Letters, Saturday, December 3rd

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Labour and the ‘fat cat bankers’

ONE of the favourite post-election pieces of Labour propaganda, whether it be Balls, Miliband E or the local party in Sunderland, is an attempt to exclusively link the Conservatives, who have been in Coalition Government for 18 months, with “their friends the fat cat bankers”.

It is the class thing, really. Cameron and Osborne went to private school so they must be pals of the bankers, unlike Labour, the vanguard of the working class, who don’t bother with such people. So what is the reality of Labour and the bankers?

In June 2004 Fred Goodwin, chief executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland, became Sir Fred Goodwin, knighted by Labour for his services to banking. When the disastrous decisions made by this favourite Labour banker led to the nationalisation of the Royal Bank of Scotland, the infamous Labour spin machine got into action and Sir Fred quickly was getting it in the neck from his erstwhile comrades.

The knives were out and Sir Fred had to go into hiding when it emerged that he was to get a pension of around £700,000 per annum after he resigned. But who signed this pension agreement? None other than Brown’s Financial Services Secretary, Lord Myners, who was heavily criticised by the Treasury Select Committee for his role in this fiasco.

In 2008 Jennifer Moses, a former managing director of Goldman Sachs, was invited to work as an adviser to Gordon Brown. Ms. Moses had gained notoriety a few years earlier when her massive wealth enabled her not to even notice that an assistant had embezzled her bank account of £1.2million. Not exactly the sort of person Keir Hardie had in mind.

There are many more examples.

The Labour Party has to face up to the fact that big finance and Labour, from 1997, went hand-in-glove and their current leadership were Ministers during this period. Local councillors and activists cannot have it both ways. Peter Mandelson, once MP for nearby Hartlepool, said he felt “immensely relaxed” about businessmen making fortunes.

Mandelson’s former boss Blair and many others in New Labour certainly took him at his word. Try as they might, Labour are stuck with the fact that it was under their Government that many top, fat cat bankers were paid massive amounts for success and failure alike.

Michael Dixon, Sunderland

Transport plans

WE have been asked to investigate new ways of planning and delivering bus services by the Tyne and Wear Integrated Transport Authority. These include either forming new voluntary partnerships with bus operators or introducing a system by which bus companies operate under contract, similar to London.

Your correspondent Dominic McDonough should be reassured that this will not prevent investment in quality services. There are no plans at all to take public ownership of bus companies.

Private companies would still be at the heart of delivering services, but we would match their good record on investment in vehicles with some degree of planning to make sure local buses met local needs as well as they could.

Mr McDonough also mentioned the recent strike on Metro. This was not a situation of our making, but part of the wider dispute between unions and the Government over pension reform.

It seems unfair to accuse Nexus of “not standing up to the unions” in this case as we were one of many organisations affected right across Britain.

We believe our own record on industrial relations is good. It is more than eight years since there was last any disruption to Metro due to an internal dispute.

Huw Lewis, Head of communications, Nexus

Action at last

THE last time I wrote about the car park, drains and garden in Front Street, Hetton, within 24 hours the car park drains were cleared, within 48 hours the fences were mended, the garden cleaned up and planted, so it seems the pen is mightier than jaw-jaw.

So what about the unadopted roads in Hetton? No money to do them? Funny about that as the Shiney Row unadopted roads have been upgraded and finished by the Coalfield Area Committee. Well what about Hetton? So, whoever is in charge, get it sorted.

While on about roads etc, the area between Gibsons and Herons is an absolute disgrace.

P. Warner, Scotts Terrace, Hetton

Boxers’ party

SUNDERLAND Ex-Boxers would like to invite everyone to their Christmas Party on December 16 at the Railway Club in Holmeside, Sunderland. There will be raffles,entertainment and buffet.

The doors open at 7.30 and it will go on till the last bell rings. Anyone wanting tickets, please contact me on 07818 511863.

Geoff Rushworth