Brown shifts the blame over death of Baby P

From: John Abbott, Newland Avenue, Hull. EXCHANGES during Prime Minister's Questions about the death of Baby P (Yorkshire Post, November 13) shed a lurid sidelight on the present Government's attitudes to failures in child protection and their investigation.

As I understand it, David Cameron's point was that Haringey Council (which has 32 Labour and 25 Liberal Democrat councillors) should not be investigating itself after such a major failure.

Gordon Brown replied that this was cheap party politics. What really is cheap is a Labour Prime Minister trying to justify a Labour council investigating itself when Haringey social workers are 25 per cent below strength, nobody wants the jobs, and Labour-controlled Haringey Council is back in trouble.

To Gordon Brown, shifting the blame and ducking the issues is more important than the safety of children having seven bells knocked out of them. How long must we wait for a Government that gets its social services priorities right?

From: Terry Duncan, Greame Road, Bridlington.

I AGREE with the minority party Liberal spokesman from Haringey Council that only a small group, ie a clique of councillors, is privy to a lot of information and decisions in our present day councils' set ups, whereby local authorities are encouraged to appoint elite cabinets,

made up by a majority of the ruling party, but ignoring other members.

This system was instituted by our present Labour Government.

It means that hundreds of elected councillors have little say in local authority decisions, – because highly-paid council leaders and the chief executives (paid more than Prime Ministers) seem to now run the local authorities, instead of the democratically elected.

That means the people we put in to represent us are denied access to information such as cases like those of Baby P.

The practice should cease and local government should return to open government, when all committees are accessible to all elected members as well as to the general public, as they were in the good old days.

Even the Press could then get access to all debates so as to inform, while retaining anonymity in delicate cases.

Then another Baby P may still be alive this Christmas coming.

The ways we are destroying our world

From: Allan Ramsay, Radcliffe Moor Road, Radcliffe.

ACCORDING to Arnold Schwarzenegger, that part of California which has been destroyed by fire is "the most beautiful place on earth".

What about the Amazon rainforest? That is home to countless species of insect, animal and plant life; food and shelter to thousands

of indigenous people and also a vital support system for Planet Earth – the only one of its kind.

While millionaires' properties are being destroyed in California, isn't the most pristine place on earth being destroyed by logging and slash-burn? Logging to satisfy the so-called civilised world's insatiable appetite for hardwood, and slash-burn for cattle to satisfy its insatiable appetite for meat. And who has the biggest appetite?

The carbon footprint of all the indigenous people of the Amazon is probably less than that of just one millionaire in California.

Our global financial catastrophe was reportedly caused by greedy, irresponsible people, and the way the "civilised world" is heading, it will be much the same people who will cause a global environmental catastrophe.

What the Amazon and California suffers today, we will all suffer tomorrow.Buying now and paying the price later

From: Paul Emsley, Hellifield, North Yorkshire.

THE Government has, belatedly, instigated certain fiscal controls and stimuli to try to soften the effects of the world's economic crises and to seek to sustain market activity, when there are real fears about currency values and the financial logic of current policies. Only time will tell if these international fiscal activities will have the desired effect.

One area where the UK has shown little or no change is in the availability of personal credit for purchases other than houses. Historically, we had to put 20-25 per cent down as a deposit, with the balance to pay in three years for that new sofa, car or double glazing.

In the last 15-20 years, all these sensible controls have disappeared as we have been encouraged to have now and pay later.

The selection and value of such purchases has diminished; as we have been able to have what we want today, but without the need to consider the financial effect on our pockets, or budgets, until the item has been broken, scratched or "overtaken" by the latest model.

People need to get a sense of value back into their personal finances and budgets. In the 1950-70s, such values were inherent and well-advised.

In the current economic climate, such values should be re-established and encouraged by all retailers and understood and practised by ourselves. Otherwise, we will promote the continuance of this recession and increase directly the effects on ourselves and our families.

Vanishing dialect

From: Dr Arnold Kellett, Vice President, Yorkshire Dialect Society, Aspin Oval, Knaresborough, North Yorkshire.

Jonathan Robinson (Yorkshire Post, November 14) is surely right in believing that the Yorkshire accent, with its various forms, is here to stay.

Real Yorkshire dialect, which has not just the accent, but its own vocabulary and idiomatic turns of phrase, is rapidly disappearing. This is largely because – both in town and country – words have become obsolete along with the objects and processes they once described.

There will, of course, always be the survival of isolated terms and sayings. For example, some West Riding folk, annoyed that a door has been left open, will call out: "Ey! Put t'wood in t'oile!" (hole). At the Yorkshire Mining Museum, deep down in Caphouse Colliery, they will show you where the little lads known as "trappers" used to control the ventilation by opening and closing the air-flow with a square piece of wood – a primitive door.

Further examples of surviving dialect can be seen in my various Dalesman books, such as the just-published Little Book of Yorkshire Dialect.

Counting the costs

From: David H Rhodes, Keble Park North, Bishopthorpe, York.

WITH regard to finance, I remember someone stating that if you gave 10 men, who had nothing, a 5 note in the morning, by night time some would have nothing and some would have doubled their money. Using this thought, Gordon Brown's proposed and well-intentioned gift to poorer members of society will have little effect. In the scheme of things, to some the benefits will last a nanosecond, but to the Government the total cost will be another millstone round its neck.

A solution to the recession cannot be instant, but limited Government intervention can gently move things in the right direction.

A cut in petrol tax would start the ball rolling, and allowing fishermen to land all their catch would provide cheaper food. Investment in certain areas of manufacturing which includes farming etc, as this where real wealth is created, would also help.

The immediate abolition of many parasitic quangos which are a drain on the nation's health and wellbeing would start to fund the recovery plan.

A calm and light touch on the tiller, Mr Brown.

Hunting supporters put our MPs to shame

From: Ken Holmes, Cliffe Common, Selby, York.

HATS off to the MFA (Master of Foxhounds' Association) and hunt supporters for their outstanding efforts to raise 76,000 towards the Help Our Heroes fund. A cheque for this amount was handed over at the recent Cheltenham race meeting (November 15).

I hope it has pricked the consciences of the MPs who stupidly banned fox hunting and voted to send our lads and lassies off to try to win unwinnable wars. I hope now that these same MPs will finger their trouser pockets and handbags and donate some of their immoral self-awarded wages and expenses to the families and lads and lassies who have given life and limb in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Incidentally, the masters of foxhunting packs are and will continue to hunt within the law hoping, as I do, that one day the stupid ban will

be repealed.

A question of disruption for drivers in road survey

From: Paul Coles, Greentop, Pudsey, Leeds.

ONCE again, Leeds City Council decided in their infinite wisdom, aided by West Yorkshire Police, to undertake another road traffic survey at Thornbury roundabout – very soon after the last one.

On both occasions, I was half an hour late for work. A journey that normally takes around seven minutes was increased to 35 minutes. Multiply this by the many hundreds of drivers

who were also caught up in

this and you can get an

insight into the resulting chaos caused by this action. Not to mention the adding of unnecessary pollution into the atmosphere by vehicles stuck in long queues.

I was informed by a policeman on duty there that matters were made worse by drivers not wanting to stop to take the forms. Can you blame them for this as it was only a month ago when they were stopped in the previous survey?

I believe taking part in one of these is not compulsory, so why were the police stopping drivers who did not want to take part?

Could Leeds City Council answer a few questions for me and others, please? I can see the need for up-to-date information on congested spots but why do two surveys so close to each other? Surely the same drivers would be doing the exact same journeys with a few minor exceptions. Why do they want to know a drivers' income? Of what relevance is a person's financial standing? Do they know just how much these surveys inconvenience people?

Do the police have a say in why and when these surveys take place? Again, I feel they do not fully understand the disruption caused. A modern, responsible police force should advise the council if they don't believe a particular survey should go ahead.

Could someone tell me who decides the where and when and how often they take place?

Can a person claim loss of income due to being late for work after being caught up in one of these?

Many people would lose a full hour's pay for being half an hour late.

I have read a Leeds City Council document on the reasons these surveys are carried out and, as usual, it's all for our own good.

I think not in this case.

Merrie memories

From: J Keith Taylor, Saxon Court, Bottesford, Scunthorpe.

AS one who in the late 1940s

and early '50s was taken as a child to the Scarborough

Open Air Theatre and who performed in the amateur musical theatre for more than 45 years (25 of them as musical director), I find the ongoing correspondence about Scarborough fascinating.

However, I am amazed that your correspondents claim to have seen Merry England. They haven't. At the risk of being labelled pedantic, may I point out that, according to the score, Edward German's masterpiece is entitled Merrie England.

True shape

of Europe

From: Jean Skowronek, Wressle, Selby.

OVER the years, many Europhiles mocked those of us who pointed out how the EU rules had banned misshapen fruit and vegetables (Yorkshire Post, November 14). They claimed that this was nothing but "myth and fantasy".

If they were correct, why is Brussels amending rules now so that misshapen fruit and veg can once again be sold?

It could not be that Europhiles are "economical with the truth" whenever their sacred cow comes under attack, could it?

Barrier chaos

From: Gail Simon, Crosshills, West Yorkshire.

THE placing of the new ticket barriers at Leeds Station meant that I missed a connection last week because I could not get off platform 2/3. What was a perfectly functioning concourse for such a busy station is now impassable. Surely there must be a safety aspect to this, too?

Passengers seem to be flabbergasted that the ticket barriers are not where the old ones were.

Empty words

From: C Clapham, Nab Wood, Shipley.

ONCE again, you featured the Bradford Odeon (Yorkshire Post, November 8). I have been amazed at the length of time this building has been empty while the arguments continue year after year. Only an unaccountable public organisation such as Yorkshire Forward could afford to waste money on owning such buildings and happily watch taxpayers' money go down the drain.

Banal truth

From: W Ruddlesden, Upper Hoyland Road, Hoyland, Barnsley.

IN the aftermath of the Brand/Ross affair, maybe BBC should now refer to Banality Before Credibility.