YEP Letters: April 4

Pinderfields Hospital
Pinderfields Hospital
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Check out today’s YEP letters

We should be proud of the NHS

Nathan Garbutt Moore, by email

the NHS gets a lot of bad press these days however I can’t thank the staff at Pinderfields Hospital enough.

My grandfather recently spent a few days on ward 33 at Pinderfields Hospital for an operation and despite having a fear of hospitals which stems from childhood he has nothing but praise for all the staff that cared for him, he is now at home and recovering well.

Thank you to every one of them and keep up the excellent work.

The NHS is definitely something we should be proud of!

Create a politics that will bring voters to polls

Michael Meadowcroft, Leeds 13

Aisha Iqbal shines a necessary light on the appalling electoral turnout for Leeds City Council elections (It’s time to make voting mandatory, YEP March 27) but there is today a much wider general political malaise which makes many electors feel that voting changes nothing.

Unless and until the legitimacy of those elected on small minorities of the electorate is challenged those in office will continue to govern as if all was well. One important change would be to move to an electoral system which ensures that each vote is much more influential than under first-past-the-post.

An additional cause of the pathetically low votes in city council elections is the awareness that Leeds City Council now has very few powers and is a shadow of its former self.

In 1948 Leeds was responsible for gas, electricity, water, ambulances, police, fire services, all public primary and secondary education, all further education, a large part of higher education, a major hospital, part of social security and for public road transport services.

Today all these have been removed from local democratic control. In addition councils had access to the Public Works Loan Board for capital finance and until recently there was a Rate Equalisation Grant which recognised the varying financial capacities of councils to charge local rates that voters could be persuaded to support at the ballot box.

Today none of this applies and local authorities even have to be “allowed” to raise rates to provide basic care services. We even have the nonsense of a national “potholes fund” rather than local provision.

The answer is certainly not to make voting compulsory. That would merely be an artificial covering up of the problem and would demonstrate the failure of candidates and political parties to inspire the voters. And it doesn’t work.

There is no way that the thousands of electors who still did not vote could be brought before the courts and any organised boycott defeats the system. Just look at what happened over the poll tax which, though compulsory, was successfully avoided by many thousands.

And who can recall anyone who failed to complete the compulsory census form ever being prosecuted?

We need those currently disillusioned to get involved to transform the political party to which they most feel an affinity and to help create a politics which will bring the voters to the polls.

Who pays the NHS bill?

Philip Crowther, Bingley

It has been demonstrated that our NHS is one of the poorest examples of a health system at recovering its costs from non contributors when compared against any comparable system in the world. For us UK taxpayers who meet the costs and are likely to be affected by any future ring fenced levy alluded to in the news, we see overseas visitors get the help then not pay because the NHS fails to ask first the question, “ please provide your credit card (or the like) details, and chases payment after the horse has bolted.

Therefore, as we now have the good news that one member of the Skripal family is recovering at the hands of our wonderful NHS, can we know who is picking up the tab for the, I understand, Russian citizen.

What with medical treatment and I should imagine substantial security arrangements, the cost will be significant. If the Skripals are unable to meet this cost by way of savings, insurance or other means, will the bill be sent to the Kremlin?

Teachers’ strike bone of contention?

Ernest Lundy, by email

Not wishing to act as agent provocateur, I can see a real bone of contention arising should the threatened teachers’ strike come about.

If it does, how can head teachers in conscience fine parents who take children out of school in term time, thus denying them education, when they themselves are doing the same?

While sympathising with the difficulties experienced by teachers, how can one compare continued education with demands for increased pay?

I know my own views on the subject, but reserve them while merely acting as devil’s advocate. I will however declare that they have my deepest sympathy and support whatever the outcome.

Enriching the establishment

Dr David Hill, Huddersfield

ON the recent outing of how 102 academy schools paid trustees over £150,000 a year, the Public Accounts Committee stated that they gave no logical reason for the vast increases.

It is another reason why I feel academies are not the vehicle to drive our education system forward, but only to enrich privileged individuals through an abuse of the system constructed by the Government.

Thinning out the House of Lords

Bob Watson, Baildon.

IN a debate in the House of Commons about whether the House of Lords should be reduced in size, Labour’s David Hanson said the 92 hereditary peers should be given the 
sack.

On the contrary, let’s start with many of the hundreds of ennobled party hacks and other political appointments, who should be the first to go.

Why no help for passengers left stranded?

M Clayton, Leeds

THE other day, I went on a day trip to Morecambe with Northern Rail. I decided to return on the last train at ​19.08 as the earlier train left too early at 16.19.

On arrival at Morecambe Station, I noticed the train departure notice said “delayed” but then it changed to “cancelled” and was accompanied by an announcement saying “we apologise for any inconvenience caused”.

Thirteen people were left stranded on the station.

There was no reason given for the cancellation, no mention of any replacement bus, no contact details given for assistance. It was an unmanned station​,​ so there 
was no member of staff to help.

Of the 13 people, six senior citizens needed to get to Leeds, three young people needed to get to Lancaster, one man needed to get to Edinburgh for a flight to Spain (his flight from Manchester had been cancelled), one man had a bike, plus there were two other people (destination 
unknown).

Fortunately, one of the men travelling to Leeds knew what to do as the same thing had happened to him on a previous occasion.

He ordered three taxis for 11 of us to travel to Lancaster. We pooled our contributions to pay for the taxis.

We explained to the ticket collector on the train what had happened and she was very helpful, and went beyond the call of duty.

As she was finishing her shift in Leeds, she arranged to give a senior citizen a lift home as they lived fairly near each other.

I never expected a rail company to cancel the last train from a destination leaving passengers stranded with no offer of a replacement bus or any offer of help.

HS2 breaking up Britain

Arthur Quarmby, Meltham.

THE Westminster Government seems determined to ensure the further break-up of this once-United Kingdom by continuing to shower finance and assets of all kinds on London and the Home Counties, while at the same time starving the remainder of the country – and
especially the North – of its reasonable, realistic and fair share of the country’s resources.

A prime example being the Government’s determination to impose HS2 on an unwilling country, despite worldwide 
proof that the line will draw talent and investment away from the provinces and into the capital.

No matter what the political colour of the Government, the central administration continues along this path, and it is probably already far too late to change its direction and mindset.

We should look to the Swiss, to see how independent cantons can still be a united country.

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