Letters, Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

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I won’t vote again until MPs change

I LOOK forward to my Sunderland Echo every evening. My first page is “Hatches, Matches and Dispatches”. My second page is the Letters.

Recently we have had further sad news of two more of our lads losing their lives. How can Tony Blair and George Bush sleep at night? May God forgive them, but I certainly will not.

In my opinion Tony Blair tried to topple Maggie Thatcher’s glory regarding the Falklands War. How he failed, and at what cost: heartache, sorrow and daily tears shed for the maiming and loss of our brave soldiers.

David “The Dictator” Cameron should take a good look around the House of Commons when announcing further cuts.

Too many MPs sit on comfy benches bleating like sheep with salary, excellent expenses, and with not one house but two in many cases.

When found to be fiddling regarding expenses they were not put in jail like Joe Bloggs would have been but had their manicured hands tapped and they were told to pay it back.

In my opinion they should pay back double the amount, one half to go to the Treasury and the other donated to Help the Heroes fund.

I feel sure if the Sunderland Echo launched a Valentine Help the Heroes Fund, the mail bags would overflow. We Mackems will be hit hard now and in the future but we are a generous lot despite our gloomy future.

I emphasise for all do-gooders I am not a racist, Conservative, Labour, Liberal or BNP supporter but I do apologise to Emily Pankhurst.

I will not vote again until I am assured our Government consists of men and women who are honest, dedicated Members of Parliament and not in there for their own personal monetary gain.

One thing I have in common with Lady Thatcher is this lady is also not for turning.

M. Ashbourne, New Herrington

Disgraceful rise

I AM writing to express my disgust at the recent huge rise in the cost of the pensioner concessionary Metro card.

The cost has gone up by 105 per cent, from £12 to £25, a rise which was imposed at very short notice.

It seems that Nexus regarded pensioners as a very easy target and therefore decided to hit them hard without mercy.

In their defence, Nexus have stated the rise is only 25p per week and they had withheld the increase for four years..

In stating they had withheld the rise for four years it implies that Nexus consider a 100 per cent increase over a four-year period to be justified, which gives great cause for concern.

It would seem that now Nexus is operated by an overseas operator, they are more interested in maximising profits than providing a service for the North East community. Recent inflation fare increases, plus the imposition of charges on some Metro car parks provide ample justification for this statement.

The Metro system was funded out of taxpayers’ money for the sole benefit of the North East to provide affordable transport for everybody. Now it would seem this is no longer the case – boosting the coffers of Nexus is the only thing that matters now.

I call on all of our MPs to support the people of the North East to take action to reduce the fare increases and to look again at the decision to award the contract to operate the Metro to an overseas organisation with a view to returning it to a locally based management company which will have the interests of local people at heart.

Were it not for pensioners the majority of day-time Metro trains would run almost empty. The trains still have to run on time, empty or full, therefore there is a strong case to grant free travel on the Metro to all eligible pensioners.

After all, it would be a zero-cost option to Nexus as well as a courtesy to some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

I will refuse to pay the increase and will strive to avoid using the Metro whenever possible. I would urge all other pensioners who are able to follow this example. If profits are the sole aim of Nexus then that is where to hit them hardest.

K. Rackstraw, Roker

Nuclear ‘club’

IN Al Capone’s Chicago, the hand gun was known as the “equaliser”. No matter how big you were, the little guy with the gun could cut you down.

The atomic bomb has been used twice by the U.S. and for two reasons: they had it and the Japanese didn’t.

Today the fear is said to be that North Korea and Iran might join Israel in the nuclear club. But surely they should be encouraged to join. Only when every country in the world is in the club will disputes be settled on their merits rather than the girth of biceps.

B. McGill, Seaburn

Capello own goal

GREAT piece of PR work by England manager Fabio Capello, telling Bent he has a better chance of being an England regular now he’s at Villa (massive team?). This is from the same man who left him out of England’s “victorious” World Cup squad.

This “magnifico” manager is giving the Jordan Hendersons of this world a right kick in the teeth.

Motivational? I think not.

Darren Lloyd, Romford Street, Sunderland

No surprise there

HOW unsurprising it was to read of the cancellation/suspension of the so-called Central Route road in favour of the new Wear bridge.

 The Central Route was planned to reduce traffic, in particular heavy goods traffic, through various parts of Houghton, including Philadelphia and Newbottle, on roads which were designed for horse and carts. It would also benefit Fence Houses and Rainton Bridge Business Park, but alas all of these places must be sacrificed for the ridiculous “iconic bridge”.

 By all means build a new bridge, but the extra £30million of council taxpayers’ money for a ridiculous and unnecessary iconic bridge is a bridge too far.

The £30million would be more than enough to build the Central Route and fund the making up of about a third of the unmade roads in the area.

 For how much longer must the people of the former Houghton and Hetton urban district councils continue to fund Sunderland Council’s grandiose schemes, while getting nothing in return? Sunderland City Council has just reported that it cannot afford to build new public toilets in Houghton town centre!

Coun Colin Wakefield, Independent Group leader

Great star Kim

KIM Novak was an American actress from 1954 to 1991 with such movies as Pal Joey, Vertigo, Picnic, Man with the Golden Arm, Moll Flanders, Strangers When We Meet, The Mirror Cracks, Kiss Me Stupid and – one of the all-time greats – Of Human Bondage, where she starred alongside Laurence Harvey in 1964.

She mixed with Hollywood stars including Frank Sinatra, Zsa Zsa Gabor, James Stewart, Shirley MacLaine, Kirk Douglas, Alfred Hitchcock, Jack Lemon, William Holden and Otto Preminger.

She retired from acting in 1991 after 37 years in showbusiness and moved on to oil painting and she has created portraits of Hollywood stars.

I will never forget the one and only Kim Novak.

T. Christie, Woodside Terrace, East Herrington, Sunderland

Pressing issues

HAVING worked and paid taxes for more than 48 years, I have not a great deal of material wealth. What I do have is the satisfaction of playing my part, albeit in a small way.

What does irk me is to read of our MPs, the Echo and irate contributors to the Letters Page raising steam because the Government have decided to end payments to young people of up to £30 a week if they stay at school for a further two years. How did they all manage before the blanket payment was introduced in 2004? Why should our youth be bribed to attend school?

Given the desperate state of the Government’s finances, I would have thought that irate contributors to the Letters Page would have found more important matters to get upset about than the ending of bribes to teenagers. The growing problems of homeless people for example, many of whom are former members of our armed forces. Not so long ago some of them were serving their country in the most dangerous parts of the world.

What about the failure to provide adequate resources to treat the mentally ill? There are many problems in the country far more important than the ending of payments to teenagers.

To those irate people who bombarded the Echo complaining how badly our youth had been treated, my advice is short and to the point: open your eyes and get a life.

L. Locket, Sunderland

Surviving miners

RE the your article about Usworth Colliery’s last surviving miner – well, there are still a few of us left.

I started there from school in 1971 and left in 1973 to go to Herrington Colliery before Usworth closed in 1974.

At 54 years old I may be one of the youngest surviving miners from Usworth. I think

your article should have read “oldest surviving miner”.

John Watson, Pensher View, Washington

HAVING done part of my underground training at Usworth Colliery in 1971, I cannot believe that, only 40 years on, Bob Scorer is the last surviving former miner from there(Echo, February 9). A mistake, surely?

Derek Robe