Saturday's Letters: How the 'right-to-buy' divided our housing

I AM writing regarding Denis MacShane's piece on social housing (Yorkshire Post, August 10). May I suggest that the "right to buy" was the most divisive social engineering tool used by a government?

It has, in essence, made fools of a once proud people by encouraging the grossly over-generalised equation of property "ownership" with class mobility. Furthermore, large-scale property ownership, and the credit it facilitates, has resulted in a sham economy and false prosperity in the wake of declining industry and a failing welfare state.

The effects of the privatisation of social housing and the mass sale of council houses can be seen in many urban areas of Yorkshire. A points-based system of allocation means that whole estates of privately owned Housing Association property are filled with people who have priority needs. They become, in all but name, social ghettos.

Mr Cameron's suggestion of fixed-term tenancies for council houses simply encourages this trend. Once housing complexes were formed around industries (coal, steel, factories and mills). Now houses are built in de-industrialised areas so that people can commute to other areas and the relationship between community and occupation no longer exists.

Dr MacShane writes of the lack of prospects for future generations to secure suitable accommodation. However, one must not forget that the young have grown up with the assumption that owning property is a pre-requisite for a successful life. Successive governments have, with media assistance, almost criminalised and belittled tenants in social housing. Tenancy itself is regarded as a socially inadequate state. Again, Mr Cameron's idea of a 15-year maximum tenancy flies in the face of Conservative assumptions that the prospect of permanence and legacy will make people take pride in their accommodation.

I know some people may argue that the "right to buy" is founded on a principle of fairness, that you have paid so much toward this house, you have the right to buy it. However, the scheme has been deliberately and systematically mis-sold through the false connotations between property ownership and class mobility. I would like to thank Dr

MacShane for writing such a sensible and relevant article.

From: Ian Laidlaw Wilson, Wharfebank Terrace, Tadcaster.

Unearthing the history of potteries

From: Tony Lonton, Brathay Fell, Clappersgate, Ambleside, Cumbria.

ANY excavation of a pottery site, such as the Brown Moor pottery at Lazencroft (Yorkshire Post, July 17), has archaeological and, more importantly, ceramic history components.

The enthusiasm and hard work of the Leeds Archaeology Fieldwork Society resulted in the skilful excavation of one of the Brown Moor kilns and the finding of shards which they carefully pieced together to form some superb pots.

However, there are no experienced ceramic historians in the group. I

joined them in October 2007, and helped them sporadically for several months on a nearby dig at Lazencroft Manor, which they then thought to be the site of the pottery.

In my own time, I began an intense independent study of the relevant ceramic literature and of the Yorkshire archives which related to William Gough's Brown Moor pottery and his previous pottery at Midhopestones.

I discovered the real site of the pottery, at Lazencroft kennels and the Leeds archaeology group asked me to write an article on the pottery, which they published in March 2008.

I also unearthed the names of 19 of the potters who worked there and gave this and other important information to the group.

Three issues raised in the article need clarification:

n The statement that only five other sites are known to have produced slipwares in England is a gross underestimate. In her book, Yorkshire Pots and Potteries, the late Heather Lawrence listed 27 potteries that were producing country wares in Yorkshire between 1650 and 1770, and many, if not most of these would have made slipwares. There were dozens of slipware producers in the potteries and elsewhere in the country.

n Samuel Malkin, born in 1711 in Burslem, and his brother Thomas born in 1715, appear in the list of Brown Moor potters, that I gave to the archaeology group in 2008. Both were sons of the mould maker, Samuel Malkin of Burslem, whose family is the subject of a large number of studies. The Brown Moor shards clearly show that Samuel continued to make hump-shaped moulds decorated in the Malkin style. Importantly, at least three other Brown Moor potters, namely Cornelius Toft and his son Cornelius, and John Shaw came from well-known potting families from the Stoke on Trent area.

n The Brown Moor pottery was in production from 1736, till c1777, by which time it could not compete with the larger Yorkshire potteries.

A valuable journey

From: Heather Causnett, Escrick Park Gardens, Escrick, York.

MAY I be among the first to congratulate the brave Baxter brothers, Tom and Mike, and Fergal the donkey, of course, on their proposed trek from Liverpool to Hull, depending for sustenance on the simple kindness of people they meet (Yorkshire Post, August 11).

Well, at least they are unlikely to be targets for muggers and the

like! I know what they mean about the change in our society, where people can no longer feel safe, even in their own homes, but I do feel that for every violent and unpleasant person there must be a hundred people who still are kindly disposed to others, and I hope that Tom and Mike meet up with plenty of the latter type.

Yes, Fergal should be an ice-breaker – surely not many people can help but love such a dear little animal. I look forward to being kept up to date with Tom and Mike's adventures en route so will look out for news in the Yorkshire Post. I wish all three of them all the luck they will certainly need on this trip and hope they will not go short of food, drink and the occasional bed (and lawn) for the night.

Fears over bovine TB

From: John Gordon, Whitcliffe Lane, Ripon, North Yorkshire.

YOUR photograph of the magnificent bull which is to be culled because of an alleged contact with a cow with bovine TB (Yorkshire Post, August 7) put me in mind of a conversation I had with one of the most respected veterinarians of his generation.

He claimed that farmers were unnecessarily afraid of the contact with badgers spreading the disease and that the mass cull of all the badgers in the land was criminal. I hope the farming community has reliable

evidence that would justify the death of the animal featured in the Yorkshire Post.From: Tony Lonton, Brathay Fell, Clappersgate,

Ambleside, Cumbria.

ANY excavation of a pottery site, such as the Brown Moor pottery at Lazencroft (Yorkshire Post, July 17), has archaeological and, more importantly, ceramic history components.

The enthusiasm and hard work of the Leeds Archaeology Fieldwork Society resulted in the skilful excavation of one of the Brown Moor kilns and the finding of shards which they carefully pieced together to form some superb pots.

However, there are no experienced ceramic historians in the group. I

joined them in October 2007, and helped them sporadically for several months on a nearby dig at Lazencroft Manor, which they then thought to be the site of the pottery.

In my own time, I began an intense independent study of the relevant ceramic literature and of the Yorkshire archives which related to William Gough's Brown Moor pottery and his previous pottery at Midhopestones.

I discovered the real site of the pottery, at Lazencroft kennels and the Leeds archaeology group asked me to write an article on the pottery, which they published in March 2008.

I also unearthed the names of 19 of the potters who worked there and gave this and other important information to the group.

Three issues raised in the article need clarification:

n The statement that only five other sites are known to have produced slipwares in England is a gross underestimate. In her book, Yorkshire Pots and Potteries, the late Heather Lawrence listed 27 potteries that were producing country wares in Yorkshire between 1650 and 1770, and many, if not most of these would have made slipwares. There were dozens of slipware producers in the potteries and elsewhere in the country.

n Samuel Malkin, born in 1711 in Burslem, and his brother Thomas born in 1715, appear in the list of Brown Moor potters, that I gave to the archaeology group in 2008. Both were sons of the mould maker, Samuel Malkin of Burslem, whose family is the subject of a large number of studies. The Brown Moor shards clearly show that Samuel continued to make hump-shaped moulds decorated in the Malkin style. Importantly, at least three other Brown Moor potters, namely Cornelius Toft and his son Cornelius, and John Shaw came from well-known potting families from the Stoke on Trent area.

n The Brown Moor pottery was in production from 736, till c1777, by which time it could not compete with the larger Yorkshire potteries.

A valuable journey

From: Heather Causnett, Escrick Park Gardens, Escrick, York.

MAY I be among the first to congratulate the brave Baxter brothers, Tom and Mike, and Fergal the donkey, of course, on their proposed trek from Liverpool to Hull, depending for sustenance on the simple kindness of people they meet (Yorkshire Post, August 11).

Well, at least they are unlikely to be targets for muggers and the like! I know what they mean about the change in our society, where people can no longer feel safe, even in their own homes, but I do feel that for every violent and unpleasant person there must be a hundred people who still are kindly disposed to others, and I hope that Tom and Mike meet up with plenty of the latter type.

Yes, Fergal should be an ice-breaker – surely not many people can help but love such a dear little animal. I look forward to being kept up to date with Tom and Mike's adventures en route so will look out for news in the Yorkshire Post. I wish all three of them all the luck they will certainly need on this trip and hope they will not go short of food, drink and the occasional bed (and lawn) for the night.

Fears over bovine TB

From: John Gordon, Whitcliffe Lane, Ripon, North Yorkshire.

YOUR photograph of the magnificent bull which is to be culled because of an alleged contact with a cow with bovine TB (Yorkshire Post, August 7) put me in mind of a conversation I had with one of the most respected veterinarians of his generation.

He claimed that farmers were unnecessarily afraid of the contact with badgers spreading the disease and that the mass cull of all the badgers in the land was criminal. I hope the farming community has reliable

evidence that would justify the death of the animal featured in the Yorkshire Post.

Tactics to halt the decline of binge-drinking Britain

From: John Fisher, Mount Bark Farm, Menwith Hill, Harrogate.

THE efforts by the Government to control binge drinking and the consumption of alcohol in general demonstrates how the standard of behaviour in our city centres has declined.

From the age of 18, I lived with my parents in Quarry Hill, Leeds and along with my friends spent many hours drinking in the city's public houses and going to dances at various venues. Throughout that time, I never witnessed the drunken behaviour, particularly by women, that is now a regular occurrence in many city centres.

The main difference is that the pubs in those days had a wide age range of customers and landlords who enforced a code of behaviour.

The pubs received regular visits by the police at peak times and senior police officers were capable of opposing the licence of any badly run premises. The moment the Leeds city centre night life was marketed to young people was when violence and bad behaviour began.

Any Leeds taxi driver who worked throughout the 1970s and 1980s could probably identify the years when the night life in Leeds became increasingly subject to alcohol-fuelled violence and misconduct.

Unfortunately, we cannot turn back the clock but it would help if the police and local authorities enforced the laws available to them instead of the Government inventing new laws which add more confusion.

The rigorous law enforcement on all licensed premises and off licences which encourage binge drinking could, over time, have an impact on the present problem. Instead of increasing the cost of all alcohol, it would be more sensible to drastically reduce the tax on moderate alcoholic draught beer which is unavailable to young people on the street and which could give the traditional pub a boost.

Labour had the right policies

From: Terry Palmer, South Lea Avenue, Hoyland, Barnsley.

MORE good news to upset the "blue rinse" brigade with the announcement that jobless benefit claimants fell last month (Yorkshire Post, August 11) and employment rose by the largest numbers since 1989 in the three months to June.

The number of people out of work fell by 49,000 in the three months

which was the biggest fall for three years. This obviously means that New Labour had got the right policies all along because Tory leader, "posh" Dave and his sidekick "joker" Nick came into office in May and haven't yet done a thing apart from talk about massive job cuts to come, including many millions in the public sector alone, along with even slashing children's playground funding and yet again

threatening "snatching" milk .

Cash in hand

From: Roger Haw, Old Manor Drive, Oxspring, Sheffield.

OF course, Bernard Ingham is correct in putting Mrs Thatcher as the best post war Prime Minister (Yorkshire Post, August 11). She gave the country exactly what was required at the time, resolute leadership and firm decisive government to lift us out of the mess that we were in.

I am approaching my 65th birthday and I received an average salary during her administration but I have never been as well off as then. No administration either before or since has allowed me to keep as high a percentage of my earnings and spend it exactly how I wished.

Prison perks

From: Rita Brook, Green Lane, Lofthouse, Wakefield.

THERE appears to be a certain element of the population who, having recently been released from prison, will re-offend to enable themselves to get back "inside". Why?

Well, look at the perks. A warm, secure environment, three meals a day and no responsibilities. No wonder Dandar Akyar, a bomb hoaxer jailed in Sheffield, gave the thumbs up after sentencing (Yorkshire Post, August 10). What a drain on the public purse.

Unlucky number

From: Richard Appleyard, Lingfield Close, Saxilby, Near Lincoln.

NOWADAYS, if you look for the house number 13 on the new developments of houses, you might not find it.

Some councils throughout the country have put the house number 15 next door to number 11, on the odd number side of the road on new housing developments, because they are so superstitious.

It is so silly to ban a number just for superstitious reasons.