Shooting cash will help towards maintaining Ilkley Moor

From: Michael Booth, The Birches, Bramhope.

I GET more than a little irritated when I read letters from such correspondents as Ms Learmont-Thom (Yorkshire Post, June 25) criticising people whose interests are different to their own, and about which they apparently know nothing.

She bemoans the fact that Bradford Council are proposing to let the moor for shooting on a very few days a year in order to generate funds for the moors' upkeep and maintenance.

She is disgusted that some people have nothing better to do with their time and money other than to shoot animals without regard for people such as herself who wish to enjoy the peace and quiet. Perhaps somebody should tell her that the very moors she walks over cost money to maintain, and that is the purpose of the council's idea.

Various shooting associations, such as the British Association for Shooting and Conservation. contribute very considerable sums of money and effort each year towards the upkeep and conservation of the very countryside that she purports to love. What does she, a walker contribute – nothing.

She goes on to say how much care she exercises to ensure that her dogs do not disturb the flora and fauna when running on the moor. How on earth she ensures that her dogs do not disturb nesting birds or birds and animals with young, which remain invisible to the average walker under the bracken, heather etc only five yards distant is beyond me.

May I suggest that Ms Learmont-Thom accepts that there are people who have different likes and dislikes to herself, forgoes the handful of proposed shooting days and continues to enjoy the moor for the rest of the year.

I am sure a contribution towards its upkeep would be graciously received by the council.

From: JH Hawkesworth,

Ben Rhydding.

EVE Learmont-Thom is entitled to express her views about grouse shooting on Ilkley Moor. In the final paragraph of her letter she did, however, repeat an inaccuracy that seems to run through the correspondence of those opposing the re-introduction of shooting on the Moor.

Ilkley Moor was not "gifted to the public" in 1893. It was, in fact, purchased then, along with the manorial rights from the Middleton family by the then newly formed Ilkley Urban District Council.

The Moor continued to be used for shooting until 1997 when the lease of the shooting rights was not renewed by Bradford Council, the successors of Ilkley Urban District Council.

I have lived within sight of the moor since 1949, and know that shooting took place from then right up to 1997.

Mean-spirited criticism of Mandela

From: Brian Sheridan, Redmires Road, Sheffield.

NOT even Nelson Mandela should be beyond reproach but the criticism by Bernard Ingham (Yorkshire Post, June 25) and one or two of your recent letter-writers is mean-spirited and misguided.

There was no evidence that Mandela's

silence over Zimbabwe was a tacit acceptance

of Robert Mugabe's catastrophic regime: he

is reported to have no time for the obsessed tyrant.

He has been retired for some time and, unlike lesser leaders who lack the political integrity to hand over the reins totally, he has clearly made an unwritten pledge not to undermine the Mbeki administration. It is not his fault that his craven successor has been such a disappointment.

There has been a unity and consistency about Mandela's devotion to his own homeland. It is churlish and nit-picking to seek to devalue his legacy by challenging him over matters which are almost certainly beyond his control.

After all, the man is 90 years of age.

Misplaced comment

From: Linda McAvan, Labour Member of the European Parliament.

YOUR Editorial "Public protection" (Yorkshire Post, June 18) suggests that the Government is being

prevented from tightening

bail laws because of European Union law. This simply is not true.

As your own news pages make clear, the Government's concerns are the result of a decision of the European

Court of Human Rights –

which is nothing to do with the EU.

The Convention on Human Rights and associated court in Strasbourg are institutions

of the Council of Europe, which is an entirely separate organisation from the European Union.

Indeed, Britain has been a signatory to the Convention since 1950, long before joining the EU. The Convention and Court were established in the aftermath of the human rights atrocities of the Second World War, with much of the groundwork for their creation coming from the work of British lawyers.

Your comment about the Government's "abdication" of rights to Brussels is, therefore, misplaced.

Warm plea

From: John Watson, Hutton Hill, Leyburn.

ONLY recently, one so-called expert was predicting a scorching summer and the environmentalist lobby were frightening us all to death with the consequences of global warming.

As far as I am concerned at the moment, a little global warming would be most welcome.Taking issue with NHS executive pay

From: Michael Stephen Mycroft, Wilton, Pickering.

REGARDING executives at York Hospitals NHS Foundation trust receiving pay rises of up to 22 per cent (Yorkshire Post, June 26), I'd like to take issue with the statement of trust chairman, Professor Alan Maynard, who is a health economist at York University.

He said that an external review being carried out into the board executive pay at the organisation found salaries were "considerably out of line" with comparable trusts.

I think that this gives rise to several issues:

1. "Out of line" could be that the York Trust is in line and the other trusts are the ones that are out of line, and therefore it is the latter that should be reined in, rather than upping the matter.

2. " Out of line" could also mean eroding the differentials, a term used by the unions in the last quarter of the last century for inflationary pay rises, and we all know what that means.

I get particularly perturbed when I hear and see academics running the show, because most of them do not have a clue what is going on at grass roots level, and common sense goes completely out of the window with a knock-on effect that all micro and macro economic models fail miserably, and it's the man in the street who picks up the tab.

Age old questions

From: David Tankard, Birkdale Avenue, Knaresborough.

YOUR correspondent Mark Gregory (Letters, Yorkshire Post, June 25) answered questions that have been bugging me for years.

When I worked in the electricity supply industry, the consensus view seemed to be that conventional power stations could recover their building costs, both financial and energy, in a few years. Nuclear power took a few more years, and wind power never could.

Later, as cabinet member for planning on Harrogate Council I asked the same questions.

A spokesman for the Government Office for Yorkshire and the Humber responded that the question was irrelevant, as it had been decreed by Government that wind power was needed.

The manufacturers of wind turbines weren't interested in the questions, presumably as they received a subsidy for building them, and I never received an answer.

Mark Gregory claims it takes only a few months, perhaps only a few weeks.

Why then does wind power need a subsidy if they represent such a phenomenal return on capital?

And as Phil Willis asked in Thursday's Yorkshire Post, how do we connect them to the grid, and avoid the catastrophic instabilities that have hit America in the past, and came close to affecting this country earlier this year, without incurring tremendous capital costs as a result?

Bring troops home

From: David W Wright, Little Lane, Easingwold.

THE deaths of still further UK troops in Afghanistan bring home the reality and futility of this phoney war.

We have been told by these phoney politicians that we are restoring democracy to this region and helping to rebuild their economy etc – but why? It is not our, or Nato's responsibility, to prop up Iraq and Afghanistan but surely the neighbouring Muslim states who presumably understand the culture, religion and politics of this region.

The Russians failed to make any impression on this area with their thousands of troops and we should also leave these two countries immediately to sort out their own problems before we lose more precious lives of our forces.

ID card database is a threat to our civil liberties

From: John Marsh, West Close, Carleton, Pontefract.

GORDON Brown's claim that the ID card and database state protects our civil liberties smacks of Orwellian double-speak, ie protect means "control".

The "nothing to hide, nothing to fear" brigade are both naive and complacent. The blueprint for the scheme has been in place well before the so-called war on terror.

The ID card is not a harmless piece of plastic designed to "make life easier" (double-speak "impossible to function without it").

As always, the devil is in the detail. The card being bio-metric, with more than 50 categories of sensitive material, is linked to a huge database with an audit trail of all checks on the National Identity Register (NIR) that can be accessed by thousands of civil servants and other "Government -approved" bodies.

On closer scrutiny, it becomes clear that the purpose of this scheme is surveillance, with the state owning and controlling our identities, while reducing its own accountability to the citizen.

The citizen will have no say in who can access their data. The Government has already considered selling our details to private companies in order to help fund the scheme.

The scheme is wide open to corruption, no matter how robust the safeguards. Are we to believe that the integrity of such a complicated system will remain intact each moment of the day for all the years to come?

The Government's record of safeguarding sensitive material is a disaster. To rely upon a single ID source imperils our privacy, creating greater opportunities for data theft.

What contingencies are in place for a system breakdown or bio-metric mismatches? The fiasco with the micro-chipped wheelie-bin trial only hints at the potential chaos that would result with such an occurrence. To make life reliant upon such a system is folly. I strongly advise every citizen not to co-operate with this dangerous and sinister initiative and demand the scheme be scrapped.

I feel most strongly that the power of the state is gathering momentum by eroding our basic freedoms and privacy through anti-terror legislation and exploiting public fear, creating a climate of suspicion and doubt. We must not allow its machinations to advance, for all our sakes.

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