YEP Letters: March 23

Chck out today's YEP letters.

Memories of author Barry Hines

Terry Maunder, Kirkstall

And so this horrible year goes on, artistically speaking. Barry Hines has died aged 76 from a long standing dementia.

He is, understandably, best known for the novel that was adapted for the 1969 film Kes directed by Ken Loach. His most recent publication was This Artistic Life, a collection of previously unpublished pieces in 2009.

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He was a teacher and wrote some of his early work after lessons apparently. Loach also made a film Looks And Smiles for which Hines wrote the script.

The lads who were punished in the film Kes were of course actually properly caned across the knuckles/hands as you can tell from their faces. Method acting eh? I still have my much thumbed copy of Kestrel, bought in the early 70s but by then published simply as Kes.

Michael Lowry, Cookridge

It is incredible to think that we allow, or even encourage our representatives – for this read local council planners - to enable wealthy developers to build on known flood plains.

Leeds is a case in point. For several years, a well known developer has tried to obtain permission to build hundreds of expensive new houses on a site that it known to flood.

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The site, Moseley (Soggy) Bottom in Cookridge, north Leeds, is almost certainly host to an underground water source which ensures that it remains soaked all year round.

The site discharges water in the adjacent Moseley Beck, which flows into the River Aire in Leeds (that is it flows into the river which has then flowed into Leeds residences).

Locals will recall December 2015 and the devastating floods in nearby Kirkstall, when homes and businesses were deluged, some without recovery.

Yet, and this is the rub, despite being provided with technical evidence and expert testimony, the planners roll over and allow applications such as this one to go ahead. The answer to why, is simple, they have targets to meet, and in the short term at least get an income for allowing such builds.

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It’s the long term that causes concern, as the same council (and rate payers) will later foot the bill for damage caused by increasing floods. By that time the developers will have trousered the loot and moved on scot free.

Now here is my point; imagine someone advised you that to go ahead and import tens of thousands of tons of building materials onto a soaked site would in simple terms equate to a fat bloke sitting in a full bath, and you live downstairs, how would you feel? First if you were friends with the fat bloke you might ask him to take a shower and ease the drain on the plumbing and your ceiling, or perhaps if he was not a friend or acquaintance you might complain in advance and hope that he saw sense and made alternative arrangements.

Failing all of the preceding, you complain to an organisation with responsibility; in this case council planners.

However, the reality is that these same planners are likely to benefit from your ultimate disaster and turn their collective back on you.

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That is the reality of the current plight of residents in Cookridge, the fat guy wants to jump in the full bath and the council will take income from it.

EU becoming less democratic

Roger Smith, by email

What planet is Sheena Vigors on when she says she would like greater democratic control given to the European Parliament and reform of the Common Agricultural Policy?

A fat chance when we are subsidising the French agricultural system, the EU is becoming less democratic by the year, all decisions are made by non-elected officials who are obsessed with the Schengen agreement.

Peace in Europe has had nothing to do with the EU but rather the fact the the USA had a large standing armed forces in Europe and the British Army on the Rhine.

Leaving EU would be a betrayal

A P Milroy, by email

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Britain is a small island close to the coast of Europe. That is an inescapable fact of geography. No referendum can change that.

For centuries, Britain has striven to ensure that it is able to influence and shape events in Europe. This is why the Duke of Wellington, as he became, fought in Spain and at Waterloo.

It is why thousands died at the Somme and Ypres, and on the beaches of Normandy.

Thus British statesmen have understood for centuries that Britain disengages from the rest of Europe at its peril.

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Britain has been, and will continue to be profoundly affected by Continental Europe whichever way the vote goes.

Those statesmen realised that Britain could not risk being excluded from what was happening across the Channel.

Alliances, working in partnership with other European countries to maintain the balance of power, were essential.

Within the European Union, Britain can influence decision making. Outside, its voice and concerns can, and probably will be ignored, despite the fact that Britain would be seriously affected by decisions made by the member states.

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Thousands of men have died so that our country’s values would shape Europe. Their sacrifice defined just how important it was that Britain was directly involved.

Walking away from the European Union would be a betrayal of generations of statesmen, and servicemen who have striven to ensure that Britain was able to influence and shape events in Europe.

To opt for isolation is a recipe for impotence on the European and world stage.

Increase deaths in the over-85s

R Kimble, Hawksworth

Research is now quoted that seems to show a correlation between increased deaths in over 85s linked to pension changes by this government.

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Politicians have huge pensions and do not have to wait until the statutory age to retire.

They will still claim state pension, just as very rich MPs like Cameron claim child benefit (whilst lambasting “scroungers”).

Other research shows a very strong correlation between Fitness To Work assessments and suicide.

Cameron will not allow the report into this to be published because it contains “personal” information. Well, of course it does - it relates to suicide.

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Some recent letters have made reference to sociopathy and the fact that we are definitely NOT in it all together.

If there is such a thing as a sociopathic policy then this government is ripe with them.

Close academies food loophole

John Appleyard, Liversedge

There didn’t seem much opposition in Parliament to the Chancellor’s plans for a sugar tax on soft drinks, however there is much opposition from Labour and others to the call for all schools to be made into academies.

A major concern is the standard of food for children who attend academies.

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Some academies are exempt from signing up to strict school food standards which ensures children are eating healthy dinners, around a million youngsters attending schools in England have yet to be signed up to tough rules introduced in January last year.

These standards put restrictions on sugary, fried and fatty foods to help ensure pupils eat a healthy diet and apply to all council-run schools.

The Government should close the loophole which exempts academies from strict food standards.

Schools plans: financial not educational?

Stephen Boothroyd, by email

I certainly agree with Councillor Judith Blake’s comments regarding the government’s proposals to take schools out of local authority control.

I find it interesting that the announcement was made by the Chancellor rather than the Education Secretary.

Could it be that the decision has been made for financial rather than educational reasons?

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