Letters, Thursday, December 12, 2013

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Our shipyards were some of the best

JUST to add to Sarah Stoner’s series and Tony Carty’s letter regarding the deliberate and senseless closure of the shipyards.

 The Cubans, the Ohlendorff German Line, and the Anglo-Greek Consortium were willing to buy the yards without subsidies and were amazed that the Tory Government insisted on closing the yards down.

 The most modern assembly hall and building berths in Europe were demolished in 1990 and redeveloped to create very few jobs.

 Many people who try to justify the closures parrot the myth of “who does what” disputes.

 I was an elected shop steward in the yards from 1968 to1987 and was not aware of any demarcation stoppages in that period.

 They also cite lack of productivity, from 1971 to 1975 the AP & Bartrams yards built 12 SD14 ships per year, a ship every four weeks despite Bartrams literaly falling to bits.

 Our man-hours per tonne were below that of the Japanese “freedom Ship”, a competitor who built a similar size liberty replacement.

 Lack of profit is also quoted – another lie. A fiscal report from 1968 to 1972 at AP stated a profit was made on every ship built, and should continue at a very satisfactory level.

 In 1986, the Wear yards of NESL secured an order for 24 Danish Ferries, valued at £100million, and the Wear had the biggest order book in the world.

 Only 14 of the 24 ships were completed when the closure was announced.

 The Tory PR men went into action, stating contract and poor quality. The owners provided the designs and sub-contracted the propulsion units themselves, in fact, when the first vessels went into service the owners were highly satisfied. These ships are still working today.

 It was ironic that in 1986 Thatcher visited the Wear and spoke highly of superb skills and ships and enterprise, and when Tony Newton, Tory Minister, announced the yard closures, Thatcher was in Gdansk praising the Poles for their fight to keep their yard open.

 The potential buyers of the yards were so disgusted by the lies and machinations of the Tories that when the Greeks bought the Pallion yard, they appointed two shop stewards, Peter Callaghan and James Baldwin, and Bob Clay MP as directors as these were the only people who had acted with honesty and integrity.

Michael Dodds

Insensitive rise

COUN Darryl Dixon’s letter (December 9) in defence of his ward colleague and Deputy Mayor, Coun Stuart Porthouse, is nothing but a smokescreen.

 He attacks Coun Peter Woods comments on the increase in the Deputy Mayor’s allowance by listing the allowances paid to Coun Wood.

 The council allowances he lists are long established and, quite rightly, have not been increased for some time, nor has Coun Wood asked for any increase in them.

 The allowances for the Integrated Transport Authority are again well established and paid to all members of that body. Again Coun Peter Wood has not asked for any increase.

 Coun Dixon could have listed any set of allowances and additional responsibility allowances for all the Labour councillors who receive them –there are many of them.

 The point Coun Dixon has missed in defending the indefensible – I’m sure deliberately– is that accepting an increase of 50 per cent is insensitive and contemptuous.

 Does the Deputy Mayor and his ward colleague not understand restraint at a time when council employees are limited to a one per cent increase or have their salaries frozen?

Alan Wright

Why hate Europe?

IT seems that there’s a species of political activist in Sunderland that hates the mention of the word Europe.

 Say Europe and they’re like little, attacking poodles, yapping away without listening to the argument at all.

 If the noisy bluster doesn’t frighten the offender away, then they try to bite with their little, inadequate teeth. Perhaps it’s a deliberate strategy?

 They don’t want you to see the flaws in their logic.

 For instance, their master, Nigel Farage, is married to an immigrant – one of the few good things I could say about him – which must make for some interesting conversations around the breakfast table!

Meg Crosby,

East Herrington

EU is not for us

BACK in 2000, I bombarded the Letters page with reasons why the UK should not adopt the Euro, and why we should fear the EU’s relentless dash towards a Federal State of Europe.

 A notable example of the opposite view published then was: “Not to adopt the Euro would consign us to the lower tier of a two-tier Europe.”

 I’m proud to say that time has proved my point regarding the Euro, but I’m also sad that we have failed to pull further away from a federalised European state.

 Evidence of the EU concept’s failure emerges daily. In a shocking reflection of the recent budgetary crisis in America, the EU is set to fall foul of a massive budget shortfall unless it is given an extra 2.7billion euros from member states.

 So as Jose Manuel Barosso, 11th president of the European commission, pleads for a handout to fund his grandiose schemes, it would seem that the Euro is seeking a Pound bailout.

 We can’t wait another 14 years to confirm that the EU is not for us.

 For goodness sake, go online and and check such issues as free movement, human rights rulings, the EU’s ridiculous stance on climate change and, of course, the self interest of leading figures within this undemocratic and corrupt cabal.

Denis Gillon,

Sunderland