legalised.

R Pearson, Brignall Garth, Leeds

Stressful profession

WHILST understanding most of the letter from Gordon Mayne about the teachers’ strike and public versus private sector pensions etc, I cannot agree there are numberous jobs far more stressful than being a teacher (YEP, July 6).

Only a small percentage of workers would be able to bear the stress of being a teacher today, with the little respect shown by some pupils and continuously swept under the carpet by their executive board.

I, for one, would never have coped with this stress, and if Gordon Mayne tried being a teacher I think he would soon reverse his opinion.

A Hague, Bellbrooke Grove, Leeds

Pub memories

THE Readers’ Letters page and the letter from Terry Watkinson evoked many memories of pubs.

My father was a waiter at the Fforde Grene and one of my aunts was a barmaid there during the war, when she met her soldier husband.

Mr father also waited on at the Courtier, white coat and apron, tray held aloft, after a day’s work in tailoring.

There was a large garden at the rear, where we could play while parents had a drink outside and I remember a little room where you could have beer measured in a jug and taken out.

The Oakwood on Easterly Road was very popular as well.

The Henry Barran youth club drew happy teenagers in for its many activities.

Talk about rock’n’roll!

M Harrison, Saxton Gardens

YEP Letters: August 18