YEP Letters: August 30

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Check out today’s YEP letters

Showing country in a positive light

John Appleyard, Liversedge

Amidst all the doom and gloom in the media, Leeds has shone like a beacon of hope over the bank holiday with over 100,000 people attending the West Indian Carnival, 90,000 at the Leeds Festival and thousands turning up at Headingley for the Test Match between England and the West Indies.

And let’s not forget also the hundreds of thousands who turned up at the Notting Hill Carnival – these events are happening all over the country, they are an inspiration and show our country in a positive light.

Give us the public transport system we need

D Angood, by email

The big question, according to Coun Blake at the transport symposium last week, was about the investment in transport in the north.

Mainly it was about the lack of investment and the disproportionate ratio between the north and south.

Coun Blake says that business leaders, council leaders and mayors from cities across the north came together to say “enough is enough”.

Just where have these people been over the last few decades whilst the transport infrastructure has been left to deteriorate to a great extent?

The area has been crying out for investment for years but mainly because of political squabbles between the ruling parties nothing has been achieved.

No scheme has been put forward, at least not by any council, that could be described as ambitious or advantageous for the whole area.

We have had a one route tram system and a trolley folly that have cost an inordinate amount of money with nothing to show.

Yes, these people do need to get together, put aside their political differences and do what they are elected to do. That is to give the public a transport system that will meet the requirements of the whole area.

They have had a number of consultations and have asked the public for their ideas and the only things to surface from the drawing board are two 
park and ride schemes and a rail halt one and a half miles away to serve a bustling 

You have to put forward plans that will give the public want they need in a way that will inject confidence in those who will do the investing.

We still have to hear of any “ambitious” plans submitted by the public during the consultations and any observations made by the council of them. Maybe it is time we did.

Maybe in a year or two someone in the council will ressurect a couple of these ideas and put them forward as their own, that can’t happen can it?

Transport is key to culture bid

Jaimes Moran, Member of Leeds Green Party.

So much hype is surrounding Leeds and its capital of culture bid, yet whichever way you look at it things generally return to one theme – ‘community development’.

The thing about culture bids is that traditionally they’ve always been aimed at ‘arts-based’ culture, and yet there’s more to Leeds than this. What defines Leeds in my mind is its definitive sense of community.

From all the conversations I’ve had across our city one quote stands out the most “that a community needs more than the arts to thrive.”

This is something I truly believe and hope will be taken into consideration regardless of any culture bid for our wonderful city. A true capital of culture is one that includes all its surrounding residents and connects these together collectively.

However one thing holding this back is having unreliable public transport. Many governments have promised improvements for numerous years, some have been more complicated than others.. (super trams) but still transport improvements must be found and made.

Yet regardless of the way it’s said “extraordinary claims, will need extraordinary evidence”. If our council says it can solve these enduring transport issues (to assist the culture bid) with devolution powers, I say prove it!

Grateful for grammar school education

Derrick Bond, Shadwell

Mrs May ditching plans to reintroduce grammar schools is a real shame.

Many of us have reason to feel grateful for the grammar school education we received. I was lucky enough to attend a well-respected school in south Leeds.

Some years ago, I attended my first old boys’ reunion, with about 70 pupils and four masters present. I asked one master if he remembered any of the pupils. “Very positive memories of you, lad!’ he boomed ( I was pushing 70 at the time ).

I didn’t have the courage to ask what those memories might be, but as I drove home, I managed to come up with three possibilities.

One involved a 400m race in which I was beaten by the French master’s twin sons - with their father holding the finishing tape.

The second was when I bought stink bombs that accidentally went off, ruining my blazer and resulting in a detention. And then there was the incident of the magazine.

On a school train trip to Italy, I’d bought a pin-up colour magazine, daring for those days. Back in class it was confiscated.

Careful what you wish for

John Cole, Shipley

It is a mistake to confuse power with influence, and by the same token, to confuse sovereignty with power.

A main battle-cry of the Brexiteers was that the UK needed to “take back control”.

This resonated with a large slice of the electorate who 
in consequence voted 52:48 to leave the European Union.

However, the Government’s own white paper on triggering Article 50 admitted: “The sovereignty of Parliament is a fundamental principle of our UK constitution...Parliament has remained sovereign throughout our membership of the EU”.

So, if we were to continue this crazy course to leave the EU there would be no gain in repatriated sovereignty since we never handed it over in the first place.

Our leaving the EU would, however, diminish our status and influence within Europe. As a member of the EU the UK has been one of the “big hitters” and has achieved much in helping to formulate policy.

Until recently governments and companies from outside Europe (e.g. USA. Japan etc.) have found it useful to approach the EU via the UK. Additionally this has helped with foreign investment into the UK.

Brexiteers should note the old warning; “Be careful what you wish for”.

Nothing worse than prison

Jennifer Bookbinder, Leeds

Re the letter from Hilary Andrews (YEP, August 25) about pensioners better off in prison, I do not think so.

I cannot think of anything worse than been deprived of one’s freedom. You cannot walk out of the door, go on holiday, or go out for the day, because you feel like it. To say pensioners would love a life in prison defies belief. I do not think pensioners are that badly off anyway, only maybe, the feckless ones.

Learning a new language

Martin J Phillips, Leeds 16

With regard to the article by the Bishop of Leeds and the YEP comment, I’m not sure what language teaching in schools is like now but in my day we had a choice of learning French or French.

Actually that’s not quite true, we were also forced to study Latin which clearly would be very advantageous as a second language! I hated both.

I only wish we’d had the opportunity to learn Italian or Spanish.