YEP Letters: January 17

Dame Ellen MacArthur. Chris Ison/PA Wire
Dame Ellen MacArthur. Chris Ison/PA Wire
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Check out today’s YEP letters

Let’s heed yachtswoman’s concern

John Appleyard, Liversedge

The Tory party general election manifesto of 2017 contained nothing about plastic and now, in an attempt to capture the young voter, Theresa May has pledged to deliver a plastic free coastline.

Her timescale of 25 years is not good enough, in that time a further 300 million tonnes of plastic pollution will enter the oceans. Labour however did have a commitment to plastics in its election manifesto which included safeguarding habitats and species in the ‘blue belts’ of the seas and oceans surrounding our island, setting guiding targets for plastic bottle schemes, working with food manufacturers and retailers to reduce waste.

Yachtswoman Ellen MacArthur, who sailed solo around the world, said she realised on her journey how small our planet is and how heavily polluted our oceans are. We should heed her concerns.

Mass transit system vital to help city thrive

James Bovington, Leeds 18

I agree with Rob Greenland (YEP, January 12) that the best way to make Leeds a ‘best city for motorists’ is to develop alternatives to the private car which would ensure that the vast majority of journeys into the central area are made by public transport, so reducing the need for enhanced car parking and improving the environment for all.

Only so much can be done by buses which are themselves part of the traffic slowing problem, belching out diesel fumes, as people can’t locate the required fare for their journey - hopefully contactless payments will sort this.

This is why it is so pernicious to spend enormous sums of money on projects like HS2 which will at best bring infrequent benefit to a small number at the expense of potential improvements to the local network which could bring huge daily benefits to hundreds of thousands of passengers.

A case in point at the regional level is the reopening of just 11 miles of track from Skipton to Colne which has met with universal approval from all local councils, MPs and transport campaigners. Removing this link some 50 or so years ago was short sighted nonsense. I don’t know the exact amount needed for restoration but I bet it doesn’t come near to the fat fees charged by consultants promoting the vanity of HS2.

There are other possible reopenings - hence the East Leeds Extension should be being developed around reopening the former Wetherby line at least as far as Thorner. Yet it is unclear whether local planners have even bothered to protect the alignment. However they definitely haven’t protected the site for a potential Calverley Rodley station reopening adjacent to the new ‘Sandoz site’ housing development as houses rather than a station are to be constructed on the site of the disused restaurant. More short-sighted nonsense.

Two English cities are actively pursuing underground rail networks. These are Bristol and Cambridge and an internet search will show the details. Manchester expects to construct central area rail tunnels by 2040. The planning problem in Leeds is that we have councillors who may well be genuine in their commitment to seeing our city prosper but who don’t grasp the extent to which investment in modern mass transit systems is a fundamental prerequisite for a city to thrive.

Their transport planners are very much finance-led and as ‘professionals’ have a commitment to their careers but not necessarily to our city.

I turn 58 this year and it is now over 40 years since I first proposed a ‘metro’ system for Leeds akin to those being built at that time on Merseyside and Tyneside. Am I going to see such a system in my lifetime? Remember a city cannot claim to be world class until it has a first class transport system. And fortune favours the brave so let’s plan for a metro. In my lifetime please.

Respect those who are worthy

Jim Kirk, Middleton

Legislation is in place to ensure that social behaviour doesn’t fall below acceptable standards.

It is the duty of every citizen to maintain those standards to the best of their ability.

Parents, not political parties, are responsible for their children’s behaviour. Just as the adult individual is responsible for their own actions. No one was ever rude by mistake!

Recent letters in the YEP have blamed the two main political parties for a ‘lack of discipline’ within society.

Reader Tony Winstanley places the blame on the Conservatives under Margaret Thatcher and her weakest to the wall policies. Completely ignoring the fact that Labour closed more pits in five years under Harold Wilson than Thatcher did in 11 years.

More than half the pits in the mining industry went to the wall under Labour governments, plunging thousands into unemployment, but that’s fine as long as Labour leaders pull the plug on your livelihood whilst showing everyone respect.

The notion that you respect everybody is ludicrous. You respect people worthy of respect, those with nobility of character.

To suggest that regardless of his politics Jeremy Corbyn never reverts to being disrespectful is laughable.

Labour have taken the party of the wage earner and turned it into an ‘accept you’re a jealous victim of anyone who strives to succeed and are entitled to anything you aren’t prepared to work for’ culture.

If you have no responsibility to society, how can you show it respect?.

It’s not difficult to work out which party encourages the individual to compete and gain respect.

Stop wasting taxpayers’ cash

Alex Gillies, Leeds 14

Less than three weeks into 2018 and Carillion hits the buffers costing the tax payer billions in bank debts, pension fund black hole and goodness knows how many small businesses and jobs down the drain. This on top of the Government writing off £3 billion on the now defunct Child Support Agency.

NHS is in free fall owing to over paid and not business efficient job worths earning more than the PM.

This wasting of tax payers’ money has to end.

Westminster is wholly to blame for the perilous state the UK is now facing, the party in-fighting has to cease and let the world know we are open for business.

The time has arrived for everyone to do a fair day’s work for a fair day’s wage, in my day if you didn’t clock in and out you didn’t get paid.

Not amazed by Carillion demise

Dr David Hill, CEO, World Innovation Foundation, Huddersfield

The demise of the vast Carillion construction empire did not amaze me, but greater still the incompetence of Government and Whitehall did not amaze me even more.

Indeed having had a stint with the latter over a period of two years with the old DTI with nearly 100 of the world’s leading scientists, engineers and technologists including eight Nobel Laureates in the sciences, we came to the conclusion that these people lived in a ‘bubble’ remote to reality and were we renamed Whitehall, the ‘don’t rock the boat steady-state’, where change was an anathema to them. But the sad indictment of this informed comprehension is that the people of this great innovative nation have to put up with the system that does not enhance the lives of the majority of British people through their naivety of how to create a dynamic economy, as they are insular always looking inside themselves not to others from the outside and in other words, they have no chance of seeing the wood for the trees ever.

But this we found literally held the country back and did not enhance the nation’s prosperity one bit. Indeed it regressed it For all ministers rely on these people for their so-called advice and base for their white papers et al and where ministers have not the knowledge or intelligence to challenge their idea of the world. This is where it all goes so horribly wrong and why concerns like Carillion were given huge government contracts when it was known that they were in a terrible financial state. That is how intelligent Whitehall and government reality is and it is about time for the country’s own long-term state, that these places of power had people with an inclination of commercial in-depth understanding of the world and primarily, common-sense. As without these two determinants of success out of a set of seven, how can anyone make decisions that affect the people in an advancing prosperous way instead of the negative way we always seem to find ourselves. Indeed in 2009 the chief economist of PwC issued a projection of the nation’s debt based on average intelligence at that time (and things have become even worst than the base assumptions at that time), that the UK’s total debt (everything) would be in the order in 2015 of some £11.5 trillion (over five times our total GDP today) and where our bank’s debt alone would be £4.5 trillion of that. Unfortunately the figures have not been updated for some strange reason and I wonder why, as things since 2009 have become increasingly worse because of the compounded effect on the debt built up in the Blair/Brown years which by opening the flood gates for the ‘Markets’, created a lot of how we are today in economic terms. Therefore for the good of the whole country, government and Whitehall has to change, not in political colour as that would be more of the same as history has shown clearly, but in who runs these establishments with the right knowledge base that derives success and not continual debt for over nine out of ten people. It simply has to stop if there is any wisdom at all in the UK.

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