Fairer deal for region’s arts and transport

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From: J A King, Cote Lane, Thurgoland. Sheffield.

IF the Government spent on art and transport the same amount per head of population in the regions as they do in the London and the South, several things would happen:

1. Better facilities, ie art, theatres, music halls, museums and travel, in all regions.

2. Re-site the National Ballet, theatre, orchestra and museums to the North of England, shared between all the cities.

3. Spend a true limited amount of £20bn on the region’s rail infrastructure.

4. Spend a further £20bn upgrading the East Coast Mainline to increase capacity, convenience and time for all on the route. Not just a few.

5. The result of this would be to increase employment in the North, save all Northerners at least £500 per family each time they wished to visit a show or gallery, by not having to travel to London.

6. Make travel more convenient and pleasant (more trains, more carriages – new ones, not the South’s cast-offs).

There should be ease of use for business travel, resulting in greater business efficiency and activity. Increasing the Northern economy by at least £20bn a year.

Should this be done, it would benefit at least 50 per cent of the English population, not just five per cent.

Now if anyone thinks that the HS2, with a present price tag of £50bn, will be built for that amount, for information the final figure will be more like £100bn.

Why don’t the selfish few realise small savings made in time will be over shadowed by the destruction to businesses? Employment, houses, families, disruption to roads and rail with all the inconvenience to people’s lives this would create, and the loss of countryside. It’s just not worth it.

If they must, let those who want HS2 stick their hands in their pockets, not ours.

Peace dividend of united Europe

From: RC Curry, Adel Grange Close, Leeds.

IT is astonishing in these current years of remembrance that no-one discussing Europe seems to mention the peace benefit.

For nigh on 70 years a group of the most warring nations on earth have been at peace with each other. For many centuries Britain was involved in these conflicts, with little respite, and the repercussions exploded into the two global wars of the 20th century. The flowers of many countries have been laid to rest elsewhere as well as on Flanders Fields. Let us remember that, as it makes all the anti-European rhetoric seem petty in comparison.

Those who think that exit from Europe is the answer to all problems, whether on immigration or regaining what we are alleged to have lost, would find that this island is a tiny part of the world and that our powers on global matters are limited.

Jingoistic songs from past times will not be sufficient. We need friends and the company of others to be of any consequence.

Harking back to remembrances of ‘when Britain was great’ might appease some, but will do nothing for the younger generations who, on the whole, seem to be more prepared to work for a future and not live in a past.

Inflammatory reporting by some of the media does not help; but determination to support David Cameron and his team to work with other member states who share our concerns to modify things in Brussels, including cutting down on bureaucracy and petty regulations, would be much more constructive and beneficial.

Lost meaning 
of Christmas

From: M Hellawell, Cross Lane, Scarborough, North Yorkshire.

I AGREE 90 per cent with Karl Sheridan about the advent calendars with a true Christmas theme (Yorkshire Post, November 23) but Tesco didn’t send any calendars to Scarborough.

I wrote and complained, but have had no response. If Tesco are going to support these calendars (which support a charity) then they should maximise their efforts, not just cherry pick superstores.

I would like to add that Christmas is derived from Christ’s mass. I personally get very cross with all the ‘must haves’ and ‘it only costs...’ which makes people buy more than they want or need. My memories of Christmas were of going to Church with the crib and lovely decorations and candles, the carols and the coming of the baby Jesus.

Simple gifts, and the Christmas tree with a crib at home. Peace and happiness, no quarrels, or over-indulgence. What is so sad is that the real meaning of Christmas has been lost for so many families. Stress, greed, bad tempers and selfishness rule and of course, it’s easier to be secular.

Britain’s first black footballer

From: Rod Eastwood, Nursery Avenue, Ovenden, Halifax, West Yorkshire.

I WAS very interested to read the article about Arthur Wharton (Yorkshire Post, November 28).

However, I am not sure that it is entirely accurate to refer to him as Britain’s first black footballer, as your headline suggests.

In August of 1866 Andrew Watson, a black youth from Guyana, enrolled at Heath Grammar School, Halifax. He went on to study at Glasgow University, and played football 
for Queen’s Park from 1880 to 1897. He also played for Scotland and actually captained them against England in 1881. This is a few years before Arthur Wharton’s football career
 began.

BBC Scotland made a short documentary film about Watson’s life, which was shown on television a few years ago.

I believe, however, that Watson only played as an amateur, and his life appears to have been nothing like as dramatic, varied or tragic as that of Wharton’s. Hence, no doubt, his relative obscurity.

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