Lessons from modern Germany

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From: John Gordon, Whitcliffe Lane, Ripon.

THE letter about Germans and Germany from Jennifer Hunter (Yorkshire Post, November 24) needs answering.

First of all, the language. German has an inflected grammar, it is true, but it is no more rebarbative than any other Indo-European language and leads to a rich store of literature that makes any effort thoroughly worthwhile.

As to the pronunciation, I have found that children find it much easier than French. As to the country, we are bound to be biased because we have lived through the years when Germans were our enemies.

I hope that both sides have buried the acrimony that was an inevitable result of such hatred.

The Germans are hard working but so are we, or we would not have been able to make the effort that won us the war. As to the reference to German education, it is good because the parents push their children. Our children may be doing media studies and why not? It’s the future of technology. Besides, we do a hundred and one other subjects; the writer should take a look at the GCSE results in her local paper.

From: James Bovington, Church Grove, Horsforth, Leeds.

I’M not really sure what the message is from correspondent David Rhodes of York (Yorkshire Post, November 26) but I read it as yet another “warning” of impending German economic sovereignty over Europe, as if we should be as frightened of the Germany of 2011 as that of 1941.

If so, this is yet another typical example of Eurosceptic nonsense designed to prevent Britain from fully engaging in the development of our continent.

The Federal Republic of Germany has a faultless record as the driving force of European integration. It is a thoroughly democratic country with a clear division of powers between cities, the regions (German’s Länder) and the national government, and these regions are reluctant to cede power to Berlin let alone immerse rights and freedoms in a European superstate.

German cities have transport systems that we in Britain can only dream of. Hence while we wait for work to begin on a paltry £15m southern entrance to Leeds city station, Stuttgart is actively developing a plan to put its central area rail station entirely underground at a cost of a billion euros so as greatly to improve the environment and functionality of a rejuvenated city centre.

It’s time for people in Britain to develop a mature, positive view of Germany our major trading partner.

From: Kendal Wilson, Wharfebank Terrace, Tadcaster, Leeds.

THERE have been various recent comments claiming Germany is keeping on track with its economy, one rooted in manufacturing.

While I believe we in this country have pursued social engineering through property, education, building a never-ending chain of supermarkets alongside housing, leisure and other outlets for one’s every need, we cast aside the means of production under the guise of not being competitive enough and blamed the workers to boot.

It does now seem we have destroyed almost so much that was industrial capacity and employment potential, something that cannot be replaced. The New Labour administration did nothing to halt that decline, preferring to exhalt the virtues of property ownership that had in reality become unaffordable many years ago; thousands of homes were built that were never sold and no factories nearby – just supermarkets, call centres and financial re-structuring centres!

Messrs Blair and Brown plus the banks were prepared to watch this social engineering catastrophe unfold and so many are now suffering for this. Let us hope that genuine capital projects are now commissioned.

Comedian’s wartime billet

From: Graham Snowdon, Hallam Grange Croft, Sheffield.

HAVING seen with interest your From the Archive photo of comedian Jimmy Edwards (Yorkshire Post, November 26), I am not sure how well known it is that during the war as a young RAF officer he served in Yorkshire and for a time was stationed at RAF Doncaster.

My rather tenuous claim to fame is that during his time there he was billeted in the house that became my boyhood home in Bessacarr, just around the corner from the airfield.

I was unaware of this until I read Jimmy’s autobiography, Six of the Best. He devotes two or three pages to his landlady Mrs Moon “and her two lovely daughters”, and his first night there when he returned home having consumed a great deal of beer and woke up in pitch darkness in the early hours to realise he hadn’t a clue where the light switch or the lavatory were.

My parents bought the house from Mrs Moon in 1948, when I was four, and I lived there until I left home just before my 20th birthday.