EU our only hope of voice in world

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Despite Americans mocking our obsession with an imagined "special relationship" leading British politicians including both David Cameron and Nick Clegg of the imagined "coalition" defend not their own country but the US, declaring this relationship to be strong.

All this too despite Americans mocking our military men fighting their illegal wars for them.

What the United States really wants is a strong United Europe to align with in the 21st century – knowing that without this we will all be bowing down to Asia.

A former British diplomat, who spent years in Washington said that the US has only two special relationships, with Israel and Ireland.

The one with Ireland is built on sentimental slop. The one with Israel is even phonier and the result of a too large Jewish lobby in DC. It will end when this lobby makes way for a new one, or one of them decides the relationship offers too little in return.

Its only a question of time before the UK loses its permanent seat at the UN, as countries like China, India, Russia, Indonesia, Brazil and other large countries begin exerting their new power.

Don't let Europhobes lose us our only hope of a 21st century voice, the EU.

E Firth, Wilsden, Bradford

Take the X factor out of Christmas

I could not agree more with J Roberts of St Johns in Wakefield. I absolutely think it's nonsense that people put Xmas, it should be Christmas. Christmas is about the birth of Jesus. We celebrate other traditions, we celebrate other festivals in this country. We should celebrate Christmas as well.

R Hewitt, Leeds.

Easier to be in prison for some?

Our government still haven't got it, have they? So many, know that deliberately committing crimes and being sent to jail, especially now, is a far better and comfortable option, than struggling on the outside, thanks to the do-gooders and human rights nutters.

J Shedlow, Fir Tree Vale, Leeds

Brains... but a lack of sense!

I'm just reading a letter from Friday December 3, 'How can we bail out Ireland?' someone asks. But Ireland's economy has been brought to its knees by the same bankers that brought the rest of Europe to its knees by being foolish and not taking care of people's investments.

They're still getting the bonuses but they say they're worth it because if you don't give them bonuses they will leave. Well I say let them leave. Who's going to employ somebody that brought his last employers to its knees?. Who's going to employ someone like that?

They're all the same including the politicians. I worked at Leeds University for 30 years and I can tell you now academics, people with brains, have got loads and loads of brains but 99 per cent of them have no sense at all.

Terry Watkinson, King Edward Avenue, Allerton Bywater

MPs should put up or shut up

Hearing Leeds Central MP Hilary Benn whingeing about expenses, most would say "they still don't get it" because many ordinary citizens have to lay their own money out for business travel or commencing self-employment, yet few of these enjoy the luxury of an MPs 65,000 salary.

I know someone who travels worldwide e.g. USA or India, and has to front expenses for air travel and hotels, meals and doesn't think anything of it.

Also, any budding entrepreneur, before getting an order, executing work, let along getting invoices paid might have to put thousands of pounds into a new vehicle, machinery, materials or stock, office equipment, leasing premises etc, not knowing if they will success and get it back.

But what do members of the Labour elite like the Benn family know of such things.

I am afraid MPs of all parties have, over the years, gained a false sense of their own importance, shown by how few people in this country bother to vote at all these days, after repeated scandals over expenses, morals and everything else in between. If they want to continue to enjoy their privileged or perhaps over priviledged positions they should put up and shut up.

D S Boyes, Rodley

Who's paying for jail festive feast?

I AM doing my protest by putting pen to paper.

How much is this three-day festive feast for prisoners costing, also who is footing the bill?

I hope it isn't taxpayers (mugs).

My remedy would be to give them beans on toast breakfast, lunch would be cuppa soup with bread roll, tea would be toasted cake and one tea or coffee, plus Christmas card with a photo on the front of the victims they have killed.

My second protest: student protesters. It's a pity these thugs or so called students did not join the forces and go to Afghanistan where they would have tuition on how to be medical, languages and most of all how to protect this country - all for free.

Also the unions who provided transport to London. Make these unions pay for the damages done.

If the students were so upset about these fees, why didn't they walk to London instead of sitting in free heating, free lighting - how cosy.

B Holmes, Leeds 14

Mistletoe... work with nature!

Mistletoe under threat - why not educate people (YEP December 7? Surely would not the National Trust have helped the public a little better with the article about viscum alba – mistletoe.

By all means buy sustainable home grown but its ever so easy simply to educate people to propogate this plant by making an incision in the underside of an apple branch and pushing the berries into the cut, then nature will do the rest and, of course, its cheaper.

M R Cawood, Gipton

They're living on another planet

Labour MP Tom Harris quoted in the "and the people column" on Friday says that "we will end up with a Parliament made up of millionaires and puritans". I think that has already happened, so what's new? How can they ever relate to us, the working class, when they live on a different planet?

M Harrison, Leeds

Schoolboys that run our country

Recently I was getting my usual political fix in the form of the Andrew Marr Show. References were made over Ed Miliband and the bad publicity on the definition of middle class/middle tax payers/middle England etc, trying to define at what earnings rate you and I and the working population were being targeted as Labour voters, now and in the future.

I don't know in the present circumstances how you or I would class ourselves, as according to this coalition, it appears to me that their common thought is that if you earn less than the so-called "average wage" of 23,000, you are definitely working class.

Then there appears to be a gap when you can become middle class if you earn over 30-50,000 and in some cases even up to 65-70,000. Then you can become upper class at around 100-150,000, when you are privileged to pay tax at 50 per cent.

What a load of codswallop. Silly old me thought we had got rid of the class system, but how could we, when we still the House of Lords and not a House of Representatives from all walks of life.

This country is being run by schoolboys, with no experience of the real world and most of them have a first-class education, which in the main has been used to go into politics.

They really don't know anything of the prosperous world of industry, which is the main thing we really need in this country if we are to get back to our feet again.

Everything they say and do is off the cuff. The NHS took 50 odd years to build to its present level and they will bring it down in five. Along with our health is our education system, with Mr Gove as its keeper. He may have a vision of a very big picture of the education of our children in the future but he doesnt know from one day to another what to do about it.

He too is listening to people in private education, who are waiting in the wings to collect a share of the eduction budget. If you thought the current quangos were bad, wait until you get that little lot having a share in the billions of the taxpayers' money.

D Birch, Cookridge, Leeds

Lib Dems are political canaries

THE Lib Dems never were and never will be taken seriously as a stand alone party.

They are like political canaries: cute yellow and useless.

The coalition has killed the Lib Dems, and after the tuition fees fiasco they know they're all dead men walking.

Since the general election the country has been governed by two political parties with radically different traditions and ideologies.

However its increasingly

obvious that the Lib Dem component of the coalition is like a parasite which has landed on the wrong host and is struggling to swallow nutrients foreign to its constitution.

M NICHOLSON, Barwick in Elmet, Leeds.

YEP Letters: February 19