Letters, Thursday, July 10, 2014

Have your say

Need to be serious about cycle safety

THE article, cyclists urged to take care, in last Friday’s Echo, is yet another example of information that fails to address the nub of the issue.

 While not denying the importance of the safety message, the article fails to adopt an holistic message. Thus it is the individual cyclist’s responsibility to protect themselves as far as possible from potential injuries by wearing a helmet and abiding by the rules of the Highway code.

 However, there is never any mention about the bigger issues such as creating a safer environment for people to cycle and even more important, educating drivers (not just as part of their driving test) to show respect to the cyclist when they encounter us on the road.

 You get sick of talking about the continent, but having just returned from two weeks’ cycling in Germany, you really appreciate how advanced they are.

 For example, a motorist has to give way to a cyclist if he/she is turning right. So, if you are either on the road or on a shared use path, the driver has to wait for the cyclist to pass.

 This principle is enshrined in law. Totally the opposite in the UK. We will never achieve the levels of people cycling in the UK unless we get serious about these harder issues.

Tim Wright,


New blood needed

I TOTALLY concur with what Dennis Gillon wrote on July 2.

 The election will indeed test our memories and common sense.

 It is time to get out of the EU.

 Come November 1, part of the Lisbon/Nice Treaty comes into play called qualified majority voting.

 This will mean we cannot leave the EU unless the other member states agree to let us go.

 Considering that we are paying millions to be a member, the others will never allow it (they may or may not like us, but they do like our money).

 I think people are sick of the two/three party revolving door system. We need new blood, new people.

 The Labour Party wishes to distance itself from the unions, why don’t the trade unions start their own party – 100 per cent for the workers?

Mr R Tomlinson,


Simply agnostic

THANK you to correspondent P J McPartland (Letters, June 26) for pointing out my mistake in describing Charles Darwin as an atheist.

 I have decided to do the honourable thing and recant.

 The word “recant” reminds me of Archbishop Thomas Cranmer who recanted and was still sent to be burnt at the stake.

 I now think that Charles Darwin was agnostic in religious belief.

 I have studied part of two large books on Charles Darwin held in the central library in Fawcett Street and have gained this quotation:

 “I think that generally (and more and more as I grow older), but not always, that an agnostic would be the more correct description of my state of mind.” (Darwin by Desmond and Moore, page 636).

 I have a copy of the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church at home and I have found this entry under Darwinism:

 “He became gradually more and more of an agnostic in religion.”

John Watson,


Booming economy

LEFT wing correspondents are still flying in the face of reality and claiming that the UK’s economic recovery is London-based and “the economic recovery is fuelled by a London property boom”.

 The reality is somewhat different. On June 2, we had headlines such as “factories fuel UK’s recovery” heading reports that “Firms of all sizes have ramped up production, increased investment and taken on staff to deal with surging orders from all over the world”.

 The chief uk economist for Berenberg said on June 5: “The UK’s economic rebound looks an awful lot healthier with more evidence that this is no credit-funded bubble.”

 The Times piece on the economy stated “export orders were rising” and “demand has increased from all trading partners”.

 Local news reports back this up with reports such as “a host of signs have emerged of continuing business growth throughout the North East” and “orders from home and abroad rose at a faster rate than 2011”.

 Tim Hinton, of Lloyds, said: “Companies in England and Wales have been experiencing a sustained improvement in business conditions through the second quarter of the year.”

 He added: “Greater investment spending, resilient consumer confidence and improving underlying economic conditions are all contributing to increased private sector activity.”

 Last month, the North East of England saw the strongest expansion in the UK, according to Lloyds’ figures.

 The region had a PMI score of 63.5, the highest the survey has ever recorded and the first time it has been the fastest-growing part of the country since 2010.

 Figures from Sunderland Council support this good news when it reports that “unemployment in Sunderland is at a 25-year low”.

 There have been 14,000 new private sector jobs created in Sunderland since 2010. Across the UK, there have been two million private sector jobs created since 2010.

 This all adds up to more than a “London property boom”.

Alan Wright

Help change a life

IMAGINE standing at the edge of an open doorway in an aircraft flying at 10,000 feet – now imagine leaning forward and letting go.

 If you’re a thrill seeker – Motivation needs you.

 This summer, we are looking for adventurous volunteers to take to the skies and feel the ultimate adrenaline rush of a fund-raising parachute jump.

 Motivation is a charity that supports people with mobility disabilities in some of the poorest countries in the world.

 It is estimated that about 80million people in developing countries need a wheelchair.

 One household in every four in the poorest communities has a member with a disability. They face discrimination, exclusion and neglect. But, with your help, we can change this.

 Our wheelchairs, training and support transform lives and prevent people dying from preventable complications. With the right wheelchair, staying healthy becomes a reality. And with health and mobility come confidence, opportunity and hope for the future.

 So, make this summer one to remember and join the team. You don’t need any experience and – if you raise £395 or more – not only will you jump for free, but you’ll provide someone with a wheelchair that will transform their life. You’ll give someone a future.

 For a free information pack, give me a call on 01275 464012 or email fundraising@motivation.org.uk

Gemma Langley,

community fundraiser, Motivation