February 14 letters: Rotherham MP shows up her party colleagues

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From: Mr G Searstone, York.

I like Sarah Champion, I like her a lot, and I think she makes a superb constituency MP for Rotherham (The Yorkshire Post, February 7).

I particularly like the way she “faces up” interviewers and doesn’t prevaricate. Definitely not one of your usual excusers and accusers. But hang on. Do you mean to tell me that while all this disgusting abuse has been happening in Rotherham it hasn’t spilled over into other adjoining parts of the Don and Dearne Valley with a large Muslim population?

Where are the voices of Labour stalwart David Blunkett MP for Rotherham’s next door neighbour Sheffield, Labour leader and MP for Doncaster Ed Miliband and also Dan Jarvis, MP for Barnsley? Talk about hushed voices in big egos.

I wonder how often these chilling words have been uttered in Labour Party meetings: “Best to keep quiet for the good of the Party.”

I was born and brought up in Attercliffe in the east end of Sheffield, this whole affair is a slow motion train crash that’s been heading for the buffers for decades. Good work Sarah, keep it up, and more power to you.

From; Mr M Green, Baghill Green, Tingley, Wakefield.

I AGREE wholeheartedly with Stuart Andrew MP when he says that a target of 70,000 new houses for Leeds is completely staggering (The Yorkshire Post, February 6). But I completely disagree with him about where the responsibility lies.

Eric Pickles, the Conservative Minister, did indeed abolish 
the high housing targets from
the now-defunct regional 
spatial strategy. That much is true.

But what Eric Pickles didn’t tell us was that his own planning inspectors (who decide whether cuncil plans and strategies should be approved or not) are still being instructed to work on the basis of the old, discredited figures.

That is why Leeds felt it had no choice but to promote a plan with astonishingly high targets, which will involve the allocation for housing of an awful lot of greenfield sites (which will, of course, be built first, because that is so much easier and cheaper).

Kirklees did at least try to promote a plan with a very much lower target figure. But the planning inspector wouldn’t even let them take it to public inquiry.

I know we are in the middle of the political silly season. And I am sure that Stuart Andrew’s intentions are good.

But he really does need to bring his influence to bear on his own side, where responsibility lies, rather than on his political opponents.

His re-election is more likely to depend on what he achieves, rather than who he blames.

Unfair to farmers

From: Mr K Holmes, Selby.

I NEVER thought that I would live to see the day when milk in supermarkets was cheaper than bottled water.

Its a damned, diabolical disgrace that our dairy farmers are being swung by the tail by greedy supermarkets.

The only time that politicians in this country appreciate farmers is in times of war, when food is rationed.

They then creep round farmers like kids in a sweet shop, hoping to gain a side of bacon, a pat of butter, or a few dozen eggs, etc. Let us be scrupulously honest – farmers are among the hardest working men and women ever born and deserve much better for their labours than they are getting at the moment.

From: Sarah Todd, 
Welburn, York.

PLEASE may I say a very big thank you to all the readers who were kind enough to send cards, letters and emails on the occasion – after ten years – of my stepping down from the weekly column in Country Week?

Seing as The Husband had omitted to either a) organise a surprise party or (even) b) book a meal out, the warm words meant a huge amount to me. I am sorry not to have been able to reply to every single kind note personally.

I am busier than ever and so pleased to be keeping the relationship with TheYorkshire Post going with occasional opinion pieces. It’s a joy to have double the amount of words to get in a red-headed rant about.

PS. I must point out that Clover Todd (The Yorkshire Post, January 31) is no relation. I have taken some ribbing about her lament at my departure. No, she is not my mother, auntie or other relation – but obviously just a very discerning reader!

Host hits 
new Bafta low

From: Chris Ramus, Duchy Road, Harrogate.

IT was a good night for the British film industry at the Baftas, but not for Stephen Fry, who hosted the show. He was an embarrassment.

In an ever changing world, we have learned to embrace a lot of change. But Stephen Fry’s supposed humour left me feeling embarrassed as to how low standards of television has stooped. His sexuality is a private matter for him and his partner, not for promoting on a world stage.

For some reason, presenters of shows like this feel it adds something to the overall enjoyment by injecting four- letter words into the script.

Oh really, what? Surely the producers of shows like this have guidelines as to what is acceptable on television?

Or maybe they don’t and they are to blame for the shocking lack of standards.

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