February 3 Letters: Greeks should stand firm over austerity

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From: John Watson, Hutton Hill, Leyburn.

I DIDN’T think as a lifelong Tory that I would be so elated by the Greek election result.

I have never yearned for left wing policies by governments, but what I have read about what some of the population have had to put up with I am entirely sympathetic. They have had to live with rules laid down by eurocrats in Brussels who will have no idea what hardship means.

I hope the Greeks stand firm and let others in the eurozone know that there is a way out of the austerity which has been borne by the Greeks who have lost jobs and creature comforts to keep those in power whose jobs depend on such abnormalities.

How is it that these people, by the stroke of a pen, can cause so much misery in euroland?

The people, as voters, should come to realise that the power lies in their hands when they come to vote. Let them use it as if their life depended on it.

Climbing on a bandwagon

From: A.W. Clarke, Sutton on Derwent.

Along with all decent people, I was appalled by the murders of the staff of Charlie Hebdo in Paris.

However it appears to me that the paper was something of a scurrilous rag and printed insults indiscriminately without regard for matters which many people hold in very high regard.

What puzzles me is that though many celebrities and well known people were happy to wear “Je suis Charlie” badges to display to the world their support of the magazine those same people were soon lining up to condemn Benedict Cumberbatch for inadvertently referring to black actors as “coloured”.

This when he was attempting to draw attention to the plight of many black actors’ difficulty in securing work in the film industry. An example of double standards or climbing on the nearest bandwagon?

Gripes with BBC bias

From: Les Arnott, Sheffield.

To answer Ian Barnes (The Yorkshire Post, January 30), four of my many problems with BBC bias are as follows:

1) Jokey panels and semi-serious discussions are filled to the brim with leftists (typically – alleged “comedians”) who are granted a grotesquely disproportionate influence on the minds of less experienced voters.

2) One local radio station, at least, gives far more airtime to the Greens than to Ukip. Even green issues are hardly the sole domain of the Green Party.

3) The news programmes may appear to be neutral but clearly have an in-built policy of never reporting any negative EU items unless absolutely forced.

4) I still find it impossible to believe that Question Time audiences are genuinely representative.

Untruths over pension policy

From: Chris Foote-Wood, Prospective parliamentary Liberal Democrat candidate for Richmond, Darlington.

While your correspondent Albert Smith has every right to criticise the coalition Government (The Yorkshire Post, January 30), he should not do so by telling untruths – in plain Yorkshire, lies.

Far from his claim of “reduction of pension increases”, thanks to Liberal Democrats in government we have had the biggest ever pension rise, with an £800 increase since 2010.

Lib Dems in government have introduced the pensions “triple lock” guarantee, meaning that the state pension will rise with inflation, earnings or 2.5 per cent – whichever is highest.

Pensioner groups have campaigned for many years for the restitution of the pensions-earnings “link” – we did it! We still recall Labour’s derisory 75p a week pension increase.

As for student fees, anyone earning less than £21,000 a year will pay nothing for their university education. Labour introduced student fees and now proposes a graduate tax which would cost most students more.

Wildflowers at thieves’ mercy

From: Aled Jones, Bridlington.

Legal loopholes have left many of Britain’s most iconic wildflowers at the mercy of thieves. Scandalously, people can dig up rare and threatened plants for their gardens or to sell on the black market without any real fear of reprise. It shows how pathetic our conservation laws are.

I agree with the conservation charity Plantlife that a new offence of “reckless destruction” should be introduced to save our beautiful wildflowers from extinction. There should be hefty fines, running into thousands of pounds, for those caught destroying our floral heritage.

Towns should break away

From: JH Madden, Guiseley.

Yeadon, Guiseley and Otley should issue a unilateral declaration of independence from Leeds City Council and get out of its stupid clutches.

The latest stupidity being its refusal to give the Otley voluntary organisations (who deliver aged and infirm people to various sites) minibus a Blue Badge for parking. I do hope these fit councillors will debar themselves from this advantage later in life so they can find out what it is like.