Letters, Monday, September 12th, 2011

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Tories’ strange idea of ‘balance’

LOCAL Tories are upset that the Echo asked Bridget Philipson to write a column. It’s the same old story. A couple of years ago they complained about Chris Mullin’s column. I wrote to the Echo at the time asking you not to be intimidated by all their moans and groans.

Conservatives have a funny idea what “balance” means. So many newspapers, which of course are private businesses, support right-wing policies, yet they grumble about one Labour MP’s column in her local paper.

I have this theory about Conservatives. The Mail, Express, Telegraph, Times and Sun offer a right-wing viewpoint and usually support their party. So when Conservatives pick up any newspaper, they are used to having their own opinions reflected back at them. I think they’re genuinely astonished when they come across other views in a paper and they’re at a loss what to make of it.

Their attitude to the BBC is much the same. Because its news and current affairs departments produce programmes that are impeccably impartial, they get annoyed. They don’t really want balance. They’d be happier with Murdoch’s Fox News which peddles right-wing propaganda.

H. Whipple, Coach Road Estate, Washington

Writes and wrongs

MR McDonough (September 5) wants to write a column to balance Bridget Philipson’s. Is he a member of NUJ? Is he aware we get a right-wing rant every week from Linda Colling and Keith Newbery in their columns? We live in a country where only two newspapers have a left-wing bias, and the Tories complain about balance!

A month ago your correspondent Jim Ridler begged Coun Wright to do us a favour and send fewer letters to the Echo. He questioned the Echo’s policy on publishing councillors’ letters, but never suggested Mr Wright should be banned from the Letters Page.

I waited to see if anyone would reply with that old chestnut that the councillor was being denied free speech. And who wrote in saying precisely that? Why, Mr McDonough of course.

Please don’t give him a column until he gets his facts right, and doesn’t misrepresent what his opponents say.

W. Crane, Langley Close, Washington

Invasion of privacy

MOST people won’t be aware of what is going on throughout County Durham’s day centres for the elderly. Everyone who attends these centres was informed by letter that they would be visited by someone and required to have details of their weekly income and savings ready so that they could be assessed to how much to be charged towards being cared for, be it one to two or more days.

If not complying with this rule, they would pay the full amount. The result being a lot of people are leaving. For many people these places have been, and are a lifeline, so many have been in tears about the situation they found themselves in.

Our generation is very independent, worked and saved for everything they own, not waiting with their hands out, and feel the information wanted from them is an invasion of their privacy.

We love our country and are proud to be British. We are not valued.

However, we have nothing but praise for the staff at McNally House, Peterlee, for their help, care and friendliness. We can’t speak too highly about them all.

Have we a voice, will we be heard?

Walter and Jean Armstrong, Deneway, Seaham

No consultation

THE rumours were rife in Millfield saying the council was being perfidious for holding covert meetings to discuss a proposal to change the social services building on St Marks Road for use as a mosque.

I never took these rumours seriously because I was under the impression planning law dictated councils to inform nearby residents of any change of use that might affect their way of life.

I live on the periphery of the site but have not received any information. Leaving relevant people out of the loop under these circumstances breeds suspicion of something underhand taking place.

Nobody is objecting to a mosque on site. The fundamental concern is the traffic problems it would bring to the area. Fast drivers already make it dodgy to cross St Mark’s Road, and it’s made worse with cars parked at the side impeding vision.

It’s been said this proposed mosque would be the main place for worshippers across the region. If that happens one can see how the area’s traffic problem would increase tenfold. Public consultation may have provided some parking suggestions. Our council, however, seems to prefer tiptoeing through the tulips on this one.

W. Quinn, Duke Street, Millfield