YEP Letters: September 26

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Check out today’s YEP letters

Historic missed opportunity for the region

Michael McGowan, Former Labour MEP for Leeds, Chapel Allerton

Further to your report that a devolution deal for a fragmented Yorkshire region is “very close” (Yorkshire Evening Post, 24 September) it will be an historic missed opportunity for the region if it goes ahead.

Unfortunately the competing bids from different parts of the region have lacked ambition and been dominated by parochial and tribal rivalry which is a serious threat to the economic development in Yorkshire and region’s influence and reputation in Europe and beyond.

The Europe Union operates on the basis of a “Europe of the regions” and despite the names of the great cities of Leeds and Sheffield one single voice speaking on behalf of the whole of Yorkshire will have far more clout in Europe.

There is no doubt that the lack of Yorkshire solidarity on the part of the Sheffield City Region which quickly settled for city region status has pulled the rug from under the feet of the rest of Yorkshire and the prospects for a Yorkshire wide devolution.

And I have to say that the term “Greater Yorkshire” is misleading nonsense as it refers to Yorkshire minus the Sheffield City Region which is in fact a “Lesser Yorkshire”.

Yorkshire has a population slightly bigger than Scotland and the brand name of Yorkshire is as distinctive and potentially influential in Europe as the names of Bavaria and Catalonia..

We must make sure that whatever the outcome of the present negotiations, it is essential to build a strong all embracing Yorkshire region where emerging bodies and everyone can come together to work for a more prosperous, vibrant, and influential Yorkshire within the UK, in Europe, and internationally.

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Temperatures were raised

J Kirk, by email

Oh dear! I seem to to have raised a few temperatures in my response to L. Goodwill’s original post regarding people fleeing war torn countries in terror.

At no point did I ever use the word “refugee or immigrants” and I like to think I have the intellect to understand correctly the words I choose, without the use of a dictionary.

I am perfectly aware that we live on a island (I was born on it!) Surely that makes it difficult for these people to get here uninvited. Why is Ms Goodwill confusing illegal entry by those seeking to exploit our state with those who are genuine victims of tyranny welcomed by the wealthier nations of Europe?

Does Ms Goodwill really believe this great nation of ours doesn’t have a pot to aim in, when we donate hundreds of millions of pounds in foreign aid and billions are set aside for a railway line?

If you love your country, you return to it, it’s called patriotism. How many Syrians were prepared to take the heartbreaking decision to hand over their children and return to their homeland as long as it secured them a better life?

I’m English through and through,

I’m no Saint George either, but when I see suffering on such a scale my hand is out-stretched to my fellow man regardless of race or religion.

Voters should have a say

A Ward, Leeds 8

The letter from P Kelleher about Leeds City Council’s plans to donate £100,000 to charities working with refugees was an eye-opener.

After reading this article myself on the YEP website, I feel that this news must be made public, and we, the voting public, should have a say in the distribution of any donations.

On how many other occasions have our representatives donated such large amounts without consultation? And why those particular charities anyway? There must be dozens of deserving causes crying out for even a quarter of that money.

I will be making my feelings felt by writing to my local councillor and I suggest anyone who feels strongly about this issue to do the same. Information like this should be open to anyone not hidden away on a website that isn’t available to everyone.

Problem is over population

D S Boyes, Leeds 13

THAT some have been on Leeds’ social housing waiting list for over ten years comes as no surprise. This deplorable situation is a terrible indictment of not only both past and present Conservative governments, but also ‘New’ Labour who in three consecutive terms of office did nothing to reserve the right to buy scheme.

I recall the first 12 years of my life in council property, first in 1946 seriously overcrowded with two families of four adults, three children in one three-bed Sandford estate house, with from 1948 a two-bed Thoresby House Quarry Hill flat like heaven to my parents until by 1957 they got their own place.

Today must be a nightmare for families enduring a nomadic lifestyle in private rented accommodation on a shorthold assured tenancy - those replacing the former strictly regulated rights and tenancy agreements which made that market so unattractive to investors 40 years ago.

But no-one will face up to the real problem in Leeds and everywhere else, over population, because until population growth can be accurately measured no accurate demographic plans for the provision of social or private housing, school places, healthcare, welfare benefits and state pensions can be made.

Cycling in the 21st century

A Hague, Leeds 9

WHILE I agree with the letter of Richard Wade to bring cyclists into the 21st century, the idea of brake lights and indicator lights is going a bit far.

Just getting them to wear reflective waistcoats would be a good start as many won’t fork out for lights and still wear dark clothing. Those with sense wear a helmet and lights but it’s the riffraff who don’t and our police should catch those who ride down one way roads and all over the place.

A heavy fine or banned from our roads would help keep all our pedestrians and traffic, including our genuine cyclists who are sick of them (including myself).

Last week I was passing through Torre Road towards York Road when a cyclist turned right onto Torre Road instead of going round the roundabout, almost colliding with me.