YEP Letters January 15

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Fitting tribute to Albert and to Paul

Miss Diane Eubanks, by email

I refer to the article ‘Memories of Albert, footballing trailblazer’, (YEP, January 12), I think that this accolade is a great honour and long overdue.

Albert’s achievements helped to pave the way for successive generations of black footballers who play for British clubs or who come to play from countries worldwide. I have to mention my late brother Paul Eubanks, who was an Albert Johanneson enthusiast. He campaigned for many years to commemorate Albert’s footballing achievements and the memory of this footballing legend. This is a fitting tribute to both Albert Johanneson and to the contributions and campaigning of the late Paul Eubanks. Paul’s hardworking efforts should never be forgotten, as he was the first to want this honour to be achieved. Paul Eubanks was honoured at the 2016 Leeds Sports Awards for his work about Albert Johanneson.

Applause for plaque to MP Alice Bacon

Michael Meadowcroft, Liberal MP, Leeds West, 1983-87

I applaud the unveiling of the blue plaque to commemorate Alice Bacon (YEP, January 11) and I’m delighted to have been an “outrider” of the revival of interest in her career with my lecture at the Leeds Library in September 2013.

I was amused to read of the dilemma of where to place the plaque. Alice Bacon never lived in Leeds at any time during her 25 years as a Leeds MP. This was not unusual for Leeds MPs, in fact since the war a majority of Leeds MPs, from both Labour and Conservative parties, have come from outside the city.

Whereas Alice Bacon’s home in Normanton was not too far away, many MPs were London based and either stayed at the Queens Hotel or with party officials when they had to be in Leeds. Of the rest South Leeds MP, Merlyn Rees, had an address in the constituency as does the present Leeds West MP – and Alice Bacon’s biographer – Rachel Reeves.

There are a number of advantages in being locally based, particularly if one has children at local schools, not least in that by sharing the life of the constituency provides an inherent moral basis when taking unpopular decisions.

It also means that constituents can easily approach their MP when participating in myriad local activities.

Shopping mall culture is here to stay

Shaun Kavanagh, by email

In support of comments by Robert Allewell (YEP Letters, January 11) other contributory factors relative to the demise of high street retailers losing their hearts are:

Out of town retail parks offer convenience with free parking, as opposed to the high charges levied in town centres, especially Leeds.

Shopping, often undercover, with shops bunched together thereby saving time for the shopper instead of trekking about. internet shopping has really come to the fore offering significant savings coupled with the benefit of a vast selection of items online, often with free delivery within 24 hours and at no inconvenience.

Ever diminishing footfall reduces retail opportunities for traders in the High Street which will likely increase with time.

Excessively high business rates for retailers will ensure traders cannot compete effectively in relation to selection or price.

The above factors will not encourage shoppers to support the high dtreets in our towns, nor will high business costs and reducing shoppers enable traders to sustain the levels of income required to sustain a presence in their chosen locations.

It is a fact, the shopping mall culture of the USA, whether local or further afield in Britain, is here to stay and will only increase given time.

A nation divided

John Dyson, by email

TOday our MPs are due to vote on the Brexit deal. Before this vote, yesterday afternoon, 
there was to be a Westminster debate on several Brexit petitions.

The largest, currently with over 320,000 signatures, is to leave the EU without a deal in March. Next, with over 128,000 signatures, is to grant a People’s Vote if Parliament rejects the EU Withdrawal Agreement.

After that there’s Stop Brexit, Leave the EU now, Stop Brexit if Parliament rejects the Deal, Walk Away Now, and, with only 3,000 signatures, to have a second referendum on Britain leaving the EU. These petitions, sadly, show how divided our nation is on Europe.

Of those eligible voters, twice as many voted in the Referendum than the 2014 EU Parliament elections, and more than any of the five General Elections this century. Why?

Well here’s a potted history.

The European Community, or Common Market, was founded in 1958 by France, West Germany, Italy and the three Benelux countries. This followed a 1951 coal and steel alliance between France and West Germany, instigated by the French who feared a third time lucky attempt by the Germans at World domination.

Britain’s leaders decided being a member of the European Free Trade Association was a better alternative but the Common Market flourished and our Parliament decided to join and applied for membership in 1961. Ironically the French didn’t want us. The death of Charles de Gaulle opened the door for our eventual entry in 1973 but, not surprisingly, on terms biased in favour of the EU. Our Government, desperate to join, decided not to consult the people.

When the first Brexit referendum was held in 1975, myself and millions of others believed the crux was to remain in a purely economic community with our neighbours. How wrong, and badly informed, we were!

Egocentric elite still don’t get it

Harry Brooke, Meanwood

Channel 4’s excellently acted Brexit: The Uncivil War confirmed that the egocentric metropolitan elite still don’t get it.

All the Remain politicians, pundits, campaigners, and above all the EU, did was to compound their inevitable loss.

The most noticeable thing about the programme, apart from the obligatory slagging off of Nigel Farage and Arron Banks, was that it focused on the London-centric, toffee-nosed, Oxbridge-educated elite so despised by those living outside the M25.

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