No excuses for the bad-driving doctor

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I AM almost certain, that if I were to commit a string of traffic offences, including, driving on a motorway verge, using a mobile phone whilst driving, speeding, and a traffic light offence, I would lose my driving licence.

My business would suffer and I would have to find an alternative way to get to my place of work.

If I were as well-off as Dr Catherine Parchment-Smith, I'd probably take a taxi, but, in my case, I would have to get on my push bike.

I agree that Dr Parchment-Smith has a very important job which she undoubtedly does well, but I do not agree that she should be beyond the law. The NHS employs her to do a job; she has a responsibility to drive safely to get to her workplace.

Yes, it will cost the NHS an enormous amount of money to replace her, but how much would it cost the NHS and other emergency services if her driving were to cause an accident ?

As the magistrate himself said: "The main thing here is the pain and suffering that could occur to those involved in trauma and accidents."

Paul Carter, Leeds 10

Case notes

I REFER to the YEP report concerning the avoidance of a well-earned driving ban. I was not in court and can only comment on my understanding of the news item.

1. I have had several referrals to hospital consultant surgeons, all males and all given the title of Mister. Does this not apply to female consultant surgeons? (Miss, Ms or Mrs).

2. In my experience, standby call-out duties normally entail extra remuneration to those employed; if this was the case in this instance, how does this compare with the probable cost of replacement of those duties?

3. Has the word taxi been deleted from court vocabulary?

4. How does driving a 10-year-old Ford Focus permit its driver to ignore the Highway Code?

B Perkins, Roundhay

Safety first

I AM sorry to hear that, unlike most passengers, your correspondent Mr Farmer feels that the CCTV coverage at Metro's bus stations is intrusive.

The cameras are there, and on many buses and trains, to ensure that passengers can make their journeys and bus station and bus company employees can go about their employment in safety. Since their installation, the numbers of anti-social incidents at bus stations has dropped.

When consulted, most bus station users tell us the presence of the cameras makes them feel more secure and when we have built new facilities people tell us they want CCTV cameras included.

Similarly, the security staff are employed in a preventative role, to discourage anti-social activity and also deal quickly and professionally with any rare incidents that do arise. I can put Mr Farmer's mind at ease and assure him that they will not be in the least bit interested in his coughs or sneezes.

Can I also reassure him that, rather than being a quango unanswerable to its public paymasters as he suggests, Metro's policies and activities are decided by the West Yorkshire Integrated Transport Authority, whose members are elected councillors from the county's five districts and answerable to the local electorate.

Councillor Chris Greaves, Chairman, Metro

Bin errrors

Councillor James Monaghan shows the bare-faced cheek we have come to expect from Lib Dems in his criticisms of the bin service. Yes, there are problems at the moment and these need to be addressed. But Coun Monaghan is the last person to talk about "incompetence, misinformation and confusion" or the need for "decisive leadership and rapid action" after being the man in charge during the bin strike in 2008.

His outrageous attempt to cut the pay of some of the lowest-paid workers in the city provoked a strike that dragged on for months. That meant misery for the thousands of residents forced to deal with refuse piling up across the city on a scale far larger than anything happening now.

The re-organisation of the bin routes was a result of the 'deal' done to end the strike and inherited by the Labour administration in May. As usual though, Coun Monaghan shows no humility or acceptance of his mistakes and instead sits on the sidelines complaining.

Let's hope voters remember what a shambles Coun Monaghan made of the bin service when he was in charge and give him the boot in May.

Chris Roberts, Headingley

Under fire

TOP marks to Councillor Stewart Golton, leader of the Lib Dems on Leeds City Council, for trying very hard to put a positive spin on his party's current predicament.

Coun Golton tries to highlight Coalition policy changes, directed by the Lib Dems in Government. However, more tellingly, he fails to mention the tripling of student tuition fees, the abolition of the Educational Maintenance Allowance, the hike in VAT to 20 per cent, Government cuts in funding to Leeds City Council, and changes to Housing Benefit and Disability Living Allowance – to name just a few of the retrograde polices of the Con-Lib Coalition.

It is shameful that almost all the austerity measures, introduced by this Government, impact most severely on the least well-off in our society. The Lib Dems lost the Oldham/Saddleworth parliamentary by-election last week – and quite rightly too. Next we have the local elections in May. It will be interesting to see how Coun Golton's party fares at that time.

My guess is that the people of Leeds will look carefully at how the Lib Dems have colluded with the Conservatives and will vote accordingly.

Cherril Cliff, Armley

Burning benefits

I WAS interested in the report on the building of an incinerator.

As a soldier stationed in Iserlohn in Germany, I saw the building of an incinerator in the 70s – it was so good that they built a second one in the 80s.

There was a lot of opposition to the project at first but the local newspaper explained it in detail that the schools and hospitals would be heated from the project and how much the council would be saving on the running of the incinerator, and the filters in the chimney to extract the pollution it could course.

I can only say, "Stop talking about it and get it built". If you could see what it's done for Iserlohn you would not be discussing this.

J R Hope, Mill Green Gardens, Leeds

Gospel untruths?

IN answer to the paean of praise for the Bible and Jesus by Stephen Knight (YEP, January 8), I will quote from the New Testament, Matthew 10, 34-39: "Do not think I have come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and daughter against her mother and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one's foes will be members of one's own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me."

So much for the 'Prince of Peace' and upholder of family values. Yes, one can disagree with one's parents, but "set against" and with a sword?

The four gospels are not historic, they were written at least 40 years after the events they claim to describe and selected in the 5th century, leaving 14 to be rejected as 'The Apocrypha'.

The historic chronicler of the time, Josephus, does not mention the slaughter of the innocents, surely a major event if it were true! The references to the crucifixion in Josephus are patently later interpolations. The description of Mary in the original language of the gospels just meant a young woman, not necessarily a virgin.

The many inconcistencies between and within the gospels – and the lack of any historical support – have caused doubts about their veracity in many biblical scholars.

Robert Tee, Hon. Sec. Humanist Society of West Yorkshire, Calverley

Treated badly

A SUNDAY newspaper quoted "what sort of country squeezes the benefits of wounded soldiers and slashes pensions of dear heroes?" It's not the country, it's the people in their plush offices and overpaid non-job officials who try to justify why they are where they are. These type of people should be made to visit soldiers hospitals to understand what life is like to be partially crippled, fighting for the likes of these penpushers.

J Shedlow, Fir Tree Vale, Leeds

Leeds memories

MY name is Simon Peters and, with my wife Wendy, we have lived in Mallorca for almost 25 years. Being a Leeds lad, I'm always interested in my old city and since living in Mallorca have either subscribed to the YEP, or occasionally the Yorkshire Post's Monday editions, so that I can keep up to date with my beloved Leeds United.

Wendy saw the advert for Leeds in the 50s, 60s and 70s and bought me both books. What a wonderful read! In fact, I couldn't put them down, but imagine my surprise when I saw a photo of my old family tailoring business, Benjamin Simon, on page 139.

I actually left the family business to pursue a career in radio and worked on BBC Radio Leeds from the first year, in 1968 in the Merrion Centre, to 1983, when, once again, I was featured in the YEP. I seem to remember the headline "Simon Peters you're off the air!"

Wendy and I were Leeds after Christmas and went to Elland Road on New Year's Day. What a let-down, but I loved the atmosphere. I was lucky to have been the match day announcer during the late 60s and 70s, until going to Mallorca in '86. What fabulous times; the greatest team ever. I first started watching in 1946 (relegated from Div 1-Div 2 with record low points).

Thank you for the great memories.

Simon Peters, Mallorca

YEP Letters: February 19