Letters, Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

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Disability project should be extended

I READ with great interest in the Echo about a Disability Awareness Project that could be rolled out in schools across the city. I was delighted to read that the pilot of this project, which took place in Southwick Community School, had been a huge success and that the children in that school had even come up with some suggestions themselves to help those who have a disability. Children have an enormous capacity for embracing diversity and celebrating difference.

I really do hope that this project is rolled out right across Sunderland, and well done to the SAFC Foundation of Light for coming up with this project.

I cannot, however, help but wonder why it has taken so long to realise that the only way that people with disabilities can ever be truly accepted and fully included within our society is to start by educating children about disability when they are young.

We teach children in schools many things, including different cultures and different religions, and rightly so, and yet we expect them to understand their disabled peers without us ever having really taken the time to teach them about disability.

I think that we would be hard pressed to find a family where disability had not at some point been a part of their lives. If not within a family then without a doubt we must surely all know someone who has a disability and yet here we are in 2012 with a Football Club Foundation of Light showing us how to raise awareness disability and how to create a more inclusive school environment for those who have a disability.

Disability is a part of life and yet sadly all too often we tend to shy away from this very real fact of life.

Carole Rutherford

Sexist attitude

I WAS shocked to see that according to Phillip Thompson (Echo Letters, May 28) BBC are sexist as there’s not enough, as he put it, men’s television.

I laugh out loud in response to this sexist male ... and having asked BBC give us more women’s television to include a bit of international women’s football.

Yes guys, it’s 2012, get real! Women have feet too.

Footy Fan (female) (Name and address supplied)

Defence changes

IT is sad to see that because of people losing their jobs it is taken as another chance to have a go at the Government with views such as “shambolic defence review”, especially when espoused by people who spent their whole time in government salami-slicing the defence budget and allowing costs to spiral out of control, while at the same time making lots of under-the-radar penny-packet redundancies and getting rid of six front-line sqaudrons of service personnel under the term “effeciency savings”.

Times have moved on. Many of Labour’s conflicts have been wound or are winding down, hence the need for a defence reveiw to take stock of where we are.

We are in a world where a new Typhoon Euro fighter costs £70million. That’s before you fuel it, arm it, train and maintain the expensive technicians needed to keep it in the air. Look at Vickers in Newcastle, a factory still making armour. Most of the armour that comes back form Afghanistan will go into storage as we can’t afford to run it unless we have an operation to run it on. Fact is, nobody likes buying expensive armour. Nobody has bought a main battle tank in Europe for over a decade.

BAE systems have done well out of the UK taxpayer. Maybe they could repay some of that generosity by retraining their expensivly trained workforce to make the munitions and weapon systems of the future. But to blame the sad news on the present government is hypocritical and unhelpful in a changing defence world.

Shaun Cudworth

Hate figure

DID your columnist Linda Colling canvass the views of people who suffered at the hands of Thatcher before she had a go at Councillor Anderson?

If she went a few miles from her ivory tower to Seaham or Easington Colliery, to name just two communities in this area, she would find views that would make Coun Anderson’s look mild.

I am sorry to inform Ms Colling, but in the North East the sainted Margaret Thatcher is a hate figure. Communities she destroyed in the 1980s have never recovered. So before Ms Colling condemns Coun Anderson, she should look at the misery her heroine caused.

Tom Cumiskey, Farringdon, Sunderland

Why the delay?

WHY the hesitation in removing preacher Abu Qatada from Britain? He came into Britain using a forged passport and that alone should be enough to remove him and ban him.

If he really is an innocent man and therefore a law-abiding citizen, he should want to go home to Jordan and prove it.

Philip Thompson, Sunderland