From: Martin Deane, Hull and East Riding Green Party.
MY deepest condolences to the people and government of Cuba on the passing of Fidel Castro at 90 (The Yorkshire Post, November 18).
Since leading the Cuban revolution in 1959, Fidel Castro kept his promises in the face of a hostile neighbour determined to quash the modest aspirations of the little island of Cuba. The people of Cuba gave him their support through the leanest of times. He kept them safe, he kept them fed. He gave them what he could and produced an egalitarian state, an enviable sense of community, and an honest pride. It’s the end of an astonishingly robust era when one little island stood against the powers of coercive capitalism, and won.
The news blithely paints him as a communist dictator, but millions around the world and those who have had the privilege of visiting Cuba know otherwise.
The Revolution changed the face of the island. Cubans live longer than Americans, more children live to adulthood than in the capital of the richest country on Earth and they have more doctors per capita then anywhere on the planet.
Tonight, around the world, over three million children will sleep in the streets – not one of them will live in Cuba.
Castro turned Cuba around from being a corrupt dictatorship under Batista. It is saddening, but not surprising, the amount of vitriol he is receiving from official enemies in some western countries even before he is laid to rest
For all his faults and the questionable nature of elements of Cuban “socialism”, the left mourns the loss of Fidel Castro. He was an inspiration to many.
From: Aled Jones, Southcliffe Road, Bridlington.
I’M ashamed that Jeremy Corbyn could pay a public tribute to Fidel Castro, calling the deceased dictator a champion of social justice. His lack of concern towards the victims of Cuban Communism is shocking and unbecoming of a politician who wants to be Great Britain’s next prime minister. Has he no respect?
Costs of role as councillor
From: Coun Tim Mickleburgh (Lab), Boulevard Avenue, Grimsby.
AS a current member of a local authority, I read with interest the letter (The Yorkshire Post, November 25) saying that councillors should no longer be on the pay roll.
This situation of course used to apply, but to the detriment of many working people who couldn’t afford to lose hours at work in order to serve the community. So over the years a system of expenses was adopted so that the opportunity to become a councillor was open to all.
Thanks to the development of larger authorities, more travel was also involved. No longer (for instance) could individuals simply walk to their local town hall, a journey was needed. Obviously, therefore, elected representatives required compensating for this.
The biggest change, however, has been the fact that more meetings are held in the day. Thus rather than work out individual rates based on meeting attendances, councillors are simply given an allowance to compensate them for the fact that they would find it harder to find paid work outside their council role. For me this works out at around £8,000 a year, approximately the same level as Pension Credit or two thirds of the National Living Wage.
Of course you could go back to having all meetings held in the evening. But this would mean councillors finding it harder to attend non-council community meetings, and make it more difficult for those with children who currently can attend daytime meetings while their children are at school.
Personally, I’m glad that I am available to liaise with residents and council officials during the day, especially given that many do not like going out at night.
Thatcher’s threat to NHS
From: ME Wright, Harrogate.
THOUGH never an unquestioning, dewy-eyed Thatcher fan, I was astonished to read the extent of her malevolent ambitions (The Yorkshire Post, November 25).
Had she been given free rein, dismemberment of the NHS and other cornerstones of a civilised nation would have reduced Britain to the 51st state of America, in all but name. Belated thanks to those who, for whatever reason, managed to shorten her leash.
There are some who still worship her as the patron saint of self-interest and snobbery. When she left us to take up residence in the tax haven of eternity, I tutted as others sang “Ding dong, the witch is dead”. Please allow me to withdraw my tuts.
Christmas chart battle
From: Michael Stott, Knoll Close, Ossett, West Yorkshire.
I READ with dismay your report of an online campaign to hoist Sir Terry Wogan’s Floral Dance to the summit of the Christmas chart with the all important soubriquet of ‘charity single‘ labelled around it.
With the benefit of mass TV coverage, it performed no better than modestly when originally released in 1978. Far better to let the popular host rest in peace.
Just as embarrassing is the prospect of a gaggle of comedians, celebrities of dubious status and a man not too proud to plug his contribution on the very establishment that he is currently suing – Sir Cliff Richard – all jostling for the same coveted honour.
The current rock ‘n’ roll album, from which Cliff’s contribution is taken, plumbs the depths of an ailing career and is the equivalent of ‘dad dancing’.
If such releases are essential, make it a level playing field for all by just releasing them and let them stand on their own two feet.