YEP Letters: December 20

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Have your say

I was pleased to see someone praising our wonderful NHS staff for a change (Your Views, December 17).

In reality, NHS staff are the thin line, the guardians protecting us from savage reductions in resources to the best of their ability. They are heroes.

However, I then read, with dismay, A Hague’s letter on the same subject.

While he admits that most people have taxes “taken from their wages”, he doesn’t appear to see that this is how we pay for the NHS and many more services. He expects us to pay twice for GP care and hospital care.

He also says the Government should “close loopholes that allow businesses to dodge paying their tax”.

Has he ever considered why there are “loopholes” in tax laws? Are our law makers stupid or are they merely looking after their own and, in many cases, their own investments?

If they are not capable of ensuring everybody pays tax, are they really fit to be left in charge of us and represent us on the world stage? The answer is a very obvious, and deafening, No!

It might interest Mr Hague to be told that people in receipt of benefits have always had a reduction in their payment when they go into hospital since they are not having to pay for food. This doesn’t kick in for short stays in hospital because, though Mr Hague can’t see it, people receiving benefits have ongoing financial commitments, just like him, which don’t stop when they are unwell.

Yes, the NHS is in crisis but it always is when we have a right wing government. The NHS will always be a political football because it is preventing the already rich and powerful from making huge profits from others’ misery.

For now, they will have to be content with investing their loot abroad, in countries not fortunate enough to have a tax-funded, publicly-owned health service.

Patriotism is a divisive tool used by our leaders but not shared by them. To them, our NHS is the absolute epitome of socialism. Most of us simply think it is a very good idea and is the envy of the world. Long live the NHS.

Dave MacFadyen, Crossgates

Let’s get our city moving

Congratulations to Don Townsley for putting the trolley bus debate into perspective (Your Views, December 12).

He contacted me after my claim that there was a “Headingley Mafia” behind the scenes, holding up any real developments in Leeds’s transport plans.

He certainly put me right on a number of fronts and was head and shoulders above some of the more trivial responses to my comments.

I am aware that he has presented his findings on Leeds transport needs to several responsible bodies and is a professional transport man of some standing.

Many will have attended some of the presentations he has given on transport solutions.

One of his main thrusts has been to propose a combined rail with park and ride facility at Thorpe Park just off the A1(M).

A tramway would run from there utilising York Road and running direct to the city centre.

It is lamentable that Leeds is now behind several so-called third world countries, struggling with a bus service that often means running two or three buses together then leaving long gaps before the next service.

It does not take a transport genius to deduct that the Headrow is a major culprit.

Buses have their place but for a city that has attracted 55 million visitors (YEP, December 18), clogged roads with a hit-and-miss park and ride do us no favours

Existing busways are filthy, filled with rotting leaves and trash floating in flood water.

Why is it that Nottingham and Manchester have almost doubled their tram mileage and we are still arguing over a handful of trolleybuses while other UK cities are now on second generation sophisticated tram cars?

Don is someone with a top CV in transport – why is nobody listening?

We can only hope he keeps the debate alive with his proposals and that they find a sensible ear. The people of Leeds who use public transport deserve better.

This is a city that is fooling itself – it may be a leader in some things but transport policy is at a standstill.

Rev R Paterson, Crossgates

Memories of choral festivals

Oliver Cross’s article remembering Leeds musical traditions (YEP, December 19) recounted the demise of the Yorkshire Symphony Orchestra. Another great local musical tradition that hit the buffers was the Leeds Triennial Choral Festival which carried with it a great choral tradition.

Although the festival went virtually bankrupt, happily the choral tradition still continues.

Not all memories are melancholic. I remember a post Triennial Festival dinner when the Lord Mayor of Leeds at the time, a delightful man and Labour councillor, Albert Smith, a small chap with a black beard, rose to address the artistic director, the late Lord Harewood.

Following the usual pleasantries he turned round to his Lordship and added “by the way Lord Harewood, we have more in common than you think – I used to go poaching in your garden”.

While on the subject of music and orchestras, a bit of history now forgotten. When chairman of Leisure Services I worked with Lord Harewood and Norman Wilkinson, a charming, bluff Yorkshire music lover and property developer, to investigate the possibility of turning the Corn Exchange into a concert hall.

At the same time I had discreet negotiations with the BBC Northern Symphony Orchestra in Manchester who were considering moving to Leeds if we could incorporate a recording studio as part of the Corn Exchange development.The orchestra’s administrators came over to Leeds for discussions. Unfortunately the project was scuppered by the presence of British Rail – the vibrations from the nearby passing trains proved an insurmountable problem.

Dr Jeffrey Sherwin, Alwoodley

Treat disabled bus users fairly

With regard to Ernest Lundy and his idea that First Bus should lay on a special bus service for wheelchair users (YEP, December 17), it won’t happen because a) we are not profitable and b) they would say there are too many routes to cover they would say. Access buses do their best but you have to book to travel anywhere and are restricted to time.

As for Nick Keer, I would like to see him spend a month in a wheelchair and see if his attitude changes. We do not ask for much, just to be treated fairly by all and not seen as second class.

I would love to meet representatives of First and other companies to see what ideas they have to help us, but I know that is a pipe dream and will never happen.

R Harding, Swillington

A parliament for England

It seems incredible that the SNP considers itself to potentially ”hold the balance of power”when it’s incapable of balancing the chips on each shoulder.

Scotland comprises about eight per cent of the UK’s population. That’s a very small tail trying to wag a very big dog.

How can It be fair that Scottish NHS patients are administered life-saving drugs and English patients are in reality given a death sentence? The only solution is a parliament for England with representatives elected in England dealing with English affairs. Unless we’re very careful this country could end up being run by the two Eds and Nicola Sturgeon.

Malcolm Nicholson, Barwick-in-Elmet