Check out today’s YEP letters
Let’s build on ‘Northern Forest’ plan
N Bywater, Morley
What a fantastic result by a BBC team, the programme Fighting for Air 9-10pm on Wednesday night that has shown that trees can reduce air pollution for pedestrian and school children by as much as 30 per cent.
Pollution was reduced by a range of methods, from streamlining traffic sequencing to more green vegetation lining the streets.
Let’s build on the announcement of a new Northern forest that will spread from Leeds to Liverpool, that aims to replace the bulldozing of trees by the planned HS2.
Let’s plant thousands of oak saplings and ash, to replace the trees lost to ash dieback.
‘Our football referees remain untouchable’
Coun Peter Gruen, Cross Gates & Whinmoor ward
We all have opinions on a huge range of issues and we pride ourselves in being able to express them, don’t we? Yes, within the bounds of humanity and decency.
So we can call out ministers, we can criticise the churches and we can even have a view about the royal family. We can speak out about the NHS, comment about people’s driving skills and even speculate about the likely fate of our national cricket team head coach.
But there is one taboo subject that is close to our hearts and minds, where criticism is not only discouraged; it is actually penalised. Guess what it is? Let me get you closer. We can shout out about the managers, the players, the owners and even the state of the pitch and the facilities for supporters. Yes, it’s our great game of football. And what we can’t do is have our managers and clubs criticise the performance of referees.
So let me concede upfront: they have a difficult job and need to make tight judgements. However we don’t need to treat them like an endangered species.
They can miss off-sides, wrongly award or deny penalties, they can book the wrong players, they can decide when a hand ball is not a hand ball and why one tackle deserves a yellow card, when an almost similar one does not. Or why this one is a red card or not.
And so points can be lost, managers can be sacked, players left out of teams or sold on and in the extreme, clubs can be relegated or miss out on promotions.
But referees remain untouchable; they cannot be criticised. Managers can be told to ‘behave’ , banned from the touch line and be fined for suggesting a referee’s performance might not be up to scratch.
It surely boils down to this: top league referees are not volunteers, they are professionals, handsomely rewarded.
It is their living, and like the rest of us, they should front up to their good days, and their not so good days.
Clegg ‘worthy ambassador’
John M Collins, Leeds
I have in the past criticised Nick Clegg, but I was appalled by the letter from Shaun Kavanagh (YEP, January 9) denouncing the awarding of a knighthood to him in the New Year Honours.
Mr Kavanagh claims Nick has achieved “absolutely nothing” and has not been an ambassador for this country.
Has he forgotten 2010, when, faced with an exceptionally grave crisis left by the Labour government (remember the Labour minister’s admission – “there’s no money left”), Cameron asked Nick Clegg to come into coalition to secure stability for this country?
Nick and his colleagues knew that it would be unpopular with many Lib Dem supporters but put the country first. Within a few days the negotiations were completed and international confidence in the UK was restored. Contrast the present position in Germany, where they have been without a government for months because Angela Merkel cannot patch together a coalition. For that alone Nick deserves at least a knighthood.
But it goes much further than that. He insisted on raising the income tax threshold, so reducing tax for at least 23 million taxpayers and ensured that the Pupil Premium was implemented together with the ‘triple lock’ for pensions. And has Mr Kavanagh forgotten his battle to secure free school meals for the children of the least well-off?
And Nick Clegg was a worthy and able ambassador for this country: to take one example, he was widely praised for his leadership of the UK delegation to the World Climate Change Conference at Rio. Unlike Cameron, he was trusted by the leaders of Europe, with whom he can speak in their own languages. Indeed, it is a great pity that when it came to the negotiations before the referendum, he was not sent to represent this country as a man with practical experience of the working of the EC.
We are all entitled to criticise the policies of our political leaders, but we should try to avoid wild personal attacks on those who have served this country well.
Set NHS cashin advance
Mike Dennis, Ripon
WOULD it not be a good idea if the National Health Service became a ‘non-political’ football?
If all the major political parties could agree that a certain amount of money could be spent annually say for the next 20-year period, and this budget was managed by a non-political ‘board of directors’ – including clinicians from a variety of disciplines and specialities and chaired by a political appointee if you like – we could get away from the short-term political mud slinging which has taken place for most of my life.
The amount of the budget could be set at a percentage of GDP which would be agreed by the politicians.
The 20-year period could be reviewed and amended at, say, 10 years – but in both cases it would be possible that both the Labour Party and the Conservatives could be ‘in power’ during this time, but the agreed Budget would stand.
Hopefully this could reduce, if not eliminate, the constant bickering which currently takes place.
Cancellation of operations
Michael Green, Tingley
THE cancellation of January’s non-urgent operations by the NHS looks to have a lot in common with the cancellation of flights last autumn by Ryanair.
Both involve managers who shut their eyes to the blatantly obvious until it was too late.
Both involve a desperate last-minute attempt to avoid the resulting chaos. Both involve taking it out on the innocent ‘customers’, who are having to put up with the cancellations. I doubt that heads will roll in either organisation. Why not?
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