Letters, Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

Have your say

Foreign policy of self-interest

UN resolution 1973 was a resolution for air interdiction, (a no-fly zone), to prevent the use of air power, by the Gaddafi regime, on the rebels.

The Coalition, all of its own volition, and without a further mandate from the UN Security Council, decided to broaden its interpretation of said resolution to give itself authority to attack ground forces.

Now, and once again without prior UN Security Council resolution or approval, we have the imminent possibility of arms being supplied to the rebels, (against a prior arms embargo), and military “advisers” on the ground.

Gaddafi is a self-serving scumbag, no doubts about it, but look around the world. How many others that fall into this category have been left alone, and are as I write?

Yemen, Bahrain, Syria, China, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Saudi, etc, etc, etc.

It’s not quite the Woolies’ pic ’n’ mix I refered to earlier.

Rather, these countries are either too big to take on or countries the UK sells to, mainly weapons – remember Cameron’s visit to Bahrain accompanied by a coterie of weapons dealers – or they have no resources that can be exploited post-conflict, as in Iraq.

Foreign policy within capitalism, you see, is quite simple: self-interest!

Freedom, democracy, protecting innocent civilians etc, the smokescreens used as excuses for the above.

Steve Colborn, Ivy Avenue, Deneside, Seaham

Thanks to donors

I WOULD like to thank all our blood and platelet donors for their donations during April. Faced with two long holiday weekends in a row at the end of the month, we needed to build up blood stocks in advance.

We asked our donors to make a special effort to give blood and they certainly did. During April, with the help of regular donors and some new ones, our stock levels increased. This enabled us to continue to meet the needs of patients throughout the extended holidays.

To help us maintain the vital supply of blood to hospitals we need blood donors to donate regularly, up to three times a year, especially those who are O negative and B negative. New donors are always welcome too.

First-time donors should be aged between 17 and 65, weigh at least 50kg (7st 12lb) and be in general good health.

If you’ve donated before, you can start again up to your 70th birthday and there is no upper age limit for donors who have donated in the last two years.

To book an appointment, please call the Donor Line on 0300 123 23 23 or visit www.blood.co.uk

Jon Latham, Assistant Director of Blood Donation, NHS Blood and Transplant, Watford

Why stay in EU?

NO one gives the advantages of being in the EU. The EU is not working. We have different countries, languages, currency, interest rates, and are divided by seas, unlike the U.S., which they are trying to emulate.

We need a referendum on being in or out of the EU. It is an expensive, useless waste of time and only good for MEPs and their expenses and foreign jaunts. Switzerland and Norway are not in and are thriving.

The UK is frightened to come out of the EU because it will collapse on our leaving. Other countries which are not in the red, if indeed there are any, will join the UK in leaving.

We, the UK, are in the red, but on leaving the expensive bureaucratic and proven to be useless EU would soon be in the black.

We pay £14billion per year to the EU and are more than £1trillion in debt.

Gordon Brown rushed the Lisbon Treaty through. Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain are all in debt. Prime Minister David Cameron said it is in our interests to be in the EU, but he did not elaborate.

I’m still waiting for one person to give a reason for staying in the EU.

M. Matthews, Aiskell Street, Sunderland

Killing to protect?

WHEN he takes time off from doing his impersonation of a dalek, William Hague is busy going down in history as the mission creep.

Protecting civilians is the justification for our bombing of Libya. Things have come to a pretty pass when we have to rely on Russia and China to point out the obvious: that we are out to kill Gaddafi come hell or high water, and we are getting close.

Blasting into eternity a son and three grandchildren must count as near misses.

We will almost certainly kill Gaddafi, but it’s a pity we will have to kill a lot of civilians in our valiant effort to protect civilians.

B. McGill, South Bents

Dingy station

THE station may be better than it was, but, apart from the escalator, what did Nexus spend £7million on?

How can a station with no public toilets win an award?

I still think it’s dingy, and for a city (I use the word loosely) to have a station without a toilet is absolutely disgraceful.

Mrs. M.A. Blackburn, Merryfield Gardens, Roker, Sunderland

Barbecue time

THE recent hot weather has brought summer early. That can mean only one thing – the barbecues are out, and there is nothing worse.

It’s the same routine all the time. The woman of the house buys the food, makes the salad, gets out the naff paper plates and the plastic cutlery.

Then as soon as the guests arrive with the crates of larger, the cheap burgers are placed on the grill, usually by the male of the house who never does any cooking throughout the year.

Then as soon as the bank holiday arrives he thinks he is Jamie Oliver and puts one of those ridiculous aprons on with a slogan that usually that states in bold letters he is the cook and he then proceeds to burn everything to a crisp.

There is usually an iPod nearby playing some 1980s disco music and some larger-than-life woman wearing too much false tan dancing around in a pair of ill-fitting shorts making a spectacle of herself.

It’s a hideous sight but nobody cares – they are too drunk to care. That is until the next day when the food poisoning kicks in and they have to take a few days off work to recover.

This is a torturous but true account of the barbecues I have had the displeasure to visit over the years.

I think it’s high time the council sent out guidelines to households with bullet points concerning barbecues advising them of the dos and don’ts as many folk have no experience of hosting such a event in a back garden and this can result in serious injury as many people have turned to using gas barbecues to save money and the cheapest meat they can get their hands on, so how they enjoy such a event is beyond me.

It surely is in stark contrast to the silver service a la carte I look forward to at the captain’s table when I am cruising the high seas.

Mick “The Pen” Brown

Not anti-Europe

YOUR Election 2011 article on Friday, May 6, stated in its final paragraph that UKIP was “anti European”.

I would like Sunderland Echo readers to understand this is not correct. UKIP loves Europe, but is “against the European Union”. UKIP’s slogan, “Love Europe, Hate the EU”, is seldom published.

The British people never gave permission to develop an EU superstate or for the continued membership of it. We did agree to join the Common Market but this has evolved into the European Union, something entirely different. The consequences are far reaching (not to mention the cost to the UK tax payer of £48million a day).

The reality is that UKIP is fully at ease with Europe and European free trade. We just happen to have the quaint notion that the UK should be governed by British citizens rather than unelected and wholly unaccountable foreign bureaucrats.

I also feel your description of John Defty’s achievement in obtaining 29 per cent of the total votes in a Labour stronghold at his first attempt as “quite remarkable” was very understated.

Richard Elvin, Chairman, UKIP Wearside

Inferior paving

THE regeneration of Roker has begun with a whimper. Paving in front of the shelter near the ravine has been removed and is in the process of being replaced by reclaimed material.

The original paving was of a buff colour and complemented its environment. The reclaimed material is pale grey, chipped in places and covered in what looks like spots of oil. If it was not good enough for wherever it was removed, why is it good enough for Roker?

It is insulting that perfectly good paving has been removed and replaced by some which is secondhand, damaged and stained.

Is this a foretaste of what is to come? Surely, out of a budget of £1.5million, the council could provide something which is suitable and sympathetic to the area, or has China run out of stone?

Incidentally, I understand that the work at Roker is to continue until at least September, while Seaburn is still unfinished. We could have a wonderful, new, advertisement for Sunderland: “Visit the twin building sites of Roker and Seaburn”. It is sure to “pull in the punters”.

Margaret Alexander, Sunderland

I WOULD like to say a huge thank-you to all family and friends who gave me their love and support while in hospital and still do.

To the staff of Hume Rehab, you are gems. Your medical care and friendship make you a credit to the medical profession.

Lilian Leadbeater, Sunderland

I THINK its a disgrace that Stagecoach buses have withdrawn the Number 7 bus.

All of my neighbours are elderly and rely on this service. Bring it back.

C. Mordey

WHEN are the roadworks at the junction of Durham, Premier and Springwell roads going to be completed?

It was reported in the Echo it would take about six weeks, but it’s been 10 weeks and doesn’t look like it’s anywhere near finished.

Margy Phillips

I WOULD like to offer my sincere thanks to all who voted for me in the local elections in Ryhope and Grangetown. Your support and trust is very much appreciated.

I would also like to offer my congratulations to Ellen Ball, the successful candidate, and wish her all the best in serving Ryhope and Grangetown.

Again, my warmest thanks.

Shaun Cudworth

I WOULD like to thank Diane and Joanne, and all the staff at Lloyds TSB, for all the help and support they give me during my stay at Helford Road.

Once again, thank you.

Name and address supplied