YEP Letters: May 9

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SO, PARLIAMENT has voted to construct HS2, the controversial line between London, Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester. However, they are starting at the London end and working their way north.

Has no one involved got any idea of the idiocy of such a plan? When the Victorians were building railways they started at each end and worked to the middle. Indeed, when constructing Blea Moor Tunnel on the Settle & Carlisle Railway they started at each end and from the middle, working outwards.

When you look at Eurostar, did they start from London and work towards Brussels and Paris? No, they started from Brussels and Paris and London. Similarly the tunnel was built both from England and France and met in the middle.

One thing I will say in HS2’s favour is that high speed rail is a wonderful form of travel. I have used Eurostar on a number of occasions and to get from London to Brussels in one hour and 59 minutes is am unforgettable experience. It is like being on an aeroplane (with a lot more space), which does not take off. So speed is useful. I once had a day trip to Bruges and spent three hours there.

So, Mr Cameron, let us start building from Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds as well as London. Start together and meet at Birmingham and then business all over the North will get equal benefits and not have to wait for the proposed completion date of 2032.

Mel Smart MCIT, Farsley

Dodgers are not business people

MALCOLM NICHOLSON of Barwick-in-Elmet asks why do hardworking people bother paying taxes (Your views, May 7).

The answer is we don’t have any choice as tax is deducted from our pay before we get it, and we pay tax on absolutely everything we buy. No tax avoidance schemes for ordinary people just the wealthy, who add insult to injury by paying their workers the minimum wage, often on zero hour contracts, thus forcing them to claim benefits.

I know of several multi-millionaire business people who would still be very wealthy if they didn’t exploit both the tax loopholes and the minimum wage.

Though in my view they are not business people, as a business is supposed to generate enough profit to provide those employed by it with a living wage.

Though there are many employers who could easily afford to pay a living wage but don’t – simply because they don’t have to.

Not bad getting the honest tax-paying workers to subsidise the wages bill while dodging tax on excess profits to keep for yourself – anyone can work for a pittance as long as it’s not them.

Derek Barker, Moortown

Seeking asylum is no illegal act

ERNEST LUNDY blurs the line between asylum seekers and immigration in his letter (YEP, April 4).

First there is no such thing as an ‘illegal’ asylum seeker. Under International Law, anyone has the right to apply for asylum in any country that has signed the 1951 Convention and remain there until the authorities have assessed their claim.

Asylum seekers are usually fleeing from conflicts and human rights abuses, looking for safety. No country has ever withdrawn from the UN convention and I’m not aware of any UK political party suggesting we do either.

The UK takes less than three per cent of the world’s refugees, in fact most are looked after by poor countries throughout the world, for example there are a million Syrian refugees currently in Lebanon.

I understand Mr Lundy’s concern over the problems he highlights regarding shortages of jobs, housing and lengthening GP and hospital waiting lists. However, his conclusion that it is due to immigration isn’t supported by the evidence.

A recent study by University College London concluded immigrants coming to the UK since 2000 have made a “substantial” contribution to public finances.

Furthermore hospital waiting lists and unemployment both fell under the last Labour government and access to GPs was faster despite an increase in EU migration in the period.

This Government’s policies are to blame for the problems ordinary people are facing. Roll on 2015.

Kevin Ritchie, Moorland View, Bramley

Fat Brits should ditch street food

STREET FOOD? Who needs it? I sometimes think I’m in a small minority because I like to get my feet under the table in order to enjoy a meal.

What’s more, the sight of the wandering hordes of perpetual munchers feeding their faces on ‘street food’ does not add joy to my day. The sight of a small child, face smeared with ice cream, always raises a smile. The same cannot be said of the many fatsos wobbling down the street, adding to their tonnage by cramming street food into their ever open facial orifice. Can’t these people wait until they get home? Are they really so famished that they must interrupt even their shopping for yet another feed?

Street food has its place. For example, in the Far East where millions of people have to live in tiny apartments with little room for cooking and family eating and where the climate is suitable for eating ‘al fresco’.

This does not apply to the UK and its overfed population of monstrous fatties.

Mr T Crawford, by email

Seventh heaven over United rant

I’D JUST like to express my appreciation to the contributors of Your Views for their response to A Viggars’ mindless rant against my initial letter merely stating that Manchester United fans got the owners the club deserved.

I personally thought his view didn’t warrant a riposte from me, but yes, the claim of supporting an unnamed ‘seventh tier team’ was a dead giveaway.

G Waite, Leeds 11

Red Ed nothing like Iron Lady

FOR THE Labour leader Ed Miliband to compare himself with Margaret Thatcher beggars belief.

When she was alive he wasn’t fit even to clean her shoes.

The main reason he will never be anything like Margaret Thatcher is because she at least had the courage to take on the unions. In his case the unions are taking him on.

While running the country she managed to send a task force to the Falklands and at the same time sorted Scargill out. She truly was the ”Iron Lady” in every sense.

“Red Ed” has as much claim to fame to the mantle of Lady Thatcher as Silvio Berlusconi had to that of Julius Caesar.

Malcolm Nicholson, Barwick-in-Elmet

Sarcasm or just plain ignorant?

IN RESPONSE to the letter from T Maunders entitled “Jobs for Awake Nurses” (YEP, March 31), I can’t work out if T Maunder is serious sarcastic or just plain ignorant. After seeing jobs advertised for “waking night nurses” does he think they would advertise such a position, and mean it for them to stay awake?

Our nurses who work in a very challenging environment for less pay than they deserve barely have time to drink a cup of tea, let alone sleep on a night shift. Our nurses do a fantastic job and can well do without back biting jibes from ill-informed members of the public. Does T Maunder think when they advertise for miners they actually want children?

Gary Heaton, by email

Leeds City Train Station. Picture Tony Johnson

YEP Letters: October 13