Check out today’s YEP letters
Let’s look after our area’s canals
John Appleyard, Liversedge
I was born in Leeds and our family enjoyed riverside walks particularly alongside the Leeds and Liverpool canal from Kirkstall to Rodley.
Recently I borrowed a new book from Cleckheaton Library ‘Barging round Britain’, written by John Sergeant and David Bartley, which explores the history of our nation’s canals and waterways.
In July 1766 - 250 years ago this month - a public meeting was held at the Sun Inn, Bradford where the impetus to build the Leeds and Liverpool canal came from the wool merchants of Bradford, Leeds, Wakefield and Halifax who wanted to access Liverpool, and then the American trade.
It was agreed at the meeting the canal would start at Leeds and travel through Bingley and Skipton. The canal when completed would eventually stretch 127 miles. The canal also carried huge amount of coal and let’s not forget those whose sweat and toil helped put these canals into action. In this small island of ours are more than 3,000 miles of canal passing through some of the most beautiful landscape, let’s look after them and respect their contribution to our history.
Brexit deal could take several years
Tony J Homewood, Ossett
Since 23rd June there has been much nonsense spoken by ill-informed political commentators, MPs and others, regarding parliament not being bound by the Brexit referendum result.
The fact is that parliament can’t do anything about the result.
Treaties are ratified by the Queen on advice of the government, using the royal prerogative.
Under the codified version of what was the Ponsonby Rule, parliament has twenty-one days before ratification to pass a resolution against a proposed treaty, which can stop ratification until the issues are resolved.
But, when it comes to ending treaties, or the day to day operation of them, once in force, parliament has no say in it whatever.
Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon is in fact an amendment to the Treaty of European Union. Invoking Article 50, by which we notify the EU of our intention to leave is, again, done by way of the royal prerogative, the exercise of which is a matter for the executive and not parliament.
There is no provision for parliament to intervene in the ending of a treaty, only the ratification of a new one.
Parliament may well have considerable say in the terms on which we depart but not about when we depart. Effectively it is in the gift of the Prime Minister to decide when to invoke Art 50.
At the moment she is sensibly waiting to see what arrangements might be workable before she does it, as there is a two-year window, once activated, in which to agree a deal.
One of the EU’s many failings is its inability to make trade agreements.
Two years in EU trade negotiations terms, is not very long at all.
The typical deal takes over six years. Perhaps this helps to explain why Article 50 is not being invoked immediately.
For all we are already single market compliant, it could still take considerable time.
Trolley folly continues
Margaret Thompson, Otley
You really couldn’t make it up - weep citizens of Leeds as your council, who are on your payroll, have an inquiry to see what went wrong at the inquiry! Did no one on the NGT/council actually stop and think when the research came in that the scheme would increase congestion that here was a moment to reflect if they were doing the right thing?
Did no one surmise that putting the scheme through what is arguably the narrowest main road in Leeds – which is so allegedly “congested” that it is peppered with speed cameras – may not be the right way to go? Why did so few elected members actually attend the public inquiry and hear their employees’ lame excuses for poor research, poor public consultation, incorrect figures – I could go on – read the report. And finally, why has no one been sacked?
What’s wrong with politicians
Ian Brooks, Wakefield
What’s the matter with politicians? They just don’t get anything.
They’re supposed to be working for us not the other way round, before the referendum we had a phone call from the Labour party asking if we were voting to remain because that’s what Mary Creagh’s voting! I thought surely she should be voting the way we want, the same goes for bombing Syria, I didn’t want that either.
I also want her and the other local politicians to get behind Jeremy Corbyn as he’s the only true Labour leader we’ve had for many, many years, but apparently he’s not a strong leader because he didn’t support the Remain camp enough? Theresa May didn’t neither and they made her Prime Minister. What does that tell you?
I am disabled and had to take my wife to A&E on Sunday, we were more concerned about getting money to park in the blue badge area, we didn’t want to be fined for parking illegally as we don’t have much money since we retired. I thought this isn’t right, I should be more concerned about my wife’s distress.
It would be nice if Mary Creagh and Yvette Cooper could help Paula Sheriff, who I know is fighting on our behalf to talk to the hospitals and get rid of these charges.
In praise of postcards
Norman J Hazell, Sandal
Since I was young, I have been interested in collecting postage stamps and postcards.
While serving in the RAF I would bombard my girlfriend with cards from wherever my service life took me. Now, many years later, I send postcards to my grandchildren, scattered
around the country and Australia too. As the cost of stamps continues to rise it is becoming rather an expensive occupation and sadly, with Post Office changes, a less rewarding one.
Last Wednesday, I had travelled to Northallerton and after buying postcards, took them to the Post Office, purchased commemorative stamps (Pink Floyd) asking at the counter if the lady would put a neat circular postmark on, rather that have it go to sorting office for a miserable sort of mark.
The lady flatly refused, quoting Post Office rules, telling me “not allowed” and no matter how I pleaded, she was unmoved. Two days later a postcard I had sent to my wife, alas, no circular postmark not even a miserable general mark, but the stamps scribbled over with a biro!
By coincidence, a handbook I had ordered was delivered -or at least an empty envelope- in a plastic bag informing me ‘the contents’ were lost but giving me a number to call.
When I did, after following a trail of machine voices I was told I can do nothing, only the man who posted it can claim compensation, if he has ‘proof of posting’!
When I was first elected to Wakefield Council, I was appointed to serve on Post Office Advisory Committee, which hardly ever met.
A pity there is not one now.
Bold childhood obesity strategy is needed
Professor Parveen Kumar, Board of science chair, British Medical Association
Childhood obesity is one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st century.
In Yorkshire and the Humber, more than a fifth of children in reception class – aged four and five – are overweight or obese. This rises to one in three by the time they reach year six.
Overweight children become overweight adults and as a result are far more likely to develop conditions such as diabetes and heart disease at a younger age than we’ve seen in previous generations. These conditions have a devastating impact on individuals and place a huge financial burden on our already overstretched NHS.
With local councils in England warning this week that government cuts to public health funding could hamper their efforts to tackle obesity, ministers must put our children first.
The government’s desperately needed childhood obesity strategy has been repeatedly delayed, and worryingly, a leaked draft of the document suggests that minister’s pledges to help protect our children, have been watered down after lobbying from the food industry.
It is vital that the government produces a comprehensive and bold childhood obesity strategy with ambitious targets, backed up by legislation, for the reduction of sugar, saturated fat and salt from our food, and introduces restrictions on junk food marketing to prevent manufacturers targeting children.