Letters, Saturday, November 30, 2013

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Labour movement is too idealistic

THIRTY days before the agreement which allows access to UK labour market becomes a reality, David Cameron announces that we are not a soft touch and vows to prevent the eastern bloc from feasting on the UK benefits system.

 Jose Barroso counters from Brussels that the rules don’t allow it.

 A carefully choreographed charade to placate an angry UK public? I think so.

 Those at Westminster have had seven years to prepare for, or refuse entry to the Rumanian’s and Bulgarians. An onerous work schedule can’t be responsible for this inexplicable inertia because David Bercow himself explained recently that MPs fiddled their expenses out of boredom.

 A genuine attempt to withhold benefits from EU immigrants would mean contravening EU law, indicating that Cameron is prepared to break or bend EU rules. If that is the case, a better alternative would be to control the flow from the east, to manageable numbers.

 The concept of free movement of labour among countries of widely varying societies is impracticable and idealistic, which some politicians accept because they lack the courage or honesty to challenge it.

 Free movement was part of the total federalisation plan for Europe, embracing the single currency with all its implications, but it was doomed when countries unable to meet the appropriate criteria for EU membership or adopting the Euro, were nodded through.

 Here stands Britain paying a fee to a trading club from which it buys more than it sells but has to endure the rules and constraints of a political entity to which most of its population has no wish to belong.

Denis Gillon

Political journey

PEOPLE still write to the Echo with arguments for and against Margaret Thatcher. Let me tell you about the political journey my mother made in her lifetime.

 She grew up in a small town where people always voted Conservative. She married my father after the Second World War and came to live in Sunderland.

 When I was a boy, she warned me never to vote Labour. After the war it was an age of austerity, a difficult time for any young mother and housewife. There was still a lot of rationing. Whatever the achievement of Labour’s postwar government, she never forgave them for rationing bread – something that didn’t happen during the war.

 She was happier when the Tories were back in power in the 1950s. It was the era of ‘you’ve never had it so good’. Although we lived in Sunderland North, which returned the Labour MP Fred Willey, she felt she was represented by Paul Williams, the Conservative MP for Sunderland South.

 Through the 1960s and 1970s, she continued to vote Conservative. After Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister, my mother turned against her gradually.

 Mam had this old-fashioned belief that politics was a man’s game. I wonder how many other women had that attitude towards Thatcher – instead of rejoicing at a woman climbing to the top of the pole, they felt being PM was a man’s job.

 By now mam was doing voluntary work for the WRVS and she saw how people were affected by the Iron Lady’s policies.

 So, in 1983, shortly before she passed away, she finally voted Labour.

 She even went with the family to a Michael Foot rally and afterwards shook old Wurzel’s hand. It was a long journey, but she got there in the end. Maybe there’s still hope for my Auntie Marj in Millfield.

H Whipple,

Washington

Pays to complain

THE bus stop outside Redby School was moved on September 1, but the shelter wasn’t.

 I rang Nexus on November 25 who said planning permission had been granted but the shelter belonged to Clear Channel.

 I emailed the boss at Clear Channel who passed the message on to the local depot.

 On November 27, it was moved.

 It does pay to contact the right people.

 Thank you to all concerned.

Jean Barnes,

Fulwell

Wonderful display

WHAT a wonderful fireworks display there was at the switch-on of the Christmas lights in Sunderland.

 Well done, Sunderland Council and workers.

Mrs Miller