Letters, Saturday, July 21st, 2012

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Utopian dream can come true

THERE can be no leaders in socialism. One can, and in my opinion will, have administrators of things but not of people.

Democracy would depend upon people having an equal say in the decisions that affect them, not leaving those decisions to “leaders” no matter how supposedly intelligent the are.

The saying “two heads are better than one” seems strangely poignant. If instead of two heads, one replaced that with billions, how much more effective would that be?

Many claim that in the West, we have democracy. Representative democracy is all. What qualifications do these “leaders” have that make them so much better than the rest? None that I can see.

The saying “from each according to ability to each according to need” is entirely appropriate to the question of what people will get. Just as we are all different, as human beings, with different abilities to contribute, so our needs are different and individual to us.

But even in our present society, all that most of us want is the security that comes with knowing our basic needs are met – food, shelter, warmth, healthcare etc.

The society I can envisage, is a society where the things produced are produced directly and only to fulfill these needs and not for profit for a few.

It is a society of equals in our relationship to the accesss to the fruits of production as it is in producing these things.

It may be – and I have been called a utopian – that many see this goal as unreachable, but I disagree. I see the converse. It is utopian to expect capitalism to work other than in the only way it can and does, which is to put profits first, last and everytime, regardless of the detriment to human lives.

That is why one sees food destroyed, not grown in the first place (fields left fallow), or stockpiled, in order to keep prices high, while at the same time billions of our fellow human beings are on the verge of, or actually die of, starvation.

This is only one among the many insanities and contradictions of capitalism.Contradictions which can never be solved while their cause, the production for profit system, continues. This is the true utopian dream.

Steve Colborn, Ivy Avenue, Deneside, Seaham

Great ‘Slim Jim’

I MUST take Frank Seely to task over his attack on Glasgow Rangers in general and Jim Baxter in particular (Letters, July 14).

Rangers don’t ask to take part in testimonial games, they are invited, mainly due to the guaranteed 20,000 travelling supporters boosting the gate receipts for the beneficiary. That’s what it’s all about.

The players coming and going between Rangers and Sunderland has always gone on. Back in the 60s there were Ralph Brand and Don Kitchenbrand, more recently Claudio Reyna. Your contributor says that Rangers “robbed” Sunderland of Ally McCoist. Believe me, Ally was always destined to play for Rangers.

To move on to the diatribe about “Slim Jim” Baxter being a waster. Words fail me! Admittedly, when Sunderland signed him in 1965, he was past his sublime best, having just recovered from a broken leg in 1964. However, let’s not forget that in 1963 he was one of the only two British players (Denis Law was the other) to be picked for a Rest of the World team to play against England in an FA centenary match. Others in that team included: Alfredo Di Stefano, Yashin, Gento, Eusebio and Ferenc Puskas. More wasters?

Anyone who witnessed it will surely never forget the sight of “Slim Jim” having a private game of keepie-uppie at Wembley in 1967 for Scotland against the unbeaten world champions, England. What a man!

Thinking back to the mid-1960s, in school football and local leagues, everybody seemed to want to play left-half (midfield) and be like Jim Baxter, complete with Beatle haircut and shirt outside shorts. Lots of present-day grandmothers can reminisce of their teenage Saturdays going to Roker Park. Not so much for the match but because of “Slim Jim”. He was iconic.

Undoubtedly in latter years Jim Baxter was a waster – to himself. Everything must have looked better through the bottom of a vodka glass, and he was certainly no stranger to a pint. Couple this with the fact that he was no good at gambling. Another flawed genius. The rest is history.

So Frank, if you can desist from “laughing your little cotton socks off” about Rangers, let’s hope that in the future more “wasters” like Jim Baxter are discovered, and Rangers will be back, in the spirit of “No Surrender”.

John Potts

Honest finder

I WOULD like to thank the man who found my wallet in Villette Road, Hendon, and handed it in to the post office.

It was a wonderful surprise when it was brought round to my house with everything still inside it.

There are good people out there. Many thanks.

Ian Davies, Hendon

Donations thanks

THANK you to everyone for your recent kind donations to the Intensive Care Unit at Sunderland Royal Hospital and Newcastle RVI.

I was able to send £200 to each of them – wonderful.

Mrs Joan Watt, Sunderland