Letters, Thursday, October 23, 2013

Have your say

Listen to scientists not the politicians

IT is irritating and disheartening when people like Kay Rowham dismiss the work of dedicated scientists – in this case climatologists, geologists, etc.

 Rather than cite peer-reviewed criticisms of their work, Ms Rowham refers us to Nigel Farage – a man who is, fundamentally, a charlatan.

 What credentials does Mr Farage – a man who, to my knowledge, spent most of his time in the ‘City’ before forming his Dad’s Army Party – have on the grave issue of the anthropogenic greenhouse effect?

 As a disillusioned Labour voter myself, I can understand why people are drawn to UKIP. Labour has lost its way and at the moment has no serious vision. But you will realise in the long run that Mr Farage and his party are not your saviour.

 It’s made up by people like the comical (and faintly sinister), Godfrey Bloom, and they don’t much care for working people or trade unions for that matter, despite what they might say.

 But I would urge Ms Rowham to read the scientific literature on AGW. In 2008, for example, the Government’s chief scientific advisers publicly warned that a four degrees Celsius rise in global temperatures is most probably inevitable – bringing with it extreme conditions.

 Indeed, it’s probably far worse than this. One of the most comprehensive studies, by climate scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California, Berkeley, concluded that ‘global temperatures at the end of this century may be significantly higher than current climate models are predicting’, rising by as much as eight degrees Celsius.

 Such a rise would, in all likelihood, mean the destruction of most life on the planet. I urge those, such as Ms Rowham, to reconsider their view and listen to the scientists – not the politicians.

Wesley Crossland

Library dilemma

I HAVE every sympathy with the library protestors, but I have had a library ticket for 40 years, but for the last two to three years have not set foot in a library.

 The oft-quoted library saving of £850k per year is not to be sneezed at, although there is £230k in the 2013/2014 budget for new library books – closing the stable door?

 The protestors should note that there are precedents for overturning council library closures. Under the Public Libraries and Museums Acts (1964) every Local Authority has to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service. Any closures not based on assessment of need, but exclusively on financial considerations – ie cost savings – are not permitted.

 In 2009, Wirral Council’s decision to close 11 libraries was overturned on such an appeal.

 Between April 2010 and end of 2012, Sunderland Council spent £130,776 on 159 tablet computers – £822 each. Distribution is unknown but no doubt, the plethora of council salaried staff earning over £60k pa were all given one, as were councillors.

 Coun Kelly blamed Eric Pickles for bringing about the closures, and he must shoulder most of the blame. However, Eric Pickles recently stated that most councils are sitting on very high usable reserves and should use these to offset the cuts.

 Sunderland’s usable reserves were last quoted at £165million. Unfortunately for Sunderland Council, the cuts also coincided with the kicking in of liabilities due to Private Finance Initiatives – the same PFI’s with apocryphal stories of contractors charging £200 to change a light bulb. Payment for 2013/2014 is £7.9m, rising to £33m in the next few years.

 While not denigrating the need to safeguard vulnerable adult residents, the 2013/2014 budget allocation for ‘personalisation’, which covers this area, has jumped from £39.6m to £51.3m. No comments were made as to the reason why and again it was probably rubber stamped because it would not be politically correct to query it – bye bye libraries.

 Finally, Echo (October 16) unveiled the plans for the Vaux site – lo and behold, yet another statue.

Bill Scott

What good is war?

THE Afghan President recently said the NATO campaign in his country has achieved nothing except needless civilian deaths.

 Talk about ingratitude.

 What a slap in the face for the families of dead and injured British servicemen.

 You can tell we’re approaching the centenary of the First World War.

 Waterstones is full of new books about the outbreak of war in 1914 – even Jeremy Paxman’s written one.

 Some historians take the opposite view to the war poems and other writers who depicted the hell of life in the trenches. They claim the First World War was worth fighting because it stopped German domination of Europe.

 I’ve just finished Johnny Got His Gun, a novel about a casualty of the Great War.

 This young soldier is lying in a hospital bed. His arms and legs have been amputated, he is blind, deaf, and unable to speak because half his face has been blown off. He’s being kept alive as a grotesque experiment by medial experts. But he remembers the old men who were so enthusiastic that he should enlist and go off to fight. They told him it was a for a noble and patriotic cause.

 And the conclusion he comes to?

 Nothing is worth the pain, the suffering and the horror he had to endure.

Henry Whipple,


Rubbish behaviour

I AM of the opinion that landlords, corner shop owners and householders are dumping their bulky waste in the back lanes and hoping that the public will ring the council to complain and have it removed. Since the council introduced a charge for this service, this is what is happening in my area.

 I recently rang the council to report a mattress, fridge, black sacks, a door etc in my lane and was told that it would be cleared within two days.

 I rang again nine days later and was told that they had a record of it and that they didn’t know why it hadn’t been done and that they would speak to the manager.

 I also reported the pile of carpets left in the back lane in Ormonde Street.

 After the last phone call, both piles of rubbish were promptly removed. A friend also rang the councillor to enlist his help.

 When some people notice that this rubbish has been there for a while, they then put their mattresses etc next to it.

 When the landlords are clearing a flat after the last tenant, they should ring the council, it costs very little considering the profit they are making.

 Also, the rest of us have to pay, so something should be done about these people.

Name and address supplied

Missing heritage

I HAD to laugh reading about Sunderland’s £11m city centre transformation (October 16).

 Councillor Paul Watson, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “We saw the opportunity to celebrate Sunderland’s ship building and industrial heritage.”

 So he does not read the Sunderland Echo then? He has never seen nor heard of the ship, City of Adelaide? How can this be?

 Perchance he has never heard of the Roman mosaics buried under the Vaux site either. As no mention was made of excavating the site. That £11m would have gone a long way to renovating the City of Adelaide ship, and it certainly would not have cost that amount to excavate the Vaux site.

 But who cares? It’s only history. Just like Sunderland’s council will be when people wise up to them.

 City fathers? Wicked uncles more like.

R Tomlinson,


Let them feel the cold

WHY not let everyone feel what it’s like to be cold?

 I say: Turn off the heating in the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

 It is rip-off Britain, all right.

 These gas companies are just trying to be more powerful than the other.

Tom Mason,