Letters, Thursday, January 13th, 2010

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Selective quotes give false picture

IT was interesting to read Coun Alan Wright’s long letter of the January 4 (Labour are masters of “false reality”).

May I thank him for his very kind words on my loyalty to the Labour Party? Interestingly, he didn’t attempt to avoid creating his own sense of “false reality” with his not unsurprising selective choice of quotes, so let me jog his memory and inform the reader as to some of the quotes he left out.

We start with Vince Cable, the business secretary, who criticised the speed at which the Coalition was pushing through changes in the health service, local government and other areas, which he described as a “a kind of Maoist revolution”, which was “in danger of getting out of control”.

This description was supported by Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Education, when he said: “I am happy to confess I’d like us to implement a cultural revolution just like the one they’ve had in China.”

On VAT increases, Nick Clegg said: “Liberal Democrats have costed, in full, our proposals for tax cuts. We can tell you, penny for penny, pound for pound, who pays for them. We will not have to raise VAT to deliver our promises. The Conservatives will. Let me repeat that: Our plans do not require a rise in VAT. The Tory plans do.”

David Heath the deputy Leader of the House, suggested that the Chancellor, a multimillionaire, was out of touch with the common voter. “I mean, what I think is, some of them just have no experience of how ordinary people live, and that’s what worries me.”

David Cameron himself also admitted back in March 2009 that he blamed Margaret Thatcher’s and John Major’s policies for starting the banking collapse through a lack of regulation and he said both he and shadow chancellor George Osborne were slow to see the crisis.

So, councillor, instead of you and your colleagues blindly following the latest version of your own Tory party line by defending the use of the deficit as an excuse to increase VAT, tuition fees and fuel duty, while reducing central government funding for local councils, Building Schools for the Future, Sure Start Centres, Education Maintenance Allowances, look around and remind yourselves of how the vast majority of ordinary, hard-working people of Sunderland live and just what is being taken away from them.

Bob Price, Rydal Mount, Fulwell, Sunderland

Economy in tatters

IF proof were needed that Labour and its apologists can conjure worlds of their own imagining from the raw firmament, this was provided by Mr Tenebras in his letter of January 5.

His first claim that the cuts being imposed are ideologically driven and the budget deficit is being used to dismantle the welfare state is stupid beyond belief. This may have carried some credence but for the plans by Labour to impose cuts greater than those imposed by the Coalition Government, 20 per cent as against 19 per cent.

He then states: “Let’s put the deficit in perspective” and adds: “In 1997 Labour inherited a budget deficit of £350billion”. What he fails to mention is that Labour then increased this deficit to £955billion, costing us, the taxpayers, £120million per day in interest alone. Mr Tenebras also fails to mention the healthy state of the economy taken over by Labour in 1997.

He then covers the old ground of the state of schools and hospitals in the 1980s. No mention of this being caused by the ruined economy left by Labour in 1979.

It is an inevitable consequence that any period of Labour Government will see the UK’s economy left in tatters. It was so in 1979 and it was again in 2010. Anyone who recalls the 1970s will recall the UK being a laughing stock and labelled the sick man of Europe.

Mr Tenebras puts up a smokescreen over new schools and hospitals by trying to claim these are the cause of the huge deficit left by Labour. In most cases these schools and hospitals were built under the Private Finance Initiative and are not on the balance sheet, which means the costs are over and above the deficit left by Labour.

One hospital in the Midlands cost £400million to build but will cost the taxpayer £1.2billion by the time it is paid for.

Who should apologise now?

Coun Alan Wright, Conservative, St Chad’s ward

Waste of money

THE editorial with a report on the £6.5million waste of taxes for numerous new Wear bridge feasibility studies does much to raise the hackles of thinking people who pay taxes.

The editorial comment that the council puts it money where its mouth is is disturbing.

The taxpayers’ money is not the council’s – it is our money poured down the drain for an iconic bridge that cannot reasonably materialise and a Strategic Transport Corridor (STC) that will exacerbate the flow of traffic in Sunderland and involve unjustifiable compulsory purchase of privately owned riverside land suitable for industrial uses that will restore port-related maintenance.

My main objections are the public consultations associated with town planning, which to date are flawed.

Ron McQuillan

Where’s Wear?

CAN I rage a war on our local news or is it just me that has noticed that the Wear is missing from the titles Tyne Tees and Border.

Where are we?

Jo Rowe, South Hylton

Bring back rink

I READ the article about Denise Welch backing calls to bring back the ice rink (Echo, January 8).

It gets a big yes from me. I went ice skating for years, from the day it opened till the day it close in 2000.

Sunderland Council says it’s not worth it to reopen the ice rink and the pool. The council wants to sell it off to the Bridges and turn it into more shops.

How can the council spend £6.5million on consultancy fees and not reopen Crowtree?

It’s not just me who would like to see the ice rink and pool reopen. The Aquatic Centre is OK if you are in a swimming club. The pool is always roped off. It’s not a fun pool.

I think it’s time that the council asked the people of Sunderland if the ice rink and the pool should reopen.

Sunderland Council should take leaf out of Stockton Council’s book. Have look at the Billingham Forum £18million revamp. That was built in the 60s.

Bring back the Crowtree rink and pool.

David Hull, Coniston Avenue, Fulwell, Sunderland

N-ice memories

I WAS thrilled to see the article in the Echo with Denise Welch backing the reopening of Crowtree ice rink.

I spent my teens (I’m now 36) in there. The Friday night disco was the highlight of my week (and many others).

It wasn’t long before I was hooked and was going four or five days a week.

I have many lovely memories from that time and was sad to see it close as my children never got to see how I spent my teens. My best ever birthday present was a pair of Bauer skates.

I would be thrilled to see it reopen so that another generation of Sunderland children (and further afield, of course) don’t miss out on something that played such a huge part in my life, and that they don’t have to rely on the temporary ice rink in Mowbray Park once a year, so they can go as many times as they like, what ever time of the year they like.

Sharon

RAF association

FROM 1928 to 1971, Royal Air force Seletar, Singapore, was one of the most colourful and historic of the RAF’s overseas bases.

The RAF Seletar Association was formed in 1997 to bring together any personnel who served or were based at Seletar in any capacity, service or civilian, including the families of those based there.

Should any reader wish to join, with a view of renewing old friendships, please contact me for membership details.

Sylvia Hardie (liaison officer), 25 Cranbrook Drive, Prudhoe, Northumberland NE42 6QF

Gloomy pubs

RE. the letters in the Echo relating to the pubs in Houghton, I find that I must agree.

Even over the festive season and the lead-up to it, the pubs were dead.

No Christmas cards, not many decorations, no Christmas songs (not even Cliff Richard). What’s wrong with the pubs? Not even a “Did you have a nice time over Christmas?” No atmosphere at all.

Don’t let me hear the pub landlords say they were quiet over Christmas.

What do they expect? There’s nothing in any pub in Houghton to attract punters.

In one large public house the service is so bad it could curdle the milk.

It costs nothing to smile or say thank you.

Remember, this a two-way thing.

We had an excellent landlady in Houghton called Mary, who I believe went to North Shields. Come back quickly before this pub dies.

Ex-Pub Crawler