Letters, Tuesday, November 12, 2013

6
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All our traditions are being eroded away

AND so another tradition, Guy Fawkes night, comes to an end.

 Sadly, tradition is in name only.

 The evening of November 5, I drove from my home to Seaburn but as I drove past the now main venue in Ashbrooke for fireworks, I could see various rockets lighting up the sky.

 I can’t remember the last time I heard: “Penny for the guy, mister.”

 Tradition is slowly dying.

 Drawing closer to the Ashbrooke area, there were many rockets bursting in the sky, cars parked everywhere and people standing on the streets with children admiring the view.

 I stopped and watched for a while, then the thought of getting caught in so much traffic made me seek my home and my own memories back in North Bridge Street. A small fire in the lane, friends out with drinks and potatoes on the fire.

 The fire brigade would half-heartedly douse our fire, only for us to relight it again. We had mostly ½p and 1p bangers, wheels and sometimes the odd rocket.

 Late at night someone would turn up with something else to burn.

 These little fires would burn everywhere and people were happy – no travelling miles to organised shindigs. Those happy, non-electric toys days are now past – it’s called progress.

 Progress is good for business – but a killer for tradition.

 I hope someone has kept video footage of our traditions – soon that’s all there will be.

Mr J A Stott,

Washington

Not in this together

UNDER new Government rules,

thousands of benefits have been suspended for Wearside job seekers, to deal with people avoiding work (Echo, October 31).

 Esther McVey, the Minister for Employment, said they were ending ‘the something for nothing culture’.

 I’m all for it, but let’s start at the top not the bottom. No one likes freeloading parasites. And what about the Royal Family – most of them have never done a day’s work in their lives.

 They are waited-on hand and foot, surrounded by minions defending their lifestyles.

 Charles earns millions from the Duchy and is exempt from

corporation tax.

 Buckingham Palace also seems to be exempt from the bedroom tax.

 Another one is David Cameron, a multi-millionaire.

 The only job he’s ever had is the one he has now and he was also mortgage-free until he was told he couldn’t claim mortgage allowance in his expenses.

 So, all in this together – somehow, I don’t think so.

Ged Taylor,

Barnes

Strike is damaging

FIREFIGHTERS do an important job in society and should be rewarded fairly for it but the strike, called by the Fire Brigade Union, will only damage the union.

 Someone has to get to grips with the public sector pension bill, which has soared because people are living longer and no public service can be exempted.

 The pension deal being offered to firefighters remains one of the most generous in the public sector, equalising the pension age with the police and the armed forces.

 A firefighter who earns £29,000, and retires aged 60, will get a £19,000 a year pension, but an equivalent private pension pot would require double the contributions.

 Despite the changes, nearly half of firefighters will not be affected as their pensions will be protected and one in three firefighters already has a retirement age of 60.

 But firefighters are not compelled to work until 60 and can retire early with the offer meaning a smaller reduction to the pension if they choose to do so.

Councillor Robert Oliver,

Leader of the Conservative

Council Group

Move Jack’s statue

WOULDN’T it be opportune to move the statue of Sunderland hero Jack Crawford from its present position in Mowbray Park, where it is rarely seen.

 Shouldn’t it be given pride-of-place in the proposed new city square?

Frank Johnson