YEP Letters January 9

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Check out today’s YEP letters

Ban ‘contaminating’ firework displays

Rita Brook, Lofthouse.

As a new year begins, we need to heed the warnings of our planet saviour, David Attenborough.

The use of contaminating firework displays require a worldwide ban.

Let us return the skies to their natural night time glory.

Choose the change of direction wisely

Jim Kirk, Middleton

in response to reader GR Chapman’s letter ‘Time for a massive change of direction’ (YEP January 5) which direction do we go?

As Labour is the only real alternative to the Conservatives does this reader actually believe food banks will close, the homeless will be housed, and our foreign aid budget will be cut?

Labour thrive on group identity. You’re poorer because you’re this. You’re oppressed because you’re that. The more they convince you that you’re worthless and only they can help, the more use you are to them. And the only real use is re-election.

This is a party whose leader awarded massive pay rises to his immediate office staff. A man toying with the idea of a garden tax. Who has the biggest gardens? Not just the rich, but every hard working wage earner who managed to buy their own council house. New builds come with little land these days so who will suffer most?

How do we help those suffering from the effects of austerity? According to Jeremy Corbyn it’s to hand free travel passes to the under 25s for a year. How many years have they been paying into the system?

Corbynomics is not the way forward. As a worker and Labour voter I can assure you the shadow cabinet wouldn’t recognise a working class person if they fell over one.

Where are all these shoeless children? If there are four million children in abject poverty there must be six to eight million parents also in abject poverty depending on their relationship status. Where is the evidence?

The last time I donated directly to a homeless person he was too busy on his mobile phone to say thank you.

I’m not saying there are no genuine cases out there, the last caring Labour government laughed that there was no money left in the coffers (despicable).

Labour closed more pits than the Conservatives ever did and thus ruined an entire industry. To suggest the Conservatives have done more to ruin this country is false. To even imagine the oppressed-loving snowflakes running Labour would ever attempt to lower the foreign aid budget is ludicrous.

Choose your direction wisely.

A different world...

David Horncastle, Doncaster

With regard to Chris McGovern’s somewhat depressing article, ‘Wasted spending to blame for crisis in UK classrooms’ (YEP, January 7), I would like to make the following observations.

I started school during the Second World War and, until I passed the 11-plus, was taught through the infant and primary stages in classes of well over 40 pupils by single female teachers. The discipline we were subjected to was by today’s standards, horrendous.

From the start, punishment varied from vicious slaps across the wrist in the infants to caning across the palms in the juniors to cracks across the backside with a slipper at the grammar school.

This could happen for the most trivial of offences. My junior teacher (a terrifying middle-aged spinster) secured a pass rate of 46 out of 48 for the 11-plus.

Grammar school class numbers were around 35. By comparison with today, education was done on the cheap.

We left the grammar school with a GCE certificate which listed the subjects passed but no grades. It was made abundantly clear to us that if we hadn’t done well it was our fault and not the teachers’.

Most of us started work at 16 and were given no chance to assert ourselves by our elders who made quite clear that we were at the bottom of the heap. National Service at 18 finished the job.

Adulthood was finally achieved at the age of 21 when we were allowed to marry and vote. Very few of us who are over 80 can be described as obese. Food rationing in our youth saw to that. Clearly we cannot turn the clock back to the era I have just described but it does seem to me that perhaps the pendulum has swung too far the other way.

We need more communities

Ian Wilson, Member of the Socialist Labour Party, by email

The Commons Library Briefing (December 2018) estimates that between 240,000 and 340,000 new houses will need to be built each year to meet the country’s current accommodation needs.

However, the continuous expansion in the building accommodation, without adequate growth in industry and employment will simply create dorma-towns or pockets of deprivation.

Town planning needs to consider a sense of community, that is to say, people need to be drawn together for some common purpose and an economic heartbeat is required for such a community to thrive.

The death of community or the construction of heartless and unfocused building schemes has contributed to the fact that more than nine million people in this country express continuous feelings of loneliness https://www.campaigntoendloneliness.org/loneliness-research/.

We desperately need more houses, but more importantly, we need more communities. Furthermore, we need communities who care.

For example, I read with interest the government’s Green Paper on Social Housing (‘A New Deal for Social Housing’ August 2018) but noted that whilst measures to ensure more effective systems of complaint were frequently mentioned and strategies to help people ‘buy’ their houses were listed, there was not one word written about how to prevent homelessness or how to support individuals with disabilities to access suitable accommodation.

Nor was there any reflection that, along with houses, we need communities with school, workplaces, local and accessible health services and all the things that make a thriving community.

As the new year marches forward, please could I ask that housing planners consider building communities rather than building more and more alcoves of isolation.

Ignore the scare stories over no deal

Thomas W Jefferson, Howden

It was most refreshing to read the letter from the successful businessman Lord Bamford (YEP, January 5) saying that when we leave the EU we should not fear trading with the EU on World Trade Organisation terms, as our exporters will soon adapt. Those who describe this as “crashing out” or a “cliff-edge” are irresponsible.

The scaremongering surrounding the Port of Dover is also much overdone. The chairman representing 75 per cent of UK ports says the industry will be ready for any kind of Brexit and many of Yorkshire’s and Lincolnshire’s ports stand to benefit, giving our region a boost. The EU is mired in intractable problems, mostly of its own making, and shows no sign of reforming to address the needs of its peoples. It is time for us to shake off its failing model and to regain our fully-independent democracy, which is a prerequisite for any successful nation. Our MPs must not fail us by accepting anything less.

Marking 80th anniversary

David Mitchell, National Chairman, The British Polio Fellowship

I would like to invite any readers who have had polio and now live with Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) to join The British Polio Fellowship as we mark our 80th anniversary on January 29. For eight decades we have provided support and services to our members to help them live healthy, independent lives.

Our 8,000 members are still going strong, but we know there may be 120,000 polio survivors out there, unaware that our charity is still here and able to help them. With three quarters of older people admitting they are lonely, joining one of our regional groups or branches is a great way to meet survivors like you.

The new year is all about new beginnings, so why not resolve to contact us today, and let us see if we can help you. The years rolling by means this may be one of the last occasions there is still a sizeable number of us polio survivors left to mark this date with the respect it deserves. If you had polio, you are a part of our story, so please do join us one last time at this key moment in our history. We would love to hear from you.

For further information, to join us, or to offer an 80th anniversary donation, call us on 01923 281 099 or visit www.britishpolio.org.uk

Inferred sexism is non existent

Derrick Bond, Shadwell

Time and again, people are laughably referred to as ‘chairperson’ or ‘chair.’

The correct term for this position is chairman. In Old English and Anglo-Saxon, the suffix ‘man’ is gender neutral.

It had, and retains, the same meaning as ‘person’ today, referring to all people equally. So the politically correct inferred sexism in using the word ‘man’ is non-existent.

The hilarious Two Ronnies sketch ridiculing Manchester being renamed Personchester made the point perfectly.