YEP Letters: June 11

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Have your say

While the intention behind it may be admirable, there seems little point in the council wasting money on cutting red tape and introducing more plain-speaking (YEP, June 9).

The reason people don’t interact with the council is because they seldom feel that it does any good.

Local people’s views on many issues are canvassed and then ignored.

Planning issues seem to be always dependent upon the opinions of ‘someone else’ to decide.

At the current public inquiry into the trolleybus scheme, witness after witness states that it’s not them who wrote the report/did the research/can answer that question.

Local people feel impotent and patronised with sham ‘consultations’ which in so many instances are debating things which seem to have already been decided.

Margaret Thompson, Headingley

Cafe pram ban makes sense

IN regard to the pram ban imposed by Seven Arts cafe in Chapel Allerton (YEP, June 7), I really don’t understand the problem.

My son has just turned three so luckily rarely needs his pram, but there are lots of places around the city that have this ban in place.

I’m from Horsforth and it is the same in the local children’s centre and health centre, where prams must be left outside.

Roundhay Park restaurant has the same ban, with prams having to be left in the entrance.

The fact is that prams take up space and make it difficult for staff and patrons to move around safely with hot food and beverages.

If your baby is asleep then carry them or return later.

I think the ban is logical, depending on what space is available.

At the end of the day, it’s your choice whether to visit the establishment or not.

Jenni May, Horsforth

The grammar school myth

Could I just remind Malcolm Nicholson, who blames the fact that this country is run by privately-educated men on the Labour Party’s closure of grammar schools (YEP, June 9), that Labour made free secondary education for all available after the Second World War?

Before that, those who couldn’t pay had to leave at 13.

All those who rail against the closure of the grammar schools never seem to fight for the return of the secondary moderns that 90 per cent of the pupils were sent to, for years being denied the opportunity to take the same exam courses as the fortunate few allocated to the grammar schools.

The 11-plus pass mark was also lower for boys, thus discriminating against girls.

I am at a loss to understand why Mr Nicholson thinks having an Oxford education would prevent politicians from fighting for a more equal and fair society and fighting against the ever increasing wealth of the top few per cent in our society.

Val Goldthorp, Leeds

I suspect that the real reason this country is run by privately-educated men is because of connections rather than grammar school closures.

A case in point is Sir Mark Thatcher.

He left Harrow with three O-levels and failed three accountancy exams but is a multi-millionaire, despite his failings.

Walt Emsley, Gipton

No sense in this Tour planning

CAN you please tell me who has made such a complete mess of arranging the Tour Makers for the Grand Départ?

We were told that we were ‘the eyes and ears of the event and our local knowledge was going to be a great help’.

In that case, can you please explain why I have been asked to go to just outside York – almost 30 miles away from where I live?

Nigel Francis, Otley

Students are missing out

I am a part-time student at Deacon House College in Seacroft studying Spanish.

While I am at present a full-time carer for my mother, I and my fellow students wish to continue with our learning.

Leeds City College officials are now proposing stopping all Spanish lessons at Deacon House, even though the funding is available and the college is not losing any money at all.

They state that the reason for their proposal is that their priorities for adult learning are to help adults return to the labour market and support non-learners living in deprived areas to access learning.

They say the Spanish programme typically has small class sizes and students who wish to study for personal development and social reasons do not fall into these categories.

While I and my fellow students acknowledge the class sizes, we feel that this is because the Spanish programme is not as widely publicised as the English, maths and other part-time courses.

Learning a second language is essential in today’s global economy and Spanish is the world’s third most spoken language.

Deacon House will continue to run courses such as Researching your Ancestry and Arts and Crafts. Are we to believe that such courses are helping people back into the labour market?

Linda Halliday, Gipton

Parties create Muslim unease

The recent comments that some schools in Birmingham had been subject to extreme views by some of the Muslim community have created a lot of interest in the media.

However governments representing the Conservative, Labour and Liberal parties have done very little over time to assist the integration of minority communities.

Arranged marriages appear to be a common feature in some Muslim communities, something that would be viewed as completely unacceptable by any government if this was practiced by the British public at large.

Listening to prominent members of the Birmingham Muslim community condemn the investigation of the schools in question, I cannot help wondering how many of these people decide who their sons and daughters are to marry.

Parents who are prepared to decide who their children will marry are unlikely to approve an education system where social intercourse between males and females could prejudice a future arranged marriage.

It is time the Government admitted that the integration of minority communities in Britain has been a complete failure and constantly redefining the problems created simply emphasises this failure.

John Fisher, Harrogate

Summer has not started yet

ON June 1, someone on TV informed us that summer started that day and lasted until the end of August and that the other three seasons had similar dates. On whose authority have these changes been made?

For all of my 77 years the seasons have changed in relation to the phases of the moon and the place of the sun.

For example, June 21 is the summer solstice, the date for the start of summer.

Solstice is made up from two Latin words – ‘sol’ meaning sun and ‘stice’ meaning to stand still.

Hence seasons change quarterly; this year on March 21, June 21, September 21 and December 21.

I look forward to someone telling me who changed these long established dates and on what authority.

Canon Michael Storey, Brighouse

YEP Letters: August 18