April 2: Yvette Cooper should convince her leader on coal

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From: R Firth, Campsall, Doncaster.

WHILE it will be very disappointing if Kellingley and other collieries have to close for lack of financial support, it is typical of Yvette Cooper that she wishes to place all the blame on the present government.

If she were genuine in her wish to save these collieries, she should look to the NUM to invest in what they state could be a long-term profitable business (the NUM recently invested £4m in Hatfield to open up a new seam) and persuade her present boss Ed Miliband to promise government funding should he be in power in May.

It is well-known, however, that Mr Miliband, above all the party leaders, is not a coal fan, preferring to continue his fantasy with wind turbines.

Despite the fact that his constituency includes Hatfield Colliery, he sat back and let Ed Davey ignore the merits of the CCS at Hatfield even though it was regarded by the EU as the most advanced and best in Europe and had on offer from them of millions of euros and was geared up to provide thousands of skilled jobs and very substantial amounts of low-carbon energy based on UK coal.

He waited until decisions were finalised between Drax and Peterhead in 2014 before feigning disgust that Hatfield had been overlooked.

When I suggested that he show his support for the scheme at Hatfield by promising to give it his full support were he in Government in 2015 he said that he could not make promises so far ahead.

Sadly our local MPs instead of looking at how best to progress the coal industry in the present global competitive market, prefer to try and harvest votes by resurrecting the 30-year-old strike, which, wherever the balance of blame lay, accelerated the demise of the industry by unreliability of supply and high costs compared to other fuels available at the time.

Could M11 run up to Humber?

From: Roger P Brown, Wakefield, West Yorkshire.

IN addition to all the transport improvements proposed for Yorkshire (HS2 etc), why not simply extend the M11 up to the Humber Bridge; and perhaps beyond to the North East?

Not only would this provide a third major highway link from east of the Pennines to the South, but it could facilitate improved access to Lincolnshire and the East Coast.

City limits...

From: Iain Morris, Caroline Street, Shipley, Bradford.

THE business fraternity in Leeds wish to use Bradford for their own ends.

Change school intake areas

From: Aled Jones, Mount Crescent, Bridlington.

HOW can we continue to ensure liberty and freedom of choice if we allow things like school catchment areas to exist? It’s high time that education in this country was fully liberalised and all Government influence over it (local and national) removed.

Our precious schools shouldn’t have restrictive catchment areas, and should be taken from under the thrall of Government regulation and be allowed to expand freely to satisfy bigger intakes of children should, for example, exam success or sporting achievement make them popular. It is for the parents alone to decide where to send their children for education, not town hall zealots or an interfering state. By the same token, it should be for school staff, in direct consultation with parents, who should decide on what academic curriculum to embrace.

Giving power back to parents and individual schools is the only way forward for any modern society and if libertarian-minded parents decide to educate their children themselves at home because they want their sons and daughters to grow up as free, independent thinkers, then that’s something to be encouraged.

Our A&Es are under threat

From: Nigel F Boddy, Fife Road, Darlington.

THERE were 180 A&Es in the country in 2012. Are we going to be left with just 40? Pop down to your local A&E and check to see if signs have gone up calling it a major emergency department or just an emergency department.

Sir Bruce Keogh is proposing that A&Es should be split into two categories: major emergency departments and emergency departments. The major emergency departments continue to get money poured into them; while Cinderella sister departments are left behind.

Does Sir Bruce Keogh want to reduce the number of A&Es to just 40 major emergency departments which do everything? Separated into two leagues it will be easy for Whitehall to remove services from emergency departments until there is nothing left but a walk-in centre and a maternity unit. Is Sir Bruce Keogh’s plan the first stage in a scheme to gradually shut 140 A&Es?

Vote for least incredible...

From: Roderic Vassie, Belle Vue Cottages, York.

GONE, alas, is the easy erstwhile comfort of choosing for whom to vote on the basis of how closely a politician’s values match one’s own.

How the forthcoming election will be decided, if the opening skirmishes of the campaign are anything to go on, is on which party produces the least incredible straw man.

From: Les Arnott, Athelstan Road, Sheffield.

RARELY has a letter caused me such as anger as that of Mr Birch (The Yorkshire Post, March 30) which advocated selling out the Falkland islanders to their mortal enemies.

Mr Birch shows himself to be historically uninformed – The French have actually got a better claim to those islands than does Argentina. Mr Birch apparently cares not one jot for the democratic wishes of the residents and thus trivialises the deaths of so many members of our Armed Forces who fought for a most worthy cause. He clearly believes that kowtowing to bullies is a spiffing idea.

Extrapolating a little, perhaps Nato could negotiate away our remaining freedoms in the UK to - let’s say - Russia, perhaps?

As someone who is half Gibraltarian, I recognise the inherent dangers in Mr Birch’s thinking.