Letters, Saturday, January 18, 2013

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UKIP policies are hard to swallow

SOME assertive claims were made by Richard Elvin about the performance of his party (UKIP confident of success, January 9).

 Since becoming one of Labour’s team of three candidates for the European elections in May, I’ve found that the more people know about UKIP policies, the less they are likely to vote for them

 For instance, how many people know that UKIP support a flat tax?

 This means we would all pay the same amount of tax irrespective of how much we earn.

 Even the United States, the world’s leading capitalist country, does not have a flat tax.

 Admittedly, there are countries in the world with a flat tax, but do we really want Great Britain adopting the same tax system as Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Iraq and Albania?

 Last year in the European parliament, UKIP voted against the removal of asbestos from public buildings on the grounds that white asbestos is harmless. Try telling that to the families of the 20 tradesmen who die each week in this country from asbestos-related disease. Asbestos is the county’s single greatest cause of work-related death (source: Health and Safety Executive).

 In other words UKIP are like kippers – they might look attractive to some but on closer inspection their policies are full of unpleasant bones.

Paul Brannen

Flaw in argument

JOHN Watson’s letter (Saturday, January 4) about Jesus being a foreigner was very clever, but there’s one big flaw in his argument: Jesus isn’t real.

 Even if he was real, he’d be the Son of God (or God himself, depending on who you listen to), and therefore beyond such petty things as nationalities.

 He mentioned Santa Claus too. He’s also not real (though he did allegedly leave me presents as a child, more proof than I’ve ever had that Jesus is real), but if he was, he’s only here for one night a year then goes back to where he came from.

 I think the main argument some people have against foreigners (not me, I must stress) is that they don’t go back to where they came from, unlike Santa Claus.

 I don’t necessarily disagree with John, but I think he needs some better examples.

David Buckman

Strike history plea

I AM looking for information, photographs and videos for my father-in-law, Alex Buchan. Alex was master on MV Ferndene and was in the Port of Sunderland on, either August 27, September 3 or September 10, 1949.

 He was involved with the full rigged sailing ship Sorlandet.

 He has a tale to tell and I am hoping to put something together for him. I understand that there was a tug boat strike and the Ferndene was asked to pull the Sorlandet out.

 Alex told the the owner of his ship that he would not break the strike. Alex was assured that the owner had cleared the proposed operation with the strike committee and they would not object.

 He then relented and helped the Sorlandet.

 According to Alex, the Ferndene was soon swarming with local dignitaries and some had cameras and even a cine camera.

 I am hopeful someone may have information on the tug boat strike, and/or photographic images of the Ferndene and the Sorlandet.

 I have also contacted sunderlandTugs on Facebook, and so far have received some interesting facts about the Ferndene, which is very encouraging.

 I can be contacted by email at fiona.auchorn@hotmail.co.uk

Fiona Buchan