Letters, Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

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All change, but nothing changes

WATCHING an item on the BBC news on February 27, the “revolution” in Tunisia was the first report. Far from continuing the fervour that led to the overthrow of the incumbent regime, all this fervour was shown as counting for nothing.

The “ordinary” people interviewed stated that nothing had changed. The hopes and aspirations of a predominantly young population had faded into disillusionment, destroyed by a regime featuring many who had been at the forefront of the old.

New regime, same old story for the majority.

Similarly, the next item played to the same tune. Nepal, one of the poorest countries in the region, had had its monarchy dissolved by Maoist “revolutionaries”. But as in Tunisia, the ordinary folk stated that nothing had changed.

For the above, read Iraq and Egypt. Furthermore, if Gaddafi is toppled add Libya to the list.

But what have events in places far away to do with us? Well, last year there was an election in the UK. Promises were made, hopes were raised for a brighter future, that aspirations for the majority could be fulfilled.

Where are we now? Escalating misery, insecurity, poverty, unemployment for us, the majorty. Hopes dashed, along with aspirations for the future.

Just wait, the incumbent elite tell us. Once we get rid of the mess left by the last bunch of ineffectual chancers, things will be rosier.

But is not that what the last bunch promised? And the ones before that? And before that ad nauseam?

The “good times” are always over the next horizon, around the next corner. But this is the nature of this system, a system run for a tiny elite.

In this country, as in those mentioned above, even in the “bad times”, the elite continued to enrich itself. Indeed, in 2009, the wealthiest increased their wealth by 30 per cent in what we were told was the worst depression since the 20s.

The horribly sad fact is, however, that while we, the majority, continue to put our faith in these self-seeking chancers, whether here or abroad, the same depressing scenario will continue. Not for everybody, not for the elite wherever in the world they reside. but for us, the majority.

Steve Colborn, Ivy Avenue, Deneside, Seaham

End for Gaddafi?

THE media seems to have decided that Gaddafi must go. The tide of allegations is irresistible. Apparently he actually ordered the Lockerbie bombing. It was probably pique because the Americans had blown up his daughter.

All it needs now is for Blair to say that he, Blair, sincerely believes that he, Gaddafi, has weapons of mass destruction and the case will be complete.

If and when Gaddafi is assassinated there will be those who will aver that is was the CIA what done it. My money is on Mossad. They have much more experience in these matters.

B. McGill, Seaburn

City of dreams

LINDA Colling’s article (February 25) about the sad decline of this once proud town was by a strange irony published on the same day as the opening of the new Tyne Tunnel and a photograph on your front page of the leader of the council surveying the Vaux/Tesco site promising wonderful things, accompanied by the usual artist’s impression of course.

The Tyne Tunnel must have been proposed at around the same time as the new river crossing at Pallion, but years of ineptitude by the commissars in the civic centre and debate as to whether to commission an iconic or a bog standard bridge mean that while the TT2 is now a fact, the Wear bridge is still only an artist’s impression.

The Tyne acted while Sunderland only dreamed.

Of course, it is again ironic that the photograph of the council leader at the derelict city centre former brewery site claiming victory over Tesco after a 12-year battle coincides with the exploratory drilling on the former Newcastle Brewery site to evaluate the potential of geo-thermal energy to heat and power the next big development in that city.

It appears that Sunderland is a city of artist’s impressions – or delusions. Where else could a visitor enter a city via an iconic bridge, stay in a top-class hotel in Farringdon Row, visit the tallest building in the North East in Holmeside and pass though the wonderful new development on the Vaux site before crossing the Wear on the new footbridge to attend a football match at the Stadium of Light, returning via the restored City of Adelaide?

If only.

F.A. Smith. Belmont, Durham

Fantastic show

MY wife and I attended the production of the adaptation of Victor Hugo’s literary masterpiece Les Miserables, performed by Seaham Youth Amateur Operatic Society.

The young cast were outstanding, and performed so professionally.

Every credit must go to the production team for producing this show. The orchestra was also outstanding.

The talent shown by the young performers was indeed a pleasure to behold, and the audience showed their approved with a rapturous standing ovation.

Well done, Seaham Youth Amateur Society and the production team. Thank you for a wonderful evening’s entertainment.

Ella and Ron Wood, Haverley Drive, Seaham

Free speech

IN your Friday edition of February 25 you stated that you were printing the last batch of letters regarding the TV issue at SAFC. Why?

Week in week out we read various councillors patting themselves and their parties on the back, at the same time blaming the other parties for what is wrong with this area and this country, followed by a series of tit-for-tat replies resembling two boxers punching and counter punching without anyone delivering a final knockout blow, so they all live to write another day (more’s the pity).

You also have a list of regular authors including the tongue-in-cheek ramblings of “Mick the Pen” which are at times hugely amusing and sometimes downright intolerant but always worth reading.

This country prides itself on being democratic and believes in freedom of speech, which is not possible under a suppressive regime. I believe anyone who submits to you a new view, a different angle or even a solution to a previous discussion should receive the same consideration to go to print as any other letters you receive and not be suppressed.

I also think you should make a clear statement of your intentions to treat all letters equally and print on merit.

PS. If SAFC invites a TV crew into the ground and they do not have any say in when or where the broadcasts go out, maybe they should refuse them access, but at what cost?

BD

The phrase “last batch of letters” merely referred to the fact that they were the final ones of the many that the Echo had received until that date. There was no suggestion that no further letters on that subject would be published. – Letters Editor

Load of “blips”

“CLOSED” reads the Echo’s front page of February 23, referring to the 21.5 per cent of Sunderland city shops that are closed down.

The Echo’s top five table putting Sunderland in fifth place is misleading, comparing it to the suburbs of Stockton etc. Sunderland is a city, and as a city is in number one spot.

I think there is another reason for 21.5 per cent of closed shops. Shops need supplies and they come from delivery vehicles. These vehicles need somewhere to park, and if you take a tour around the city you will see unlimited “No Loading” indicators.

What are these, you ask? Well they are “blips”, yes blips, every blipping where for mile after mile.

They are one or two yellow marks on the kerb edge about every 6ft/2m. One blip means no unloading at times displayed on a nearby road sign and two indications mean no unloading 24 hours, seven days, effectively stopping the supply of supplies to Sunderland retailers.

I’ve been watching the spread of these in recent years, not as a delivery driver but as a disabled person Blue Badge holder because Blue Badges cannot park in loading and no-loading areas and swiftly and steadily the disabled parking on streets have been removed from Sunderland!

In the Park Lane area Blue Badges are banned – Vine Place, Derwent Street, Olive Street etc. The only place left is the Civic Centre car park, miles from the shopping area.

Of course it could be a bit of job creation. Now that all the streets are full up with road humps, it’s blips. Take a look at the photo of Kier Hardie Way towards the Half Way House pub/SAFC. Not in a million years is a commercial vehicle going to load/unload here against the steel safety barrier, a long way from buildings, but we have new double blips. No-loading indicators all the way from Southwick into the city centre.

So if you peruse Sunderland Council’s Traffic Notices in the Echo, informing of new traffic regulations, note the term “blip” and the effect it’s had on the city.

Yellow Fever, Wearside