Letters, Thursday, March 20, 2014

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Have your say

Children in war zones need help

TOO many children caught up in conflict live in daily fear – not only of bullets and bombs, but of the devastating threat of sexual violence.

 UNICEF UK is calling on people across the UK to join our call to protect children in conflict zones from rape and sexual abuse.

 Syria is a particularly pressing case, an entire generation of Syrian children are at risk of being lost. Between February and May last year nearly three quarters of the Syrian refugees newly arrived in Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq who spoke to child protection researchers said that sexual violence is on the rise inside their country.

 This year British people have an unprecedented opportunity to stand together for change for children in conflict zones worldwide.

 In June, the UK Government is to hosts a global summit on sexual violence in conflict.

 UNICEF UK is calling for international leaders to seize this chance to commit to protect children. We want the UK Government to make sure the summit prioritises measures to help children to report sexual crimes and hold their abusers to account. We also want the UK to secure more funding for psychological and long-term support for child survivors.

 We need your help to turn political will into practical action. Please add your voice to our call to help end sexual violence against children in conflict, visit www.unicef.org.uk/endsexualviolence

Anita Tiessen,

Deputy Executive Director

UNICEF UK

We will be ignored

IT is very difficult to know who to vote for in the European elections.

 Many UKIP members could be voted in as MEPs and they want to take us out of the EU.

 However, what would happen to them if we came out? It means they would have to come off the EU gravy train, and what would they do then? Be jobless?

 If we vote for Labour or the Lib/Dems we will never get out of the EU. If we vote Tory we could get a referendum in 2017, perhaps. In any case, by then there will be so many immigrants here who will make a point of being in the EU, so that the wish of British citizens will count for nothing as usual.

 What a quandary?

 The fact remains that the MPs and MEPs rule us, and there is no way they will come off the EU gravy train.

 The wishes of more than 70 per cent of the British public will be completely ignored on all issues.

Marjorie Matthews

Check the facts

A BRITISH newspaper headline saying “Crimea poll leaves Russia isolated” shows extraordinary ignorance of the facts on the ground and the history of Crimea.

 Yes, a democratic referendum with observers from 130 countries would leave a democratic Russia, supported by 97 per cent of voters, “isolated” in the increasingly anti-democratic West – but not elsewhere in the world.

 Russia has not occupied Crimea, it is there (on land which for more than 150 years was part of Russia) under international treaty and is entitled under that treaty to far more troops (25,000) than it has. Nobody asked the people of Crimea if they wanted to be transferred from the Russian Federation within the USSR to Ukraine in the first place.

 A democratically elected president in Kiev (the religious and cultural origin of Russians) was violently deposed and an international agreement to hold new elections was overturned – and with the connivance of the EU, which has never yet tolerated a sovereign democratic nation within its domaine.

Rodney Atkinson Alderley,

Stocksfield

Dedicated claimer

THE front page story about Coun Neville Padgett (Echo, March 13) didn’t actually say whether he picked up any litter on his weekly 51-mile trips around Washington.

 One thing is certain – he knows how to pick up expenses. His claims for more than £11,000 are mind-boggling in times of severe council cuts.

 Perhaps Nissan could be persuaded to lend him one of their Leaf electric cars so his dedicated litter-hunting is a bit more economical, or there might be an old disused road-sweeper lying around the council’s cleansing department he might borrow to make his trips more efficient.

 I just hope that the voters of Washington will remember Labour back-bencher Coun Padgett’s claims – on top of his annual £8,369 allowance – when he offers himself for re-election.

Frank Johnson

Pay minimum wage

INSTEAD of the dole forcing me to do a course that is of no use to me, why doesn’t it force me to do one of the many “jobs” that people keep talking about.

 I would gladly accept minimum wage.

 Instead of these companies offering to take the unemployed for free labour, why don’t they pay us minimum wage? The truth is there are 2.5million unemployed and only so many thousand job vacancies .

 I understand that there are people that don’t want to work, but trust me this is a small percentage of the unemployed.

 Do you really think that people want to survive on maybe £10 a week?

 Before you jump on the bandwagon and say that the unemployed aren’t trying, you really want to do some investigating.

 Don’t tar us all with the same brush

Steven,

Red House

Stay with Britain

I HOPE Scotland remains part of Britain. It may not be that wonderful, but it’s better for Scotland than the alternative, and a 300- year relationship should should not be consigned to history simply because Mr Salmond and his cohorts want bigger jobs and more power.

 How the notion to leave the UK ever got off the ground is amazing. Having an independent assembly at Edinburgh, and Scots also representing constituencies in England at Westminster, they already hold more sway than any other region in UK. And to top it all, why all this exaggerated patriotism when more Scots live abroad than than in Scotland?

 It is common knowledge that, Scotland receives more revenue per capita from the UK treasury, and enjoys more benefits in health and education than the English, so surely Salmond’s independence bid simply means that good Scottish folk are being led down a blind alley by a man dazzled by his personal ambitions.

 On the other hand, Salmond could say that having already sold out to Brussels, Cameron, Clegg and Milliband have no right to comment – he would have a point.

Denis Gillon

Beware of the right

ON February 26, David Caslaw wrote about UKIP and how it was unfairly treated by the BBC.

 He follows a well-trodden path when bashing our national broadcaster. The majority of people in the UK know that the BBC does a brilliant job and it is respected around the world.

Just because some of the more extreme things about UKIP are reported, does not mean bias.

 Some things about UKIP are newsworthy and we have a right to know about extreme groups in our midst.

 The BBC has not reported on UKIP’s policy to make the London Circle Line go in a circle or even its policy to repaint trains ‘traditional British colours’.

 However when a UKIP politician calls women ‘sluts’ and another refers to children in care as being ‘takers’ then it is a good job that the BBC keeps us informed.

 Mr Caslaw suggests improper financial deals from the EU to the BBC. He states that the money loaned is British taxpayers’ money. This means the BBC is getting our money. Sounds alright to me.

He claims that past EU treaties are secret and designed to damage our country. Any A level politics student could find every clause of every treaty within one hour.

 He goes on to describe the EU as ‘hostile, corrupt and unelected’. One house of our own Parliament is unelected.

 It seems that we have a pact with the devil when we deal with Jonny foreigner. He suggests that Germany is building an EU army. Just a little more of Mr Caslaw’s logic will soon conclude that the ‘hostile’ EU is out to get us and they are getting tooled up.

 He links defence cuts to the build-up of the enemy over the sea. However, it is a stated UKIP policy to scrap the Ministry of Defence.

 I imagine Mr Caslaw’s tongue was lodged in his cheek when he complained that Commonwealth citizens are now discriminated against with regard to immigration. We have just had many years of complaints from the far right about the immigrants from the Commonwealth.

 The recent floods are linked to the EU and overseas aid. However, David Silvester, a UKIP councillor, stated the flooding was divine retribution from God to punish David Cameron for legalising gay marriage.

 UKIP may appear to be buffoons but there is always the chance to rouse raw bigotry in many voters.

 Decent people should be aware of the danger of a shift to the right.

Mr Lennox

Man of the people

ANOTHER great socialist has passed away. What an example he was as a human being.

 He was born into a life of privilege, just like Mr Cameron and and that’s where the similarity ends. Where Tony Benn read all the great thinkers throughout history, today’s leaders seem to have only read Thatcher’s bible of destruction.

 How sad that in his prime, he was demonised by the right wing press for his beliefs. The sad fact is that a great number of people chose to believe these untruths, even though Mr Benn was on the side of the masses.

 Before everyone pipes up and says socialism can’t work, we’ve just had 30 odd years of capitalism, and that isn’t doing too well either.

Ged Taylor