YEP Letters: February 5

Check out today's YEP letters

Let’s just get on with leaving EU

Geoff Holloran, by email

I read with great interest the comments made by people who voted not to leave the EU, the vast majority of which obviously don’t accept the democratic vote which took place when we voted to leave.

I know exactly how they feel as I was one of the people who voted for us not to join the EU (Common Market) in the early 70s, but when the vote was declared and the people had spoken I accepted the result and hoped for the best, but as many of us had feared, joining the EU was a massive mistake and we have had to sit back and watch as they steadily took control of our immigration, fishing and agricultural policies, not to mention our laws.

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So I say to the people who voted to remain within the EU, sit back and wait and see how we fare without the shackles of the Brussels’ red tape. We have had to bite the bullet for over 40 years, it’s your turn now, so stop clutching at straws asking for a second referendum.Get on with it and back the government to get us a good trading deal with the EU and with other countries around the world.

Leeds should have been leading the way

Jef Waring, Leeds 26

AS reported in the YEP, the Conservative councillor, Andrew Carter, tabled a motion of no confidence in the Leeds City Council’s controversial plan to built 70,000 homes in the city.

This is only the latest of a catalogue of controversial proposals with which the council are, or have been embroiled.

Judging by the letters appearing in the YEP, a large number of the general public also have no confidence in the council due to a variety of many other controversial proposals. My personal reasons for having no confidence are twofold. One is HS2 and the other is the devolution of expenditure from Westminster.

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In the first case, it should have been obvious that the proposed route of HS2 was of no use whatsoever to the citizens of Leeds. The council was visited on numerous occasions by David Cameron, George Osborne, Patrick McLoughlin et al to “sell” it to them, but they just rolled over and accepted that it was “carved in stone”.

At this stage they should have rejected it “out-of-hand” as Sheffield City Council has done with Meadowhall!

In the second case, David Cameron left his microphone switched on when he remarked that we in Leeds were all fighting amongst ourselves, which is the root of our whole problems.

Whilst our council has been prevaricating, Sheffield Council was granted devolved expenditure by George Osborne, since rejected by them.

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We have now had a referendum in Barnsley and Doncaster as to whether or not their citizens wished for devolution of capital to just the Sheffield region, or to the whole of Yorkshire.

For goodness sake, Leeds is the largest city in Yorkshire and should have been leading on this one instead of squabbling amongst themselves!

Suffragette stories in Leeds

Michael Meadowcroft, by email

Congratulations to Aisha Iqbal on the excellent two full pages on Leeds suffragettes and suffragists.

Mary Gawthorpe was from Woodhouse and not Bramley but she ended up as the householder in turn of two terraced houses in Bramley, one of which bears her blue plaque.

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The article mentions that her papers are held in the New York University library but it is important to mention that a full set of the papers, on microfilm are available in the Local and Family History Department of the Leeds Central Library following a successful appeal amongst local enthusiasts in Leeds to enable their purchase. The article also mentions that, Leonora Cohen, Leeds’ other suffragette was arrested and jailed. She was actually imprisoned in Armley jail and, when I interviewed her over 40 years ago, she told me that when she was appointed as a Leeds magistrate in the 1920s and went on a formal visit to Armley prison, she looked at the admissions log and there was her name.

There was no release date shown because, apparently, at the time of Great War, she was quietly released without fuss. She commented, “So, in theory, I was still a prisoner there!”

Rail industry doing good job on East Coast

Rob McIntosh, Managing Director – Network Rail, London North Eastern and East Midlands

Much has been written in the early part of 2018 regarding the current and future state of the existing Virgin Trains franchise on the East Coast Main Line (ECML) which is one of the most important intercity city rail links in the country.

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The ECML operation is complex and our railway hosts more train operators than any of the UK’s intercity routes.

While we, the Department for Transport and Virgin Trains East Coast (VTEC) still have much ground to cover as we work towards resolving the current complex franchise, it was with great delight that I received news from Transport Focus, whose independent survey of 27,000 people confirmed that the three long distance train companies on the route (Grand Central, Hull Trains and VTEC) have been rated the best in the country by the passengers who use them. The same survey rated King’s Cross, the London terminus of the ECML, as the best station in Britain.

The rail industry measures itself in many ways but I would argue that the most important measure is the view of the fare paying passengers who use the network.

These excellent results are a testament to the hard work of the railway family, people who work 24 hours every day of the week along 393-miles of the ECML – to provide passengers with the best possible experience when they interact with the railway.

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It hasn’t happened by accident – we are working closer with our train 
operating partners than ever before, and the creation of the ECML supervisory board, chaired by Welcome to Yorkshire’s pioneering leader Sir Gary Verity, has brought track and train closer and given us a real focus on delivering for the economies and communities our railway serves.

We’re not complacent, and we’ll strive to keep our standards high and improve in the months ahead.

But it’s reassuring, and refreshing, to hear that the people who matter most to us think that together, the rail industry is actually doing a reasonably good job on the East Coast.

Referenda and food banks

Mike Harwood, by email

Since referenda votes seem, at least in the eyes of some, to have become sacrosanct regardless, perhaps we could have one now on food banks?

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A simple question to be put: those for food banks and those against food banks. And those against them (the banksiteers, shall we say?) would have a similar choice: for a hard banksit – that is to close them all down regardless of the effect on the hungry; for a soft banksit – that is to keep things exactly as they are now but just change their name to, say, ‘larders’.

A similar such procedure could be adopted to resolve all our policy issues and would put our political life on such a much more sound footing without straining the minds of our politicians.

Sorry is not good enough

J Aveyard

CONCERNING the devastating flu epidemic, so many people affected, my heartfelt sympathy to those who have suffered and perhaps lost loved ones.

In reality, if our PM and Mr Hunt had taken action several years previously when professional qualified people stressed the importance of boosting the financial resources, supporting deficiencies, treating the lives of people requiring the services of our medical staff, no support was forthcoming.

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I feel my conclusions are not isolated observations, can you wonder that our magnificent qualified doctors and nursing staff are left with no alternative but to seek opportunities abroad? I did hear our PM speak on TV about the flu crisis, she was heard to say sorry! On this occasion sorry is a pathetic remark. Sorry is just not good enough.

Get on board with Sea Cadets

Captain Phil Russell RN, Captain Sea Cadets

This February, Sea Cadets – a national youth charity with 400 units across the country – is calling on young people aged between 10 and 17 to come on board to see how being a cadet can make a difference to their lives.

We offer water-based and land-based adventure at a heavily-subsidised cost, opening up countless opportunities to all young people, regardless of their background. Throughout February, our #NeverOrdinary campaign aims to raise awareness of what the charity has to offer.

With us, you can enjoy sailing, kayaking, rowing and power-boating, as well as life-changing offshore voyages on one of our five vessels. But did you know we also offer so much more, including first-aid training, rock-climbing, five-a-side football, band practice, physical training and marine engineering, as well as an International Exchange Programme and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award?

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We are always looking for volunteers to help, too. You don’t need any qualifications; all you need is commitment and enthusiasm. We will provide the training.

In a recent survey by Sea Cadets, 79% of our cadets said they get useful qualifications with us, while 94% of parents said they felt their child’s self-confidence, motivation and team work had “greatly improved” at Sea Cadets. To find out how you can benefit, visit:

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