YEP letters: November 29

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Leeds’ South Bank, the need for more social housing, using mobiles whilst driving and the death of Cuba’s Fidel Castro all brought comment from our readers in today’s letters.

He was an inspiration to many

Martin Deane, Hull and East Riding Green Party

My deepest condolences to the people and government of Cuba on the passing of Fidel Castro at 90.

Since leading the Cuban revolution in 1959, Fidel Castro kept his promises in the face of a hostile neighbour. The people of Cuba gave him their support through the leanest of times. He kept them safe, he kept them fed. He gave them what he could and produced an egalitarian state, an enviable sense of community, and an honest pride. It’s the end of an astonishingly robust era when one little island stood against the powers of coercive capitalism, and won. The news blithely paints him as a communist dictator, but millions around the world and those that have had the privilege of visiting Cuba know otherwise.

The Revolution changed the face of the island. Cubans live longer then Americans, more children live to adulthood then the capital of the richest country on Earth, and have more doctors per capita then anywhere on the planet.

Castro turned Cuba around from being a corrupt dictatorship under Batista. It is saddening, but not surprising, the amount of vitriol he is receiving from official enemies in some western countries even before he is laid to rest. For all his faults and the questionable nature of elements of Cuban “socialism”, the left mourns the loss of Fidel Castro. He was an inspiration to many.

We need a mix of housing

Rob Greenland, Leeds Community Homes, Cross Green Lane, Leeds

I FOUND your features on the proposals for the South Bank area of Leeds very interesting last week. I was particularly interested in the focus on housing and the desire to develop a real sense of community in the area as it grows.

I am involved with an organisation called Leeds Community Homes – which plans to be involved in creating 1000 affordable homes in Leeds over the next 10 years. We are currently raising money to purchase our first sixteen affordable homes – and these will be in the South Bank area.

To create a real sense of community in the area, we think it is crucial that there is a real mix of housing – 
including family housing and homes that are affordable to rent and buy to people on lower incomes.

We are keen to play our part to ensure that South Bank becomes a great place to live over the next 30 years.

If people would like to find out more about investing in our community share offer, to create our first sixteen “people-powered homes” please visit www.leedscommunityhomes.org.uk.

Some reporting does not bear close scrutiny

T Maunder, Kirkstall

Fidel Castro has died, aged 90. As expected, the BBC focused in one report on his “wealthy” family background. Of what relevance is that compared to his positive achievements in Cuba? Particularly in face of the challenges from the oh-so perfect America, which has no poverty, no institutional racism, has a true democracy, a superb voting system, an unblemished foreign policy record and has never committed war crimes.

People used to talk about the old USSR “brainwashing” people – some news reporting here and in America does not bear close scrutiny.

Stop repeating Castro mantra

Mike Harwood, solicitor (non practising) , De Lacy Mount, Kirkstall, Leeds

I AM a little sick of it: the mantra is repeated that Castro brought us to the edge of a nuclear war. How?

By, the mantra is repeated, planning to site nuclear weapons in Cuba – only 60 miles from the USA. (Let me remind that this so-called ‘land of freedom’ is a land that had been stolen from its original owners, the native Americans, and made rich not without the slave labour of black Africans).

By the same measure the United States was only 60 miles from the coast of Cuba, and already had enough nuclear weapons sited on its own territory to destroy not just Cuba but the world (and was in the process of deploying yet more in Italy and Turkey). Cuba was threatening because it was being threatened.

The USA, still does have nuclear weapons and Cuba still does not.

I am not taking sides; though in a country such as the UK of increasing food kitchens and disparity between wealth and poverty, let us also remind ourselves that the Castro revolutionaries did lead the Cuban people out of the corrupt and repressive dictatorship of Batista, the American mafia, wide scale violence, torture and public executions, poverty – I could go on – into something like education, health and a meal .

We need a mix of housing

Rob Greenland, Leeds Community Homes, Cross Green Lane, Leeds

I FOUND your features on the proposals for the South Bank area of Leeds very interesting last week. I was particularly interested in the focus on housing and the desire to develop a real sense of community in the area as it grows.

I am involved with an organisation called Leeds Community Homes – which plans to be involved in creating 1000 affordable homes in Leeds over the next 10 years. We are currently raising money to purchase our first sixteen affordable homes – and these will be in the South Bank area.

To create a real sense of community in the area, we think it is crucial that there is a real mix of housing – 
including family housing and homes that are affordable to rent and buy to people on lower incomes.

We are keen to play our part to ensure that South Bank becomes a great place to live over the next 30 years.

If people would like to find out more about investing in our community share offer, to create our first sixteen “people-powered homes” please visit www.leedscommunityhomes.org.uk.

Need for more social housing

Dr Glyn Powell, Bakersfield Drive, Kellington

With rapidly rising numbers of homelessness, Britain faces a catastrophic housing crisis. This government is currently responsible for a ridiculously low level of new houses. With almost all being built for purchase.

What is needed is houses built by local councils for rent. Without action in this direction, the nation will face housing exploitation that will make the horrors of the 1950’s and 60’s, Rachmanism pale into insignificance.

Due to people being unable to buy a house, many are compelled to rent in the private sector, where most rents are extortionate. Furthermore, tenancy agreements are harsh and the condition of many rented properties leaves much to be desired.

There is an obvious need to redress these imbalances in the private rented sector by the introduction of fair rent tenancy agreements. However, I would be surprised if a Tory government would introduce such legislation.

This government instead of wasting billions on projects like HS2 should divert the money to pay for a massive social house building programme. As a roof over a persons head is a basic human need. Also in the 5th richest economy, few should be homeless.

Time to get the class in order

John Cole, Oakroyd Terrace, Baildon.

For 30 years I was a secondary school teacher and learned to read the signs that a teacher was losing control of his or her class. (I speak from experience – sometimes it was mine).

I see the same tell-tale signs now with Mrs May and her cabinet. There is a stridency and a tendency to over-assert the strength of their Brexit position. Phrases like “Brexit means Brexit” and “the people have spoken” are parroted as if that should end the debate. Just as the teacher who is losing control resorts to “Because I said so”.

It would be surprising if there were not growing desperation in cabinet ranks given the daily increase in evidence emerging that Brexit will do us harm and that the easy options that were paraded in the run in to the referendum are not on offer - and frankly never were.

When the Commons held a meeting of the “Exiting the European Union Committee” where three expert witnesses provided chapter and verse as to just how things are already going wrong and will get worse in future.

Arrogance of liberal elite

Alan Thompson, Bramhope, Leeds

During the referendum campaign I was persistently advised by people to “Think of our children and our grandchildren” when deciding how to vote.

I didn’t. I thought of my parents and grandparents generations who fought two world wars to prevent this country from being run by a foreign country or countries and I was never going to betray their extreme courage and, in hundreds of thousands of cases, the ultimate sacrifices they made.

Lord Kerr of Kinlochard, has accused the leave voters as being stupid and trashing the country. For this privileged, “ermined “ individual to insist that we are better off being governed from a country that was overrun by a country that overran them is the epitome of betrayal. Lord Kerr is suffused with the all-consuming arrogance of the Liberal elite.

This would stop mobile use

Mick Kale, by email

I READ with interest your column on the scale of drivers’ illegal phone use.

The only way to me to try
an eradicate drivers using mobile phones while driving 
is when the police stop them 
is to take their vehicle from them.

The police could then put it in a lock up, until the driver has to pay for the vehicle to be released.

If they do not pay then the vehicle would then be crushed.