Letters, Saturday, June 2nd, 2012

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City must treasure this top company

I HAVE no objection to a new bowling alley to replace the popular Excell site being built in Sunderland; hopefully it will prove to be an attraction.

However, that it should be placed in the Enterprise Park despite the measured objection made by Berghaus is a matter of concern.

Berghaus is one of the few truly international, top-class brands to have placed and maintained its faith in Sunderland for many years now.

It is a world-class brand, not just “an outdoor clothing company”, as your reporter suggests, but an innovative, top-drawer concern, happy to have its head office on the banks of the Wear. One that should be supported at all costs rather than penned in by a new development that is out of place in a zone built to encourage industry and employment.

Councillor Denny Wilson, once again in the Echo, should have, along with his colleagues, listened to and considered very carefully the objections made by the company and endeavoured to find another suitable site for the bowling alley.

After all, we are not exactly short of brownfield sites in need of development or empty factories that could be converted, quite the opposite in fact.

No doubt should Berghaus consider leaving, he will be on the front page stating how he and his fellow, good hearted and affable admittedly, but similarly limited and lacking in vision colleagues are devastated at such an unexpected turn of events. Still, those who would lose their jobs can always console themselves with a game of bowls.

Berghaus/Brasher should be treasured in the same way as we do Nissan and the football club, because they very much “keep us on the map”, more so than the possibility of a Roman bridge at Hylton. Though that would be fantastic too, Councillor Wilson, and I applaud your interest in that.

Ken Smithson, Ashbrooke, Sunderland

Time to say ‘no’

EVERY nation that is about to collapse into revolution has its “let them eat cake moment”. It’s that defining moment when the powers that be simply go too far, when their arrogant self-assurance melts into utter bewilderment because someone somewhere says “no”.

Britain has now reached that point and it has a choice. It can either roll over and play dead for the likes of Cameron and Osborne or it can simply say “no” and save itself from utter destruction.

The Tories have nothing to offer but injustice and an ever widening distance between the haves and the have nots.

We have seen what their plans are for the NHS – privatisation for the benefit of a wealthy few and a healthcare system that most of us will never have enough money to enjoy.

All of us, by now, must know a young person who is in a good job but will never be able to even rent a home of their own let alone buy one. That is the result of a system begun under the leadership of Margaret Thatcher that has deliberately concentrated the ownership of property into the hands of the few and, at the same time, deliberately kept wages low.

Most of us, despite years of unparalleled growth, are no better off now than we were 30 years ago and a good proportion are considerably worse off.

Education has collapsed to the point where we are now only 25th in the world league table and the numbers going to university have already begun to decline.

While it was as clear as day that bankers were responsible for the most recent collpase of the world economy, the Tories have continued to blame “socialism” and to punish the victims of this crime rather than the perpetrators.

The forthcoming budget has been extensively leaked and it makes grim reading. Tax breaks for the already wealthy and more wage cuts for the rest, with particular spite reserved for the North where public sector wages will be cut in relation to those earned in the South.

Tax credits for those on scandalously low wages are also to be slashed, ending the public support of greedy businessmen by throwing the poor to the wolves.

This is not a budget for the country. It is a budget for the wealthy, and a naked, cynical attempt to turn Britain into the Dickensian hell that the Tories miss so much.

Kevin Stoker, Sunderland

Charity’s choice

I NOTE with some surprise that a Wearside charity is backing one particular Labour candidate for the Northumbria Police Commissioner elections (Echo, May 28).

True, Claire Philipson, the director of Wearside Women In Need, is the mother of Houghton and Sunderland South Labour MP Brigette Philipson – hardly an impartial observer!

What a pity, though, to politicise a charity which does a great deal of worthwhile work. Now that really is the way to get everyone behind you!

Coun Peter Wood, Deputy leader, Conservative Council Group

Big thank-you

WE’D just like to say a massive thank-you to all who supported us in Race For Life. We raised £800 for Cancer Research and have £743 for Sunderland Royal.

The boys are doing the Castle to Coast Bike Ride from Edinburgh to Sunderland and we have a charity night with entertainment provided by Bad Seed on June 9.

All are welcome.

Deb, Mel, Danielle and Natalie, Chaplins, Sunderland