Letters, Friday, August 19th, 2011

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Have your say

People should have bigger say

POLITICIANS are there to represent the people who voted them into Parliament – all the constituents and not just some selected few. This goes for councillors and councils too.

There must be full consultation with the people of Wearside to say what goes at the likes of the Vaux site – what the people want.

Any new development must have greater participation with the people of Sunderland.

Council concerns are only with the private business sector and not first and foremost for the good of the people of Wearside.

We need full and open council day by day business and all meetings, everything to be for the good of Sunderland.

No deals behind closed doors.

Sunderland Councillors and officials need to take a 50 per cent pay cut and certainly not less than 25 per cent.

All councillors must be from the Sunderland area and live within the boundaries and all allegiances to be to the city.

To most of the country, Newcastle is synonymous with the term North East, as though it is the capital of the North East.

Sunderland first and foremost.

W. A. Laws, Washington

Council car hire

THE news that the council came top of the league for spending taxpayers’ money on car hire shows how the debate about cuts has now moved on to a debate about choices.

No one was forced, but someone chose to allocate a budget of £1million to be spent on hiring cars for the benefit of just a few people at the expense of everyone in the city.

The Labour-led council could have chosen not to fund car hire firms and instead subsidise youth clubs which, coincidentally, are losing out by the same £800,000 spent on car hire.

What particularly grates is the other league which the council tops for financial priorities: cuts to charities and community groups, which it heads for a medium-sized authority.

It’s no good blaming central government for the £10million reduction when other similar councils are making smaller reductions or, in some cases, none at all.

Sheffield City Council has a larger population but is making less in cuts but, of course, they did not waste £1million on car hire which could have gone to more worthy causes such as youth clubs.

Councillor Robert Oliver, Leader, Conservative Council Group

The mighty Pen

IN REPLY to M.C. Bennett, who would like to see Mick The Pen banned from the Echo, I feel that I must disagree.

I have read letters from The Pen for many years and find him a source of great entertainment. Although I disagree with many of his views, he is one of those special breed of letter columnists who occasionally appear who rarely shirk an opportunity to spout forth any topic, no matter how trivial.

It is people like Mick The Pen who are the lifeblood of any regional newspaper. He gets people talking, which can only be a good thing.

While I do not agree with many of his letters, there is no doubt he has a knack for this type of thing and maybe if he wanted to he could change his attitude and become similar to other correspondents, but if every writer did that the Letters Page would become boring.

So I do hope that Mick The Pen is not banned from the Echo and I look forward to more of the same from The Pen.

E. Colmenson, St Luke’s Road, Sunderland

Silence is golden

SOMEONE once wrote to the Echo suggesting that Councillor Alan Wright should stop treating the Letters Page as his own personal newsletter. For a while he seemed to take the hint, but it looks like we’re back to the bad old days where he has this desperate need to have a letter in the Echo most nights of the week.

Is he in competition with Mick The Pen to see who gets the most letters published?

Some time ago the Conservative opposition on the council, realising what an ineffectual and irrelevant bunch they are, adopted the strategy of bombarding the Letters Page at any and every opportunity to get their message across. Does every letter Alan Wright sends get published simply because he’s a councillor?

There’s more to the Letters Page than the latest party political propaganda from St Chad’s. It’s a forum for the views of ordinary citizens. Our elected representatives have other avenues to express their views to a wide audience. Give us a break, Mr Wright.

My advice to the councillor is a quote from that great Labour Prime Minister Clement Attlee: A period of silence on your part would be welcome.

J. Ridler, Hylton Road, Sunderland

Editor’s note: All correspondents – councillors included – enjoy the same rights and constraints when they write to the Echo. No correspondent has the right to have every letter published.

No flight of fancy

MR DOHERTY in his letter of August 11 states I’ve had a “flight of fancy” regarding the closure of the shipyards and coal mines of Sunderland.

Surely a “flight of fancy” means something is not real, something that stems from imagination, so I only imagined these incidents in history. Well, when I go down the riverside I can’t see any shipyards or, if I go to the football matches I can’t see any sign of a pit, so my imagination must be running wild.

The Tories did close the shipyards very quickly and very thoroughly. “Flight of fancy”? I think not.

The Nissan workers are a drop in the ocean as far as numbers are concerned, yet it was a godsend when it started up and we would be in a worse state without it. Five hundred jobs may be created at the Hitachi plant, but for how long? If the workforce of carriage makers down south are anything to go by, they will have to be on their guard.

If you look throughout the country, how many firms can be called British? Our travel, water, gas, electric, roads, foods and most things in our lives nowadays are owned and run by foreign companies. I don’t blame only the Conservatives for this. Labour governments are not the be all and end all, but at least they don’t blame the ordinary workers for all the trouble in the financial world.

We are all living too long, but at least they don’t want to make people work until they drop, and don’t use the big stick and threats to get sick people to be ashamed and made to feel like a bunch of scroungers.

Last but not least, Mr Doherty, have a walk round the local Job Centre and ask how many are successful in finding jobs and ask how many times people are put on supposedly trade schemes, or put on an agency whose workers may get a couple of weeks’ work here and there but rarely find permanent work, but are used as stop-gaps and are taken off the job seekers’ register.

Colin S. Wasey, Wayman Street, Sunderland

Thanks for help

I WOULD like to give my thanks to two young men who came to my rescue at Whitburn on Thursday, August 11.

Lee Brennan and his cousin Callum helped me after I had an accident on my bicycle. They picked me up, took me to hospital and stayed with me until I was admitted with a broken arm.

Also thanks to the lady who offered her help, and to the staff of Ward C36 at Sunderland Royal Hospital.

Barry Matthews, Impington, Cambridge

Successful night

MAY I thank the people of Sunderland who supported our charity burlesque evening at Destination Bar in Sunderland on Sunday, August 14. Over 100 people attended and helped to make it a night to remember.

More than £450 was raised towards the charity’s work.

I would also like to thank the performers and also Destination Bar which provided the venue free of charge. The staff were very supportive and helped to ensure everything ran smoothly.

The society offers a wide range of services and support to people with sight loss and the proceeds of the evening will ensure we can provide more.

Thank you once again.

Richard Wood, Executive officer, Sunderland and North Durham Royal Society for the Blind