YEP Letters: October 5

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Check out today’s YEP letters

Cemetery maintenance is ‘sad story’

Richard Walkin, by email

I wrote a while back about the state of the Killingbeck cemetery and from that letter it has just got worse.

The skips in view were emptied just before the picture was taken and they really were a site to see. It now seems that from the road at the front up to the church is kept in reasonable condition but from the church rearwards there is little or no maintenance done and my poor old mum’s final resting place struggles to be seen under all the grass and rubbish.

It is a sad story.

Keep guards on trains - keep trains safe

Craig Johnston, Relief Regional Organiser (North)

During the current strikes on Arriva Northern trains the company is handing out leaflets to passengers at stations saying: “Modernising your train journey means making changes to how we support our customers, including the conductors role...”

The truth is no one is opposed to modernisation – indeed RMT union members have been on the front line when it’s come to campaigning for new trains, more trains and more seats – but these strikes are all about safety – RMT wants a guarantee that a safety critical and operationally trained guard will be on all trains in passenger service – that’s the current arrangement – Arriva Northern trains and the Tory government want to scrap that guarantee.

The strikes are not about wages, terms and conditions or pensions – the strikes are all about safety.

At the moment guards are trained and qualified in some 30+ operational and safety roles – including train evacuations, dealing with fires on trains, train failures, signalling systems, overhead power line isolations, even routes – in the event that a driver is incapacitated or trapped in an incident, guards can step in to protect the train and the passengers – but Northern don’t want to give the guarantee of a guard on every train, indeed they have accepted a franchise specification from the Tory Government that says at least 50 per cent of services can be operated under DCO, the new name for Driver Only Operation – at the moment on Northern it’s 0 per cent!

Guards don’t just carry out a key safety role, at a time of increased recorded crime and anti-social behaviour they provide vital reassurance to passengers and with ongoing security issues it seems utter madness to want to take these staff off trains.

There are also accessibility issues because the guarantee of a guard ensures people with disabilities and mobility impairments can access trains.

Indeed, Northern are suggesting that on some routes they are planning to have no second member of staff on board to look after passengers at all – how is that “modernising” or “improving” customer service?

The company claims that by changing the guards’ vital safety role they will be more visible to passengers on trains – the reality is that on many trains they will become invisible as they won’t be there at all.

Keep guards on trains – keep trains safe.

Labour seem to punish success

Jim Kirk, Middleton

‘What have Tories ever done for the poor’ bleats Barry Norman (YEP Letters, September 29). The usual mantra of the Labour faithful (now more middle class than ever)

Let’s take the moral high ground and toss around a few words like the weak, poor, and vulnerable who suffer under the iron heel of Conservatism.

The solution? Let’s slice up the cake of wealth fairly so we can all have an equal share. Who bakes the cake? Who provides all the ingredients Labour want to see distributed to the starving masses?

Alan Sugar paid £53m in tax last year. How many working class people on £20,000 a year would it take to match that figure?

The wealthy don’t magically produce money from thin air. They work for it too and in so doing create employment whilst contributing vast amounts to the tax coffers.

When will a tax rate ever be high enough for Labour? as long as it doesn’t affect their MPs salary). A party who claim to believe in equality and fairness yet seem determined to punish success.

The weak, poor and vulnerable are never presented with the equality of opportunity to take responsibility for their own life.

The impetus to strive to succeed will never be provided by Labour because Labour love to label the working class as weak and poor.

You are no good to Labour once you start to rise. They keep you down by feeding you the lie that you are downtrodden and only a vote for them will entitle you to a slice of free cake they played no part in making.

I am a Labour voter, and former trade union activist, no friend of the Tories, but Labour are more concerned with group identity these days so they can fit you in neat little boxes of group oppression.

The rich vs poor paradigm is wearing a little too thin, because poverty is something you can rise out of. Labour was created to represent a class of wage earners in Britain.

Why have they forgotten that?

Fly-tipping issue ‘beyond parody’

Coun Mark Dobson and Coun Sarah Field, Garforth and Swillington Independents

Coun Janette Walker, Cross Gates and Whinmoor Independent.

RE the article on the growing fly-tipping problem in Leeds. (YEP, September 28).

It is with with a sense of irony and growing frustration that we find ourselves commenting on the burgeoning issue of fly-tipping in Leeds and Leeds City Council’s attempts to educate through images of said tipping placed on the Clean Leeds media platforms to highlight the issue.

In February last at the annual budget setting meeting the Garforth and Swillington Independents moved a budget amendment to keep bulky waste collections free of charge and to divert money from the environment advertising budget to achieve this.

Sadly that motion was unanimously rejected by the Labour Council who, as always under the leadership of Coun Blake, appear to prefer style over substance.

So now, as we predicted, we have a massive spike in fly-tipping due in no small part to charging the public and diverting the money that used to fund the free service to a team who now, rather than remove it, take pictures of the problem to tell us how bad things are.

It’s beyond parody.