Letters, Friday, March 9th, 2012

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Policies targeting the vulnerable

PERHAPS anyone reading my letters may become bored with the same subject, ie Cameron and Co, but when I realise the suffering and heartache to many people that their one-sided policies are causing it has me fuming and very sad.

This man has no compassion and is cowardly, attacking vulnerable and elderly people as a thorn in the side of progress. To some it makes their lives seem unimportant and a big burden to everyone in their twilight years.

This is very disturbing. Most are proud of their past achievements, bringing up families and contributing to the their country as a place, as a way of life renowned worldwide. Why else should the millions of people flock here to share our way of life?

Mr Cameron wants his changes to the NHS even though more than half the population are against its privatisation. Why is he so adamant? Is it because it’s the last bastion where people are treated as people not as a commodity to line the pockets of unscrupulous money moguls just waiting in the background?

The present Government is putting a label on an unemployed person as a scrounger and lazy. How can everyone find permanent work when so many are losing their jobs every day and there are about 80 people chasing every job?

How can they justify trying to make people with bad health compete with young, healthy workers for jobs? They have no chance. The way of getting them off the sick list is deplorable. No medical advice by specialists or records of health are taken into consideration, just a few simple tasks are the norm that a child could do, and the people who implement the tasks even state that interviews are not a medical, but if some tests can be completed then you are fit for work. How can this be justified?

If this is not enough, the Government is now considering sending people to work for no wages, not as a paid employee but as slave labour to the unscrupulous firms willing to make a killing on cheap labour.

We are heading for the three classes of yesteryear – first, second and third – with the bottom class just barely living and the upper class living in luxury on the backs of their poverty. Not good.

Colin S. Wasey, Zetland Square, Monkwearmouth

Charity’s thanks

BARNARDO’S would like to say a big thank-you to all the under-fives on Wearside who took part in the Barnardo’s Big Toddle 2011.

These amazing toddlers took part in a short sponsored walk and helped to raise a fantastic £20,000 for vulnerable under-fives in the North East.

Toddlers in Sunderland, Peterlee and Seaham helped raise the funds, which are vital for supporting local children including those with physical and learning disabilities, autism and behavioural problems.

Barnardo’s would love to see more local tots registering for the Big Toddle in 2012. It’s a great day out and this year is set to be an out-of-this-world success – as toddlers are being encouraged to dress up as their favourite superhero!

Registrants can attend a local Big Toddle held by Barnardo’s, encourage their local pre-school, playgroup or nursery to organise their own Toddle or even host their own with family and friends, any time, any place.

To register and find out more, visit www.bigtoddle.co.uk or call 0845 270 9900.

Suzi Campbell, Barnardo’s North East Fund-raiser

Daft question

THERE is a saying that citizens deserve the politician they get. Anyone watching Prime Minister’s Questions on March 7 could be forgiven for asking what have we done to deserve Sharon Hodgson MP.

On the day after the Government announced a £9.5million investment in Nissan in her own constituency, and on a sombre day when six British soldiers had fallen in battle in Afghanistan, the best she could muster was to ask a nonsensical question about public school boys. It is little wonder that the Prime Minster gave her short shrift.

It was an embarrassment to her own constituents and the wider Sunderland public.

If this is the best we can expect from our parliamentary representatives, then God help us.

Dennis McDonald, Fulwell

Stars’ stunts

I’M tired of reading about attention-seeking celebs doing charity stunts such as running across America, climbing Kilimanjaro (yawn), swimming through sewage-infected rivers, pulling sledges across Antarctica etc.

It is old-hat news now.

I once considered running the length of Iran, naked except for a Union Jack hat and a Stars and Stripes flag, but I was advised against it for some reason.

Instead, I will just stick with putting the odd pound in the tin at my local supermarket exit.

John Watson, Pensher View, Washington

Tip ‘about turn’

I REFER to the letter “Ending tip should be a common goal” from Claire Smith. For the sake of accuracy I would like to clarify and expand on the main points that she makes.

The writer states that she cannot see any reason for animosity from Rats/Independents towards anyone else campaigning for the closure of the tip.

I have seen no evidence of this “animosity” and, as one of the Rats, welcome any advice or assistance that is offered.

I welcome any offers of help, but it must be genuine help and not opportunism.

Rats on the other hand have had 15 years of animosity from the Labour Party. For the last 15 years that Rats have fought and campaigned for the closure of the tip, the Labour line has been that Rats are not representative of the views of the people, Rats are the real enemy, Rats are scaremongers.

Only very recently Coun Colin Wakefield was asked by the Copt Hill Labour councillor and his wife when he was going to start telling the truth about the tip.

Is it not surprising that when an election is due in May and two Rats councillors are up for re-election how the local Labour Party have seen the closure as a vote winner and have shamelessly done an “about turn”?

These are the same people, despite public objections at the time, who gave us the tip in the first place. The Labour-dominated Sunderland Council recently spent £50,000+ of our money to produce a report designed to say that the tip is safe, which it had to as it was based on the biased questions given to it by the Labour Council.

The same Labour Party has spent all these years telling us that there is not a problem with the tip so you must excuse me if I am more than a bit sceptical about this sudden change of heart just before the local elections.

I have one simple question for these people that needs a simple answer – what have you and your Labour colleagues done in the last 15 years to close the tip?

Coun Derrick Smith

Fight for England

PEOPLE are right to question the fact that, outwardly, there appears little difference between the main political parties.

However, looking at it from a different perspective, we note that Scotland has the SNP, who fight tooth and nail for their country.

Wales and Northern Ireland have, though constrained by the extent of devolutionary powers, political parties who share the same patriotic fervour.

Sadly, with a few notable exceptions, there appears little enthusiasm among politicians with English constituencies to fight for a fairer deal for England.

Shamefully denied its own devolved government by the anti-English Labour Party, England is now the only country in the western world without a democratically elected parliament.

From university tuition fees to care home charges, to prescription and hospital car parking charges, we need politicians willing to fight England’s corner, not party toadies or those dictated to by their union overseers.

M. Brown, Hendon Road, Sunderland

Good luck, Engelbert

THE Blue Rinse Brigade are over the moon that the veteran crooner Engelbert Humperdinck is representing the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest. At the age of 75 he will be the oldest competitor ever in the competition.

Engelbert hasn’t had a hit in this country for many years, but in the past his number ones and million-sellers have included The Last Waltz and Release Me, which I often hear being done very badly by men on the karaoke in one of the city’s workingmen’s clubs.

Many of these men actually think that they are Engelbert Humperdinck, but you cannot beat the real thing and it’s great to see he is making a comeback.

I know for a fact it’s been the subject of much gossip and speculation in the queue of Barnes Park Post Office. In fact one old dear I overheard reckons Engelbert used to rent a room in Eden Vale when he was performing the clubs in the city in the old days under his original name, Gerry Dorsey.

He actually did appear at a packed Empire a few years ago and refused to sign autographs at the stage door, so let’s hope his attitude has changed and he will not forget his fans in the post office queue who bought his records all those years ago. He may even give them a wave when he performs in the forthcoming competition.

The Barnes Park Post Office queue is rooting for him to bring back the winner’s medal.

Mick “The Pen” Brown

False letter

WE have been asked to point out that a letter in the Echo on Friday, March 2, under the name of Mr T. Anderson, of Mann Crescent, Murton, was not actually written by Mr Anderson but had been submitted by someone else under Mr Anderson’s name.

We apologise for any embarrassment this may have caused Mr Anderson.