Friday's Letters: We need British firms at helm of wind turbine production

I refer to "Yorkshire on brink of a wind power revolution" (Yorkshire Post, May 1).

If the Government does decide it can afford to fund the port infrastructure essential for the shipping of wind turbines to their sites in the North Sea, and the land owners do develop the land that will be required for the factories needed to build them, it may be enough to persuade the global contenders, Siemens, General Electric and Mitsubishi, to do so.

However, all three companies are foreign and so at the most these will only be to supply the British market, not the global one. All too often in the past foreign companies have taken advantage of British money for research and development and then taken production to their own country.

The only way that Britain will be able to get into the global market is to persuade some of the companies who will supply the parts for the building of the turbines, who in some cases have formed a consortium to do so, to merge into one company or for one to buy others out to form one company large enough to be a world player.

However, unlike with Britain's competitors, the Small Britannia competition board will then rear its head to stop this as it has done in the past when British companies that were world players have tried to merge or make acquisitions to keep them so.

I am afraid that unless a British-owned company that has the ability to build wind turbines and has the size to be a world player is formed to build these in Britain to supply the world, we will miss the opportunity (of course, unless conditions are right, a British owned company may not build here).

Incidentally, is building wind turbines the answer to supplying green energy? What is the life of a wind turbine?

I can see a logistical nightmare developing in the future on a gigantic scale when these turbines come near to the end of their life and thousands of small generating sites are breaking down more and more, needing vast resources to keep them going instead of only the resources required to keep the four or five nuclear power stations running that would produce the same amount of green energy.

From: R Hanson, Swallow Lane, Golcar, Huddersfield.

From: Godfrey Bloom, UKIP MEP for Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire,

Main Street, Wressle, Selby.

MAY I correct your misleading headline suggesting all parties support the wind turbine plan (Yorkshire Post, May 1).

UKIP do not support the manufacture, subsidy or installation of these

ridiculous, monstrous, white elephants. Real jobs yes, wind turbines no.

Why I didn't use my right to vote

From: Christopher Brook, Queen Victoria Road, Totley, Sheffield.

I RETURNED my ballot paper to the acting returning officer at Sheffield City Council incomplete, and without having exercised my right to vote.

Why? I did so with extreme reluctance and a sense of slight self-disgust, if only because I am well aware that previous generations have seen men and women sacrifice their lives in order to secure this right to vote for me (Duncan Hamilton, Yorkshire Post, April 24).

The reason I returned it is because I am convinced that in the current stagnant constitutional and political climate my vote is worthless and would not have had any influence on the drastic changes that need to be made to resolve the complete mess that has been brought about in this nation over the last 20 years by inept government.

None of the three major parties adequately addressed the gravity of the situation the United Kingdom faces during the election campaign.

The sense of slight self-disgust I refer to is minimal when compared to the complete disgust I hold for the present crop of politicians. Nothing short of radically reforming the stagnant and self-serving political, economic and media system, and the contempt this system and those within it show for the electorate, will even begin to achieve a situation where the country can begin to get back on its feet.

Taxing times for pensioners

From: Bob Crowther, High Street, Crigglestone, Wakefield.

THE letter from Tom Howley (Yorkshire Post, May 3) stating that pensioners have been "looked after" by Gordon Brown over the past 10 years is, in my opinion, a non-starter.

Who was it that siphoned millions of pounds from pension funds a few years ago in order to boost Government spending?

We are one of the highest-taxed countries in the EU and, as a pensioner, I have worked and saved all my life in order that my wife and I could spend our retirement in relative comfort and security. We have seen, over the past few years, our savings being de-valued due to interest rates being at rock bottom. Okay, we have witnessed global downturn, but it has not been helped by Government policy and mismanagement.

Because we have saved a little during our working lives, pensioners who, due to their thrift, find that they cannot claim the much proclaimed "allowances" such as community tax relief and find that we are having to pay full fees amounting to thousands of pounds per year for residential care.

We were taxed on our earnings, when in employment, we are now taxed on our pension receipts and are taxed on our savings. We depended upon our interest to pay household bills, but many of us are now draining our savings in order to compensate for almost non-existent interest rates.

A fine reward for a contribution of 60 years hard graft, I don't think so.

From: Evelyn Wilkinson, High Street, Dunsville, Doncaster.

GORDON Brown was making much of the benefits that he has meted out to senior citizens in the shape of winter fuel payments and free travel.

I do not deny that these are welcome to supplement our pitiful state pension. However, my husband and I have worked hard throughout our lives, aimed to be responsible and provide for our old age.

We have downsized our home and car and as a result we were able to invest some of the money to supplement our pension. We all know what happened to interest rates and so we took some of the money out and invested in premium bonds. We were astonished on winning a small prize recently, but instead of the expected 50 we received 25. The prize money has been slashed and although we knew that it was a chancy investment, we were quite unaware that the prizes had been so deviously cut.

The present economic situation has hit people who rely on interest rates to give them a reasonable income in times when fuel, water bills, council tax and other things are more expensive. Perhaps Labour will be a bit more open in future.

No to Hunting Act repeal

From: Patricia Tricker, Bedale, North Yorkshire.

HUNTING wildlife for recreation, with packs of hounds, was introduced by the ruling lite after the Norman Conquest of 1066 and has always caused strife between pro and anti-hunters. There has been violence and, tragically, even human deaths. The Hunting Act 2004 offered hope that this conflict could be ended: hunting was allowed much as before but hounds were forced to hunt humane alternatives to live quarry.

Hounds could meet, supporters could dress up in finery and cross-country gallops could continue, with only the kill being absent. It seemed the perfect compromise: not a ban on hounds, horses or hunting but a ban on killing for fun, a ban founded on compassion not class.

With cruelty removed, increasing numbers have taken to hunting. But the compromise has proved fragile: in the privacy of the country-side

hunters can do as they like and some have flouted the new law. Politicians with wisdom and compassion are now needed to advance the process. Amendments to the Hunting Act to help our police keep hunting legal are needed. This would benefit most who hunt and all country dwellers. Repealing the Act would be a disaster.

Dangerous complacency in Trident debate

From: Michael Breheny, Greenthorpe Mount, Leeds.

IN reply to Richard D Gledhill (Yorkshire Post, April 24) the Lib Dem policy of not replacing Trident with like-for-like submarines and Trident ballistic missiles, is dangerous and could one day put this country in the greatest peril.

The Ministry of Defence which has a vast, inside expert knowledge of this subject, has concluded if Britain is to have a replacement, it must be a like-for-like Trident (Trident White Paper, cm6994 which can be viewed on the internet).

It concluded that the other options are dangerously ineffective and to opt for those is effectively to have unilateral disarmament.

While it is true Russia has agreed to a one-third reduction of its nuclear forces, it will still have a huge nuclear arsenal, which could potentially pose a grave threat to this country in coming decades, which only Trident with its missiles could effectively deter.

Also, both Russia and China are upgrading their nuclear forces with new nuclear weapons for the long-term. While both countries are not a real threat to this country now, what happens if events move alarmingly against us in the future and one or both countries become very hostile to us, equipped with nuclear weapons as they will be, and so pose a grave nuclear threat to this country?

In that case, only a 100 per cent effective deterrent, which is invulnerable to detection and whose missiles can penetrate any anti-missile system, might become vital to saving us from nuclear attack or blackmail.

Cruise missiles have a much shorter range than the Trident ballistic missiles, and so the area of sea in which submarines can hide Cruise is much less and so are easily detected, unlike Trident submarines whose much longer-range missiles mean they can hide in a vast area and cannot be detected.

Also, ballistic missiles equipped with multiple warheads, as is the Trident missile, are supersonic and travel at such tremendous speed they are impossible to intercept in large numbers, unlike the slow- moving Cruise which can now be shot down by the Russian S300 anti-missile system.

The Lib Dems show a dangerous complacency in regard to our security and are not to be trusted on such a vital subject as defence.

Let's stick with sterling

From: Dennis Whitaker, Baildon, Shipley.

GORDON Brown and, more recently, Nick Clegg have both said that when the time is right, they would join the euro.

Whether your currency attracts "junk" or "triple A" status, the euro is a "straitjacket". In Great Britain, we use sterling and long may it remain so.

Humble pie

From: John Gordon, Whitcliffe Lane, Ripon.

MY guess is that all politicians hate asking the public for their vote. Running the country is bound to give you the feeling that you are superior to other people and when the election comes you have to dig out your reserves of humility.

Recent events have shown that Gordon Brown finds it difficult to do humility. Even when he is a penitent sinner, he seems to find it enormously funny.

Case for defence

From: Lester May, Camden Town, London.

NICK Clegg says he is not prepared to listen to General Lord Guthrie, a former chief of the defence staff, and launched a crude and scathing attack on him. Yet he listens to Paddy Ashdown, who resigned as a captain decades ago.

Were he to be Prime Minister, Nick Clegg would be de facto commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces. If he is fit for high office, why is he not prepared to listen to defence and security experts?

Crass ignorance

From: Mary Hellawell, Cross Lane, Scarborough.

WHOEVER compiled the list for the Pope's visit in the Civil Service Foreign Office should be made to apologise to the Pope and the Catholic Church in writing (Yorkshire Post, April 26).

If this is an example of the calibre of civil servants, exhibiting crass ignorance and lack of intelligence, there is no wonder our country and government are in the mess we have.