I FEEL compelled to highlight what I consider has become the extremely oppressive atmosphere now prevelant within and around the bus stations throughout West Yorkshire, managed by Metro.
One is at every move observed by at least half-a-dozen security cameras, monitored by Metro and its staff, allegedly for the safety of its customers but much more likely to be for the protection of their own staff from the consequences of justified complaints from members of the public and others.
Every bus station bristles with these intrusive devices, both inside and outside the premises. How many are aware just how far beyond Metro's claimed bounds these observe? How many are aware as to the use images obtained are put?
The price of freedom is eternal vigilance, not constant surveillance.
Metro security staff hover menacingly in every bus station like birds of prey awaiting the opportunity to confront their chosen victim with claims of their breach of the draconian rules and regulations now applied. One is almost afraid to sneeze or cough in a Metro bus station for fear of being accused of either harassment or assault against the staff or of germ warfare.
Many of the bus stations are now "protected" by more extensive defences than those of the much-vaunted, but ultimately breached, Atlantic Wall of 70 years ago.
Is any of this grossly expensive hardware necessary?
One must always bear in mind that Metro, although funded by not inconsiderable largesse from the public purse, is, to a very great degree, unaccountable to its paymasters.
Although it would appear to be a rational assumption that Metro should be answerable to the Local Government Ombudsman, this is not the case. Why not?, one is forced to ask.
Nor does the District Auditor, another expensive quango, have much rein on Metro. It can, therefore, spend our money exactly how it wants, in the sure and full knowledge that no-one will ever call it to account for its actions.
Come on, Mr Cameron, rise to the challenge – you said that your adminstration would sweep away all expensive and overbearing quangos. Accountability and openness is what we want and we wait with increasing impatience.
M Farmer, Holmfirth
MANY thanks to our West Leeds Labour MP and councillors for Bramley and Stanningley, who sent a free calendar which will be useful even if most of the information on it is not.
However, you have to wonder why they had it printed in Northumberland, when there are lots of printers in Leeds who might have been glad of the job.
Also, for them to say how they enjoy living in the community of Bramley, Stanningley and Rodley is a misnomer, as one lives in Kirkstall, another in Horsforth and the other in Garforth, leaving only Coun Atkinson as true local.
New footpaths in Rodley are great, the work done by Leeds City Council staff efficiently with minimal disruption, although I hope Rodley newsagents were compensated for their consequential loss of trade.
Kirkstall Forge Rail Station, if ever built, would be welcome although how this might benefit Bramley is unclear, as direct pedestrian access to it could only be had by those with the skills of the SAS with canal, rail tracks and the River Aire to cross first! The only road access is via traffic lights at Kirkstall Bridge, then the Star and Garter one and the A65 towards Horsforth. However, I am sure their intentions are genuine and that they did mean well.
Name and address supplied
Act now, Eric
Philip Hammond, the Transport Secretary, has said that it was unacceptable that the British Airports Authority would face no punishment under the current system for the recent chaos at the snowbound Heathrow Airport. He said there should be an "economic penalty for service failure".
What a shame that the ex-Bradford councillor Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, does not share the same sense of injustice.
If our council, or even the workers themselves, suffered an "economic penalty for service failure", would we have such poor bin service? Neil Evans, Leeds City Council's environmental and neighbourhoods director, asked taxpayers to be patient. But the massive number of people in the Leeds area that are saying that their bins have been missed, Leeds City Council must have saved millions, yet they say the savings are not as much as expected.
So instead of insults from Eric Pickles towards the councillors, calling council leaders in Leeds and Wakefield "negligent" and "stupid", perhaps we need to see some action from the Minister for Communities and Local Government.
N Bywater, Morley
Lack of sense
IT has been proved in all walks of life that lack of common sense is the cause of many problems. Rubbish collections in Leeds have been subjected to the same lack of use of the 'grey matter'. Ask any taxi or delivery driver how they would get through the day without knowing the districts and locations of businesses in which they work.
One wonders if Mr Evans's imposing title, director of environment and neighbourhoods at Leeds City Council, includes knowledge of the routes taken by drivers of refuse vehicles? It seems unlikely.
With a little thought, however, he and his colleagues would have realised that whatever revisions they made could only be effective if they kept drivers on routes they knew, otherwise chaos and serious delays would be bound to ensue, especially in inclement weather.
To illustrate the point further, a firm I once worked for thought that men prepared to work overtime were more valuable than others who did the same amount of deliveries in far less time, merely because they knew the routes and points of delivery, while the others did not. Consultation with those at the sharp end of refuse collection could have avoided most of the difficulties recently experienced.
E A Lundy, Leeds
REGARDING G Crawford's letter, I think he was wrong to blame the council, because they are right to advise not feeding the birds.
I'm sorry for the lady who takes pleasure in feeding the birds, more so during this cold winter, but we know from experience that it does attract rats, and calling out the pest control costs 80.
Though it seems hard, it's better to refrain. I feel strongly about this because we had rats in the garden caused by putting bread out for the birds and it cost us a lot of money to get rid of them all, horrible things.
Mrs Nancy Wardman, Leeds
Keep it up
I READ with interest the article by Stuart Robinson regarding Wakefield Council's search for working "heroes".
I am all for rewarding people who work hard and do their job, as that is what one is supposed to do at work, and it is admirable that Joanne Rooney is well aware of what is required in these challenging times.
However I do become a little concerned when Pride Awards are mentioned, as this usually conjures up the image of ceremony to mark the occassion with all the great and the good of the council in attendance once again spending money from the public purse.
My message is simple: highlight the winner with a letter saying how valuable the employee is but, having made the financial savings being imposed, keep making them.
Do not go and undo all the good on a council junket.
How easily we use the word hero these days.
Phil Cook, Meanwood
IT was 3.30pm on December 31 and I wanted to post a small package. At the Post Office I was told that the last collection had been at midday and it would therefore not leave until January 4.
May I enquire as to when December 31 was other than a normal working day?
No doubt a customer relations person will write in response, saying that this was displayed on notices, which is all very well if you see this.
Royal Mail really does need to decide whether it is offering a public service or not.
John Luty, Harrogate
THIS country used to be held together with a strong moral code. That code has been broken by the howl of the vengeful mob and the nihilism of left-wing thugs, masquerading as demonstrating students.
Underlying all this is a trio of disastrous ideologies favoured by the left.
Marxism and socialism has encouraged a mentality of rage and envy, where it become justifiable to hate others, just because of their background or their class.
At the same time, the bloated welfare state has created a climate where the outstretched palm for handouts is matched by the clenched fist of grievance.
Britons are taught to despise their own national identity, with the result that some yob regards urinating on Churchill's statue as a progressive act.
The great man himself would weep with despair at what has happened to the nation he once saved.
M Nicholson, Barwick in Elmet
A survey shows over 40 per cent of Coronation Street fans want to see a lesbian marriage? My survey among family and friends finds not one.
Plotting the only committed, young and white Christian for a lesbian, and showing a bed sex scene on a family show?
Try a young black Muslim girl in the same plot and there would be hell to pay.
Jennifer Allen, Ashford