AAARGH YES - the Miners’ Strike. I never did find out how much, in terms of cash, it cost me personally.
I was a partner in a shirt factory to be equipped in a disused nightclub just outside Hemsworth in South Yorkshire. Isn’t that in the heart of the Yorkshire coal mining area and homeland of one Arthur Scargill?
We were in a position to offer nearly 100 jobs, some to already skilled machinists, others allowed to gain their skills while they earned money.
We were approaching something akin to a break even point when the bottom fell out of our plans as along came the biggie, the infamous three day week. We were allowed to use electrical power for an allocated three days per week.
Our allocated days were Thursday, Friday and Saturday. We had a workforce of 85 ladies, all of them were wives, mothers or daughters of miners. Even so, many of them would have come in to work but of course we had no power to operate their machines for three days in the week.
To walk round that factory floor during the silent working hours was heartbreaking. We had to cut our losses and quickly.
Thursday became the start of our working week and, if we were lucky, Saturday lunch time saw the end of it. I say ‘if we were lucky’ as many of the striking miners wouldn’t tolerate their wives working even on the Saturday morning.
The country was shattered both in financial terms and loyalty. Arthur Scargill and Margaret Thatcher were figures of hate and neither could or would claim any sort of victory from what people came to think of as Britain’s most inglorious period.
My bank manager didn’t think too much of it either.
John Swift, Roper Avenue, Roundhay
A waste of GPs’ time and money
WHEN VISITING my doctors’ surgery this week I noticed on the screen that 619 people had not turned up for their appointments in January.
This was nearly double the number six months ago and shows that we need to charge people to stop this waste of money and resources - no excuses accepted.
A charge of £5.00 would be reasonable, returned if you attend the appointment. We do need to deal with this problem as it wastes so much money.
AE Hague, Bellbrooke Grove, Leeds
Just ignore any unwanted calls
I FEEL for Edna Levi. I have a friend who is always getting cold calls like this. I am lucky in that as I am ex-directory, they can’t just look me up in the phone book. I do get the odd call, but that’s their computer doing its thing, ringing the next live number!
However, I work on the principle that just because I have a phone (or indeed a front door), I don’t have to answer either. But when I do pick up the phone, if it’s an unwanted call, then I just put the phone down somewhere and ignore it.
You could always say “hang on a minute” first, to be polite, I suppose. But it’s their money, and I didn’t ask them to spend it on me! The screen on my phone usually tells me it stays connected for around a couple of minutes.
Someone once told me that if you tap the “hash” key (noughts and crosses symbol) several times it confuses their machinery. I don’t know if this works, because I’ve usually laid down the phone and gone to do something more interesting – like watching paint dry!
My only problem can be finding the phone afterwards!
Denise Marsden, Cookridge
‘Red herring’ claim nonsense
PLEASE LET me reply to B Duffy’s letter (YEP, March 3). Firstly, I have to question the claims that Labour inherited a “record surplus” in 1997.
The level of debt in 1997 was 42 per cent of GDP, before the global financial crisis took place in 2008 that level went down to 35 per cent. As for the deficit of GDP, in 1997 this was at 3.9 per cent and again by 2008 it fell to 2.1 per cent.
Secondly, the “term banking crisis” is accurate and not a “red herring” as claimed. The whole crisis started in summer/autumn of 2007 in the US. It then reached here and also affected many other countries afterwards. The way B Duffy’s letter was written seems to imply that it started here. If that is the case, that’s incorrect and to call it a “red herring” is nothing but complete nonsense. Labour was not running other countries affected by the crash. The cause? A de-regulated financial sector.
Thirdly, apart from the Iraq War, the other mistake New Labour made was carry on with Neo-Liberalist policies. They should have done away with PFI - which was a Tory idea in 1992 - and reversed the de-regulation of the banks that Mrs Thatcher did in 1986. The inaccuracies of B Duffy’s letter could fill a warehouse, it was as though history had been re-written to favour the Tory party.
Lastly, why don’t Tory supporters criticise bankers who caused the crash in the first place? Is it because they fear their main source of party funds?
Matthew Forth, Pateley Bridge
House empty for four years
I READ what Councillor Peter Gruen had to say about the number of empty homes (YEP, March 4).
Maybe he could answer my question which I have asked a few times without an answer.
Why is the house next to Whitecote still empty after a number of years? It was the caretaker’s house but has been boarded up for at least four years.
Barry Leonard, Bramley
Church fights against abuse
THE CHURCH of England and, I hope, other churches, takes abuse of the young and elderly very seriously.
Last Tuesday three dozen church members took part in an exercise organised by the Diocese, to educate and motivate us to do our utmost to look after the young in our care. Sue Booth led us through various exercises and discussions, to ensure that young people who are in our churches are safe to enjoy their religion.
I met hundreds of paedophiles in my years as chaplain at HMP Leeds; and give thanks that the Church is doing its bit in the tide of child abuse to allow our youngsters to develop freely to adulthood.
John Theobald, assistant priest, Garforth
TV appeal for Children’s Trust
I WOULD like to encourage your readers to watch an inspirational television show I am delighted to be appearing in.
The BBC One’s charity appeal programme Lifeline – in which I visit The Children’s Trust – will be aired on the afternoon of March 16.
During my visit to the charity I met some courageous children receiving rehabilitation for a brain injury and sat in on a physiotherapy session.
I witnessed the expertise of highly-trained staff and the encouragement of mums and dads as they watched their children make precious steps in the journey of their recovery.
As many people know, I myself am living with a brain injury after a car accident filming Top Gear, and I can certainly relate to the experiences of these kids and their families. Thankfully, The Children’s Trust is there to help children make the best recovery they can. I’m proud to be a Vice President of this incredible charity which is celebrating its 30th year. Please help us spread the word of why The Children’s Trust is the UK’s leading charity for children with brain injury by watching Lifeline on BBC One on Sunday, March 16 at 4.30pm. It will also be repeated on BBC Two, March 20 at 1pm.
Richard Hammond, vice president, The Children’s Trust, www.thechildrenstrust.org.uk