Letters, Friday, July 11, 2014

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No leniency for MPs’ wrongdoing

THE former senior whip Tim Fortescue MP, now deceased, exposed the dark arts of anti-democratic parliamentary politics by admitting that any criminal or perverted behaviour by MPs was a gift to the Whips office, for by helping the miscreant he would forever be in thrall to the Party Whip and would vote as he was told.

 A present MP has said that senior police officers have often asked whether, if they proceed with certain investigations, there would be political interference.

 On both these counts the democratic rights of the voters have been and continue to be jeopardised by a corrupt political “elite”. Indeed, it seems that a Parliament of the criminal and devious is ideal for party discipline.

 The Government should make it clear (if necessary by passing new legislation) that any attempt by any politician or civil servant to persuade a police officer to avoid, moderate or drop an investigation or to keep from the police any documents concerning wrongdoing by politicians is a criminal act punishable by a term of imprisonment.

Rodney Atkinson

Wasted year of life

IN July 1984, miners, like myself, were struggling to cope, having been forced out of work four months previously by the most undemocratic procedure in union history.

 From that day in March 1984 until March 1985, I received a grand total of nothing in money or benefits. Nothing to feed, clothe or treat my four kids – one girl, three lads.

 They did get Christmas presents, two footballs between them, a gift from the NUM brilliant and a chicken, which I gave away as we did not have the means to cook it.

 Now the serious stuff to tell your grandbairns – the truth.

 Thirty years ago a union king Arthur Scargil attempted to bring down Maggie Thatcher and her Conservative government by using the NUM as a tool to topple and replicate previous strikes, as in 1973 which led to the fall of the Heath lot in 1974.

 King Arthur made a grave mistake by not balloting all associated members of the colliery unions. He’d obviously forgotten the workers’ war cry – united we stand divided we fall.

 What a hard fall and the pitmen’s last stand.

 I’m afraid he was not a lion king leading a pride, but a mule leading donkeys – sadly I was a misguided ass.

 I did not rate Maggie one bit, yet her strategy was absolutely brilliant and up there with Francis Drake, Lord Nelson and Cassius Clay. All excellent planners.

 As well as having the police on side, army on standby, massive stockpiles of coal and mined products, she also had the backing of other unions. It did not help seeing cabals of NUM officials sitting round in pubs drinking pint after pint, chasers and cigars, while thousands roughed it.

 I’ll not mention the hardships, hatred, divorces, sibling and family breakdowns then, and still to this day.

 Thirty years on, no mines, jobs, unions, just bad memories and a wasted year of our lives.

 When you tell your grandkids of the not-so-great miners’ strike, remind them of the great Ethiopian famine where three million people died – that it seems was more important in 1984.

Ken Harding,

Wearmouth Colliery Miner,

Time for action

IN reply to the letter recently printed in the Echo regarding the state of derelict buildings in the Ryhope area, the deterioration of our village has gone on for quite a number of years now.

 I disagree with the writer of the letter when they mention the state of the houses in the Fee and Forbes Terrace area. These houses were as good as any in Ryhope, until the council decided to flood the area with undesirable tenants from other parts of the city.

 There is also another issue that should be brought to the council’s attention, the buying and selling of second-hand cars in the Ryhope area. No matter where you look there are cars for sale.

 Not so long ago the council granted permission for two new houses to be built on the land next to the Old Vicarage Nursing Home, which was at one time part of Doctor Jim’s garden on Stockton Road. There was no mention in the application that these properties would be used for the purpose to buy or sell second-hand cars.

 When you pass the main gates now, the forecourts are littered with cars for sale. The dealers are now parking vehicles on the opposite side of the road at the end of Grey Terrace. These dealers now have the pavement outside the main entrance breaking up as a result of parked cars.

 Are the council prepared to pay for the repair of this pavement?

 It’s now time for the councillors to walkies instead of talkies.

Name and address withheld

Cycling dilemma

IN the Echo on Friday, July 4, Paul Watson, Chairman of Road Safety GB North East, voiced his concern about the number of cyclists involved in road traffic accidents, and I sure he, like me, would like to see more cycle paths opened up throughout the city.

 However, I think that existing cycle paths should be looked at first.

 My particular concern is the pathway that runs alongside the Mayfair Buildings, Durham Road, Eden Vale.

 For a number of years now I have drawn the attention of the council to the fact that this path is constantly “stowed off” with parked cars during the day.

 As it stands it is of no use whatsoever to us cyclists, even though it is claimed to be part of a National Cycle Network.

 The council has done nothing at all to solve this problem. This has dragged on for years.

 So I say to the council, either stop this parking once and for all by erecting bollards, or give it up altogether and let them park there.

Derek Robe,

Royal Courts

Traffic problems

YESTERDAY there were two ambulances and two police cars, all with their blue lights on, stuck in traffic at the road works in the city.

 Would it not be advisable to park a police car and an ambulance at the other side of the road works?

 It may just save a life.

J Ferguson