Letters, Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

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Disillusioned by political system

FOR years I have littered these pages with letters blasting New Labour’s corruption and incompetence and Blair’s duplicity, with a few syllables about his self-seeking MPs’ behaviour thrown in.

I yearned for the return of the Conservatives so I voted for one.

The Two Bs (Blair and Brown) saw the UK’s GDP drop from fourth to eighth in the world. They presided over four wars and were in office at the time of our economic collapse. Despite all this and more, and even with my help, the Tories still couldn’t obtain a majority.

“The electorate is a fool,” thought I.

It is awfully simplistic to accuse all politicians in the same breath, to say that all are power-crazy and utterly self-serving, but I now firmly believe that, except for some very rare individuals, they all tainted either by power or the system.

I am utterly disillusioned and embarrassed at my own naivety, to discover that the Government I voted for is almost indistinguishable from the last one.

Already Cameron’s broken promises, meaningless slogans and futile political posturing can be compared directly with the blundering antics of the two Bs.

He began by telling us “We are all in it together” yet the average taxpayer still funds benefits he can’t provide for himself as he wonders why a billionaire pays less tax than his cleaner does.

Our average taxpayer may also be a little surprised to note that, despite Cameron’s Etonian assurances that he would cap it, immigration continues to rise.

No doubt some ex-Etonian overpaid Whitehall economist will find a positives in the forementioned, but I for one, and the rest of the electorate I’m sure, feel more than a little peeved about it. The fact that a comparatively modest banker bonus equals the salaries for 40 young soldiers who daily risk life and limb defusing improvised explosive devices in Afghanistan, I personally find utterly obscene and totally unacceptable, but when the leader of the CBI claims that the banker in question is worth every penny of his umpteen-million-pound salary because he has one of the most difficult jobs in the world, sadly, he confirms: “We will never be in it together”.

Looking for another political system.

Denis Gillon, Sunderland

Landlords scheme

CONGRATULATIONS to the “bad landlords” dodging membership of the city’s selective licensing scheme. Unfortunately, I am one of the “good landlords” who joined the rip-off scheme.

I own a house in Hendon and have a long-term tenant. I have recently spent £2,000 on the property, as whenever she reports a repair is required it is attended to. The only difference the licensing has made to me is the money I had to pay to the council in order to get the licence. What an excellent excuse to get money out of landlords!

When my property was inspected in 2010 the council reported that the “gas meter is not sited in a safe and conveniently operable position”. You can imagine how well that went down with the gas board. They wanted to know the qualifications of the council person who dared to question where they install their meters.

I wish I was a “bad landlord”.

Mrs M. Wright, Gillas Lane West, Houghton

Party’s not thriving

W. GALEY (Letters, February 16) claims the BNP is gaining support. Really?

I thought they had been performing very badly in both national and local elections. Ever since that awful gurning performance from Nick Griffin on Question Time.

At the last General Election, they did disastrously, even in their Essex heartland. I remember a triumphant Margaret Hodge telling them to get out and stay out of Barking.

You rarely hear anything about them on television any more. Thank goodness they never made serious inroads in Sunderland.

Frank Seely, Cotswold Close, Washington

Word’s origin

AS to the spelling mistake in the Echo of February 18, the reason Derek Lewis sees the spelling in Newcastle papers is because the word “makem” comes from Tyneside.

When I started work at Short Bros Shipyard in 1955, Sunderland was the biggest shipbuilding town in the world which trained apprentices at Short Bros, Doxfords, Pickersgills, Bartrams, Thompsons, Austins, Palmershill Engine Works, to mention a few.

After apprentices had served their time they could not be all employed.

So Tyneside Shipyards and Engine Works took on the time-served apprentices.

The word “makem” comes from Tynesider’s saying in their Geordie accent: “you make them and we will take them”.

So you now have your makem and we will takem.

William Nattress, Croftside House, Hall Farm, Doxford Park

Poor SoL turnout

WE like to brag about our beloved football club. We have a 48,000-seat stadium, options to turn it into a near 70,000 capacity, then we would be competing with the Man Utds, Barcelonas, Milan clubs, Arsenal etc. They all have massive stadiums and they are filled for major games.

I have 40 years’ experience supporting Sunderland with just the one major trophy to our credit, and even then I was only 11 years old.

Probably the best football I saw Sunderland play was the season we reached the play-off final with Charlton Athletic, under Peter Reid – until now. Everyone is starting to look at Sunderland under Short and O’Neill, with players who are showing fantastic ability, and a real opportunity to write history again.

Then we play Arsenal in the fifth round of the cup, win and were in the quarters. £20 a ticket, £10 for under-16s against a team who are still in Champions League, live on national TV. It’s time for Sunderland to show what sort of club we are to the whole nation. 40,000 plus the week before.

after witnessing an excellent match, and excellent support from the diehards who were there (Every supporter who attended should have first choice for tickets if Sunderland proceed to glory in this competition).  

Imagine if we had had a full house, then we would be talking. I know times are hard and it was freezing, etc etc. Believe me I’m in the same boat. but the price of a ticket and to show the whole of the country how big this club really is, well I’m sorry but we had our chance and didn’t take it.

A 70,000-seat stadium? You’re having a laugh.

Sunderland people, you let your city, or should I say town, down again. You don’t know how lucky you are to have a Premier League football club.

Stuart Hudspith

Confusing signs

I ALSO use the A19 going north and I’m grateful to Paul Harris (Letters, February 10) for letting us know of possible accidents.

I join the A19 from the A66 slip road and my first concern is that if any stranger to our area wanted to go to Hartlepool they will encounter confusing overhead lane directions.

The first sign shows Sunderland on the lefthand lane and Hartlepool on the righthand lane. The second sign shows the same, then a left roadside sign shows Hartlepool where it should be, in the left lane, but further on the signs come back to Sunderland left lane and Hartlepool right lane.

Just imagine when you realise the confusing situation trying to cross three lanes from right to left on a busy traffic day or ending up further down the A19 (lost).

Now that’s not all, because coming south anyone going to Middlesbrough will see overhead lane signing reading Darlington in left lane and Middlesbrough in right lane.

Considering Middlesbrough is the first exit slip-road, then Darlington, it’s so easy missing the destination and travelling further down the A19. Motorists are always instructed to get in lane.

A Winter, Darlington

Search Party

MY name is John Chandler, the only son of Les and Josie Chandler from Brisbane, Australia.

I am trying to find relatives of my father. We have been able to secure his birth certificate but as soon as we go to identify the whereabouts of where he lived, we were told it was bombed during the Second World War.

He was born on February 13, 1910, in Sunderland. His father was George Chandler and his mother was Mary Ann Chandler (nee Lowrie). George Chandler’s occupation was given as tram car conductor. Their address was 3 Bennett Street, Sunderland.

He had a brother, Stan, born in 1916, but he moved to London. There was also a brother William (Bill), born in 1914, and sister Annie, born in 1912.

George, his father, was born in 1879 in Edinburgh.

Later we received information of another address as 6 Howick Place., Monwearmouth. We are not sure what this address relates to.

In other references received we have Les with Ref. 10A March Quarter; Annie Ref. 1328; William Ref. 1469 September Quarter; Stan 1011 December quarter.

We have no further information on these references or who and what they refer to.

The attached photo shows Les on the left with his brother Bill and a friend.

John Chandler, Email: jcba3816@bigpond.net.au

CAN anyone can help me find any descendants of a Thomas Barlow who at the time of the 1925 election lived at 24 Model Street, Seaham?

There is also a Margaret Barlow living at the same address but I do not know if this is his wife or his mother.

Thomas Barlow was named on my father’s Army enlistment papers as his next-of-kin and said he was his step-brother. My father always told everyone he was an orphan but had connections in Seaham. My father’s name was Richard Thornton and on his marriage certificate it says his father’s name was Robert Thornton, deceased, and gave an occupation of coal miner. I cannot find anyone of that name on the 1922 Census in Sunderland.

My parents married in 1941 in Gateshead. My father was a CSM in the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers from 1925 until his death in service in 1947. He enlisted at the Sunderland Army Recruitment Office.

I know it is a long shot, but I hope there may be descendants of Thomas in the Sunderland area. If so, I would be very pleased to hear from them.

Patricia Thornton, email: patt9062@hotmail.com Mob. Number 07760 231144

I WOULD like to say a big thank-you to everyone who responded to my appeal in the Echo on February 15. I would just like to mention the lady who modelled for Bookes Fashions (my mother) was Julia Addison.

As mentioned, I never knew her as she passed away when I was a child. All I do know is that she was married to Vincent Colin Addison and in the late 40s she lived in 176 Canon Cockin Street and then moved to 53 Percy Terrace in about 1957. She passed away in 1965. The address at that time was Victor Court flats.

She also had two sisters, Veronica and Alice. Maybe I have left it too late, but if anyone has any information about this lady please can you contact me as this is very important.

Anthony Atkin, Tel 0191 371 3387