Rural areas must use it 
or lose it

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From: Martin Fletcher, Flanders Court, Thorpe Hesley.

I FEEL for the people in Gunnerside but part of it is their own making (The Yorkshire Post, April 19).

As an ex-Londoner who lived in Emley village for over four years, I can point this out. Emley has one pub and a convenience store. Everything else is gone.

The other pub which was closed when I moved there has become about six houses.

If people do not use the local facilities, such as they are, they will go bust and close.

If the pub in Gunnerside closed it is because the locals did not use it and went further afield. No shop because the proprietor could not make a living? Let’s be honest – most people go to a supermarket and get everything at better prices and maybe only have newspapers delivered and buy the odd thing.

The Post Office is another story. This started in the Labour years of power when they decided, no more pension books, get a bank account and have your money paid direct.

In small towns and villages, you need to use the facilities offered or lose them forever.

This affects older people more especially if they have no transport and few bus services. But no one cares. Not your councils and not any government.

From: Jean Dann, Ing Royd, Near Halifax.

I AM writing to express my disagreement with Catherine Scott’s column (The Yorkshire Post, April 9). My husband and I watched Princess Anne on Countryfile and were very impressed with her common sense views on country matters generally, impressed but not surprised since she is obviously very much involved with running her farm and estate.

I love badgers and feel it a privilege to have been able to watch them closely, as they are regular visitors to my brother’s garden in Kent and the idea of a cull greatly disturbs me.

On the other hand, I do know farmers who have suffered losses and much stress over TB in their cattle. Since culling is deemed necessary and is taking place, it seems that better ways than shooting, where an injured animal could suffer a slow agonising death, must be found. It was clear that her feelings come from not wishing to cause more suffering than is necessary. Therefore we would move her up to the top of the column, with her great nephew, and urge people to carry on watching Countryfile and ignore the call to boycott this wide ranging and generally interesting programme.

An education in reality

From: Robert Bottamley, Thorn Road, Hedon, East Yorkshire.

REFERRING to Malcolm Nicholson’s letter (The Yorkshire Post, April 17), expressing hostility towards “scruffy” striking teachers.

Evidently, some teacher showed Mr Nicholson how to compose a letter of complaint, but failed to convey the obligation of a writer to rely on accurate observation and reasoned comment: his attack invited readers to draw a plethora of false conclusions.

First, he implied that outside the classroom, they must somehow be at fault for wearing anything less formal than a suit. Why? Second, he created the impression that the same people would necessarily appear in the classroom dressed poorly. And third, without any evidence, he condemned every one of these teachers as politically motivated, anti-government militants. Remarkably, all of this unsubstantiated claptrap was contained within a first paragraph of just two lines. His three following paragraphs were no longer, but no better.

His letter also reminded us that parents are fined for removing their children from school during term time and recommends that striking teachers should be penalised in the same way. But the penalties incurred by parents are imposed by central government and local authorities, not by teachers.

Furthermore, teachers have a legal right to withdraw their labour. Either your correspondent is unaware of these realities, or deliberately disregards them.

Praise for PM’s faith

From: Karl Sheridan, Selby Road, Holme on Spalding Moor, East Yorkshire.

FAR from condemning David Cameron for voicing his opinion that the UK is a largely Christian-based country, I think he ought to be praised.

The 50 so-called celebs who signed an open letter denying the fact are entitled to their own personal opinion – however, basing their whole argument on one opinion poll is ridiculous because, as we all know, surveys and opinion polls do not canvass the nation as a whole, merely a sample of the population who may deem to take part, and even then the questions can be loaded to give a particular result.

Peter Tatchell’s derogatory comments dismissing the comments of David Cameron and that the concept of the UK still being a Christian country is “old hat” is a foolhardy and glib statement because the vast majority of people follow the Christian ethic whether they have faith or not – in fact the whole system of law and justice in this country has evolved based on the Christian teachings and the Bible.

Full marks to the Government for being brave enough to emphasise our Christian roots, especially now when our culture is under threat by certain other faiths that seem intent on trying to inflict not only their religion but also their backward and barbaric laws into our communities.