YEP Letters: June 1

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Check out today’s YEP letters.

The deadly virus that’s struck our high street

Brian Johnston, Burmantofts

THE ONWARD decline and disappearance of small businesses on our high streets in Leeds and elsewhere seems unstoppable.

The latest casualty to cease trading is St Paul’s Bookshop, Cookridge Street, ending 64 years of Catholic book selling 
in central Leeds – first as Carmel Books and then the latter.

Although religious book publishing for all faiths remains steady, the outlets are fast diminishing.

The roll-call in Leeds of the recent past – A R Mowbray, Carmel Books, SPCK, Wesley-Owen and now St Paul’s – tells its own story.

Other well known Leeds enterprises – names like, Schofields, Austicks, Jowett and Sowry, Maturi’s, Gadsby’s, Tapp and Toothill – have all been driven out of business. Why ?

Shopping trends and retailing change over time.

Out-of-town shopping centres are but one example of such changes.

But of late, two deadly viruses have hit the high street. One is the cruel city centre rents and the scourge of 
online shopping.

In the case of the latter, the public cannot have it both ways – one will ultimately destroy the other, namely the high street small business.

Leeds is over-shopped as it is, with even more to come. But shoppers beware what you wish for. Current trends could change your shopping experience.

Will we end up with only showrooms, food chains, a couple of big stores and charity shops in a ‘one size fits all’ monopoly.

Progress? I think not ...

Charity letters bound for bin

Olga Twist, Leeds LS14

I can really sympathise with the lady on TV news regarding charity letters, even though the constant letters through my letter box was very small considering the volume that lady received.

I suddenly realised I had unwittingly contributed to at least six different cancer appeals, so at last I plucked up the courage and cancelled all but two, and also kept contributing to Leeds’ own 
St Gemma’s.

But even then, charities don’t just ask for a reasonable amount.

The last appeal was for £45 or more, so no matter what I just send a small sum.

TV ads seem to rely on charity ads to support their programming but surely the cost of advertising on TV must take up a lot of what the charities make.

And the cost of all the people they must employ and the cost of postage must take most of what is collected.

For most of the people I know, a charity box is never passed by and that way expenses are kept as low as possible. Now most leaflets that come through the letter box go straight into the green bin unopened!

Disabled people votes shocker

Colin Brook, Revitalise

I’m sure your readers wanted their voice to matter in the recent election. But how would they feel if they travelled all the way to a polling station only to be turned away?

This is what happened to a number of wheelchair voters at the last election.

We decided to investigate this and what we found was quite shocking.

We looked at the 50 most marginal constituencies in the UK and found that only three had adequate access info for wheelchair voters online. 88 per cent had no info at all.

This means that many wheelchair voters wanting to vote in person along with the rest of us might have ended up in a situation where they couldn’t vote, due to lack of access.

This election was expected to be one of the closest in a generation, so it’s baffling that so little thought was put into accessibility. I work for Revitalise, a charity that provides much-needed respite holidays for disabled people and carers and for us this is a simple matter of freedom and choice. Polling stations are still under no legal obligation to be fully wheelchair accessible.

This amounts to a fundamental infringement of the democratic right of disabled people to choose where and how they vote.

In our view, the electoral authorities have five years to find suitable premises to use for just one day, so they really have no excuses if they mess it up!

I’d like to ask your readers to support our call for a dignified voting experience for all.

To find out more, visit

Stick to the letter of law

Paul Kilroy, Lawnswood

USING mobile phones while driving has been illegal for 11 years, so the recent disclosure that there have been few prosecutions is disturbing.

If a law is thought necessary, it should be enforced. Otherwise it exists in the popular mind as a grey area with a blind eye being turned. In short: not important.

Moreover, if not always and everywhere enforced, it implies selectivity and even discrimination by the police.

In this category comes motor insurance fraud, wrong identity claims, speeding, property maintenance, rubbish disposal, food and hygiene offences, public spitting etc, etc.

In short, a host of criminal and civic transgressions in matters affecting public health and wellbeing.

It’s hardly conducive to public faith in the justice system when Jimmy is fined £75 for dropping a crisp packet, while junk and household waste is piled high elsewhere and the most attractive feature of the garden is the ‘To Let’ sign.

Let’s investigate the right to die

Mick Slaney, By email

As another survey finds that elderly and sick people are dying in pain and without dignity surely it is time we investigated further the ethics of euthanasia.

As someone who has seen members of my family literally starve to death through debilitating horrible cancers when all they wanted to do was be released from their agonising pain I find it crazy that we as a country are still allowing this to happen.

None of us will ever be able to choose why we die, that is out of our hands but we surely should have the right to decide WHEN we pass away.

I am aware that there are many people who oppose this view and I fully respect your opinions and beliefs but would be interested to know how many of your readers are of the same opinion.