YEP Letters: May 15

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MOST SOUTH Leeds residents will be cynical about the headline which read: ‘How (we) Leeds steered clear of being a motorway city.’ (YEP, May 9)

Considering that an area encompassing Hunslet, Holbeck, Middleton and Rothwell all lie within a triangular compound created by a number of motorways, including the M1, M62, and M621, above, we who live there can hardly agree with such a statement; especially now that Leeds has been confirmed to be a city with high pollution. With the prevailing winds coming mainly from a south westerly direction, it is impossible to escape the fumes and pollution coming from these exceptionally busy roads.

Ernest Lundy, by email

Problem of ‘free’ time for events’ musicians

I’d like our charities to spare a thought or even a dime, for our local musicians.

On a regular basis my [steel]bands and I asked to play for charity events – races, summer fairs usually. And I like to play them if we can and if we can afford it, because I understand the power of live music. We like playing good cause gigs. But there is always that awkward moment when I bring up the question of budget, expenses, not even pay; donations, refreshments.

We get – it’s for charity, and, of course, if that was a one-off that would be okay. And there are some close-to-home events, eg Unity Day when I do volunteer to play, and payment is not a consideration.

For races the organisers have to get security barriers, marshalls, water; the risk assessments and general admin must be phenomenal. Do they all work for nothing, because they work for a charity? Do the ice-cream van give away ices? Is it only musicians?

All bands spend years learning their craft, saving up for and buying instruments, paying for lessons, then paying to tune and upgrade, buy insurance, maybe save up for a van, hire rehearsal space, get baby-minders.

Good musicians generally are trying to earn a living, so are charities expecting only to use amateurs, or are they asking professionals to work for free?

A band brings occasion to an occasion. We create an atmosphere, drive the runners on, bring in the passers-by from the streets outside. Are we just a nice extra or integral to an event?

Curiously it’s often the smaller organisations who make the effort to offer donations. One such group [actually not so small] that I would single out for praise is Otley Carnival. The year that they couldn’t afford the previous year’s fee, they wrote and asked us if we could play for less. They always give us pride of place on a huge float, and always name-check in the local paper. Here we are treated with such respect; it is an honour to play for Otley.

Victoria Jaquiss, FRSA Bandleader, music teacher

After-effects of meningitis

Hot on the heels of our awareness week – Vocal About Viral – showing the impact viral meningitis can have on sufferers and their families, come three other weeks, all of which help to demonstrate the devastating after-effects of meningitis.

Action for Brain Injury Week runs from 12 to 18 May. Meningitis and septicaemia can cause acquired brain injury – injury to the brain that happens after birth. Then, 18 to 25 May is National Epilepsy Week. A small but significant number of people who contract meningitis will be left with epilepsy. Children and adolescents who have experienced Meningitis B are six times more likely to develop epilepsy than children who haven’t had the disease.

Finally, it’s Deaf Awareness Week between 19 and 25 May. Hearing loss is the most common after-effect of meningitis.

More information at

Sue Davie, Chief Executive, Meningitis Now,

Murder and the role of God

Some reflections upon the so tragic death, two weeks ago, of the teacher Ann Maguire in her classroom at Corpus Christi Catholic College; and noting that the previous teacher to die in a school stabbing incident in England was Philip Lawrence, Headmaster of St George’s RC School:

From what I have read about her dedication to the school and her pupils, it seems not entirely unreasonable to apply the epithet ‘saintly’ to Ms Maguire.

But I wonder where God was when she was murdered. Presumably he/she had been in Vatican City the day before overseeing the canonisation of the two Popes. Perhaps he/she decided to stay over in Rome for an extra day?

More seriously, can anyone explain, following incidents such as these murders, how it is still possible to maintain a belief in an invisible, merciful, caring and omniscient god?

M McGlashan,Granby View

Bank collapse caused crisis

Could I say in the hope of benefitting some of your more blinkered readers that the global financial crisis started in America in 2008 with the collapse of Lehman Bros a global financial bank. This almost brought down the world’s financial system. The ensuing credit crunch resulted in the worst recession in America for 80 years.

The effects of the crash rippled through Europe eventually causing the Euro crisis. The crisis was brought about purely and simply by the greed of bankers on both sides of the Atlantic. The reason this country was badly hit was because the government of the day had to shore up the badly run banks. The result would not have been any different if Mrs Thatcher had been in power assisted by Winston Churchill, B.Duffy,and Malcolm Nicholson.

Walt Emsley, Gipton Wood Road

Families need financial help

JOHN APPLEYARD is absolutely right (‘Economy picking up? Not in the real world’, YEP, 8th May).

Let’s note that he was writing about those people who, though hardworking, decent, law abiding people, are struggling to keep their heads above water. They make up the many people who are suffering the consequences of the wrong decisions (deliberate or otherwise) taken by others who remain cushioned from the effects of the economic crisis. The worst thing is the perpetrators of our financial crisis still have “loadsamoney” safe from the UK taxman in off shore accounts and are apparently “untouchables. The income from their stocks, shares and other speculative investments may have “plummeted” but they are not homeless, hungry, disenfranchised nor derided.

Among the millions that John Appleyard mentioned are some working families in Ilkley who need help from the recently established Ilkley Churches together Food Bank. The reasons these families need help is not as a result of poor budgeting or fecklessness, nor over stretching themselves. No. It is because of the escalating cost of rent, rates, transport, utilities, and food; things which they cannot do without.

Val Smith, Moor Park Drive Addingham

No equal to Thatcher

ED MILIBAND could only dream of having such leadership skills and stamina in such adversity as Margaret Thatcher, please don’t forget, especially with recent events.

It was her that stopped the Cold War by banging Reagan’s and Gorbachev’s heads together. It’s a shame to say but she will never have an equal!

Mr Granger, Drighlington

History’s poor verdict on ex-PM

IT IS often said of political leaders that history will treat them kindly. People said that of Margaret Thatcher when she went. They even said it of Major, but I doubt very much historians will have anything but scorn for Gordon Brown.

He squandered the country’s gains on stupid vanity projects in the good times and ran about the place like a headless chicken whilst printing money like a demented forger.

Before Brown got his hands in the till our financial services sector was the envy of the world, not ridiculed as now. Brown should be charged with treason for the way in which he ruined the financial security of the British people.

In his last days in office he exhausted himself, shrivelled in the limelight, depressed the nation and was eventually consigned to the out-tray of history.

Malcolm Nicholson, Barwick-in-Elmet

YEP Letters: February 19