YEP Letters: April 7

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SO Leeds City Council have made yet another mistake when it comes to children’s safety, by leaving a manhole uncovered for days after being informed about it. Putting markers at the wrong manhole is huge incompetence, especially when it’s near a children’s play area.

A while ago there was the incident involving the rotten flagpole in a memorial garden in Otley which was brought to their attention several times and ignored until the flagpole toppled over fracturing a young child’s skull. The responsibility was said to lie between the forestry and parks department. This is the organisation who will seize any opportunity to make money from the public when they make mistakes, and make examples of people, but are rather lax themselves in certain areas.

I must say they are making a fine example of themselves when children’s safety is in danger. With an increase in council tax is this the standard of service the public deserve? This is another reason why turning the street lights off between certain times in some areas is a mistake as there could be other hazards out there that people don’t see in the dark. We hear so many times about the cash strapped council but I myself believe it is the public who are being short-changed.

PETER HADDINGTON, Prospect Place, Eccleshill, Bradford.

The facts about decimilisation

WITH REGARD to ‘Decimal Money’ I don’t know if Neil Hudson was around in 1971 or just a twinkle in his mother’s eye, maybe even a glint in his father’s before that and although broadly correct in his deliberations, the halfpenny at 480 to the pound was never retained, instead replaced by the half new pence worth ½d. itself soon discontinued.

Coins with a corresponding decimal value eg of 5p-10p, ie the ‘bob and two bob’ were kept, although the 12.5p half crown was not, unlike the 2.5p sixpence or tanner which remained in use until new decimal coins were designed and produced. However, the greatest or worst contribution of decimalisation was to fuel ‘inflation’ as under the old system of £LSD, prices went up by one penny whereas the decimal penny was 2.4 times the old one!

Even worse was the introduction of VAT just two years later on joining the Common Market, which although only 8% then caused a very substantial rise in the cost of living as its scope was far wider than the former ‘Purchase Tax’ only applicable to ‘Luxury’ goods, eg TVs or washing machines, cameras, fur coats, new cars etc but not commercial vehicles, whereas VAT was on almost everything except food, newspapers and books or children’s clothing and especially on ‘Labour’ charges for car repairs or building work as well as materials and solicitors’ fees to name a few.

Although because Purchase Tax on cars was less than VAT a ‘Special Car Tax’ or another 10% on top was applied, both to new vehicles and accessories such as radios if fitted by the dealer!

This led to demands for higher and higher wages throughout the 1970s which almost wrecked the UK economy, leading to the notorious 1979 Winter of Discontent which brought Mrs Thatcher to power!

I was aged 28 in 1971 and remember those turbulent times vividly.....

DS Boyes, Upper Rodley Lane, Leeds

Speak carefully and win out

THOSE SEIZING upon Bob Crowe’s hopes that Margaret Thatcher would “rot in hell” might consider that it is those who care least or not at all that are usually moderate, prudent and selective in their speech.

Whereas, those who feel deeply - rightly or wrongly - and care a lot are prone to expressions of uncharitableness and anger.

One greater than Bob Crowe was violent in act and speech and threatened Hell as a deserved end for those opposing God’s Kingdom and Man’s welfare.

We shouldn’t imagine that polished accents, cultured manners or high intelligence equip us to get to Heaven.

With Bob and Maggie, as Sir Thomas More said to his enemies, “we will I trust meet right merrily in Heaven”.

Paul Kilroy, Spennithorne Avenue, Leeds

What have sell offs achieved?

HAVING READ the continual diatribe from Malcolm Nicholson on the so called efficiency of his beloved Tory party and the efficiency of the capitalist system he so diligently supports, I wonder if he could offer some explanation of the following.

Since selling off of the taxpayer-owned utilities: gas, electricity, water, railways and Post Office (losing the taxpayer billions) and the deregulation of the buses what are the benefits this has achieved for the ordinary working man? The restrictions on the pricing of the above is now out of control of the Government and in the hands of unscrupulous Hedge Funds, and companies whose sole interest is profit. Having privatised all the above they are now turning their attention to the NHS and handing over to their millionaire backers numerous lucrative contracts.

The cost of all the above is being borne by the consumers who have to use these utilities, and in fact have to pay for the upgrading of these services via price and fares increases. Voters please remember this and hold all Governments to their manifesto promises.

Gerry M Leach, by email

Questions are a waste of time

I ENJOY quiz shows on TV, trying to get some of the answers which is quite hard at times.

During the breaks they have a viewers’ phone-in for prizes which are a waste of time because the answers to these questions are too easy for words. For example, name a pantomime: is it Puss in trainers, boots or stilettos?

Another one is name something completely clean. Is it spic and - spud, span or spit?

But I suppose viewers must take part thinking they are clever!

H Ibbetson, Broom Nook, Leeds.

Now there’s going slow....

I HAVE NO knowledge on the speed of ladybirds (even those instructed to “fly away home”). All the ones I’ve come across, up to now, have been stationary on some plant (or need rescuing from inside the house).

However, I do remember many years ago, travelling home from work on the train from Leeds to Horsforth. I was sitting by the window, looking out, but it was dark, and the only things I could see were my own reflection and the rest of the inside of the carriage, nothing outside was near enough to be highlighted by the lights from the train.

We had just left Burley Park station, when I began to laugh. I should explain that several of my colleagues from work were also on the train, and when asked why I was laughing, I replied, “A moth has just gone past.” Suddenly everyone was looking out over my shoulder, trying to see it, but needless to say there was no sign of the insect, and they all said I must have been dreaming.

A few minutes later, however, the train speeded up a little and there it was, we’d caught up with it, as it flew alongside the window, just a foot or so away.

“You see?!” I retorted. Our two speeds were matched for several hundred feet, before the train gathered speed again and the moth was lost to sight. Unfortunately it didn’t occur to me at the time to ask the driver what speed he had been doing on that stretch of the line!

In autumn, the train regularly struggled up that first incline, often using the ubiquitous excuse of “leaves on the line”, but that was the only time I can honestly say that I’ve been overtaken by a moth!

Denise Marsden, Cookridge

IT IS good to see that your Barwick-in-Elmet reporter is as ever omnipresent in your pages. Well done Malcolm N.

William J Holder perhaps wasn’t aware that every car battery has acid contained within it and is freely available from selected outlets in the West Riding.

Memory Lane photos are, as always, a welcome return to the good old days (did I really say that?)

Adrian Buttree, Omnipresent in Ossett

YEP Letters: July 27