YEP Letters: June 26

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Greg could have been Lib Dem leader

P Rhodes, Leeds

IT was sad to see the Lib Dem MP Greg Mulholland lose his seat in the 2017 general election.

If Greg had held his seat and with the Lib Dem leader Tim Fallon standing down as the leader I would have liked to have seen Greg Mulholland take over as the next leader of the Liberal Democrats. He was a first-class constituency MP and he would have been a first- class leader.

Let’s hope we have not heard the last of Greg Mulholland.

Local parties could be kingmakers

Chris Whitwood, Deputy Leader, Yorkshire Party

IT seems Theresa May is a woman of her word. Prior to the General Election, we were warned against a coalition of chaos. Few believed it would happen and yet she has emphatically delivered – just not in the form anyone was expecting.

The result of this monumental misjudgment is a minority government that is rapidly being forced to come to terms with a May/DUP friendship with its Northern Irish counterparts. The DUP will exact a high price for their co-operation, most likely in the form of investment for Northern Ireland’s schools, healthcare and infrastructure.

London’s focus has been forcefully shifted outside of the Westminster bubble. Just as the SNP’s crushing victories drew the eyes of the government north of the border, heads in Whitehall now look to the west.

The interests of a small number of voters now hold enormous political sway in Parliament. This is the result, firstly, of a voting system afflicted with an increasingly ulcerous democratic deficit. However, it is a clear indication of the potential that smaller parties have, even under first past the post.

Had their voters in Northern Ireland instead opted for, say, the NI Conservatives, those MPs would have been absorbed into a much larger Conservative bloc where their voices would have been far less audible and May would be sitting in a far prettier position. However, by turning out in large numbers for a non-mainstream party, the portion of the electorate whom the DUP represent, have become kingmakers – able to demand investment and political preference.

The morning after the election, the PM promised business as usual. Westminster obliged by, as usual, overlooking the needs of much of England, including Yorkshire. Yet far from the electoral earthquake in Northern Ireland, a reading of a different sort flickered on the political Richter Scale. The Yorkshire Party, recently formed to give a voice to our neglected region, is now the sixth most voted-for party in England and registered on a national level, finishing third in three seats, outpolling the Liberal Democrats in seven seats and the Green Party in five. Not bad for a party not yet four years old.

If voters in Yorkshire can learn anything from the current constitutional crisis, it is that if enough of us support local parties, not only will we turn the heads of those in Westminster, but Yorkshire, once itself a royal throne of kings, could once more be kingmaker.

Single market is our domestic market

Michael McGuire, Leeds.

THOSE in favour of Brexit always seem so dismissive of the single market when the single market is effectively our domestic market (it is as easy to sell to Berlin consumers as it is Leeds consumers).

What we are effectively giving up is 440 million of our 500 million consumers in the hope we might get less easy access to them in return for better access to trade (that we already have) with people on far distant shores.

Barmy. The other favourite of Brexiteers is that “being in the Customs Union is still being in the EU” which must be surprising news to Turkey! The UK is the only country in history to vote for economic sanctions – on itself.

Attack on the vulnerable

Don Webb, Rothwell

THERESA May made the mistake of thinking the electorate was stupid. After all we had a referendum regarding leaving the EU and the majority voted to do so, in the knowledge that we would leave the single market etc.

Mrs May then triggered Article 50 and a date for negotiations was set. Mrs May then told us of her strong position regarding these negotiations. So why call a General Election? Could it be she wanted carte blanche to continue her attack on the vulnerable?

Courageous stands

Chris Schorah, Leeds.

I’D like to commend two men of faith for their recent courageous stands.

First, Mak Chishty, once the country’s most senior Muslim police officer, who has become one of the few leading Muslims to admit that the dangers of terrorism lie within mosques and that the Islamic community needs to recognise this and take action.

Then Tim Farron, who has been willing to resign because his role as leader of the Liberal Democrats can’t be reconciled with his Christian beliefs.

Admirable though both these actions are, it says something that such honesty and principled action is rare.

Concern for LGBT equality

Coun Ryan Case, Wakefield Council’s LGBT Champion

The General Election on June 8 resulted in a hung parliament with the Conservatives now aiming to enter into an agreement with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).

As the LGBT champion for the council, I have been contacted by residents across the district who have expressed their concerns regarding the DUP stance on same sex marriage and wider LGBT rights.

It is right that in 2017 all members of society are awarded the same freedoms and protections and it is, of course, concerning that a party which has blocked equality in Northern Ireland will be in a key position of power in Westminster. The details of the agreement between the Conservatives and the DUP are not yet fully known but any agreement must ensure that hard won equality rights are protected. We will be keeping a close eye on the details of any agreement and, if there is an attempt to undermine equality legislation, the council will, of course, take this issue further.

Concern over cladding

Martin J Phillips, Leeds 16

While the Director of Housing in Leeds, Neil Evans, says that none of the tower blocks in Leeds have cladding comparable to London’s Grenfell Tower (YEP June 23), what he failed to state is whether the cladding on Leeds tower blocks is fire resistant.

Mr Evans also mentions that Leeds tower blocks have ‘compartmentalisation’. Grenfell Tower had compartmentalisation but it did not stop the fire spreading there.

Boris in parallel universe

James Vaughan, Otley.

IF the best alternative leader to Theresa May is Boris Johnson, it is in the interests of the whole country to rally round the Prime Minister. The Foreign Secretary was on the radio the other day and was clearly clueless when asked about domestic policy, never mind Brexit. He clearly lives, and operates, in a parallel universe.

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YEP Letters: August 18