25 years since our shipyards betrayed
IT is the 25th anniversary of the closure of the NESL Yards announcement on December 7, 1988.
It is acknowledged that the decision to close was a political one by the Conservative government.
With the decline in world trade in the early 1980s, every shipbuilding country was subsidising its industry to obtain work – in Korea a 40 per cent government subsidy was being offered.
However, the British government was unwilling to subsidise the nationalised UK industry and embarked on a privatisation strategy, which hinged on the fact that the EEC would only subsidise the privatisation on condition that the shipbuilding capacity in the UK. would be reduced.
Lord Young, Minister for the DTI, made a secret deal with the EEC to save the Govan Yard on the Clyde by selling it to Norwegian buyers in return for the obliteration of Sunderland’s shipbuilding capacity.
Part of the deal was that the town would receive a £45million EEC grant to attract inward investment. A 10-year monitorium on any shipbuilding on the Wear was also part of the deal.
This shabby deal resulted in some 6,000 workers being unemployed, which meant a whole generation consigned to life on state benefits. Even today, we have one of the highest levels of unemployment and the lowest levels of job vacancies.
The closure of the Wear yards will go down in history as an act of industrial vandalism and social engineering on the altar of free market dogmatism.
I for one will not forgive or forget this treacherous act of the industrial cleansing on the banks of the River Wear.
Although the Southwick, North Sands and Deptford yards were demolished, the Pallion yard remains open as a reminder of what was done to “the town where ships were born”.
Survey a success
I WOULD like to thank the hundreds of Fulwell residents who returned their survey forms after the ‘In Touch’ newsletters were delivered to their homes.
Fulwell councillors had started to answer each return personally, however, the sheer volume of responses has made it difficult to do so.
Many people informed us of their concerns on the local scene. Dog dirt was a prominent issue; followed by road and footpaths needing repairs together with the spraying of weeds.
Irresponsible parking was another complaint, as was the lack of seafront leisure facilities, particularly the need for a replacement of the Crowtree Leisure Centre to be provided at Seaburn.
Other issues included the need to stiffen up the profile of policing in the area and the regulating of private rental providers and landlords.
A large number of criticisms also focused on the poor state of Sunderland city centre, which to many came a poor second in shopping to Newcastle.
In particular the number of charity shops and the loss of quality outlets throughout the city was clearly an important issue raised by many, in particular the rundown Holmside area.
The state of the Vaux site and the lack of progress in other large projects were also pinpointed as examples of the city’s abortive attempts to achieve real city status.
The survey included space for comments about the national scene, and many people expressed concerns over the number of migrants that have been allowed into the country, together with comments that the in/out referendum promised by the Prime Minister should be held earlier than 2017.
Couns George Howe, John Wiper, Robert Francis,
Out of touch
MY heart bleeds for the deputy mayor.
I was almost in tears reading the story in the Echo regarding him having to buy his own suits and clothes for his wife and then having to buy raffle tickets and pay for his own drinks, then £60 to go to Newcastle for its mayor’s function.
Nobody is forcing him to go or be the deputy mayor.
I can remember when councillors did it for nothing – just the honour of representing the city. If they were lucky, they got a cup of tea and a biscuit.
It just shows you how out of touch this council is, after all the cutbacks and job losses, those on the high table have not got to suffer like the rest of us.
THE comments by R Scott (December 2) smell of hypocrisy.
Left-wing ideology has dominated our education system for decades, and lest we forget, saddled us with the disastrous comprehensive schools.
In relation to other countries, standards fell sharply under the last two Labour Governments, and no doubt, they’ll fall again when it returns to power.
Far too much emphasis is placed on left-wing, politically correct mumbo jumbo.
What our children need is a return to fact-based education, and a proper grounding in the basic requirements needed to gain employment, and the ability to look after themselves when they finally reach adulthood.
The one thing I do agree with is the need for teachers to be well versed in the subject that they are teaching, and that inevitably means having the relevant degree or workplace qualifications.
Is this censorship?
SO the left right-on uni types want to ban the Sun newspaper because women choose to pose on Page Three.
Why no mention or ban on the Daily Star newspaper and its Page Three?
You would think if they felt so strongly against Page Three they would ban both papers.
Is this just simply a case of political censorship because the Sun is a right of centre newspaper, while the Daily Star is a left of centre newspaper?
The dictionary describes equality as equal rights and equal opportunity for all, but both newspapers deny men the right to pose and earn a living like the women they employ.
Are there any men out there who would object to being whisked off to some tropical location for a photo shoot and get paid for it if they were asked?
There is no such thing as good sexism – if jobs for the boys is sexist then jobs for the girls is also sexist.
On same route
SIR Bernard Ingham has stated that all northerners are as thick as two short planks, because they do not vote Tory.
I might be wrong, but I am almost certain that one or two up here did.
Now Boris Johnson says that 16 per cent of us have an IQ below 85.
Shortly before her demise, Lady Thatcher lost her marbles. It seems that Johnson and Ingham are going the same way.
Those that the Gods wish to destroy first, they make mad.
No need to swear
WHAT goes through people’s minds that they feel they have the right to shout obscenities from their car to strangers in the street?
A pleasant morning stroll with my dog was marred by the fact that some driver decided to swear at me as he drove past.
I hope it made his day.