Check out today’s YEP letters.
Park’s location proof of city’s class divide
Mike Harwood, Kirkstall
A few points, may I make, in relation to Ernest Lundy’s letter (‘Why were park gates untouched?’ YEP, Letters, July 31, 2015.) There was a campaign from 1940 to remove the iron railings, gates etc, from gardens and parks (even those around graveyards and churchyards could be taken) to use them as raw material towards the war effort in the Second World War. And local councils had compulsory powers. Why were the gates of Roundhay Park not taken, asks Mr Lundy. Was it another example of the north-south divide, he asks. In fairness (and even though the city council was controlled by the Tories from 1935-45) it should be remembered that the 700 plus acres of Roundhay Park which until 1871 had been a private landed estate was then bought (that word might be stressed) by the council and became a public park open to all. It was the gates of a public, open park which were being saved from scrapping. The more fundamental question - and perhaps this is Mr Lundy’s real point - is to ask why was such a huge public asset in the north of the city? Or, rather, why was it (and still is of course) only the affluent middle classes who were exclusively able to live within walking distance of the salubrious environment of the park and its environs. The divide was not, and is not, as such north-south; it is a class divide. In more general terms it should, again in fairness, be said that this campaign to collect iron did, at least at times, have a lovely democratising/levelling effect. I do hope you will allow me to quote from Angus Calder’s The People’s War, one of the leading social histories of the wartime home front: “The railings became a symbol. “In handsome Georgian squares, in London and other cities, they had maintained the privacy and amenity of shady lawns and bright flower beds for those householders whose property had entitled them to a key. “To the privileged, their removal was another tormenting sign that the days of gracious living were over. “But for those who preached human equality, it was not only prudent but delightful. “The gardens belonged to everyone now, even if they were used for vegetable growing. This was one token of what AJP Taylor has called ‘the brief period when the English people felt that they were a truly democratic community’ (p 346).” “How brief does it seem now! A final point, if I may. As I understand it, the campaign may have been a morale booster, but it was impractical – the stuff was never melted down and was thrown into the Thames rather unceremoniously off Sheerness on the Isle of Sheppey. And, I understand, the stuff may still be there.
Labour Party is a lost cause
B Duffy, by email
Phil Cook’s letter of July 31 was breathtaking in its hypocrisy in trying to lay the fault of austerity cuts at the Conservatives’ door. Anyone with an ounce of common sense realises that these enforced austerity measures are a direct result of Labour’s catastrophic 13 years in power, from which the country will never recover. The large numbers of migrants here and massing at Calais are a direct result of Tony Blair’s ‘open door,’ policy and his illegal war in Iraq as America’s poodle. Also Gordon Brown’s PFIs, which are costing NHS Trusts up to a quarter of their budgets in interest payments alone. The highly selective cuts which appear to embarrass the Government as applied by Leeds’s Labour Council closing care homes, Classical Fantasia, Opera in the Park and Party in the Park, whilst financing Le Grande Depare, Gay Pride, the West Indian Carnival etc, shows Labour’s contempt to Leeds ratepayers. Lord save us from another layer of pygmy politicians,if we have a Mayor foisted on us. Nice try Phil,but the country has spoken. Labour are a lost cause and the country will never trust them again,just ask the people of Morley. Ed Balls might get a new kitchen if Yvette wins the Labour leadership, now he’s found his niche in life,as a househusband!
Extinguish this toxic mix
Malcolm Nicholson, Barwick-in-Elmet
This country has produced some great comics; Charlie Chaplin, Bob Hope, Eric Morecambe and Ronnie Barker to name a few. Now step forward Dave Ward, head of the Communication Workers Union who can also be added to the list. He backs Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader because the party’s modernising Blairite faction, which chimed with voters enough to win three elections, is a “virus”which needs extinguishing. Mr Ward is adamant Labour must never compromise its principles in the cheap pursuit of power. It’s fine to hold such views as an idealistic teenager. Its embarrassing in a grown up. The only faction Labour needs to extinguish is the infantile Left,a toxic mix of deluded old union bores and naive young social-media revolutionaries.
What a great weekend
Noel Bullock, Morley
I had the pleasure of visiting three attractions over the weekend which were all well attended and organised. Breeze events are run by Leeds City Council to offer something for all 0 to 19 year-olds to do during the school holidays and it was great to see everybody enjoying themselves in Scatcherd Park, Morley, on Friday, tackling a variety of activities such as obstacle courses, rock climbing, challenge games and sporting inflatables. The Eeh By Gum festival’s outdoor market rolled into Queen Street 24 hours later to help celebrate Yorkshire Day with a wide range of stalls to choose from that also included a fun fair and street entertainment. And finally, the Sue Ryder Family Fun Day held at Morley Cricket Club on Sunday was a huge success helping raise over £1,530 to that designated charity which included a barbecue, stalls, rides, a tombola, etc, keeping the tills ringing all afternoon in the sunshine.