Letters, Thursday, March 17th, 2011

Have your say

Two-faced Tory stance on the EU

RIGHT though she undoubtedly is to highlight the absurdity of the EU’s latest ruling concerning car insurance for women, and, by extension, this country’s necessary secession from that political entity, I must say that whenever either Marjorie Matthews or George Howe raises the issue of Britain’s EU membership in these pages, a wry smile nevertheless spreads across my face, for they are both supporters of a political party which has done more than any other to integrate Britain into the EU.

I am, of course, referring to that allegedly great patriotic and “Eurosceptic” organisation, the Conservative Party.

For despite its facile and dishonest rhetoric, that is what the Tory Party has always done. From Mrs Thatcher in her multi-coloured sweater displaying the flags of the members of the Common Market at the time during the 1975 referendum (try to think back to those days, for this was an important misjudgement on her part, despite her later anti-EU stance, which was too little too late), to the Single European Act and the Maastricht Treaty, the Conservative Party – more so than any other – oversaw this country’s integration with the European Union.

One therefore inevitably asks of those like Mrs Matthews and Mr Howe why it is that they support the Tory Party, despite its dishonesty and record over this issue and despite the fact that it is the chief obstacle to this country’s seceding from the EU.

Can either of them answer this question directly? If they can’t then they ought to abandon the Tory Party, which in any case is a spent force politically.

I hope that neither Mrs Matthews or Mr Howe will get it into their heads that I must be a Labour supporter (such is the puerile nature of the political debate in these pages, which seems to hold that if he’s not a Tory, then he must be Labour, or, if he’s not Labour, why then he’s a Tory), as ever since Jacques Delors wooed Labour back in the 80s its record has also been shameful with regards to this issue.

But this is about the Tory Party and its utterly two-faced stance on this momentous issue, the contradiction between what it says about the EU and then what it actually does about it once its Europhile elite get their hands on power. Which reminds me, whatever became of David Cameron’s pledge – still less than a year old – to amend or repeal the1972 European Communities Act?

Wesley Crossland, Dovedale Road, Sunderland

Cost of rescues

AS much as I appreciate we should help the British in difficulties abroad, why is it some Brits go to these Emirate states to work for a fantastic wage (tax free), giving nothing to the British tax man, but at the first sign of trouble they expect the British Government to use other people’s tax to pay for a special forces rescue mission?

How many of these rescued workers have offered, or been told to pay for, their rescue? None, I’ll bet.

They get rescued and then sit back, using their tax-free money, waiting for everything to settle down so they can go back to earn more tax-free money.

Tax Payer Soon To Be Retired

Bully teacher

A RECENT Echo headline declared: “Teacher attacks are a problem”. Your concern is about children attacking teachers. How things have changed from my school days.

Like many children, I was bullied at school – only it was the PE teacher who did the bullying. I turned up at my new school, eager, fresh-faced and innocent, and I got the shock of my life. I was used as a punchbag by this man, knocked about, slapped, bent over and beaten. I don’t think what happened to me was so unusual – gym masters had a reputation for that sort of thing in those days.

He was a sadistic thug, and like all bullies he was really a coward, picking on someone small and weak who couldn’t defend himself. He knew very well I couldn’t do anything about it.

Sadly I just had to put up with it. Who would help me? The headmaster? No chance. My father? No, he thought it was character-building. My mother? She was afraid that the school would expel me if I caused any trouble. There was no Child Line in those days. If a child had gone into a police station and complained about being assaulted, there would have been no sympathy there. It was a disgrace that the education authority allowed things like that to go on.

W. E. Higson, Ormonde Street, Barnes

Labour moaning

SINCE Labour lost power, our region’s MPs have howled in protest at every effort to sort out the mess they left behind.

Paying down the huge national debt – where we squander £125million pounds a day on interest payments – has led to a raft of unpopular but necessary decisions. Labour would have made the same choices, just choosing to delay them until the debt had grown even bigger.

The Coalition’s decision to invest £30million to regenereate our former coalfield communities shows their promise to do the right things for the long term is not just words.

Other policies like restoring the pensions link with earnings, freezing council tax and lifting the poorest out of income tax shows a Government getting it right.

If the new politics is about working together, Labour needs to raise its game and drop the petty point-scoring.

James Bell, Old Elvet, Durham

Foreign blunders

WE were told recently that the Prime Minister’s visit to the Middle East was to discuss peace and democracy with Egypt’s new leader. However, it appears this was just a cover to sell arms in a highly volatile area. For this purpose David had brought along a posse of salesmen who stood in the shadows of the sand dunes selling deadly weapons to any crazy despot who could cough up the cash. How demeaning for the nation’s leader.

Cameron further embarrassed Britain when he completely misjudged the situation in Libya. Law and order had broken down, civil war was imminent. Our own people were trapped in there and urgent action was necessary. Other nations had swiftly evacuated their citizens, but Cameron’s dithering meant our lot were left in constant danger with lives at risk.

The following situation is so farcical it’s difficult not to laugh. At the dead of night a British helicopter with two MI6 officers and six SAS members aboard landed in the Libyan desert on a secret mission. The noise from the engine arose the interest of some passing rebel farmers. Our men were captured and held under house arrest for four days.

Someone asked why they didn’t come in through Egypt like other foreigners. The ruling council said they wanted contact with other governments. It was really weird because there are other ways to negotiate than landing by helicopter and not telling us you are coming. The botched mission was described by Menzies Campbell as “ill conceived, poorly planned and embarrassingly executed”.

Cameron is good at taking benefits from the poor. When it comes to making major international decisions he hasn’t got a clue, and made the British look like idiots.

W. Quinn, Duke Street, Millfield

No business asset

WATCHING the TV news about the Duke of York, I drew two conclusions.

Firstly, in the same way that I have no interest in two fleas on a dog’s back, I have no interest in who a person I consider a social parasite spends his time with.

Secondly, Vince Cable informed us that Prince Andrew does good work for Britain as UK trade ambassador.

Putting aside that he belongs to a class which owns the UK and has a vested interest, is Mr Cable really telling us that hard-headed businessmen invest in the UK because of glad-handing by the son of an elderly wealthy person?

Investments are made for one reason alone – to accrue profit.To think differently is to show a complete non-comprehension of the capitalist system.

Perhaps Mr Cable’s portfolio should be farming. Then at least we would understand why he talks such bull.

Steve Colborn, Ivy Avenue, Seaham

Hospital smokers

IN the last few days I have visited someone in the Royal Hospital several times.

Like all visitors I had to breathe in the smoke from the usual gathering of smokers situated at the hospital entrance immediately in front of the sign stating that “Smoking is Against the Law Anywhere on Hospital Premises”.

It seems there is now a police officer (not a PSO) on duty in this location. On asking the officer why he did not tell people to stop smoking if it is against the law, his reply was, “It’s a hospital”.

“Quite” was my reply, to which his response was ... a shrug of the shoulders.


Name and address supplied

IT was sad to hear of the passing of actress Jane Russell. She was one of the Hollywood greats.

Can any of the Echo readers remember one of our very own Hollywood stars? She was Christine Norden and I believe she came from Hendon. Can anyone enlighten me about this? My mum used to know her.

Mrs Davison

I WOULD like to thank the lady who handed a carrier bag to the driver of the No. 4 bus about 1.30pm on March 10. I had dropped it on the bus and it contained all my bank details. Not only did this lady hand it to the driver she also took his number and informed the bank.

I got it back thanks to her and the driver. I would like to say God bless you and it’s nice to know there are still good people around.

Name and address supplied

WITH regards to the person saying Sun FM’s competitions are fixed, all I can say is, being a DJ for 14 years, now retired, how many times I must have heard that when they did not win my competitions. If they phoned up and won it’ll be all above board.

All I can say is get a life and carry on with Radio 4 and the Archers.


ON behalf of Deb Mullen, volunteers and children of Plains Farm Kidz Club, I would like to say a big thank-you to Pam Haswell, of Haswell News, in Durham Road, for the most generous donation of the lovely table football. It is greatly appreciated, especially by the children who were queueing up to use it.

The kidz club is run by unpaid volunteers and we rely on businesses like yourselves to help keep us going, so thanks again.

Karen Gill, Plains Farm Kidz Club