YEP Letters: May 31

Tessa Jowell.
Tessa Jowell.
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Check out today’s YEP letters

Bring back schemes as mark of respect

John Appleyard, Liversedge

In 1998 the Labour government under the guidance of Tessa Jowell set up Sure Start Centres which offered support to parents and children in disadvantaged areas.

Two hundred and fifty of these schemes were given £580m to spend on work with midwives and health visitors to identify mothers straight from birth who were struggling, depressed and in need of support. Mother and toddler groups were set up and targets were set to cut infant mortality.

There has been an annual cut in these services since 2010/11 and yet a £50m fund has been made available by the Tory government for grammar schools.

Labour is calling for axed Sure Start schemes to be revived as a mark of respect for the late Tessa Jowell and the sooner the better.

Take parental responsibility seriously

Ivan Kovacks, by email

I see we are being treated to the annual whining and whinging of parents who complain about not being allowed to take holidays in term time without the threat of a fine hanging over them. What tosh!

Apart from a few parents whose employers may put constraints on them from taking holidays during term time, many of these will be catered for by understanding schools, all the rest are just complaining about the cost of holidays. There are some who say holidays are educational but they are equally educational when taken during the official holidays, this is just clear hypocrisy and they also just don’t want to play the full price of holidays.

When you are a parent you have responsibilities and they include sticking to various rules and regulations including those regarding the timing of the child’s education.

For those who complain about travel firms putting the prices up during school holiday times they are clearly wrong. Like all good businesses they are there to make money not act as a charity and so they make most of their income when prices are normal due to the high demand. What the companies do is lower the prices, outside peak time, to attract people to fill potentially empty seats and hotel rooms.

Also think of the teachers they have a hard enough time looking after so many children that are class disruptive and anti social. Don’t make their life even harder by trying to help children catch up when they have been taken out of school.

Come on parents stop complaining and take your parental responsibilities seriously. If you cannot afford a trip abroad don’t have one! You have no divine right to one.

Thanks to our volunteers

Ed Anderson,County President, South & West Yorkshire, St John Ambulance, Leeds

As St John Ambulance’s County President for South & West Yorkshire, I would like to take the opportunity of Volunteers Week June 1-7 to thank all our charity’s volunteers who work tirelessly in local communities, supporting patients and their families through some of their hardest and most vulnerable times.

Across the country, they give close to a million hours every year to support the public at events. That’s over 100 years’ worth of hours given humbly and without expectation of praise. I am sure many of your readers will have good reason to join me in thanking our volunteers for their medical care. Some may even owe their lives to these unsung heroes.

In addition to our frontline first aid providers, St John’s impact would not be possible without all the support teams who work quietly in the background away from the spotlight. So I would like to take this moment to celebrate the part those volunteers in support roles across our organisation play in making it possible. I am also grateful to our young people and their leaders, plus other volunteers such as advocates and first responders, along with the teams of volunteer managers.

All these people should be thanked for their family spirit, kindness and dedication; and for representing the values that have been the foundation of St John throughout its 900 years of history. We should thank them, not just in Volunteers Week but every week.

Picture worth a thousand words?

Harry Brooke, Meanwood

iF POET William Wordsworth were alive today, would he have written ‘I wandered lonely as an iCloud’?

He’d probably add: ‘When I saw a host of golden daffodils I was literally like, oh my God,’ and take a selfie. Would that picture be worth a thousand words?

Right the wrongs of the Windrush generation

Mr M Jenkinson, Beeston

The treatment Lorenzo Hoyte has experienced disgusts me.

The celebrated excellence of his sister representing Great Britain makes his experiences all the worse. The Government needs to be held to account for the treatment of all those people who have ‘grown up British’.

Brexit has many appalling consequences. It is time, at the very least, to right the wrongs experienced by the Windrush generation and the children of working immigrants like them.

Tragedy and farce in one Brexit episode

John Cole, Shipley

One of the topics that gave medieval scholasticism a bad name was the time wasted by philosophers in earnestly debating “how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?”

Today we have the 21st century equivalent of Mrs May’s cabinet in their discussions of the future trade relationship between the EU27 and ourselves. Two options before minsters are (a) a customs partnership and (b) “Maximum Facilitation (the alleged high tec solution). It is important to note that both (a) and (b) have already been rejected by Brussels. Time spent discussing relative merits is a total waste. Nevertheless the cabinet, the Tory party more generally and their friends in the right wing media continue to obsess about the topic. Historians record that in 1453 when Turks besieged Constantinople, ultimately taking the city, scholars of the period were at that time preoccupied with the “angels dancing on the head of a pin” conundrum.

As Marx wrote, “History repeats itself, the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce”. Mrs May and her cabinet are perhaps to be congratulated in combining tragedy and farce in one Brexit episode.

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