Letters, Monday, June 6th, 2011

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Country’s first duty is to its own

IT comes as no surprise to read that more than 100 senior executives of the Royal Bank of Scotland pocketed more than £1million each last year, or that almost 50 city traders became multi-millionaires and another five joined the billionaires club. What is amazing is that they got such vast amounts by just moving around other people’s money. Now that’s what I call an insult to hard-working people.

Although a long way behind, local authorities are creeping up the scale of top money job. One Gateshead Council official earned £324,881 last year.

Not everyone is so lucky. Take, for example, 400 jobless local welders who, according to the GMB union, were snubbed in favour of approaching workers in the Philippines and Eastern Europe for work on two north power stations. This is happening all over the country.

Net immigration in the year up to September 2010 was 242,000, swamping the labour market. At the same time, 181,000 migrants on expired visas have simply “vanished”.

Despite an enormous national debt, Prime Minister David Cameron has increased foreign aid by 34 per cent, while he cuts public services and increases charges on everything from education to prescriptions for our own people.

With nearly one million 16 to 24-year-olds out of work, it was good to learn the more militant “Youth Flight for Jobs” campaign was to retrace the Jarrow Crusade on the 75th anniversary of the original march in October 1936.

The problems with such left-wing groups is that they call for “solidarity” with people taking their jobs and use such tired cliches as “Workers of the world unite”, when they never do.

What’s happened to the common sense of looking after your own and that service to one’s country and people is the highest good?

John Richardson, Nelson Street, Hetton

Pat on the back

I JUST wanted to tell you guys in Sunderland what an excellent job was done for the Take That concerts.

I live in Murcia, Spain, and travelled to the concert in Sunderland with family from North Yorkshire. I researched a little bit on the internet regarding car parks etc.

My family and I travelled up to Sunderland on Tuesday, May 31, and as soon as we hit Sunderland excellent road signs were in place for the Stadium of Light for the concert. We parked in the Bridges car park, and a very helpful member of staff pointed us in the right direction.

I cannot stress how organised the event was, from the staff outside the stadium directing people to the right area, and with high-profile police presence, and road and footpaths clearly marked, all round excellent. You guys should be very proud of yourselves.

After the concert we made our way back to the car park and again plenty of police and council staff were assisting on the roads and footpaths. Again, I cannot praise enough the staff on the car park exit at about 1am.

A job very well done. Sunderland, give yourselves a pat on the back.

Jayne Lech

Seaham Harbour

THREE collieries towered in our old town,

Churning out coal from deep underground,

A dark, dank and dangerous place.

From pit head to heap the wheel goes round,

With a creek we called the nicky nack sound.

Lord Londonderry brought in men to labour

“Build me a harbour, to load the coal collier”.

An industrial revolution provided the means

Deep down below there were troubled seams.

The Davey lamp can only shine light so far.

Collapsing roofs and explosions from gas,

Many men and boys were killed – alas!

Now the collieries have all closed and gone,

No work for Peter, Bob, Arthur or John.

Some say if Londonderry were a smidgen kinder

There’d be no need for a pulley wheel reminder.

Edward Ryles

Hospice thanks

AS we at St Oswald’s Hospice celebrate our 25th year of providing care for North East children, young people and adults with life-limiting conditions, I would like to say a big thank-you to all our volunteers for their dedication and hard work.

Our volunteers really are the life force which drives our organisation. With their help we are able to raise the £6.5million we need to keep our services free.

On behalf of myself, the staff and all who benefit from care at St Oswald’s, thank you. We are greatly indebted to you all.

James Ellam, Chief executive, St Oswald’s Hospice