YEP Letters: December 9

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Tram service would be a better option

Christopher Todd, Leeds 6

Councillor Keith Wakefield (YEP, December 7) rightly stresses the need to get commuters out of their cars and to offer “an alternative that is reliable, quick, comfortable and easy to use”.

Those of us who were at the 2014 public inquiry saw very clearly that a trolleybus would not provide any of these things.

Yet Councillor Wakefield and his councillors started planning for a second trolleybus line as early as last January, not waiting for the result of the inquiry into the first, hoping doubtlessly that the inspector had not been listening to common sense either. This can happen. In Lyon recently, to general surprise the widespread support expressed for a tram was interpreted by the inspector as a desire to improve the trolleybus service. Yet a tram would obviously have been better.

Initially, a tram costs more. It entails considerable initial disruption – though a fair amount of disruption is needed for the necessary segregation of all forms of rapid transport. A tram takes less space (with vehicles being able to go past each other at speed). It can carry far more people in comfort. It is also more ecological. Research presented at an International Conference in Thailand in June revealed that through being on rails a tram “costs 53 percent of the cost of the trolleybus per passenger.”

The local share of funding for the trolleybus was initially set at only 10 per cent. Only later did it rise to over three times this figure (one of many things fudged over in the so-called public consultation).

West Yorkshire is in danger of having as a financial burden a second-rate scheme that would in the future make it more difficult for us to get something better.

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Save cash by leaving the EU

Terry Watson, Adel

How on earth does Cameron expect to reduce our frightening deficit while throwing away our money on overseas aid?

During the short time he has been in power, the overseas aid has doubled.

Another £15 million has been added to India’s aid, a country far richer than Britain. During the short time he has been in power, the overseas aid has doubled. “Lord Bountiful” should remember that this is all borrowed money. If he thinks that throwing money away like this impresses the world, he is sadly mistaken. Other countries must be laughing at the stupidity of a Prime Minister in charge of a country with the third lowest pension in the world, and with a million people dependent on food banks. Our armed forces have been cut to the bone, NHS waiting lists are longer than under Labour and urgent surgical procedures are being held up through lack of funding. It’s time to stop showboating Dave and do something positive about reducing the deficit. Leaving the EU would save us £55 million a day. Marine Le Pen, the leader of the French National Front party said this week that Britain leaving the EU would be as positive for Europe as the fall of the Berlin Wall and would be marvellous for those who long for freedom. I don’t think many would argue with that.

Fallen on hard times?

V Sheparde, Aberford

The most miserable and dispiriting part of last Wednesday’s war debate in Parliament was the number of MPs who were not embarrassed to read their pathetic ‘speeches’ from scripts which seemed to have been written by the Government whips.

The trouble with these nonentities is that they don’t know or believe in anything and have arrived in the Commons via a conveyor belt of ambition and flattery, quite unfitted to debate the future of a sardine canning factory let alone the country or the world. And if Hilary Benn’s politically illiterate, factually challenged and emotive diatribe was a great speech, then we have indeed fallen on hard times.

Hunslet: alive and kicking

Ernest Lundy, by email

I spent a very pleasant afternoon at South Leeds Academy with members of Hunslet Rugby League ex-Parkside players, all of whom have the interest of keeping alive the glory days of the past at the old ground.

Some of us are well into our 80s and a few, including that doyen of Leeds Rugby league Harry Jepson OBE, and one or two others, have already passed the 90 milestone.

We were there at the invitation of the academy so that some younger pupils could take advantage of our knowledge, not only of rugby league in Hunslet, but also of Hunslet itself. As one who had never seen this wonderful seat of learning, I couldn’t help but cast my mind back to my own days as a Hunslet schoolboy in the 30s, while also realising how much things have altered for the better.

After a light meal provided by the academy, our group of eight or so peeled off into a classroom of younger children. Where, after being asked by one pupil: “How did Hunslet get its name?” One time schoolteacher Harry gave an admirable dissertation exactly how. A complete subject in itself.

The kids were bright eyed and bushy tailed as they say, well behaved, attentive and greatly interested in many things; not just rugby league, but also Hunslet during the war years: What did we do as children? What were our interests? How did we get to be rugby players? What was it like to be bombed during the war?

Some were amazed to be informed that such as Jimmie Brogden and myself had served in the war, Jimmie on a RN minesweeper, and myself as a mere MN cabin boy, in the Mediterranean.

Also when told that Mr Jepson was the holder of an OBE, they looked at him in a different light. The whole affair was a highly successful occasion and I’m certain our group of old Hunslet RL diehards enjoyed it as much as the children. Altogether it was a great experience and more than pleasing to see such a well-ordered establishment which bodes well, not only for the future of rugby league, but for the youngsters we met, in making even a small contribution to keeping the name ‘Hunslet’ alive and kicking. The place which, during the industrial revolution was the beating heart of its larger neighbour Leeds, producing great things and people. Famous in sport, for commercialism, the arts and so many other things still renowned the world over.

YEP Letters: December 15