Letters, Friday, June 27, 2014

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Need to protect food standards

FOLLOWING the food scandals of recent years, people are becoming much more aware of what goes into our food. The last thing we need is lower legal standards, but a deal being negotiated between the EU and the US could result in exactly that.

 The EU-US trade deal aims to ‘harmonise’ European and American rules in food safety and many other areas, which in practice may mean slashing European standards to match the much lower US levels. That means, products like hormone-treated beef and pork, and chicken washed in chlorine, sold by US companies but currently banned here, could appear on supermarket shelves in the UK.

 Food is just one area in which this deal would give multinational companies much more influence in our lives. Health care and education are among the others.

 The deal threatens our ability to run our society in the way we choose, and it must be stopped.

Christopher Hall-Nelson,

Houghton

Unfair comments

AMONG the many gracious letters from both victorious and defeated candidates of all parties at the local elections, it was disappointing to read such a mean contribution from Margaret Beck, the failed Labour candidate for Fulwell ward.

 Mrs Beck claimed that the Conservative councillors “do very little for Fulwell” in a comment which smacked of sour grapes and is the opposite of my view of Councillors George Howe, Bob Francis and John Wiper.

 As the former leader of the Conservative Group on the council, I can vouch for the hard work that these three councillors put in on a daily basis for the benefit of all residents in Fulwell Ward.

 Some of these successes are reported in ward newsletters but much goes unsung. This is particularly true of their longstanding campaigns to improve traffic and parking problems throughout the area.

 It is through this careful and patient work that progress is being made in Fulwell, with councillors working with council officers and residents to find solutions to difficult problems that need persistent action, not a few words just weeks before an election.

Robert Oliver

Excellent care

IN January I visited Sunderland to stay with my mother for a few days and attend a business meeting.

 During my visit I was taken ill and attended the Sunderland Royal Accident & Emergency Department. I was seen very quickly and it was quickly confirmed that I had two infections that required immediate treatment. I spent five days in hospital during which time I received a very high standard of care.

 I was advised that I needed surgery to remove my gall bladder and that if I wished I could be transferred back to Hertfordshire. However, I have not had the best of experiences with hospitals close to my home and I was concerned that there would be a delay in my treatment if I transferred. I decided to continue my treatment at Sunderland Royal hospital.

 When I arrived at the Surgical Day Case Unit, I was visited by the consultant and members of his team, who carefully explained the procedure I would undergo. The operation went well and I was well looked after in the Day Unit. I have made an excellent recovery since.

 I cannot thank the nurses, the consultant Mr Small and his team enough for providing me with excellent treatment and for helping me through a difficult time.

Ashley Godfrey

Arrogance needed

IN reply to Squadron Leader (retd) David Fryett’s letter (June 20) regarding Churchill, it appears to me that he has got his head in the clouds.

 He attempts to ruin the reputation of Winston Churchill by cherry picking incidents and fails to acknowledge Churchill’s own achievements in the Boer War. Nor does he recognise Churchill’s time as Home Secretary dealing with Irish terrorists. What politician does not have some level of arrogance?

 I would have thought that an element of controlled arrogance and determination would be necessary as you climbed your way to the top?

 I served 25 years in the Army, spending nearly seven on frontline service.

 One thing I did learn was that if I didn’t have the confidence and an element of arrogance in what I was doing, my men, I am sure, would not have been confident in what they were doing.

 Give me controlled arrogance and drive over appeasement and weak-kneed decision-making any time.

 Was it arrogance, his dogged determination, or the rhetoric of Churchill that spurred on the people of this country to do amazing things?

 We may question our role in Europe, but we are in a better position now than if we had lost the Second World War.

 Arrogant celebrity he may have been, but both he and his ancestor The Duke Of Marlborough both got the outcome that this country needed when it was in jeopardy.

 There is no doubt the Dardanelles was a major defeat but let’s not lose sight of the circumstance behind the decision to go to Turkey.

 Russia needed a sea route for supplies to keep the second front open and help alleviate the Western Front and had pressured Britain to create a route either going North around Norway or through the Dardanelles. It was a joint initiative involving the French, without whom we could not have considered the plan. It was decided by Cabinet, under Lloyd George, to launch this action and was not Churchill’s own decision, albeit he supported and helped culminate the plan as First Sea Lord.

 One of the main factors for failure was bad intelligence provided by the French and also by aerial reconnaissance prior to the actual engagement.

 As for the issues of the RAF, I will say that there was a larger picture than the internal fighting within the RAF or even in Government. I am sure Clement Attlee would have been involved in those decisions along with many other politicians.

 Part of that bigger picture was to demoralise the German people with area bombing and target the might of the industrial power in Germany. Let us not forget that by the time we used such tactics Britain had undergone relentless bombings.

 As for not recognising the sacrifice of the RAF crews – that is not correct. Although successive Governments have failed, until recently, to acknowledge that sacrifice their efforts are well respected by all services. In the first Gulf War, I was praying for a jet to get some neutralising firepower on the ground as I and my fellow soldiers were likely to be killed. I thank God to this day that it arrived.

 Hindsight is 20/20 vision, I am sure Tony Blair would have liked some of it during his Iraq decision-making. He showed his arrogance this week when he claimed the Iraq situation was not down to his decision to invade Iraq. I think history will tell another version.

Reg Hawksley

Ashamed of village

I DROVE along Seaham coast road, what a beautiful clean and busy village it is. I then drove into Ryhope and what a mess it is.

 I passed the old village school now derelict, a few yards along the road the old grand building again derelict, and, lo and behold, further along the road there are two derelict pubs.

 When are the powers that be going to do something about this?

 It’s also about time that they pulled down the houses in Wraith and Fee Terrace. Better houses in the village than these have been pulled down.

 I feel ashamed that anyone driving into our village has to see all this.

Audrey Page