Letters, Monday, February 28th, 2011

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Did Hitler once watch the Lads?

IN April 1913 Sunderland enjoyed A 5-2 away win at Liverpool. The great Charlie Buchan scored three goals and the team went on to be champions.

But here’s the intriguing question: was Adolf Hitler among the spectators?

At the time Hitler was on the run from the Austrian authorities after failing to report for his military service. It’s believed he fled to England, where his brother and Irish sister-in-law Bridget had settled in Liverpool.

Beryl Bainbridge wrote a novel, Young Adolf!, based on the idea that he stayed with them for several weeks. She didn’t write about how the brother might have dragged Hitler to the Sunderland match. But I have an over-active imagination and I can picture him in the crowd watching Buchan’s hat-trick.

Can you image the problem you would have in England during the Second World War if your surname was Hitler?

Part of Liverpool folklore is the story of how, when the Luftwaffe was bombing the city, Bridget ran down the street shaking her fist at the German planes and shouting: “Wait till I get my hands on our Adolf!”

William Crane, Langley Close, Oxclose

Time to call a halt

ON MAY 5 of this year those who exercise their right to vote in the local elections will also take part in a referendum on the voting system. Do we stick to the system of first past the post wins or do we adopt the so-called alternative vote?

Without wishing to put a damper on the importance of the referendum on how we vote, it would appear to me that the electorate has far greater concerns to consider.

First and foremost, do we wish to continue with our membership of the European Union, or end an ever increasing burden that a totally corrupt organisation imposed upon all of us?

Contrary to what our politicians would have us believe, of the countless thousands who have made their way here from the former Communist states of Eastern Europe since 2004, not all of them are here for what they can give.

With no questions asked as to their work, we are now struggling with increasing numbers of the feckless and criminal. I have no doubt the lands of their birth were pleased to see the back of them and we are told there is nothing we can do about it.

In addition, from outside the EU are the millions who have arrived here seeking political asylum.

As the world’s most tolerant nation we have played our part beyond the call of duty in settling numbers never before witnessed, but the time has come to call a halt. Our small island is but the head of a pin and the limit to what that pin head can accommodate was reached some time ago.

For too long we have elected politicians who have paid scant attention to the truth that justice begins at home. Before the kettle boils over they should make it clear to all “failed states” that they have a duty to look after their own.

We are no longer in a position to help as we are in great danger of becoming as they are.

Ron Metcalfe, East Herrington,

Sunderland

Ban plane trolleys

HEALTH and Safety rules suggest that we should move around when travelling by air. We are told to get up and walk up and down, stretching our legs whenever possible.

This, however, is impossible, mostly due to the aisles being clogged up by stewardesses pulling/pushing trolleys. I suggest that these should be banned from holiday flights lasting less than three to four hours.

There seems to be three reasons for these trolleys: in-flight meals, sales of drinks and sales of airline memorabilia.

We have to arrive at the airport two to three hours before our flight times, thus giving those of us needing to be fed ample time to eat while we wait for our flight to be called. No need for meals onboard. No need for a trolley.

Sales of drinks: The glasses are plastic, and stackable, so a tray could easily suffice. Drinks come in small individual bottles and cans and, again, are easily manageable. No need for a trolley.

Sale of airline memorabilia: Each seat has a catalogue of goods on sale. An order form could be redeemed from passengers who feel the need to buy such items, and goods passed over to the customer. No need for a trolley.

Maybe next time I go on holiday the aisles will be free of obstacles and I can walk safely up and down, thus arriving at my destination without swollen ankles and the fear of thrombosis.

Joan Jones, Coxon Street, Hendon, Sunderland

A great read

RE your article, Take a Step Back in Time about bringing the past to life for youngsters: a good book for them to read is Ancient Inventions by Peter James and Nick Thorpe.

It tells of everything from Greek steam engines to Roman fire engines, Aztec chewing gum to Etruscan false teeth, earthquake detectors in China to electric batteries in Iraq, Stone Age brain surgery to Middle Age hand grenades and the pharaohs’ canals to the Cretans, lavatories.

Here is a lively and fascinating look at the genuine wonders of the past, even to birth control and slot machines for holy water.

This book cost me £25 some years ago and it’s worth every penny.

There is a lot more in it besides the little I’ve written.

Still Learning

Legal, not ethical

JOSEPH Young (Letters, February 22) must ask himself whether it is right for someone to make money in this country yet squirrel away most of his profit in another where tax is either very low or non-existent.

Sir Philip Green – and many, many others – do exactly this. Presently it is legal, but it is not ethical. The United States does not allow it. An American working abroad must still pay his or her tax at home.

Mr Young contends university education is a luxury and should be self-financing. My contention is that the country should invest in its youth. The country will then have well-educated people ready and willing to enable their nation to progress for the common good.

If investment is withheld, trouble follows. Two examples where lack of investment caused catastrophic failure: the British textiles and motorcycle industries – world beaters in the 1960s, non-existent now.

Mr Young goes on to state Ralph Miliband was Polish. This revelation will cause some consternation in Belgium, where he was born in 1924. Miliband’s parents were, however, Poles who practised Judaism and so, naturally, young Ralph fled Belgium when the Nazis invaded in 1940.

Mr Young also, with no knowledge, makes an assumption that I belong to an unnamed “political cell” and sing (with another correspondent, Post Lux Tenebras) “from the same Socialist song sheet”. I hold no brief for the Labour Party and am unaligned with any political grouping.

I freely admit to having been a trade unionist all my working life until retirement.

Bob Stothard, Washington

Back arms treaty

READERS will no doubt have been shocked at the images from Libya in recent days showing the plight of protesters against Gaddafi’s vicious and erratic regime.

Now evidence is emerging that the UK may have licensed security equipment to the Libyan authorities which has been used to crush protests across the country.This highlights the need for a strong and effective arms trade treaty, for which Amnesty International has long campaigned.

Negotiations on the proposed treaty are due to take place shortly at the United Nations. Readers who wish to take action in support of the long-oppressed Libyan people by lobbying the Foreign Secretary William Hague on this issue should visit www.amnesty.org.uk.

Steve Newman, Secretary, Wearside Amnesty International Group

Save boat club

I WAS saddened and upset to hear that the Wear Boating Club from the Marina “North Dock” has had to close due to the very high increase in rent – nearly 300 per cent, I believe.

The boating club had an old blue wooden hut up on the banks of the dock for over 70 years.

The members agreed to let it be demolished in the early 90s to make way for a modern marina and a new boating club and marine activities centre.

The marina was built with Lottery funding, so how can they be charged rent at such high rates?

Why has the council not stepped in and helped them keep the club open?

The river has lost too much already. Please, no more. Keep the club open, keep the tradition and get the River Wear Boating and Fishing Club over a 100 years.

Spiderman

Think about city

SURELY these children have not just come into poverty? They must have been in poverty during Labour’s 13 years of being in power, yet MP Julie Elliot is trying to make out they had nothing to do with it.

She should be worried about the city. After 13 years of Labour and 40 years of a Labour council we have more bomb sites and empty shops and run-down areas, yet we have one of the highest paid officials in the land and very well rewarded councillors and what have they achieved?

So instead of trying to make political capital she should be getting the biggest city between Leeds and Edinburgh back on the map.

G. Liddle, Roker, Sunderland

Political Rats

IT’S the usual time of year when you receive leaflets from all parties about how wonderful they are, just in time for the local elections.

What’s puzzling me is how can an Independent be a Rats member? How can a Rats member be an Independent?

The Rats are nothing more than a political party. So are they like Labour or the Lib Dems and Tories?

From how cosy they sit together in the council chamber, it looks like the Rats councillors are nothing more than Tories.

Houghton Rats Catcher

ON behalf of Pennywell Community Centre Luncheon Club, I would like to say a big thank-you to all the volunteers, who have worked so hard to provide our lunches every Thursday, and also the volunteers who organised our meal at the Hastings Hill Pub.

Again, a big thank-you.

Ron Paul, Hastings Hill

JUST to say thank you to the person who found my prescription in St Luke’s Terrace and returned it to Pallion Health Centre.

J Snowdon,

Millfield, Sunderland

WE would both like to say a really big thank-you to A1 Painters and Decorators, Shaune, Davey and Dean who did some decorating work for us.

They were second to none. The work was first class. They worked hard and gave 110 per cent. I gave them 10 out of 10.

Mr and Mrs Wood, Allendale Road, Farringdon, Sunderland

CAN I appeal to Echo readers living in the Marley Pots, Carley Hill and Southwick areas? My cat was lost in the area in December when we had the snow.

I am desperate to find him. He is black with a very small white patch on the front of his chest.

I would be grateful for any information, good or bad.

Perhaps someone has been kind enough to take him in or feed him.

Please call Tony with information on 07970 776934.

T. Black, Quarry Lodge, Tantobie, Stanley

I WOULD like to thank the two couples to came to my assistance after a heavy fall, while dog walking in Roker Park on Wednesday, February 16.

They gave me kind care, and on later reflection I should have given more thanks.

B. Riddle, Kirkstone Avenue, Fulwell, Sunderland