Letters, Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Have your say

Our liberties must not be eroded

UNDER the cover of the the royal birth hoo-ha, David Cameron managed to sneak in an announcement about cracking down on internet pornography to ‘protect children’.

 “Nothing wrong with that” you might say, but if you believe that this has got anything to do with protecting children, then I’ve got some magic beans to sell you.

 Who will get to decide the definition of pornography? Is a topless woman pornography? Page 3 Girls aren’t really the same thing as images of sick child abuse, but it was very sneaky of Cameron to lump it all in together. After all, who could argue against blocking child porn?

 It’s just the thin end of a wedge that will rob us of yet more liberties. What comes next – websites with anti-Government views? Once you’ve blocked one thing, it makes it easier to block more.

 It’s the oldest trick in the book for those in power to use an imaginary bogeyman as a means to get people to give up their freedoms. And make no mistake, we are giving up our freedoms.

 Look at the state of our country: more CCTV cameras than any other nation, vehicle tracking, face recognition software, our whole lives forced onto the internet (banking, benefits, NHS, shopping etc) to be spied on, email and phone calls monitored, people jailed for posting unpopular opinions on Twitter and Facebook ... didn’t our fathers and grandfathers fight a war so that we wouldn’t have to live under such rule? The more we stand by and watch our freedoms be eroded, the more we shame their memories.

 It’s time to start asking why the powers that be are so obsessed with knowing our every movement?

 Pay heed to the words of Benjamin Franklin: “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

Gregg Mitchell

A right Royal relief

IT must have been a great relief for William and Kate to get back home away from the press and public camped outside the £5,000 per night hospital.

 He’s going to have to whack some overtime when he gets back to work to pay for it all.

 It will be a great relief to hand little George over to the multitude of nannies and servants to look after him until he’s old enough to go to boarding school.

 In between, the parents turn-up for the organised/spontaneous photo opportunities. Just like William’s parents had to.

 The Royal aides cry out to leave the couple to get on with their lives and treat them as normal people. I agree, totally, the one and only way to let little George lead a normal life would be to abolish the monarchy and get rid of all the aides and hangers on. They would still have the same lifestyle.

 Then he would be plain George Windsor and maybe he could marry a Barbara and run a pub – then be what they claim they crave – normal.

Ged Taylor,


We have rights too

I WENT along to the airshow on Friday and throughly enjoyed it.

 On the way back, my mam and I thought we would have a drink in the Promenade pub on the seafront, but as soon as we reached the door and before my mam could ask if there was any room inside, the doorman said no wheelchairs, pushchairs or dogs in this weekend.

 I can understand no pushchairs but I’m a 46-year-old wheelchair user and I thought we had equal rights now? If he had said ‘go in at your own risk because it is busy’, we would have said we won’t bother, but it was the manner in which he said it. I won’t be giving them my custom again.

 We did have a pleasant drink in the Marriott, the staff were nice and although my mam had to stand, someone brought a chair over for her.

Michelle J Gibson

Double standards

MEMBERS of Parliament, with their recent expenses scandal, have only themselves to blame for the opposition of the general public for any rise to their annual salary to around £75,000. With several former Labour MPs and an ex-Conservative peer given jail sentences for financial crimes, it is hardly surprising.

 However, there is a whiff of double-standards around at the moment which makes an MP’s salary pale into insignificance. First comes the astronomical, six-figure pay-offs to former BBC executives.

 A total disgrace that public money has funded these greedy, self-serving people, while the level of salaries awarded at the BBC indicates massive incompetence, such as the £1.5m once paid to the less-than-outstanding Match of the Day pundit, Alan Hansen. Jeremy Paxman, obviously in a different league to the likes of Hansen, is another employee earning over £1m, yet he has the audacity to sneer at people who make the laws of our country, about their salaries.

 The top bankers are well chronicled for their pays-offs, but their later progress up the ladder is rarely disturbed just because of the small issue of having greatly contributed to economy of the country being in tatters.

 I noticed one of the individuals, Andy Hornby, whom the Banking Standards Commission said was, with two others named, responsible for the collapse of HBOS, presenting a prize on the television at a horse racing meeting. So I checked why and surprise surprise, this person has got himself a nice job as chief executive of a leading bookmaker.

 But Trade Union comrades are also on a nice cushy number. Miliband’s pal Len McCluskey is sitting very pretty with a salary of over £130,000. Former TUC General Secretary Brendon Barber is reported to have taken away over £300,000 in 2012, while the left wing NUT Secretary Christine Blower is reported to be paid an annual salary in excess of £150,000.

 There are, of course, countless other examples of people getting incredible pay-offs, such as the recently reported goings-on at the Arts Council, where a chief executive was awarded £100,000 for taking a six-month sabbatical, (even though she was moving into another job).

 No one is going to shed tears for the plight of the pay of an MP, especially as many of them supplement their income with second jobs etc. However, there are plenty of other people absolutely raking it in and at which the finger of being over-paid and over compensated should be equally pointed.

Michael Dixon

Kind Samaritans

I WISH to thank all who came to my husband’s aid on Seaburn seafront when he collapsed.

 The two lady shoppers, three young men who lifted him into the car of the lady who ran him and myself to A&E at the Royal.

 Our grateful thanks.

E Miller,

Leechmere Road

Thanks for help

I WOULD like to say thank you to the very kind people who looked after me after my accident in Park Lane on Wednesday, July 10.

 The lady who kept me sitting up, the gentleman who kindly brought me water, the lady who phoned the ambulance and anyone else involved. God bless you all.

M Smith

Plentiful supply

SO scientists are claiming a world first in developing a way to charge mobile phones, using human urine (Thursday, July 18).

 Can I suggest they look in all the bus shelters in the region, there they will find rivulets of the foul smelling deposit.

E Black,


Drain on resources

IT was interesting to read the letter regarding the grass cutting, or rather lack of it, in a few parks on Wearside.

 I wonder just how much is being spent to keep these parks in pristine condition and is it worth it? Parks were originally built in the Victorian era when there was nothing to do except go for a walk.

 Folk worked hard and only got one day off.

 There were no TVs, iPads, so life must have been pretty boring.

 Sundays were spent in the park walking and playing croquet and bowls.

 I do feel that with the technology available, the public are no longer interested in parks and would rather spend their time on the internet.So is there any need in this day and age for investment in Wearside’s parks?

Mick The Pen Brown

Shocking state

I WAS quite shocked to see a photograph of the ‘old’ grave stones at the Gill Park under so much undergrowth.

 These graves are very old and some of them, I believe, are children from the cholera epidemic.

 Can Sunderland Council please show some respect and tidy these graves up?

 I am originally from Sunderland and I am willing to dedicate my day off work to help tidy them up. I am sure I could drum up some support for people to help out.

 At the end of the day, these are someone’s children.

A Timm,