YEP Letters: June 1

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Credit to Colonel for City Square

Michael Meadowcroft, Leeds 13

Your series “Five things you should know about ...” is invariably very illuminating but by its very format it can sometimes be much too short to give a real picture.

That was the case with the piece on City Square, (YEP May 30). Any article on City Square really has to mention that the concept for its layout came from Colonel T Walter Harding, a long serving member of the Leeds City Council, the founder of the city’s art gallery and the city’s Lord Mayor in 1898-99.

He also paid for the statue of the Black Prince out of his own pocket. It is appropriate that the Hardings’ Tower Works in Holbeck are currently being sensitively redeveloped for modern use.

BA has learned nothing from history

Andrew Pearson, Beeston

The British Airways debacle takes some beating. “The world’s favourite airline?” That’s not a strapline we hear much of these days.

What a calamity for those thousands of people (holiday makers and business-people) stranded at Heathrow and Gatwick for hours on Saturday only for our national carrier to tell them all flights that day were cancelled (and people stranded overseas as well).

In 2002 I flew from Manchester to Gatwick and on to Antigua and the BA computer crashed back then (so this is not a new problem) but they dealt with it by dealing with passengers at check-in manually. The upshot was we just made the Gatwick-Antigua connection but our luggage didn’t. Still, we got $400 Caribbean compensation (as we had only the clothes we were standing up in) and our baggage got to St. Kitts a day later.

The irony was being told by a BA agent (when we booked the flight) that LIAT – Leeward Islands Air Transport – running on Caribbean timing was “notoriously late.” Not true. Their planes were bang on schedule and British Airways were dreadful.

It seems as if, fifteen years later, British Airways has learned nothing from its history. At least I now know which airline not to use again.

Defending our public services

Gabriel Pepper, by email

I want to write to defend our public services in Yorkshire.

I love Yorkshire, and I will fight for its decent services and social justice.

All my life I have lived in North Yorkshire, and have never seen things as bad as they are now, and I am 74. I am now disabled, and I can see the value of the system I paid into all my life. Only Jeremy Corbyn will stand up for ordinary people in UK.

Opinion polls are irrelevant after Donald Trump. The media say that supporters of Jeremy Corbyn are delusional, but far from this myth of a weak leadership, disabled people believe that Jeremy Corbyn is a man of exceptional decency, integrity and honour.

Yes – I have grey hair but I am a Corbyn supporter. Our logic is that it takes a fantastically strong man to stand up for the weak and the vulnerable.

We think that Jeremy Corbyn is actually displaying an awe-inspiring rectitude, we think that Jeremy Corbyn is actually very noble. In contrast we point to the parlous jungle capitalism of a feral elite, using everything in their power to destroy Jeremy Corbyn along with their Blairite chums.

We think of the Tories as brutal bullies. Once upon a time, there were some decent Tories, but all that remains seems to be a disgusting detritus.

Please vote Labour at the General Election.

Please defend the public services of Yorkshire.

A nightmare in store for UK?

Alan Chapman, Bingley

DECISION day is approaching.

If Labour were to pull off a shock win what a nightmare is in store for the UK; not only will Jeremy Corbyn become Prime Minister, but what about the other major Offices of State?

Do you really want John McDonnell as Chancellor of the Exchequer, Emily Thornberry as Foreign Secretary and Diane Abbott as Home Secretary?

It looks so frightening that I dare not research any further down the list.

Consider the global issues

Dominica Richmond, Leeds 20

During this election campaign, I am concerned with who will represent Pudsey in the next parliament.

There are many important local and national issues at stake. As a supporter of Catholic aid agency CAFOD, I hope that candidates of all parties in Pudsey will consider global issues too, and commit to build on Britain’s proud record in looking outwards and working with others to tackle poverty, inequality and climate change.

We live in an interconnected world. To say we can’t help people at home if we help them abroad is to present a false choice.

We are big enough to do both: it is who we are and what we stand for.

Negotiating best Brexit deal

Jim Pike, Leeds

NOW that “Brexit” is the official policy of all parties likely to win the election, I am reminded of an episode from my civil service career back in 1973.

We were “renegotiating” our entry into the European Economic Community, and I was in the Department of Trade and Industry.

Our Assistant Secretary, a lady I’ll call Miss Smith (not her real name), went to Brussels to negotiate with her opposite numbers.

The French and German teams knew that Miss Smith wanted to catch a late afternoon plane back to London, so they deliberately refused to compromise.

So Miss Smith deliberately let the plane go. She continued to negotiate. Time passed, and the Europeans began to look worried. She continued into the evening.

They suggested an adjournment, but she refused and continued to hold them in talks. They finally capitulated to the British position – at 3.15am the following morning!

I can see Miss Smith, now, cheerfully sitting on a desk and telling us the tale, before going home for some well-earned sleep.

No wonder that her staff adored her. In the months that lie ahead, I think Mrs May is going to need quite a few Miss Smiths.

Time to make PE optional

Diana Priestley, Darley Dale

SO exams are stressing pupils and blighting their lives.

Headteacher Jo Fiddes describes them as “cruel”. They are, however, a preparation for life, which involves testing of many kinds – I recall the driving test as particularly stressful – and for difficult interviews which could have life-changing results.

However, what I have never seen is an article describing how stressful PE is to a child who has no interest in, and no capacity for, for example, contact sports.

I am such a person, and I believe that lesson after lesson of PE undermined my self-confidence in one way (“never volunteer for anything”) and developed my ability to dodge to a high standard.Removal of this torture from the timetable for those of my opinion, or, better still, allowing a choice to involve music, drama, needlework, crafts (all under threat in 
a crowded curriculum) would be much more constructive.

Indeed, speaking to a man who was an organist and a lecturer in music at a training college, we asked him what had made him decide to move on from childhood piano lessons to take up the organ. His answer, “organ lessons took place in PE”, made us laugh, but in fact this had made a career for him, besides much personal satisfaction.

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YEP Letters: October 19