AS I made my way up to Leeds Arena I thought I must be the only bald-headed OAP going to see Bruce Springsteen. I was mistaken. There was a splendid mix of people and clearly a number who like me were in Roundhay Park in 1985 to see and hear this impressive performer.
However, I suspect that I was unique in that one hour earlier I had been at the opening of an exhibition at the Henry Moore Institute next to Leeds Art Gallery.
It was splendid to meet some old friends. Richard Calvocoressi the Director of the Henry Moore Foundation and Mary Moore, Henry Moore’s daughter.
I was lucky enough to enjoy both ends of the cultural spectrum that evening. The brand new arena that will welcome international artists from all four corners of the globe and the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds with its impressive international reputation that not only welcomes international artists and their work but whose exhibitions, symposia and publications place Leeds at the top of international art circles.
Neither success would have happened without our local politicians and their officers using imagination, foresight and doggedness often against the advice of more timid and cautious colleagues.
So a pat on the back for those who make things happen and let us hope that these successes encourage future imaginative projects.
Jeffrey Sherwin, by email
Mounting costs of police tiers
I WATCHED with some disbelief as David Cameron announced on TV that crime figures are down despite cuts in police budgets.
I wonder if he really knows how much our police commissioners are costing the taxpayers. Here in West Yorkshire we are blessed with a commissioner who has cost us around £4m since last November, setting up an office, a deputy, and hiring and training staff and new officers.
Now we have a new Independent Police Complaints Commissioner to oversee seven police forces in Yorkshire and the North East. So, apart from the police commissioner who can hire and fire and set budgets, we have another who investigates complaints and deals with errant police officers. I have every respect for our police service, the policemen and women are doing a very frustrating, dirty dangerous job on our streets led by an able chief constable. This new system is becoming top-heavy and costly. It is now a case of her, watching him, watching them, watching you. Are all these tiers necessary, and more to the point are we the taxpayer footing the bill? Answers on a post card please.
Mrs J Green, Pudsey
The ‘couldn’t care less’ easel
I’M REALLY enjoying the blanket coverage of the royal birth. All those experts such as royal biographers, former newspaper editors, unctuous journalists and other people I’ve never heard of saying how she should bring this child up.
No arrogance there, then. I’m sure she appreciates this. I’ve appreciated certain channels cancelling programmes because, of course, everybody in the country is an ardent royalist and doesn’t want to watch anything else.
I bet the champagne corks were popping chez Malcolm Nicholson.
I enjoyed Cameron commenting on the birth as if he himself had delivered the child. Pity he’s not so adept at answering questions about cigarette packaging and has completely missed the point about internet control of pornography and explicit images of child abuse: exactly what sort of family will say “No” to filtering pornography? Is it now a human right to do this because it’s simply now a matter of choice?
Meanwhile in Africa some women have to walk for a day to their nearest health centre when labour starts (all Americans please note there is a “u” in this word); the NSPCC has adverts on every day about the deprived conditions many children have to endure in countries that have been totally abused by the capitalist West and some people in this country still object to overseas aid and act like it’s 1913 not 2013 where this family is concerned.
I’ve put an easel outside my house announcing that I couldn’t care less.
R Kimble, email
Trams best for Leeds terrain
Whilst the trolleybus’s green credentials are in no doubt as compared to their diesel cousins, I do think that, in Leeds, a modern supertram system would be far better and this should have gone ahead when it had the chance. This is because of Leeds’s terrain characteristics.
As Leeds is relatively flat, apart from a few shallowish climbs, trams would be able to negotiate these with relative ease, and indeed do, even in Sheffield where there are some probably steeper climbs, their trams carry on without so much as a whimper.
The idea of introducing trolleybuses as a cheaper option is, quite frankly, ridiculous. If Leeds was a hilly city, as Bradford is, that is when trolleybuses would be most suitable.
Take San Francisco for example, probably the most famous hilly city in the world. Trolleybuses were introduced there mainly to cope with the very steep hills which diesel variants would have difficulty in climbing, as well as helping to cut down on pollution.
But San Francisco has trams too, running on the flatter routes but also sharing the trolleybus’s power supply in places as well. Now there’s a thing.
However, the longer that there is no action in building at least something for Leeds, the more expensive it’s going to get. My choice would be the tram, without a doubt.
I keep looking at an A to Z map of West Yorkshire, with the then planned Leeds Supertram routes on in red saying “Expected completion, 2008”. If only.
If any visitors to Leeds were relying on my map to get around, they’d be in for a big shock when they got here and they found that there was nothing there as far as trams are concerned.
David C Sowden, Birstall, West Yorkshire
Appropriate use of imperial units
IT HAS been most gratifying and appropriate to see the BBC announce the 8lb 6oz weight of the royal baby in imperial units.
Sadly, the BBC seems to have such a love affair with metric units that they are normally used even when public safety is at stake – as with the recent warnings of over-hot weather given repeatedly in celsius when those most likely to be affected better understand fahrenheit.
If the royal birth has made the BBC reconsider their position on this, then it may well be time for cynical republicans like myself to reconsider our stance on the monarchy.
John Eoin Douglas, email
Unhealthy call to the doctors
TODAY I rang the doctor, I was feeling rather ill. A feeling that did not abate when I took my prescribed pill.
The receptionist, who took my call, didn’t seem to care at all. “The nearest date that I can see, is in a fortnight – which will be...”
She named a date, at which I said, “but by that time I might be dead”.
She said: “In that case, may I say, will someone cancel the appointment I have made today?”
Sandra Morris, Moortown
Hairy legs out
ONE OF the least agreeable aspects of this hot weather is the exposure to the public gaze of so many spindly, hairy legs.
Why can’t women just wear longer skirts?
T Crawford (Mr), email