YEP Letters: January 17

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THE HS2 issue seems a case of deja vue, with ominous overtones of Supertram.

The same exalted expectations already accompanied with the same scepticism, objections, reservations and complaints; likely culminating in delays, indecision, and internal disagreements.

Other cities will then have the connections and infrastructure, while we remain at the wrong side of the tracks.

Most recently Alex Shelbrook MP expressed concern about extra house building commitments and its effect upon HS2.

I cannot imagine Manchester would even bother to think about such a possibility, let alone factoring it into any HS2 proposals.

They, sensibly, work on the axioms, “Build it first and do the repairs and maintenance afterwards” and, “Don’t put off asking till tomorrow what you can get today”.

Instead, we want a guarantee of success, affordability, viability and universal consent before we even begin.

With this mindset, HS2 will never happen for us and the area reserved for housing will lie derelict for 40 years; while we wait for Selfridges or Bon Marche or Maceys to get round to us.

Paul Kilroy, Lawnswood

How terrorists steal our liberty

Many people mistake the significance of the Charlie Hebdo atrocity.

In terms of random loss of life, the Islamist attacks in the West, from 9/11 downwards, have been pin-pricks.

They have caused many individual tragedies but their death toll merges into those from straightforwardly criminal murders, the actions of the mentally deranged and the merely careless use of motor vehicles and firearms.

A reaction of fear for one’s own safety would be paranoid and narcissistic except for those liable to be specifically targeted.

What is of political significance, and is most prominent in the Charlie Hebdo case, lies in the attempt to exert control.

Clearly, as intended, some cartoonists will no longer draw and others will fail to find an outlet through the more cautious publishers. The terrorists win.

There is a section of society that wishes to accommodate their position.

They reason that we don’t need cartoons which will offend some people.

But is this the only concession that will be required? May we need to recriminalise homosexuality or ban women from driving cars?

It is possible and desirable for people of different faiths or none to live in harmony, but the question is on what terms. These may be different in different countries but here they should be ours.

John Riseley, Harrogate

Bring back park track

In order to keep cycling in the public eye in this area and continue to cash in on the interest after the euphoria created by last summer’s Grand Depart may I make some suggestions.

I suggest Leeds City Council get together with sponsorship generator Gary Verity and use this interest in cycling to re-launch and revamp the cycle races at Roundhay Park arena which were such a part of my childhood growing up in the 1950s.

I believe these were run by the West Riding Track League on a Monday evening and featured ‘Pursuit’ races and ‘Devil Take The Hindmost’.

In the 1950s these race days attracted lots of public interest with at times thousands packing the arena and Hill 60.

I seem to remember future professional Barry Hoban cutting his teeth in races there.

It would be good to see this sadly under-used facility come to life again.

I could never understand why the annual November 5 Bonfire was moved to Soldiers’ Field when previously it was beside the arena with the thousands who attend able to get wonderful views from 
Hill 60.

I believe nothing has been featured on the arena since the two Robbie Williams concerts there in 2006.

John Hartley, Roundhay

Fight tolls on our roads

MPs are currently reviewing the Infrastructure Bill, which includes controversial measures such as on fracking.

It will also turn the Highways Agency, which manages England’s motorways and major routes, into a company – initially a government-owned ‘GoCo’ – as a big step towards full privatisation.

This will inevitably mean road tolling, which will push traffic onto non-tolled local roads, leading to worse congestion, road wear and more accidents.

The all-party Transport Select Committee was not convinced of any need for the change, and opinion polls have repeatedly found strong public opposition to tolls.

Our roads have been paid for several times over by the travelling public and business. They should not be sold-off or used to extract even more money from us.

Tolls would also increase delivery costs and the price of goods in shops.

Enough is enough – it’s time for the public’s voice to be heard and I ask readers to urge their MP to oppose the Infrastructure Bill. For more information, please visit www.fairdealforthemotorist.org.uk/handsoff.

Mark Dollar, Public and Commercial Services Union, Devon

Great minds think alike

James Bovington’s wish to be included in the working party looking into a new transport infrastructure for Leeds and the surround area, because he says his plans are well thought out, may become a reality. But he shouldn’t hold his breath.

Like him I have a wealth of ideas of what the transport infrastructure of the area could look like and, just as he does, I believe my ideas to be well thought out.

Ideas, though, are ideas. Thoughts put down on paper or maps and forwarded for discussion to interested parties.

Has he written to MPs, West Yorkshire Combined Authority, HS2 and local councillors to see if they will take his ideas on board?

I know he has written a number of times to the YEP on the subject (as I have myself) and some of his missives have no doubt not been published (like mine).

It is extremely possible that we are similar in our thinking as regards HS2, trolley bus, the airport link and overground-underground transport.

I wonder what comments, if any, the study into the link to Leeds-Bradford Airport provoked from himself.

Could they be the same as mine?

Maybe we will have to make contact to find out as it may be the case of “great minds think alike”, which may bring about a certain amount of trepidation to the working party. Ergo, no invitation.

Denis Angood, Stanningley

7,000 fewer nurses a year?

I would be very grateful if Messrs Hunt, Lamb and Cameron could tell us exactly how many more nurses are employed under their government.

Cameron has said at PMQs that it is 3,000. Lamb gave a different figure before Christmas and Hunt once said it was 20,000. So which one is telling the truth or, gasp, are they all lying?

If the figure of 3,000 is correct, and over 10,000 nurses a year retire (figure courtesy of the Rowntree Foundation) this means in effect, surely, that the number of new nurses is minus 7,000?

I wonder, will our collective mental health be able to cope with another four months of this?

Terry Maunder, Kirkstall

YEP Letters: September 23