THE CAMPAIGN for our bid to be a European Capital of Culture is naive to cite the success of previous recipient Liverpool.
Such competitions are decided in advance or, at least, there is a preferred and expected outcome be it the World Cup, Olympics or the Capital of Culture.
Liverpool got it because it was favoured; Cherie Blair, Michael Heseltine and Michael Howard being advocates for the cause.
Also it has long embodied popular culture and had fallen from grace due to crime and social tensions.
Like Newcastle, it has played the poverty card for many years.
Every city, apart from Leeds, has its caucus of supporters and manipulators; insinuating themselves into the recesses and chambers of government. That’s how it’s done.
We should wake up and smell the absinthe; which means cultivating Europe, where we have a rising stock and potential allies.
Only recently we had testimony to Westminster’s fear, loathing and ignorance of Yorkshire. This time shown in the delay in allocating us our devolved budget.
Think the Football League and Leeds United. Think Westminster’s opposition to our hosting of Le Grand Départ. Think Supertram. Think the HS2 northern extension which I am sure they never hoped, expected or wanted to take a right turn.
The only way any representation to Westminster for funding in support of our bid will succeed is if we travel return fare from Sheffield, wear kilts and play the pipes at King’s Cross, while bedecked with a Manchester United scarf, and trying to adopt intelligible scouse accents and have bottles of Newcastle Brown protruding from our pockets.
Paul Kilroy, Lawnswood
Cheaper choice of healthy eating
CONTRARY TO the opinion of Jack Banner (Your Views, December 11), Baroness Jenkin was right in principle when she said people have lost the ability to cook.
The only thing wrong was her choice of the word ‘poor’. One of the greatest causes of alleged ‘poverty’ today is lack of knowledge in recent generations of how to shop and cook economically.
Food prices in general are lower today than for many years, with the big supermarkets fighting each other to offer bargains.
My parents grew up in the 1930s depression years with no welfare state to help. Once married with a family, food rationing was in force for eight years after the end of the Second World War.
Jack Banner mocks Baroness Jenkin over exotic dishes she might expect people to try, but it is possible to make tasty and nutritious meals inexpensively if you know how.
My wife and I often compare the cost of our roast dinner or casserole to a takeaway of fish and chips and it’s no contest.
Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver exposed this problem in Rotherham once, where one child of school age had never enjoyed a home cooked meal – only takeaways.
Yet with a few basic utensils and simple ingredients plus a bit of ‘education’ that family was soon enjoying proper food at less cost.
D Boyes, Rodley
Restoring faith in healthcare
I HAVE just spent three weeks in Ward 35 of the Clarendon Wing at Leeds General Infirmary.
Throughout my stay I was treated with compassion, care and understanding.
I was supported and assisted in every way by all members of staff on the ward and my recovery was speedy due to their enthusiasm and professionalism.
I would like to thank each and every one of them for their magnificent care and unique qualities. My faith in hospitals has been restored.
A great big thank you to Ward 35.
P Brannigan, Leeds
UKIP thrives on divided Britain
THE RISE and rise of UKIP is always attributed to the public’s concern over immigration and the EU.
This is true, but even more so is another factor – UKIP is now the party for people who ‘hate London’ and its dominant liberal elites – and Labour is the party that should worry.
The pull of UKIP for disillusioned Labour voters – the ‘blue collar’ vote – is that the ‘cheeky chappy’ Nigel Farage is a breath of fresh air to the vapid, flaccid metro London elites of all three main parties.
This is the reason why UKIP doesn’t do well in the capital.
The divide between London and the rest of us is of two nations.
One is affluent, out of touch, arrogant and cocky, loathed beyond its satellites and dormitory suburbs. UKIP have now cleverly tapped into this resentment.
Labour is led by someone who is the very personification of this class, so smug, and yet represents working class Doncaster, because it is a safe seat... so far.
Labour still depends on the mass votes from its northern citadels, from people it seems the leadership quietly despises.
UKIP is gnawing away at Labour’s base, while in Scotland the SNP – also ‘London haters’ – is about to wipe out metro Labour in Scotland.Labour won’t find the answer in the ‘champagne socialist’ salons of Islington, let alone in Doncaster.
Brian Johnston, Burmantofts
Depriving folk of festive cheer
ON BEHALF of Hawksworth Older People Support Services (HOPS), I would like to wish a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to whoever stole the exhaust and catalytic converter from our minibus over the weekend of December 6 and 7.
This has deprived a group of older and disabled pensioners of their transport to their Christmas meal. You must have thought your need was greater than ours.
We wish you well and hope Christmas 2015 is spent in “the Big House” as a guest of Her Majesty.
J Smith, Kirkstall
No patience with religion
I have to declare that I have no affiliation to any religion known to man.
In spite of recent events worldwide, the latest being the attack on a school in Pakistanby the Taliban, I do not doubt that these acts are perpetrated by man upon man and have nothing to do with some super-power who directs their actions.
If there was a God then surely he would smile upon the innocent!
Religion has killed far more people than it has saved.
Why do nations worldwide hate one another on the premise of religion?
We breathe the same air, how can we be different?
I believe that I am a very tolerant man but I am running out of patience!
Jack Banner, Meanwood
Importance of roads system
WITH regard to recent letters expressing concern over traffic bottlenecks in Crossgates, residents will know that a planning application has been submitted by Bellway and that means that our planning department will be having “discussions”.
This is inevitable, but does not indicate anything other than that facts are being gathered together at this stage.
Ward members have been very clear that they – on behalf of local residents – consider the road infrastructure to be of prime importance and that remains our view.
I hope this clarifies the situation.
Councillor Peter Gruen, Deputy Leader, Leeds City Council