Check out today’s YEP letters
Blue plaques are celebration of city
Martin Hamilton, Director, Leeds Civic Trust
It was wonderful to celebrate the life of the Leeds-born sculptor Kenneth Armitage on Friday by unveiling a plaque next to his “Both Arms” sculpture in Mandela Gardens in Millennium Square - particularly since there are important exhibitions of his work this year in the Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery at the University of Leeds and at the Tetley.
Readers may be surprised to learn that Leeds Civic Trust has unveiled 163 Blue Plaques in the Leeds area since our scheme started. We celebrate people (who should normally have been dead for 10 years!), buildings, events and locations (and in some cases a combination of all of these things), that are of significance to Leeds. We are always on the look out for new candidates, so if readers have any suggestions, they should get in touch with the Trust (firstname.lastname@example.org or 0113 243 9594) and we will delighted to consider them.
Vital that Leeds has a metro mayor
Lional Pyrah, by email
Last week, we witnessed the creation of a new form of local government when six English ‘city regions’ were granted devolved status, together with additional powers, functions and responsibilities.
Headed by a metro-mayor, each area will also receive a multi-billion pound cash haul spread over 30 years and the authority to make decisions independently of Westminster.
However, in my view, the new arrangements are only the forerunner of a system which will assume greater significance in the future.
Put simply, those city regions now boasting a metro-mayor will ultimately become cities in their own right in much the same way London has become.
And as I understand the situation, the metro-mayors will be required to attend ‘assembly’ meetings to be grilled by the leaders of their constituent boroughs.
It would be disastrous, therefore, if the Leeds City Region missed the chance to join the ‘Original Six’.
Apparently, however, Leeds - and Sheffield for that matter - still have the opportunity to join the six others within the next two years.
With the undoubted benefits on offer, it is vital, surely, to have a metro-mayor in the aforementioned ‘enlarged’ Yorkshire cities as soon as possible.
Playing catch-up is not an option in this case.
Let’s get on with leaving the EU
Shaun Kavanagh, Leeds 27
Isn’t everyone fed up with the sniping about whether Britain should be out or in the EU? The fact is, last year’s referendum result was out so the country should simply get on with it.
People should stop belly aching about the matter and let the lady in No 10 do her job, despite the fact she was for staying in the EU. She has a job to do and assuming she will be in a position to continue the job after the June General Election she should be allowed to fulfil what the public voted for.
Who in their right mind wants to be ruled by the Brussels bureaucrats who fill their pockets financially whilst making stupid decisions which benefit only Europe and then dictate policies to Britain, policies which offer no benefit for our country?
A recent article stated out of the top 20 multi-millionaires in Yorkshire only one saw a decrease in their wealth, with five suffering no change and the remaining 14 having an appreciable increased wealth to the tune of many millions. It appears Brexit vote is not really causing so much of a problem, or damage, and will hopefully culminate in financial benefits for everyone in the months, years ahead. Scaremongering should be discounted, especially from European leaders and the Euro MPs. Europe need Britain more than we need them. Then you have the leader of the SNP, Ms Sturgeon, who is continually jibing at Westminster and particularly the PM, for not authorising another referendum for Scotland’s independence. Ms Sturgeon’s predecessor failed and so too will she. She should be grateful for the financial assistance Scotland receives from the treasury department and should understand she has nothing to offer Europe by way of political status.
The likelihood of Britain leaving the EU is that the EU will crumble with other countries following Britain’s lead. They will then be free to negotiate directly with us without involvement with bureaucratic Brussels.
Brexit threat to security
John M Collins, Leeds 17
Both the environment and security are important issues, security particularly so. Up to now, we have worked with Europe on the environment: let us hope that will continue, despite Brexit.
But our security is vital and Brexit threatens it. Up to now, we have led Europe and the nations of the EU have worked to the guidance of the UK and not the other way round. If we do not succeed in ensuring that we retain our influence, our security will be damaged.
This is just one of the areas where we formerly had a powerful influence throughout Europe and where, because of Brexit, we are being sidelined. Our democratically elected MEPs were listened to with respect. Our representatives played their part in framing EU laws and directives.
And why are we having a General Election now? So that the Conservatives can secure such a majority that they can railroad through a host of new laws without adequate parliamentary control and challenge. So much for the “undemocratic EU” beloved of Brexiteers.
Real cause of air pollution?
DS Boyes, Leeds 13
LIVING on the A657 which is the main bus route between Leeds, Bradford and Keighley, when going on or returning from shopping trips to Greengates or Yeadon etc. I often find myself behind a single or double decker bus.
Only the other day, one such vehicle emitted each and every time it pulled away from a stop a mushroom cloud of soot almost dense enough to collect with a brush and shovel.
On observing the number plate, I could see why, as its prefix showed it to be over 15 years old, i.e. with a totally obsolete design of engine and fuel system. Others I have seen even older, up to almost 20 years of age. Isn’t this the real problem causing air pollution, not the private motorist with his car’s modern computer controlled fuel system plus catalytic converter and particulate filter exhaust.
By nature of usage, and of course their high initial cost public service vehicles have a long life. Will Theresa May’s plans to combat air pollution to be published soon ban these older highly polluting machines, or as ever just persecute the private motorist as the easiest target for both revenues and political expediency. She asks for our votes but as a diesel only driver since 1987 this may not be the way to get them.
Celebrating Nurses’ Day
Glenn Turp, Regional Director, RCN Yorkshire and the Humber
Across Yorkshire and the Humber, nursing staff are preparing to celebrate a day very close to our hearts.
Nurses’ Day is marked around the world each year on 12 May – the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth. It is a time when we come together to celebrate the work that nurses and healthcare assistants do every day of the year, a hard-working army of thousands going above and beyond for their patients.
Some nurses will use the day to have a tea party, run a conference or exhibition, or simply take a short time-out from their busy schedule for lunch – something a lot of people take for granted, but which for nursing staff can be a luxury.
This year, the Royal College of Nursing is celebrating nursing staff for the superheroes they are. Your readers can help by telling your stories of how nurses and healthcare assistants have been your heroes. If you’re on Facebook or Twitter please use the hashtag #nurseheroes and tag us @RCNYorksHumber.
Our members greatly appreciate the support they receive from the public, which keeps them going during their busy shifts and the tough times. Our nursing staff will do their best to continue to be your heroes.