YEP Letters: March 19

George Mitchell and his milk "float" near Balm Road, Hunslet.
George Mitchell and his milk "float" near Balm Road, Hunslet.
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Check out today’s YEP letters

Snow picture was taken in 1950s

Malcolm Wharton, Hunslet Carr

rEGARDING the recent picture in the paper of milkman George Mitchell which has been in the paper a few times over the years, usually with a story of the 1963 winter, well, it wasn’t 1963 but much earlier.

How do I know this? Because I am in the picture.

That’s me in the middle next to George.

The only other person I can name is Alan Turtle who is stood directly behind me.

I was born in 1941 which makes me 76. In the picture I am 14/15 which dates the picture to 1955/56.

The picture was taken in front of the shops on Balm Road, which is now Wincup Gardens Sheltered Housing.

From public asset to private profiteer

Keith Handley, Horsforth

I WAS interested to read recent letters highlighting the drop- off parking charges at Leeds Bradford Airport, compared to the free charges for similar parking arrangements at Manchester Airport.

It is now just 10 years since Leeds Bradford Airport was sold off to the private sector, originally to Bridgepoint, who recently sold it on to AMP Capital. The sole purpose of Leeds Bradford Airport is now to make money for its investors and no amount of corporate “customer care” gobbledegook can ever disguise this fact.

The airport concentrates on charter holiday flights and destinations, where the majority of passengers will only be passing through once a year, so in reality the airport can get away with almost anything in their quest for profits.

Leeds Bradford Airport had been publicly owned in various guises for over 70 years. Prior to being sold off, 80 per cent of the airport was jointly owned, under a private shareholder arrangement, by Leeds and Bradford Councils, with Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield owning the remaining 20 per cent.

The airport was well managed, it had three executive directors, the chair of the airport board was either a Bradford or Leeds councillor and the remainder of the board comprised councillors from the five shareholding authorities.

Unfortunately, this all changed in 2008 when, for a few short years, both Leeds and Bradford Councils were controlled by an alliance of Conservative and Liberal Democrats.

The two council leaders were both Conservatives, Andrew Carter at Leeds, and Kris Hopkins at Bradford (who later became MP for Keighley) and their two controlling groups colluded to encourage a private sector bid for the airport.

Compare and contrast this to Manchester Airport. The Manchester Airport Group is now the largest UK-owned airport operator and in addition to Manchester Airport, it also owns East Midlands and London Stansted.

Remarkably, however, the major shareholder in the group is the public sector who own 64.5 per cent.

So there we have it! Messrs Carter, Hopkins and colleagues hived off our airport to the private sector, they gave up over 70 years of public responsibility for Leeds Bradford Airport and we now live with the consequences. Perhaps the Manchester Airport Group could submit a bid for Leeds Bradford Airport?

Why stick to a bad decision over Brexit?

John Cole, Shipley

DOES it help in life if people are intellectually honest?

Do we get better outcomes if voters are led by the evidence in making their choices, rather than blindly sticking to a decision made in the past because they are too stubborn to admit they got that decision wrong?

The evidence is piling up that the choice for the UK to leave the EU was a wrong decision.

There will be no additional £350m per week for the NHS but rather the opposite as the Government has less tax take from an economy that is hamstrung by the effects of Brexit.

Brexit will cost an additional £2bn in an expanded civil service – made necessary by having to deal with the additional work caused by severing ourselves from the EU.

Few people factored this in to their thinking when they voted on June 23, 2016.

Pig-headedness on the part of those who voted “Leave” and now refuse to re-evaluate continues to damage the best interests of this country.

As Mark Twain wrote: “It is easier to fool the people than to persuade them that they have been fooled.”

Bittersweet celebration

John Roberts, Wakefield.

CONGRATULATIONS to all concerned on the fascinating event in Wakefield at the Town Hall about Wood Street.

The film, dramatic re-enactments and historical recollections (not forgetting the superb silk paintings) made for a truly worthwhile and well-attended day.

However, could I draw to the attention of The Wakefield Civic Society and others an overlooked corner of the Wood Street area which sadly was recently swept away?

I’m sure few of us were sad to see the demolition of Rishworth Street car park, a 1970s blot on the landscape if ever there was one.

I understand from the film shown that Wood Street and the adjoining streets form a conservation area, which leaves me, and a number of people, confused as to why an early 18th century brick wall in Gills Yard (behind the old police station) – in close proximity to Wood Street – succumbed to demolition when the car Rishworth Street car park was demolished. Council officials have little, if any, excuse in 2018 to plead a lack of awareness.

Back in the 1960s, many of our towns made self-inflicted wounds on their urban infrastructure.

In those days, we only had a few brave souls willing to stand up and protest (John Betjeman, a man with the common touch, was one).

So, the celebration of Wood Street had a bittersweet element.

At the very time we recognised its importance, a fascinating historical curio had recently been allowed to be demolished.

What happened to letter T?

M Whitehead, Leeds 7

I agree with T Maunder (YEP Letters March 7) with regard to grammar.

When I went to school there were 26 letters in the alphabet. Now it seems there are only 25 as somewhere along the way the letter T disappeared, particularly from the middle of a word. At times, overhearing conversations or listening to someone being interviewed, it’s almost like a foreign language. When did this happen? I realise this is more speech than grammar but it is all linked, ironic!

Goodbye to two great men

Edna Levi, by email

Last week England said goodbye to two great men who, although from different sides of the spectrum, will never be forgotten - namely Sir Ken Dodd for his warmth and wonderful comedy genius and Stephen Hawking because of his genius and bravery.

Each of these, from such different spheres can never be replaced but their families and friends have such cherished memories.

No H in aitch

Mrs K Smith, Guiseley

FURTHER to T Maunder’s letter (YEP March 7) regarding the mis-use of English grammar, the thing that irks me the most is the use of the letter ‘H’ pronounced on its own.

The word ‘aitch’ is spelt with an A, and not as though there were an H on the front.

Look in any dictionary and you won’t find the word in the H section.

Try singing the alphabet to the tune of ‘Jack and Jill’, as we were taught and you’ll find there is no intake of breath when you get to the eighth letter. This is nothing to do with ‘dropping one’s aitches’.

Perhaps teachers should take the lead in reversing this ridiculous observation.

Information on Morley Runners

Mrs Margaret Broadbent, Tingley

I am writing in reference to the picture of the Morley Runners.

One of them will be Dave Webster and his wife. My late husband and family presented trophies in memory of my father and mother-in-law, George and Hettie 
Broadbent - George was a well-known champion runner for Morley Athletics before the war.

I think the trophies featured in the picture are the ones we presented.

We as a family have long wondered what happened to them, and to Morley Runners. I hope someone knows.

School fines ‘too heavy handed’

Kamran Hussain, Yorkshire and Humber Liberal Democrats Regional Chair

it has been reported that parents have been fined £24 million for term time holidays.

Naturally local authorities have a duty to ensure children are regularly attending school and receiving their education, but these fines are often used in a way which is far too heavy handed.

For many families the cost of going away during the school holidays is prohibitive. We must also remember that being able to spend time away with family, and learning about other places and culture, is beneficial for children too.

Head teachers are best placed to understand the needs of a child and their family. They should be given the discretion to grant children holidays during term time if they can reasonably make up the missed work and not overburden their teachers.

We need a much more sensible and even handed approach to this issue.

YEP Letters: March 20

YEP Letters: March 16