Letters, Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Have your say

Miliband has an odd role model

THE Labour leader, Ed Miliband, is working his way though the history books to see which former Conservative Prime Minister he admires the most.

 First it was Disraeli and his “one nation” philosophy.

 So now Miliband and his followers mention the “one nation” Labour Party in parrot-fashion given any excuse, just so we get the message. Which is?

 Not sure myself. Even less clear is his remarkable, suddenly-held, admiration for a not-so-one nation, Margaret Thatcher, and how he wants to be compared to her as a conviction politician.

 Now that was a touch unexpected and maybe most of all to those committed socialists who have found the Iron Lady a bit hard to stomach since her arrival on the political scene in the 1970s.

 Indeed many of them find it almost impossible to have a conversation about politics without some very uncomplimentary reference to “Thatcher”.

 So now their own comrade leader wants to be compared to her. Explain that one.

 Sir Malcom Rifkind, who served under Mrs Thatcher, was amazed too that Miliband was trying to be “the latter-day reincarnation of Margaret Thatcher.”

 He added “that he did not know whether to laugh or cry”. The same must apply to the vast anti-Thatcher tendency in the Labour Party.

 In many ways I can sympathise with them, as many have sincere, long-held beliefs. And if the boot was on the other foot I might just find it a little tricky to understand if David Cameron suddenly said he wished to be regarded as a politician with the convictions of Michael Foot or worse still Neil Kinnock.

 But obviously he did not, unlike Miliband, reverting once again to being a political novice, whose advisor, an ex-Murdoch employee, had better come up with something better that this type of nonsense to earn his money.

Michael Dixon,


Out of Toon...

WHY all the fuss in the media because Newcastle City Council is having to tighten its belt?

 For years, Sunderland, Hartlepool and Middlesbrough have just had to get on with it while Tyneside has had cash more or less thrown at it! What’s so special about them?

Ralph Arnold,


Take part in a festive fundraiser

I AM writing to appeal to readers to support a nationwide festive fundraising initiative taking place in all Homebase stores this December in aid of Teenage Cancer Trust.

 In 2010 Homebase staff selected Teenage Cancer Trust as their official charity partner.

 As Teenage Cancer Trust relies on public donations, this partnership is a wonderful opportunity to help young people across the country fight cancer.

 In two years Homebase employees in the UK and Ireland have raised a staggering £1.9million which is helping us build more specialist home-from-home Teenage Cancer Trust units in NHS hospitals.

 Next month Teenage Cancer Trust has been given the chance to collect donations in every Homebase store on Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 December.

 If you are interested in sparing a couple of hours to fundraise at your local store and help spread some Christmas cheer at the same time, please contact christmascollection@teenagecancertrust.org or call 020 7612 0716.

Simon Davies,

Chief Executive of Teenage, Cancer Trust

Pals reunited

MY uncle, Lindsay Strother, and his company Strother (Ironmonger) Ltd operated a store at 67 John Street, Sunderland (opposite Joplings) for many years until it was sold in 1979.

 I would like to hear from former employees and anyone who remembers the shop with their memories of my uncle and his business. My email address is richardstrother@btinternet.com and postal address is Brackenfield, Bassett Wood Road, Southampton SO16 3LS.

Richard Strother,


Searching for airman’s relatives

MY name is Barrie Davies and I live in Cyprus. I need help from someone – hopefully in your circulation.

 I am looking for relatives of a Alan Havelock Spence (parents were Albert H and Mary and wife was Florence Irene).

 Alan was one of 6 crew members who died in a Lancaster Crash in Leicester on March 5, 1943 – my father was the sole survivor. Alan is buried at North Sunderland Cemetery.

 In September 2012, a memorial was erected to the crew of the Lancaster. The organisers had great trouble tracing relatives of the crew and it was only by chance that I found out about the memorial.

 I think it is only fitting that Alan’s relatives are made aware of this and would be grateful if you could investigate or publicise this in the hope that someone will come forward. Any enquirers should contact the Sunderland Echo.

Barrie Davies