Letters, Thursday, February 6, 2014

Have your say

Tories’ hypocrisy over coal miners

THE article entitled ‘No Apology for Striking Miners’ (Echo, January 30) really shows the contempt that Tories still hold for coal miners.

 Cabinet officer Frances Maude has said ministers will not apologise for the lies and deceit of Thatcher during the 1984/85 miners’ strike because it was held without a proper national ballot.

 What hypocrisy. Does Mr Maude think that a miner in a relatively safe pit in the Nottingham coalfield should be allowed to put a cross on a ballot paper to condemn a Durham mine worker to a life on the dole? (although in reality there were no safe pits in Nottingham or anywhere else)

 The way the police behaved during the strike was an absolute disgrace and yet not one was ever charged with violence, although there was filmed evidence of police battering miners about the head and body with truncheons, all because of a mad woman whose policies we are still suffering from in Britain today.

 Yes, she would have sanctioned the use of troops. We were living a police state under a totalitarian dictator, not parliamentary democracy.

 Make no mistake about it, her protection of the police, especially at Orgreave, allowed Hillsborough to happen, a few years later, and still no justice there either.

 No wonder we celebrated her death. What good is an apology? What we need is retribution.

David Hopper,

General Secretary,

Durham Miners’ Association.

Papers reveal Thatcher truth

REGARDING the article in the Sunderland Echo (January 30) about Labour MPs and the Durham Miners’ Association wanting an apology for the actions of the Government during the 1984-85 mineworkers’ strike. As a participant in this strike, an apology will not make me feel any better at all.

 The release of papers about the meetings Thatcher had with members of her Cabinet and the pit closures, however, was absolutely priceless.

 The release of these papers proved what the mineworkers suspected all along, that Margaret Thatcher was a Category One, Grade A liar. Now the whole county knows it. That will do for me.

B Tasker,


Council should be ‘lean and mean’

COUNCILLOR Paul Watson is, of course, correct to be concerned about the possible extra costs to be imposed upon city taxpayers by the creation of a “combined authority” of Durham, Northumberland and the five Tyne and Wear Councils. At the same time, the aim should be for all North East authorities to work together for the benefit of the region.

 All organisations need to be “lean and mean” – the city council and any combined authority being no exception.

 The more efficient and less bureaucratic the administration of services the more resources for the front line services people need. “Mean” administration means more generous service provision.

Coun Peter Wood,

deputy leader, Sunderland Conservative Council Group.

A chance to see some classic trains

IN July last year, the York National Railway Museum held a display of the last existing A4 Pacific steam engines like the Mallard.

 The good news is they are coming to a railway station near Sunderland this year – the Locomotion Railway Museum in Shildon, between February 15 and 24.

 Following public demand, Locomotion NRM is offering to fast-track disabled persons who have a blue badge into the display on request. This can be pre-booked on 01388 777999.

 Blue badge holders may wish to park in the allocated disabled parking which is immediately next to the main display building/loco shed with the curved roof. Wheelchair access is close and easy. Wheelchairs can be borrowed from the museum.

Name and address supplied

A big thank you to all of the toddlers

BARNARDO’S would like to say a very big thank you to all the under-fives on Wearside, who took part in the Barnardo’s Big Toddle 2013.

 These amazing toddlers took part in a short sponsored walk and helped to raise a fantastic £44,000 for vulnerable under-fives in the North East.

 Toddlers in Sunderland, Washington, Houghton and Seaham alone raised £6,600 of 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 2014, it’s a great day out and this year is set to be another out-of-this-world success. Last year, toddlers were encouraged to dress up as their favourite and nursery rhyme character. This year the theme is outer space. So we’re looking forward to seeing plenty of astronauts and aliens, planets and stars!

 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 0800 008 7005.

Steve Oversby, 
director, Barnardo’s North East