June 17: Emails are better than no mail at all

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From: John G Davies, Alma Terrace, East Morton, Keighley.

I THINK that Father McNicholas (The Yorkshire Post, June 12) is being far too negative in his views of electronic communication and exaggerates the benefits of letter writing.

Clearly, computers and mobiles have changed the communication process. I would suggest that far more people write daily and consequently have to read as well, even if they “spit and grunt in digital shorthand”. Is this any worse than a formal letter beginning “re. your article of the 9th, inst.”? As a writer, he must be aware the correct form for a given context.

Any writing and spelling requires thought, be it for a text or letter, as does the composition of the missive; creating a “tweet” requires creative thought. In my opinion that has to be good, as too is rattling off a quick text message while waiting for a bus.

I am writing this letter on a computer, this allows me to rephrase and restructure arguments in a way that I never could with pen and paper without a great deal of effort. It even corrects my spelling and grammar, which is a real bonus when writing in a foreign language. By and large, electronic communication has enabled us to communicate more rapidly and effectively. While caring for a grieving relative who could not bear to have me around for more than a short period, I found texting invaluable, it was much less intrusive.

For many people I’m not sure that there was ever an Art of Conversation to be replaced, but that’s another story.

One area that I do miss is the rattle of the letter box, the ‘plop’ of a letter on the mat, tearing open the envelope and unfolding the pages. It definitely beats the ping of an incoming email.

From: Hugh Rogers, Messingham Road, Ashby.

WHEN storms are threatened or promised, we worry about our houses, the roads, the rivers, schools, trains, electricity pylons, the plants in the garden or even the stupid washing on the stupid line – anything save the plight of a group of men and women who serve us faithfully day in and day out, come rain or shine.

Having served as a postman for a number of years, I know that even today, when posties ride out to their “walks” not on creaking PO bikes, but in comfy vans, the prospect (as was forecast recently) of a day of storms and torrential rain can’t half daunt the staunchest postie heart.

Getting cold at Christmas, soaked to the skin and striving above all else to keep the post – your post – dry in bags which are allegedly waterproof but which in reality are anything but, the postie’s lot is, I can assure you, decidedly not a happy one.

So don’t have a go at him if he arrives late, don’t moan at getting a load of junk mail (he doesn’t want to deliver it any more than you want to receive it), offer him shelter from the worst downpours and a nice hot cuppa to go with it.

Remember that if he gets cold and soaked on Monday, there is every likelihood that it will happen to him again on Tuesday. It’s not a job which, I suspect most cosy customers would want to do, but many would miss the post if it wasn’t delivered.

Station row misses point

From: Arthur Quarmby, Underhill, Holme.

REGARDING the squabble over where Sheffield’s HS2 station should be located, we really should not be taken in with this sleight-of-hand; London would gain all the benefit from HS2 which would suck the enterprise and wealth out of the North.

If in doubt, look at the French high-speed train which runs from Paris down to Marseilles. When proposed, the transfer of prosperity to Marseilles was absolutely guaranteed. What actually happened was that Marseilles lost most of its enterprise to Paris.

Government is promising to devolve power to the North but what is appearing is just more of the same bureaucratic imperialism which has been imposed on Northern communities at 40 year intervals over the past century.

As for high speed trains, given a choice (if only!) we would choose, of course, the East-West HS3 across the Pennines.

Why are jails so costly?

From: Nigel F Boddy, Fife Road, Darlington.

AS the Government seeks to make further massive savings from the Ministry of Justice budget, why does a place in prison cost so much? Why do we still have 43 county constabularies in England and Wales when the Scots amalgamated seven police forces into one? Is it perhaps something to do with the opportunities for promotion?

Europhile PM won’t listen

From: Les Arnott, Sheffield.

MR Marston (The Yorkshire Post, June 12) seems to believe that David Cameron is interested in what voters think and could, therefore, plan accordingly. I am sure that I do not need to explain the fundamental error in this thought process.

Mr Cameron is a sold-out europhile who is busy working on his calculated scam with smoke and mirrors. Acquis Communautaire guarantees that no meaningful changes are possible. Listen too to what senior EU officials are saying – precisely that!