YEP Letters: August 15

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Have we got our priorities right?

Ivan Kovacks, by email

Like many people I have enjoyed watching the world athletics from London, it was great fun and I’d like to congratulate all involved with it from the organisers to athletes and the BBC coverage.

However, when one considers that we the tax payer, lottery player and charity donators will be paying several hundreds of millions to the athletic, swimming, equestrian and many other sporting bodies in order to compete at the next Olympics, all this money could be used to finance a few hundred doctors and over a thousand nurses through training and in to work without any debts.

And this could be done over the next four years and the next four years and so on between each games.

Have we got our priorities right?

Grouse shooting on moor failed on all counts

Luke Steele, Spokesperson, Ban Bloodsports on Ilkley Moor.

OVER half of breeding birds have become locally extinct or declined on Ilkley Moor, despite these species being identified as being of importance to the moor’s ecosystem by Bradford Council.

The sensitive upland habitat is unable to support a variety of specialist wildlife as a consequence of burning over rare blanket bog.

Local businesses, homes and roads become submerged under water during inclement weather because the damaged moor can no longer function as a natural flood barrier.

Let’s also not forget the visitors to the moor, who bring £1.5m into the local economy annually.

The local authority acknowledges that ending grouse shooting would provide “positive” benefits for tourism, the moor’s and its own reputation.Grouse shooting on Ilkley Moor has failed on all counts: economic, social and environmental.

Thankfully, every other moorland-owning local authority has ended grouse shooting on their heather-clad upland estates and set a number of successful precedents for Bradford Council to follow.

Despair at state of city centre

Sheila Littlewood, Crigglestone

I went to Leeds last Saturday and Otley the week before, which is a rare occurrence, but what an eye opener in very different ways.

Leeds has catered for shoppers in a truly exciting way. The conversion of combining wonderful Victorian buildings with modern stylish materials is quite unique in the Victoria Quarter. Even if you can’t afford those prices you have to admire the beautiful features. Elsewhere there was a vibrancy only to be expected in a major city, but nonetheless it should be an inspiration to smaller cities at least. Wakefield please take note.

Otley is quite the opposite - a lovely old town with interesting small courtyards, streets and arcades with thriving small businesses. Yorkshire flags were in abundance and what was most outstanding were the number of hanging baskets, tubs and flower beds full of wonderful flowers in bloom everywhere. It felt a very happy and secure place, but then it does have a police station too! Another bone of contention as Wakefield city only has a yellow telephone on a wall in Northgate.

I have lived, worked and shopped in Wakefield all my adult life and all I can say now is that it is a dump by comparison and so disheartening. I used to be so proud of my home town, but old buildings have been demolished to make way for yet more modern structures without character, and the city centre is just a mish mash of attempts to do something but with little idea of what. Empty shops are an eyesore and everywhere is filthy. There isn’t even a flower anywhere to be seen to brighten things up.

When The Ridings opened in 1984 it was the most exciting shopping experience in the north of England and brought coaches of visitors from all over the country and truly put Wakefield on the map.

When Meadowhall and The White Rose opened Wakefield has gradually gone downhill as far as a shopping centre is concerned. Where was the logic of splitting Wakefield in two by creating Trinity Walk instead of extending

The Ridings down Southgate and/or into Lower Kirkgate and incorporating the old Regal Cinema that has been an eyesore for so many years? The Market Hall fiasco continues by siting market stalls in the precinct which totally diminishes the impact of the lovely Cathedral, the one redeeming feature we have left.

I fail to understand why old buildings cannot be refurbished and reused with some vision as in Leeds.

The police station in Wood Street has been empty for two years, and the Court House is still wrapped in plastic sheeting, but next week Rishworth Street car park is to be demolished to make way for investment in apartments and offices. I despair.

We must demand an end to PFI

Dr John Puntis, Leeds 8

Private Finance Initiative deals are crippling NHS hospitals.

Despite examples such as the final bill for Mid Yorkshire Hospital being five times what it cost to build, rather than jeopardise their jobs by criticising Department of Health policy Chief Executives will happily repeat the mantra that PFI is “good value for money”.

Far from providing state of the art facilities, PFI builders cut corners and then hold the NHS hostage over maintenance costs. Before the Grenfell Tower disaster a number of PFI hospitals were identified as major fire risks, including Coventry and Peterborough. PFI is a big part of the privatisation that is killing our NHS.

According to HM Treasury, PFI costs at least twice as much as when projects are Government funded. In addition, public services end up no longer owned by or accountable to citizens. It is right to characterise these contracts as scandalous with national spending on repayment and service charges now an eye watering £3,700 every minute.

If the misjudgements of the past are not to be repeated, Government must be prepared to put money into public services.

Instead, ministers constantly mislead the public about the dire state of NHS funding, which according to NHS Clinical Commissioners is projected to fall £330 million short of what is needed by 2020. Starved of capital, Trusts are left with no alternative but to resort to PFI for new building. The Tories are now implementing the Naylor report to sell off NHS assets and further expand borrowing and debt in another round of PFI type deals.

The public must say no to Naylor and demand from politicians an end to PFI, with existing contracts being renegotiated or taken over by the Treasury and the money saved put into patient care.

Respect democratic vote

Hilary Andrews, Leeds

I’M sick of being told that I am unintelligent because I voted for us to come out of the EU.

I certainly am intelligent enough to know that statistics can be manipulated to show whatever an investigator wants them to.

Why can’t these Remoaners just accept a result? Would we be bellyaching as much if the result had gone the other way? I think not.

We are intelligent enough to respect a democratic vote.

In defence of older drivers

Ken Fleming, Gildersome

AS an almost 72 years old man, I can’t help but notice how people seem to think that people of my age are past our sell by date.

Firstly, people thinking we should take a driving test again at 70.

Can I ask these people, how many times do you see people of my age using mobile phones whilst driving, not wearing seat belts, breaking motorway speeds and 30mph in built up areas?

Most people between 20 and 40 don’t appear to have indicators. These are the ages where they should be taking a test.

Time to be clear thinking

John Cole, Shipley

Recent polls of public opinion show that if there were a referendum today on EU membership the vote for “Remain” would be between 52 per cent and 56 per cent.

At the same time another poll found that 70 per cent of respondents felt that the “Leave” outcome of June last year should be respected and enacted. This paradox can be explained by a number of “Remainers” feeling that going ahead with Brexit is somehow the democratic thing to do.

Such thinking can be classed as generous and gracious.

Alternatively it could be viewed as sentimental and sloppy-thinking (my own take).

Events since June 2016 have increasingly shown the folly of leaving the EU - so the 48 per cent who voted “Remain” got it right in the first place.

They are slowly being joined by some moving across who previously voted “Brexit”. For a whole variety of reasons (including the shed-load of lies coming from the “Leave” camp) the June 2016 result does not deserve to be respected.

Now is the time to be clear-thinking and determined.

Host a picnic for Rainbow Trust

Emma Haines, Rainbow Trust Director of Marketing and Fundraising

Now that the summer holidays are here, parents (and grandparents) everywhere are hunting out activities to keep the children occupied – me included!

Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity has launched a fun, simple, summer activity called the Summertime Picnic.

The idea is straightforward - host a picnic and ask friends and family to make a donation to Rainbow Trust.

It can be a picnic in the garden, the park or even inside on a carpet, weather depending.

The Summertime Picnic is about enjoying quality time with your family and Rainbow Trust understands just how precious time can be as we support families who have a child with a life threatening or terminal illness.

We match families with a Family Support Worker who provides emotional and practical support amid the chaos of medicines, hospitals and endless appointments.

Rainbow Trust has a free online ‘Picnic Pack’ as well as ideas, recipes and games for a wonderful afternoon with friends and families.

Just visit rainbowtrust.org.uk/summertime-picnic to start planning yours. Thank you for your support.

EU bill has been paid in full

Derrick Bond, Shadwell

When presented with E.U. demands for an exit bill, the Brexit negotiators should follow the Tammy Wynette song: No Charge.

For defeating Hitler, at a cost of nearly 600,000 British and Commonwealth lives: no charge.

For providing English as a means of global communication: no charge.

For sending tourists to bolster European economies: no charge.

For giving jobs to thousands of E.U. citizens: no charge. The negotiators can then take the full exit bill and endorse it: paid in full.

Tired of MP’s complaints

G D Milnes, Purston

I am getting rather tired of seeing Yvette Cooper complaining about the lack of facilities at Pontefract Hospital. Wasn’t she in Tony Blair’s government, a possible health minister, at the time the decision was made to convert PGI into a glorified doctors’ surgery? Wasn’t she in his government when they built a ‘free’ hospital that will take a generation to pay for at Pinderfields instead of a more central location at the site of the old Sharlston pit which had been put forward?

Let us know what you think

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To join the debate email yep.newsdesk@ypn.co.uk or write to Readers’ Letters, Yorkshire Evening Post, No 1 Leeds, 26 Whitehall Road, Leeds LS12 1BE.

Please keep letters under 300 words.

YEP Letters: November 20