Letters, Thursday, July 7th, 2011

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No compassion in Coalition’s ideology

THE foolhardy brutal policies of this Government suggest lunatics in the form of free marketers are in control and running loose intent on destroying the very structures and principles of the welfare state.

Compassion doesn’t exist in the ideology so they will not hesitate to deny those who need help the most. Wages and benefits are being cut to the bone, public services are disappearing in front of our eyes, with living standards for ordinary families the lowest for 30 years.

These hard times are a direct result of a right-wing Government’s policies. Of course Cameron blames it all on Labour who, according to him, were incompetent with public money. Cameron’s comments are disingenuous. Before the recession our national debt and deficit were both lower than what Labour had inherited from the Tories.

When Labour took over the national debt in 1995 it stood to GDP ratio of 41.9 per cent. Although Labour rebuilt the infrastructure, public services and NHS, they got the debt down 35.7 per cent by 2007-8.

Along with the rest of the world Britain’s debt went sky high because of the global financial crisis.

Labour’s plan to halve the deficit in four years was working. The economy was growing out of recession at 1.8 per cent. Unemployment was falling and VAT was cut to keep people spending. Then Osborne jumped in with both feet and made a political decision to impose savage cuts and increase VAT. This measure is counter productive, and has stagnated the economy. Consumers with no money can’t buy.

In consequence shops are closing down across the country, a loss of revenue the Government can’t afford. With far less tax than anticipated going in Government coffers Osborne will find it difficult to reduce the deficit. In fact through his own incompetence he is borrowing £25million more a day than under Labour.

W. Quinn, Duke Street, Millfield

Area’s decline

THERE are many who are concerned about the decline and dereliction of Vine Place and the surrounding area of what was a decent area to shop and pass by.

Those who lay claim to the governance of our city must bear full responsibility for what has been allowed to happen over a relatively short space of time.

Of the whole area there are only two business premises that could be described as possessing a high level of elegance and being worthy of a visit. A long-established oasis of calm in a sea of dereliction is Witten’s the Jewellers and a few doors further up is Aphrodite, a gents’ outfitters.

The rest of the area is a tip set up with nothing more in mind than to allow a few powerful individuals to make money from the so-called night economy.

Ron Metcalfe, Warwick Drive, East Herrington

Dog nuisance

WHAT used to be a quiet street now has to listen to the constant barking of a dog every time it is let out into the back garden. It is either in Carlton Crescent or Berkley Court.

Why does the owner not stop this dog from constantly barking? Are they deaf? They have no consideration for other residents as anyone working shift work will not get any sleep during the day.

Many people have complained about it, but we are not sure where the barking is coming from exactly.

Can the owner do something about it?

Dog Tired

Truth about Bede

THE Echo (June 29th) continues to support the often repeated premise that the Venerable Bede spent his working life at the Jarrow Monastery.

There is no evidence written in Bede’s lifetime to support this supposition. All Bede himself said on the subject was that he was given at seven years of age to be educated by the most reverend Abbot Benedict and afterwards Coelfrid. In 679, the Jarrow Monastery was not in existence, so it follows that he entered Wearmouth at this time.

It was a Durham monk called Symeon who, around the year 1100, first made the association between Bede and Jarrow. This was some 350 years after the death of Bede.

In his book The Great Days of Wearmouth, H.L. Robson examines the evidence in detail. He says that Bede’s writings of everyday life at Jarrow are quite sketchy, while his descriptions of events at Wearmouth are very detailed. This, the author argues is an indication of where Bede spent his adult lifetime.

Let us give credit to Bede’s World at Jarrow – they have created a magnificent visitor attraction. In their current Bede’s World pamphlet, they say this on the subject: “The Venerable Bede, famous today as the first historian of the English people spent his life learning, teaching and writing in the twin Anglo-Saxon monastery of St Peter’s in Wearmouth and St Paul’s in Jarrow”.

This is likely to be the most accurate statement on this question and one that needs to be embraced by us all. Let him be known as “The Venerable Bede of Wearmouth and Jarrow”.

Keith Cockerill, Sherwood Close, Washington

Council rent bill

A RECENT report in the Echo was about a councillor who was disquieted by the move of the tourist information office in Fawcett Street to the former Binns East store. He was clearly under the illusion that this building is owned by the council.

The former Binns East store, 28 to 32 Fawcett Street, Sunderland, is not owned by the council but by a private company.

The council has three leases for parts of the property:

The City Library and Arts Centre: This lease is for all of 28/29 Fawcett Street, together with the second and third floors plus part of the roof of 30/32 Fawcett Street. It is for a term of 99 years from 1994 and was granted by North East Furnishing Centre Ltd.

In recognition of various costs incurred in converting the property into the library and arts centre the annual rent is one peppercorn.

The new Customer Services Centre: This lease is for part of the ground floor and basement of 28-33 Fawcett Street. It is for a 20-year lease from 1999 and was granted by EGHB49 Limited. The current annual rent is £105,000.

Connexions: This lease is for the first floor of 30-32 Fawcett Street. It is for a term of 20 years from 2008 and was granted by Blisworth Nominees Ltd and Roade One Nominees Ltd. The rent is £138,700.

The current registered owner of the whole building is Blisworth Nominees Ltd and Roade One Nominees Ltd.

The former Tourist Information Office was on the ground floor of 50 Fawcett Street and the whole of this building is owned freehold by the council.

The various costs incurred by the city council were £5million … in other words, a rent of about £50,000 paid in advance for the following 99 years. This is a mighty big peppercorn.

Will the business rates be paid by the proud private owners of our Central Library and Arts Centre or by the Sunderland council as mere tenants?

Ron McQuillan

Ship association

DID you ever serve on boards any of the light fleet carriers, HMS Bulwark, HMS Albion or HMS Centaur? The HMS Bulwark Albion Centaur Association is open to anyone who served on these ships.

We send a magazine three times per year and run events, sea trips and anniversary commemorations.

Contact me at Glenmoray, Hayford Place, Stirling FK7 9JX, email at ngsfo@tiscali.co.uk or visit our website at www.bulwarkassoc.co.uk.

Leigh Easton, Membership secretary

Airgun incident

WHAT a strange letter from Councillor Alan Wright (Echo, June 30) about the reporting of the airgun incident in Middle Herrington Park.

Suggesting damage to the reputation of the area and danger of bringing out the copycats as relevant in an incident as serious as this is bizarre. Then again, we are informed they were only shooting at tin cans. This in a park well used by children.

Coming on the back of his well-publicised work to a get a bird sanctuary on the lake at Gilley Law to protect the swans from airgun attack, his comments were hard to fathom.

Alan, look at your foot – you may have shot it.

Leslie Scott

Classic horror

FOR many years I have been a great fan of The British hammer Horror movies. The wonderful classics included The Horrors of The Black Museum, Circus of Horrors, Dracula, Prince of Darkness, Curse of Frankenstein, The Ghoul, Kiss of the Vampires, The Plague of the Zombies and the 1953 film Four Sided Triangle.

Famous stars of the British Hammer films were Vera Day, Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Simon Ward, William Franklyn, Ingrid Pitt, Julie Ege, Honor Blackman and Suzanna Leigh.

The Bram Stoker International Film Festival is to be held at Whitby later this year, and I won’t forget the British Hammer Horror movies.

Terry Christie, Woodside Terrace, East Herrington  

The next signing?

STEVE Bruce has bought all these new players. Now all we need is a new manager.

My bet is Bruce will not last six games.

D. Weldon, Hendon