December 12: BBC shows its priorities over flood coverage

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From: Bruce Anderton, Church Green, Bridlington.

I HAVE just figured out the code for judging the seriousness of BBC News bulletins at a glance, and it is as follows. If the presenter is on location at the scene of the major story (for example in Paris in the aftermath of the recent tragedy), then the matter should be taken very seriously, even though the presenter may well be struggling to fill the whole of the allotted bulletin with every excruciating detail, to the exclusion of news from anywhere else.

However, if the anchorperson is safely esconced in the studio at Broadcasting House, then it is not so bad: the lead story can be wrapped up in ten minutes or so and other events can also be covered, including what now seems to be the obligatory non-news item at the end of the 10pm bulletin which succeeds in ensuring that Look North never appears at its scheduled time.

So better luck next time, Carlisle, Keswick and Cockermouth – but thanks for taking part.

From: John Howe, Bedale.

I NOTICED in your report “BBC ‘needlessly closed’ channel instead of making efficiencies” that evidence is currently being given to the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee on the need to improve the BBC.

Living in Bedale, we are fortunate to receive local Look North news from both Newcastle and Leeds and both programmes have first rate reporters who give excellent coverage of all aspects of local events.

In the recent coverage of floods in Cumbria, the local reporters were on the spot giving accurate and comprehensive information together with sympathetic interviews with local people.

Why then did the BBC’s News at Ten consider it necessary to see other reporters (no doubt with a huge back-up crew) to give the same coverage?

This is not the first time I have noticed this gross waste of money (last year’s Tour de Yorkshire being a blatant example). Perhaps someone on the CMS Committee could ask this question?

Memories of real poverty

From: Charles Rushton, Pasture Close, Strensall, York.

YOUR front page article (The Yorkshire Post, December 8) on the increase in use of food banks mentions a choice for many between eating and heating.

However I feel other factors are also in that list of choices, surely you must include tobacco, alcohol and drugs, iPads and possibly cars and designer clothing. The other morning, a young mother shopping in our local convenience store bought a packet of crisps and a fizzy drink for her child, 40 fags and three £2 scratchcards with little change from £25. That would have well fed her family. I see similar most days.

Growing up in Bradford in the 1930s, poverty was all around, real gripping poverty with little help from anywhere, our mothers fed families on next to nothing, no food banks there just the odd pair of boots from the Cinderella Club of the T&A.

Housing benefit was unheard of but you could wager your life that the news of free food parcels would provoke an ever-increasing demand. Summat for nowt does that. There should perhaps be a real effort to educate some people.

Years of talk over trams

From: ME Wright, Harrogate.

IT was good to see that trams now feature, once again, in the West Yorkshire Transport Authority’s lexicon (Keith Wakefield, The Yorkshire Post, December 8) but, after 25 years of talk, for how much longer will they, along with everything else, be nothing more than words?

As a reminder: Leeds City Council’s wanton destruction of the entire original tram network was scheduled to take 10 years; they achieved it in six. Is there any chance that Coun Wakefield and his committee might demonstrate comparable zeal, but in a more imaginative and constructive way?

From: Nick Yates, Brighouse.

DESPITE years of campaigning from councillors and local community groups, Brighouse still has a bus station with no working public lavatory.

The disused toilets with plumbing intact could be reinstated with a minimum of expense and effort, but Calderdale Council have seen fit to put the building up for auction. Brighouse is Calderdale’s second largest town and visitors have a reasonable expectation of appropriate facilities. There has been no consultation and it is an affront to council tax payers.

Knowing your enemy

From: Rev Dr Barrie Williams, Whitby.

WHEN I studied political theory, I understood that “fascism” was summed up in Mussolini’s dictum “Nothing above the state; nothing against the state; nothing apart from the state”. Racism and anti-Semitism were not part of the mix, at least until the Axis Pact. “Fascism” is often used where another term would be more appropriate, usually “Nazism”. What we confront in Daesh/IS is not fascism but something virtually unknown in Western Europe since the mid 17th century: militant religious totalitarianism. The first lesson in war is, know your enemy. It does not help to mislabel him.