Taking knives to school was commonplace

From: Howard Knight, Lyons Street, Sheffield. THERE should be zero tolerance of carrying knives and tough action should be taken against those who do carry them.

I also support targeted interventions, in schools or elsewhere, to identify the minority who do. There is

no excuse.

However, I am sure I am not the only reader who believes that the "gentler time when carrying a knife was unthinkable" (Yorkshire Post, April 16) is a mythological era.

Like every one of my grammar school classmates nearly 50 years ago, I carried a penknife. Some were larger than others and they were not always used just for sharpening pencils.

In fact, on my very first day at the school, I received a detention for "sharpening his penknife on the desk" after I had been caught carving my initials on the old desk in the same way as hundreds of those who had preceded me.

The knife was not confiscated; it went with me to school

each day for many years after.

It would certainly not be tolerated today.

From: Anthony Silson, Whitecote Gardens, Bramley, Leeds.

Like your correspondent,

S Stevens (Yorkshire Post, April 17), I find the past is often viewed through rose-tinted spectacles, but I rather think the issue of children and

knives is an example rather than an exception.

During the 1940s, when I

was a boy, my grandparents gave me a tool with a blade so sharp that a feather-like touch might result in injury. It was a Scout knife.

When I was a pupil at West Leeds Boys' High School, I regularly brought a pen-knife into class, and on one occasion a fellow pupil threatened me with a knife if I again came top in chemistry. I responded by ignoring the threat.

To return to the present.

You report that Sheffield pupils are to be searched for knives. You mention only one definite and one possible knife attack

in South and West Yorkshire schools.

If this a complete list, then there seems to be little justification in thinking the present is worse than the past or in believing the action is justified, especially when the trust of pupils could decline as a result of introducing searches.

Strict control hinders the growth of teenagers into responsible adults; trust may well promote such growth. But once lost, trust is hard to regain.

Stick to moral argument

From: John Garnett, Moorcock Lane, Darley, Harrogate.

I CONFESS to enjoy the odd day grouse shooting. I can fully understand the moral argument for not shooting but I am still surprised at the ignorance of Louise Robertson (Yorkshire Post, April 15).

I particularly enjoyed the comment, "And think of the noise from the endless shooting of guns". A syndicate would be very fortunate to have sufficient surplus of grouse to shoot more than a few days a year; if I was in the syndicate and had six days out a year, I would be very happy. Louise must also be aware of the open-access laws, so to suggest that the public would not be able to enjoy the moor is a nonsense.

Louise would be better sticking to her moral argument.

Buses must be 'dry' zone

From: David Treacher, Wilton Street, Hull.

WHEN passengers travel on a bus I think they do not want disturbing by other passengers who are either intoxicated

or sitting on the bus drinking from cans or bottles, be it beer or spirits.

Intoxicated passengers can accost other passengers or use offensive language in other passengers' hearing or directly to them.

This type of behaviour can make other passengers feel unsafe and fear being attacked. In many cases, it is obvious that some passengers are intoxicated when they get on the bus and should not be allowed on by the driver for the safety of other passengers.

I would urge all bus companies in the country

to adopt a policy of zero tolerance to any intoxicated passenger or drink allowed on buses and make this policy clear to everybody wanting to ride on a bus.

Roundabout puzzle

From: David Cardus, North Lane, Headingley, Leeds

I FIND it quite fascinating in this world of over-zealous health and safety and casualty reduction road safety cameras that when one of the most confusing roundabouts (unless you are a local) in Leeds is resurfaced that the give way markings are not immediately redone.

Imagine my surprise when, after some two weeks, the road markings are re-done, with one exception, namely the much-needed give way markings. How bizarre.

Don't tar all the jobless with the same brush

From: Tim Mickleburgh, Littlefield Lane, Grimsby.

It was good to read David Jones (Yorkshire Post, April 17) sticking up for Eastern European workers.

But at the same time, I can't allow his slur on the British jobless to go unremarked. For, apparently, he got in touch with the local Job Centre, who put him in touch with three unemployed people who did not subsequently turn up for an interview.

According to him therefore, this means "there are 500 people in the area claiming job seekers' allowance that shouldn't be".

Well, your correspondent doesn't state what type of work he was offering, but I am assuming that as it pays "well above the minimum wage" that we are talking about skilled manual work.

Therefore, there will be people on the dole who are incapable of doing this, because they lack the skills or have health-related problems. Which doesn't mean they aren't genuinely jobless, simply that there are lines of work unsuitable for them.

It's the same with most jobs, and why it is wrong to simply quote vacancy figures in a situation like this. Also, I would imagine

from experience that most of the 500 without work

weren't even told about the vacancies.

Thus you shouldn't tar all the jobless with the same brush.

Regulators should have known about banking crisis

From: JW Buckley, Aketon, Pontefract.

THE Chancellor, Alistair Darling, in a well-reported speech, called for an "early warning" system in the wake of the "sub-prime" crisis.

Sub-prime means not the best. In its context, it means "rubbish". Bankers knew what they were dealing with.

Banking is regulated. The regulators should have been aware of this, but they weren't.

What lessons does our Chancellor say he has learned? Firstly, that events in one country impacts on others. Secondly, that national governments need to take action to respond to identified risks. Thirdly, that there needs to be international co-operation.

What hope have we got, when the person in charge of our national finances, needs to learn such lessons. Knowing these things should be a

pre-requisite for anyone seeking public office.

From: David W Wright, Little Lane, Easingwold, North Yorkshire.

I FIND it both laughable but conversely very serious that Gordon Brown and our failed Government should be taking on the role of financial experts in lecturing to the UK's senior bankers and United States bankers to sort out both our own and the world economic problems.

What hope have we of getting any answers to our problems while underqualified politicians pontificate about the complex financial and economic situation when they neither have the basic practical experiences of commerce and industry nor the necessary brain power to deal with leaders of industry or the civil servants who presumably are advising them.


Different planets

From: J Street, Ilkeston Road, Heanor.

WHAT planet does your correspondent Roger M Dobson, (Yorkshire Post, April 14) live on?

He doesn't see why police "don't draw their weapons" to repel what was a lawful demonstration against a country perceived around the world

to have an appalling human rights record.

What weapons does he want the police to draw? Batons? Water cannons? Guns? And when drawn, what does he want them to do with them? This is England, Mr Dobson, not Zimbabwe, not China (remember Tiananmen Square?). What I saw of the policing of the event showed it to be sufficiently robust for me, thank you.

Does he really believe that the "disintegration of law and order in this country" is due to the lack of a brutal police force, putting down such expressions of public opinion? I would suggest there are about 1,001 other reasons.

Noises off

From: Ken Holmes, Cliffe Common, Selby, York.

I READ that a man in Somerset had been fined and given an ASBO for allowing his cockbirds to crow. Putting life into perspective, I have a deaf son who would love to hear them.

The only birds and cockbirds I have heard crowing are those receiving exorbitant expenses for doing it. I refer to the roosters perched in the Houses of Parliament.

Up and down

From: Neville Balmer, Sicklinghall, Leeds.

HOW soon before Gordon Brown stealthily incorporates a hefty weighting of house price falls into the cost of living index to convince us that inflation is really going down?

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