Letters, Friday, January 20th, 2012

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UK would thrive outside EU

FOR years EU careerists have insisted that the UK cannot exist outside the EU. But any review of the facts shows that we would not only survive, we would thrive.

If we left the EU, we could negotiate a free trade agreement. Why should they refuse? We buy more from them than they buy from us. Our trade deficit with the EU is over £3billion every month. The EU already has free trade agreements with 53 countries as diverse as Switzerland and Mexico, so why not with us?

World Trade Organisation rules would make it illegal to discriminate against the UK.

They say we must have a voice in how the EU sets its rules. Why? The Americans and Japanese have no say in our rules and regulations, and we have none in theirs and it doesn’t seem to stop us trading.

Trade barriers have come down across the world. Trading blocs are now much less important. Is Germany going to jeopardise the sale of Audis, BMWs and Mercedes on the UK market? No.

We have the sixth largest economy in the world. We have traded worldwide with great success for centuries and have excellent contacts with up-and-coming regions like India and the Far East, and of course with the U.S.

Do we want to shackle ourselves to a declining Europe while paying billions for the dubious privilege? Or should we be free to exploit global opportunities without paying a premium? The much-vaunted single market has become an unwieldy political farce with the heavy burden of regulatory constraints, costing about 600billion euros per year, rendering EU Ltd uncompetitive and the euro doomed.

One would suppose that an organisation so meticulous that its marketing regulations for a particular type of fruit run into many thousands of words would be capable of monitoring the acceptance of Greece, Portugal and Italy into the single currency, when these countries clearly did not meet the necessary entry criteria. To be fair, economists warned against European Monetary Union back in 1999 but prudence is not in the lexicon of our EU elite when the scent of power and grandeur is in the air. So they got their Euro and now they want us to pay for it.

We had the good sense or good fortune to avoid entering the single currency, so please let us avoid being sucked into the muddy waters by trying to keep it afloat.

Denis Gillon, Sunderland

Blue badge blues

IT was long anticipated because I had been well warned about the debacle at the hospital and I realise that I’m going to have to make an effort before my hospital appointment next month to “get my blue badge registered” there.

I was thrilled when I read a hospital spokeswoman’s comments that “individuals are able to do this from home”.

I searched on, hoping to find some way to do this online, but could merely find the phone number to contact if a parking

charge notice had been unfairly issued. Thank goodness I’m not yet in that unfortunate position!

I wonder whether David Allison could look into this and perhaps ask his hospital contacts how we can register from home.

On perusing my local paper, I notice, with irony, that some items therein still haven’t improved and that an excellent review of a wonderful place to go for a meal still doesn’t comment on it’s accessibility. Ah well, I suppose we all have to live and learn – I know that I’m learning all

the time.

Hilary Walker

Permit zone signs

HERE’S how to legally rob someone of a day’s wages:

Erect a couple of anonymous “permit zone” signs on a busy junction leading into the quiet back street of St Gabriels Avenue and hide one of them behind another piece of street furniture.  

Make sure you don’t put up any other warning signs or road markings in the avenue to alert out-of-town drivers like myself.

I have never seen a permit zone area so poorly marked. After 28 years of lawful driving, Sunderland Council’s underhand tactics have resulted in me getting my first ever parking ticket and I wasn’t the only one caught out.

You’d almost think that the council were deliberately trying to catch out unsuspecting drivers in order to make easy money from us.

Mark Stephenson, Heighington Village (near Darlington)

Mosque comments

IN reply to Tracy Featherstone’s letter about the proposed mosque in Millfield, I notice she didn’t give her address and bet it isn’t Millfield. I would like to know if she would be happy with a mosque on her doorstep?

Also, does she know we already have two mosques in our area, one of which shouldn’t be there?

I only hope the council listens to the thousands of protests against the mosque as these represent more than a “small-minded minority”, as Ms Featherstone calls us

Mr B. Wilson, Millfield, Sunderland

Solving the crisis

I WOULD like to share a bit of “musing” from the Buffs bar with your readers. This thinking out loud is aimed at national and local mandarins in an attempt to put our country right. It is also to be read with the tongue wedged firmly in the cheek (nor not!).

First, 10 million people over 50 must take early retirement and be given one million pounds severance. This would create 10million job vacancies – unemployment fixed.

They then must buy a new British car. Ten million cars ordered – car industry fixed.

They then must buy a house or pay off their mortgage – housing crisis fixed.

After this they must send their kids to school/college/university – crime rate fixed.

Finally, they must buy £100 worth of alcohol and tobacco per week. There’s your money back in duty and taxes etc. If more money is needed, just dig a bit deep into MPs’ claims for expenses.

From a slightly different angle – let’s put all pensioners in jail and criminals in nursing homes! This way the pensioners would have access to showers, hobbies and walks. They would receive unlimited dental and medical care and be given money instead of paying it out. Under constant video surveillance, they could be helped immediately, if needing assistance. Bedding and clothing washed twice a week, a guard bringing meals to their cell, access to family visits, library, legal aid, television, even laps tops!

In contrast, the criminals would get cold food, be left alone and unsupervised, lights off at 8pm, living in a tiny room, paying £600 per week, and can’t even go out.

In closing, is it just me or does anyone else find it amazing that during the mad cow epidemic a few years ago, our then Government could track a single cow, born in Appleby, three years previous, to the exact stall where she slept in Cumbria. They could even track her calves!

Today we have 125,000 illegal immigrants wandering about and the powers that be say they haven’t a clue how to locate them.

Hoping the thoughts of the “Brains Trust” on the top table have given food for thought.

John Potts, Chatsworth Street, Sunderland

Park group’s thanks

THE Friends of Houghton Rectory Park ran a very successful Santa’s Grotto in December, attended by more than 1,000 people over two weekends.

We wish to thank the many local retailers in Houghton and the surrounding area for the donations of prizes for the tombola for this event. We also must thank Dulux, in Wessington Way, Sunderland, for donating paint to allow us to decorate the Tithe Barn, where the grotto was held. Over the coming year the Friends group hopes to lease the barn for community use as there is currently no community building in our town. With residents’ continued support we look forward to a fantastic future for the park.

We must also thank Hetton Amateur Dramatic Group for helping out with the grotto and for the children who attended, who helped us draw up ideas for a new play area in the Rectory Park, and sincere thanks to Keith Hamilton at Sunderland City Council for his continued support.

Edith Corney

Spend money here

TORY councillor Alan Wright repeats in every letter he writes about Liam Burn saying there is no money in the pot. Surely by now you must get it through your head? How come Mr Cameron has been giving billions of pounds to Ireland and Turkey?

Has he got a machine in 10 Downing Street making money?

Also millions are going to be spent on new trains throughout the country. Come on, Coun Wright, take off those rose-tinted glasses. Charity begins at home. Cancer patients and disabled children are going to get big cuts, robbing them. Why doesn’t he do the same here with the state this country is in, not Labour?

Mrs Grace Cassidy, Ryhope

TO everyone who gave gifts to the toy appeal, myself and my four children, I would like to thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

This is the second year we have been in the refuge and the second year that we have received fantastic presents from the people who gave so kindly. Thank you for making our Christmas a very happy one.

Kind regards.

Mrs Daily and her four children

I’M writing to you to thank you for the presents you gave to my son Nicky at Christmas. It really made a big difference in our life on Christmas day. The people have been very kind.

I live at a refuge. I’m a mother of one and I don’t have any money. Without the presents you gave my son at Christmas our Christmas would have been the same (boring). You are our heroes because you remember us.

Thank you very much. God shall always remember you, favour you and bless you for the rest of your life. I can’t thank you enough. You have no idea how much difference you make in our life. You are a godsend.

Thanks.

Grateful mam and son, Wearside Women In Need

THIS is to let you know how magical you made this Christmas for me and my three children. This last Christmas was the best we have ever had, the second for the twins and the first for the little baby.

Your gifts went a long way and they can’t stop exploring them. I am truly grateful for the gifts and I can’t say enough. Thank you because you made our Christmas.

Addie, Wearside Women In Need

THANK you to the generous people who donated toys and gifts for such a good cause.

My children loved the presents they received and it made our Christmas nicer.

Name withheld

I WOULD like to thank the person who gave my handbag to the driver on the No. 13 bus on Tuesday afternoon, January 10. I am so grateful.

God bless.

Mrs J. Murray, Sunderland

I WOULD like to thank the driver of the No. 19 bus for returning my purse on Thursday, January 12.

Thank you very much.

Mrs Wallace, Sunderland