Check out today’s YEP letters
Speaker’s role is to give guidance
John Appleyard, Liversedge
John Bercow the Speaker of the House of Commons is coming in for criticism from some members of parliament (mainly Tories) for expressing his thoughts on US President Trump’s visit to the UK.
Bercow’s role as Speaker is to not only to chair debates but to also offer guidance. Since Theresa May’s visit to the US to meet Donald Trump some MPs have queried the wisdom of allowing the US President a state welcome to the UK. John Bercow has politely advised MPs that parliament is a democracy, in favour of equality, opposed to racism and sexism and a respecter of the law and the judiciary. Trump struggles to meet that criteria, he also has a problem meeting the Government’s British values of respect and tolerance, something the Government has been banging on about lately in regard to immigrants coming into this country.
In his time as Speaker John Bercow has greatly increased the use of urgent questions as a way for parliament to keep the government on its toes and finally a belated thank you to him for coming to Birstall with Jeremy Corbyn and David Cameron the day after Jo Cox’s murder.
City centre has become ‘no-go’ area at night
B Smith, Leeds 7
According to Coun Dunn, the anti-social behaviour in the city centre in the early hours of the morning is due to fast food shops, not bars and sexual entertainment venues (‘Fast food shops not sex venues cause concern’ YEP February 8).
So, are all those yobs around the fast food joints victims of insomnia? Do they change from their PJs, take a taxi to town and have a fight? If not, where have they been before the rowdy behaviour and fights start?
They have been in the dozens of bars and clubs, some who cheerfully pour alcohol down their throats however incapable they may be.
How do these clubs come into existence? They get a licence (alcohol or sexual entertainment venue (SEV)) from the licensing department.
Many people agree that the city centre has become a ‘no-go’ area at night – why should the police have to mop up a mess created by the council? It is high time they got a grip of it all.
Take grandma’s advice on NHS
Lindon Dove, by email
Through my childhood and teens in the 40s and 50s, I was regaled by stories and sayings from my grandmother.
Having survived two World Wars, bringing up a family and taking care of a disabled husband in later life without any of today’s generous benefits, she remained a believer in looking after your own. She would often point a finger in my direction and advise me with the words “now then lad, just remember charity begins at home”.
It’s a pity she was never employed as adviser to successive UK governments. As the NHS creaks under unprecedented numbers of users and limited funding, we give away £12 billion to other countries each year.
If it was used to make things better in our troubled world, there might be some justification. Evidence of widespread abuse and corruption, however, suggests otherwise. Grandma’s homespun advice would be ‘give it to the NHS’.
At a swoop, their problems would be eased. She might well add that it was also helping other countries without any of the current abuse.
After all, beneficiaries would include 650,000 immigrants entering the UK each year from all over the world.If my grandma had thought that one day, elderly UK citizens would have to compete for NHS resources with health tourists ripping them off for £35 million she would have had a fit.
That the UK pays out £674 million per year for the treatment of UK citizens in Europe whilst receiving only £49 million in return would have left grandma raging at the incompetence and inefficiency of successive governments. Like she often said, them daft so and so’s in Parliament have no common sense and no idea how ordinary people live.
Another chance to vote on EU
John M Collins, Leeds
Shortly before the Brexit vote last June, Nigel Farage said that if the majority in favour of remaining in the EU was only 52 to 48 per cent he would continue to fight for another referendum.
Yet when Tim Farron, the leader of the Lib Dems, calls for a second referendum before we finally sever our ties with Europe, the Brexiteers in your correspondence columns, rise in their wrath. They sneer at the Lib Dem leaders; they belittle the electoral successes of the Lib Dems since the referendum, such as the huge swings in Witney and Richmond, where they defeated a Conservative MP seeking reelection with a previous majority of over 20,000 and the recent 40 per cent swing in Sunderland. But what is sauce for the goose..
And the Lib Dems are right, as they were over Iraq. When we voted in the referendum, we had no idea what would be the final terms for us to leave Europe. We still do not know.
Many who voted to leave thought we would still be able to trade freely with Europe - vital for places like Hull and Middlesbrough, whose continued high employment depends on that trade. (Remember that whilst over 40 per cent of our exports go to Europe, only seven per cent of theirs come to us.)
Just as when we have voted in a government in one election we can at the next, having seen how they have performed - or failed to perform - vote them out, so it is democratic that when we find out what are the terms upon which we are to leave the EU, we should have the chance to vote whether to accept or reject a departure on those terms.
Time for Lords to be abolished
DS Boyes, Leeds 13
THIS is the time of year when OAPs get notice of their annual pay rise, with the average taxable weekly pension regardless of whether it’s just basic, plus SERPS or pensions credits, being about £155.
What a contrast to the House of Lords, whose members get £300 a day, this tax-free along with numerous other expenses for travel etc., even if like many they live near the Palace of Westminster.
The irony being that hundreds of these people neither speak in debates, nor vote on any item of business under discussion but simply clock in, get their bounty, then scuttle away.
In our supposed parliamentary democracy how can such an unelected organisation be allowed to exist, or continue? Everyone knows that life peerages are a commodity bought and sold by political party leaders, if not in exchanged for donations to party funds, then as rewards for personal favours done in the past, with the hereditary places still bearing titles such as earl or viscount passed down the generations like the crown of Great Britain are a sick joke.
That Brexit negotiations may yet be stalled or held up for a long time by this outdated, undemocratic institution is a disgrace.
Unless abolished with a proper elected second chamber to replace the Lords, I believe the people should boycott the next general election.
Plea to support Rainbow Trust
Anne Harris, Director of Care Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity
This Valentine’s Day, couples everywhere will be looking forward to a romantic night out to focus on each other and enjoy time away from hectic daily life.
For parents caring for a life threatened or terminally ill child, life doesn’t stop on 14 February.
Many are unable to head out for a relaxing meal due to the complexities of their child’s condition and finding a babysitter can be next to impossible when your child is so ill.
Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity supports over 2,000 families who are caring for a child with a life threatening or terminal illness.
We help these families however we can to make life a little bit easier, as they face the reality that their child might not get better.
Our nine teams of specialist Family Support Workers will be busy this Valentine’s Day providing emotional and practical support to parents.
They can give parents rare time together, as well as making sure that brothers and sisters don’t feel left out by organising fun activities for them.
Please make a donation to Rainbow Trust, to help us support even more families and give parents the break they truly deserve this Valentine’s Day.
Just visit rainbowtrust.org.uk/donate or text RAIN18 £3 to 70070 to make a £3 donation.