Letters, Wednesday, july 24, 2013

6
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Labour should be proud of union links

THE recent brouhaha ‘twixt the Tories and Labour concerning the events at Falkirk left me agog at the feeble attempts by Labour MPs to play down the importance of union funding at the same time denouncing Unite, the union, for attempting to gain preference for its own candidate.

 The Labour Party was founded by the unions over 100 years ago. It is, therefore, quite proper for any union to militate for its own candidate within the selection process. For the middle class Labour tops (an entryist clique if ever there was one) to complain about this is hypocrisy of the first rank.

 I recall no such outcry in 1981 when the Party permitted the former GMWU to stuff Chester-le-Street Labour Party with its members to secure the re-selection of Giles Radice MP – a right-winger better suited to the Liberals than Labour.

 Neither can I recall an outcry when Tony Blair was smuggled onto the Sedgefield constituency selection shortlist (after the miners’ delegation was obliged to leave the meeting because of threatened pit closures) as number seven on a shortlist of six.

 Ed Miliband should not be embarrassed by his Party’s links with the unions, he should declare his support to the world. He should also not promise more Tory-lite policies should he get into power but offer a programme which will benefit working people.

 Let me offer just a few examples which would win widespread approval among the electorate: Take back into public ownership the railways, those parts of the NHS in private hands, gas, electricity and water.

 Finally, Miliband should tell the Tories to mind their own business – it is of no concern of theirs how Labour achieves its funding. They should, instead, begin the Herculean task of cleaning out the Augean stables which is their own funding practice – the selling of honours, meaty government contracts and massive donations by wealthy tax avoiders.

Bob Stothard

Washington

It is not all gloomy

IN her column, Bridget Phillipson MP paints a gloomy picture of the economy on Wearside but it is not all doom and gloom as much progress has been made since the financial crisis.

 It is easy to complain about the pace of the recovery and the effects of it, though it takes a nerve to do so when your own party presided over a seven per cent contraction in GDP.

 Although, it will take time to turn the Sunderland economy around what is important now is that it is set on the right course, especially a rebalancing in favour of the private sector, which will be more resilient. Already more private sector jobs have been created across Wearside than in any other part of the North East, 12,500 in total, and unemployment in the city is now lower than when the coalition came to power.

 This is due mainly to the continuing expansion of Nissan and the associated automotive sector and represents a growth in jobs far greater than those lost in the public sector due to budget reductions.

 Sunderland has also seen its highest-ever level of company formations – 171 in the second quarter of 2012 – with a notable success in securing the development by Vantec at the new enterprise zone.

 The creation of sustainable employment and the freedom for people to keep their earnings is the strategy which is succeeding with employment rising and over 1,000 people in Sunderland lifted out of income tax.

Councillor Robert Oliver,

Leader Conservative Council Group

Beware of the litter

I HAVE every sympathy with the upset residents of Ashbrooke over the multi-colour property in their conservation area.

 However, the landlord, who it is reported houses the McDonald’s franchising operation should note: Citizens who value their heritage within the urban environment now know where to return the burger chain’s litter which constantly blights neighbourhoods across the city.

The Litter Picker