Letters, November 24, 2012

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Damage is already done at the BBC

 It had left many questioning how the previous case regarding the disgraced DJ Jimmy Savile and his hangers-on that rocked the Beeb only weeks ago came about.

 Well, consider this; the BBC by the 1960s became effectively a modern equivalent of all those large, old and tarnished establishments which had concealed predatory figures before them.

 Casting working-class heroes as stars allowed them a similar untouchable status to the outdated socialites that the BBC for years has been ironically against.

 As the media storm grew against Auntie it would appear the organisation tried to shift the focus, and scandalise a higher authority of the past.

 During a lazy investigation, Newsnight’s attempt at overkill may have inadvertently brought about its own downfall.

 Some may say the scalps of executives and heads of departments which will be lost during any subsequent investigation are only the people who rightfully should have gone over the previous Newsnight debacle anyway.

 I now wonder if in blind panic, the sharpening of knives may play out in a similar way to the Night of the Long Knives, Harold Macmillan and his Government’s eventual downfall.

 It may not matter how many are forced to resign or take a side-step as the long-term damage 
may already be done against the jobs for the boys culture of the BBC.

G. Engel,

High Barnes

Time to name dog mess culprits

I REFER to the Echo’s recent article on dog fouling. I’m pleased this is getting coverage because many people feel this is among the worse examples of anti-social behaviour.

 On Wednesday of this week I was walking my four-year-old grandson to school. Like all small children he was kicking his way through the piles of fallen leaves on the footpath.

 Unfortunately these leaves were covering what can only be described as a huge pile of dog excrement, which he stood in.  

 He was obviously upset and we had to spend quite a bit of time cleaning him up. Not a pleasant task.

 During my time as a councillor for St Chad’s my colleagues ex Coun Michael Dixon, Coun Robert Oliver and myself dealt with a large number of complaints of dog fouling around the streets of the ward. It causes a lot of distress.

 Parents often complained about the mess around schools in particular. Several parents were upset at having to clean wheels on push chairs etc after a visit to a school.

 It was interesting to see a comment on the Echo’s website asking why the names of those people served with penalty notices can’t be published in the Echo like fare dodgers etc.

 When serving on the Environment and Attractive City Committee I twice asked for this to be considered but it was never taken up by officers.

 I’m sure the possibility of having their names published would deter many who are now just walking away from the disgusting fouling they leave behind.

Alan Wright,

High Barnes

A head-scratching morning encounter

IN 2009 Harry Patch, the last surviving veteran from the Great War, died and the First World War was consigned to the History books.

 On November 14, just a couple of days after Poppy Day, I was driving through Castletown in the Jag at around 7.30am and nipped into the Co-Op for the Financial Times, which unfortunately, it did not stock.

 But as I was leaving a woman in her twenties appeared, bleary-eyed and wearing a heavily-stained nightie under a purple fleece with bare legs and a pair of trainers.Truly a frightening sight at that time of a morning.

 In one hand was a carton of milk, in the other a scratch card.

 She put the milk down on the pavement and excitedly started to rub the card away with a coin.

 I watched with amazement as she shouted to her friend on the other side of the road: “How Roxy, I’ve just won a fiver on the scratchie.”

 I then sat for a few moments and contemplated if the like of Mr Patch and the other men who fought in the wars could see this incident and would they consider that it had all been worth it to put their lives on the line so folk could wander the streets in stained nightwear, trying to win on a scratchcard at breakfast time.

Mick ‘The Pen’ Brown

Minster production was a triumph

THE production of Whistle Down the Wind at the Minster last week was a triumph.

 In the hands of a skilled production team, a group of Sunderland men, women and children, some of whom had never acted or sung before, became an ensemble who could have graced a West End stage.

 For me, the Minster is the heart of the city. To see it used to showcase the wealth of talent we have here was an unforgettable experience.

 I hope would-be donors and city officials realise the potential of Music in the Minster and exploit it to the benefit of the city and its inhabitants, especially the children, who glowed like stars in the production.

 Great credit should go to Marge Barton, whose inspirational idea Music in the Minster was.

Denise Robertson