Letters, November 10, 2012

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Shocking people are so racist

FROM time to time letters on this page complain we aren’t allowed freedom of speech any more. Let me tell you a story about freedom of speech.

 I was sitting in a hospital waiting room along with other people, including one man and his wife. He was reading a newspaper story about Chelsea FC and the referee Mark Clattenburg.

 He turned to his wife and said: “These blackies are always complaining.”

 I was stunned because I didn’t believe people made ignorant, offensive remarks like that any more.

 Then he added that the Chelsea player did look like a monkey, so what’s the problem?

 I was ready to have a furious row with this idiot, but because I was in a room full of other people, I decided not to cause trouble, which is annoying, because you should be able to challenge people in situations like this.

 I know one thing – when people complain they’re being denied freedom of speech what they’re really annoyed about is the fact that it’s illegal to make racist remarks.

Roland Green,

Washington

Support the police

GILLIAN Galbraith, of St Chad’s Labour Party, resorts to a personal attack on me in response to my criticism of their leaflets and the claims they make on frontline police numbers (Letters, October 31).

 This is a common tactic of Labour, used to try to deter dissent.

 I, for one, will not be stopped from pointing out their inaccuracies.

 For my part I will refrain from commenting on Mrs Galbraith’s record in standing for council.

 Report after report from Northumbria Police Officers at all levels are consistent in stating quite that frontline police numbers in Northumbria Police are not being reduced. In fact, Northumbria Police are in the process of recruiting additional frontline officers.

 Gillian arrogantly goes on to say Labour Councillors Stuart Porterhouse and Darryl Dixon are challenging the police reports on these numbers. They would be better off supporting the police in their difficult job and applauding the magnificent achievement of continuing to reduce crime in St Chad’s and across the city as a whole.

Keith O’Brien,

Middle Herrington

Sing out for ships

I HAVE just returned from watching The Unthanks at St Georges, Bristol – an old disused church, converted into a concert venue.

 Their latest offering is entitled Songs from the Shipyards. Folk songs backed up by a film, sponsored by The Port of Tyne Authority.

 I attended in the hope the former shipyards on The Wear would feature, but sadly no, completely overlooked.

 The exercise was a propaganda feature for The Tyne, nothing about what was once the largest shipbuilding town in the country.

 Surely the River Wear Commissioners and Sunderland Council could get themselves together and do a similar feature about The Wear, before it is totally over-shadowed by The Tyne?

 Walking along the riverside path on my occasional returns to the city of my birth, apart from some concrete nuts and bolts and the crane sculpture near Wearmouth Bridge, there is little to show of, or suggest Sunderland’s once proud ship building tradition.

 Perhaps some information boards could be a way to start.

Anthony Blacker,

Bradley Stoke,

Bristol

End of an era

IT’S the end of an era, and it’s hard for someone of my age to accept the Football Echo is no longer a Saturday night paper.

 I remember coming out of Roker Park after a home win, walking into town to wait for our Football pink to come out on the streets.

 Matches finished promptly at 4.40pm in those days. When you reached Wearmouth Bridge, men in flat caps came running from the Echo offices on Bridge Street selling the final edition to supporters.

 I bought one because it had the full-time results in the stop press column. Unless you walked alongside someone with a radio to his ear, this was how you found out rival teams’ results (Great! Preston lost at Scunthorpe).

 The first place the Football Echo would be on sale was the old North End of the station, long since demolished.

 How amazing it was out only one hour after the final whistle.

 There was much jostling before I got my copy. Then I studied the league tables on the front page, plus the match report by Argus (Bill Butterfield).

 If we were playing away it was a better way of learning about a defeat than watching Toon fan Gabby Logan and Garth “Loudmouth” Crooks on a BBC sofa cheering whenever SAFC lost.

 When I was a student in Durham, I’d stand outside the newsagents at 6pm. The van pulled up, the driver threw a bundle on the pavement, then drove off down the A690 to deliver more papers to the pit villages along his route.

 To buy my copy I had to pick up the bundle and carry it into the shop.

 It made you feel part of SAFC’s history. My grandfather queued for the report of the 1913 Cup Final. What a shock he got to find out the lads had lost.

 But exactly 60 years later, in May 1973, I bought the Football Echo in Concord Bus Station, two hours after we beat Leeds at Wembley.

 I’ve still got that copy, although like me, it’s starting to look its age.

William Crane,
Washington