YEP Letters: August 24

Arthur Ransome  'Coutesy Special Collections at Leeds University,
Arthur Ransome 'Coutesy Special Collections at Leeds University,

Check out today’s YEP letters

Author Ransome led a ‘double life’

John Appleyard, Liversedge

The author and journalist Arthur Ransome died 50 years ago in 1967.

He was born at Ashgrove, Leeds in 1884 and later moved to Balmoral Terrace in Headingley where he is supposed to have frequented the Skyrack and Original Oak pubs.

He is most famous for his book ‘Swallows and Amazons’ set in Windermere and Coniston in the Lake District, a place he loved and where he spent his last years.

He also led a double life, a supporter of the Russian Revolution of 1917 having access to its leaders Trotsky and Lenin, but also had close contact with MI6. He was arrested in Russia as a spy and faced execution but Lenin decided to release him.

In 1919 Ransome wrote a pamphlet on his experiences ‘six weeks in Russia’ in an old house in the Chapel Allerton area of Leeds.

He was awarded a doctorate at Leeds University in 1952, five years before the Queen made him a commander of the British Empire. Questions are still asked of Ransome ‘was he a double agent or an innocent go-between - we may not have the answers but one thing we do know is that he was a great writer.

Managed red light area plan has backfired

Carol Lee, Cookridge

I welcomed your article about the managed area of prostitution in south Leeds as I have recently been in discussions with a local councillor regarding this.

The last time I drove along Water Lane I was shocked at what I saw and I really feel sorry for the businesses that operate there. It was a well meant idea of the council and police but it has backfired.

Girls are now coming from Eastern Europe to work there along side English girls who have drug problems. A much better idea would be to create a large brothel in a discreet area where clients could visit without the girls having to walk the streets. Maybe the people who thought of this idea could get together and think of a suitable building near to where they live?

I have a business not far from the managed area and I have recently become aware that prostitutes are living in this area to be close to their work. A drugtaking prostitute is now living next door to someone that I know, which has brought a lot of problems including noise at unsociable hours to what was previously a nice little street. Clients are brought back on a regular basis to the house.

This managed area is saying it is acceptable for a woman to sell her body.

I believe it is encouraging girls to become prostitutes to feed their drug habit rather than seeking help for it. This is 2017. Where is the equality and emancipation of women here?

On Water Lane I didn’t see any male prostitutes touting for business from female punters!

Ill-conceived idea by BBC

Derrick Bond, Shadwell

The BBC’s decision to mark the 70th anniversary of India’s partition was ill-conceived and badly implemented.

Not only have the programmes been one-sided and biased, they fail to show many of the positive contributions the British made.

They are also divisive. India’s partition took place on religious lines, with Hindus and Sikhs wanting a united India, while Muslims asked for separation.

Partition, which still overshadows Indo-Pakistani relations, was responsible for the deaths of a million innocent people.

By broadcasting programmes that divide, rather than unite, British Asians, the BBC may be widening the communal gap.

Use past to shape future

Judy Goodwin, Altofts

I do hope the people who are tearing down Confederate statues in the US go global.

I look forward to them going to Egypt to tear down the pyramids built on slave labour, and of course pulling up a few railway tracks in Asia and Roman roads in the UK. You cannot change the past but can use it to shape the future.

Crazy dash for high speed trains

Dr David Hill, by email

This crazy dash for hi-speed trains all over the place is literally mad in the long run.

For if we look at all those nations that have this, they have not created a dynamic economy.

You can see this clearly with Japan as a mere single example, who have been in the economic doldrums for nearly 30 years now with no basic economic growth and in many ways after inflation and currency fluctuations are taken into account, negative economic growth.

But there is no doubt that we shall have the same result, because at the end of the day we shall not have created any significant new technological industries, just like all these countries with their hi-speed trains and mere economic stagnation payback.

All this folly will of course, through a great deal of pure individual vested-interests involved from those who are pushing for all these new trains and what runs on them, provide substantial financial benefit for them and we the taxpayer will pick up all the bills as usual that will no doubt eventually exceed £100 billion+ of debt for our young to pay off if they can.

All it will do is to get from A to B just a bit faster, half an hour here and an hour there, but British industry will still be the same unless someone can educate me to where the new industries of the future will come from using this economic thinking.

I have a better idea I think and this is where we put all this vast debt, for that is all that it is as it is all borrowed money, into the construction of a vast and evolving ‘science city’ that would create the unending formation of new technological industries and future jobs for all our generations to come.

For we have the creativity and brains but where this apparently is lacking with our politicians as they simply want to build fast train lines in the hope that business will be there at the end of the tunnel.

But our politicians forget that the industrial revolution came first and the railways came thereafter as a necessity.

What we have now is the horse before the cart as usual and where there is no guarantee at all of an economic payload in the end, just as all those nations who built hi-speed train networks have found out to their regret and I would say their astonishment.

I hope that someone reads this letter in another 100 years’ time, as the politicians will take no heed as usual and go gung-ho for the folly that it really will be seen in the 22nd century.

Not all police officers want to be armed

Shaun Kavanagh, Leeds.

REGARDING the question “Should all police officers be armed?” I doubt all officers would wish to be armed, nor are some likely to fit the parameters required of an armed officer.

Having been an armed officer, those who carry firearms are selected carefully and I doubt many would meet the requirements.

That is not intended to insult, but it is a fact. A police officer carrying a firearm requires in-depth training and a cool temperament, special skills which not all will possess.

To arm all officers would require a significant change to the selection process.

This, in itself, could deter applications from individuals who may possess qualities required of a police officer, but not one who is to be armed.

Thankfully the UK does not have the same gun culture as some countries and, while there are increasing incidents, there are many armed officers on daily patrol ready and able to deal with such occurrences.

High level debates will be required on the subject of all officers being armed and will probably be a long time in the waiting.

If the outcome was to arm officers, there would undoubtedly be a significant exodus of officers at all levels, thereby depleting the police service of much-needed experience.

Importance of apprenticeships

Andrew Mercer, Guiseley.

GIVEN concerns about universities, and whether they offer students value for money, why isn’t more being done to highlight the importance of apprenticeships and vocational education?