Tuesday's Letters: Brown plays fast and loose with pensioners' cash

YOUR editorial (Yorkshire Post, January 21) identified those "saddled with large mortgages and debts" as suffering far-reaching consequences of the Skipton Building Society's decision to raise its interest rate.

While you did mention that this may prove good news to savers, the

whole thrust of your article was that the poor mortagee is bearing the brunt of this recession. Those of us with savings and hoping for just a little income from these in our "twilight years" can only goggle at the Government's playing fast and loose with pensioners' income.

This Government, especially, has done its best to encourage people to borrow long term to pay not only for their homes, but also their cars, their holidays, no doubt their schooling, and whatever

other "essentials" they felt in need of.

Building societies were encouraged by profiteers and other carpet-baggers to convert to banks, and promptly lost their sense of financial caution. The resulting long-term recklessness was conveyed to the populace at large.

Gordon Brown was himself affected, and dreamed up marvellous ways of spending today and allowing the children to pick up the bills – what else are Private Finance Initiatives or PFIs?

Foreign companies were encouraged to land big government contracts, and to cherry-pick bits and pieces of others.

Farming and manufacturing industries were to be discouraged – we were in Europe and could import anything we needed. Financial services would pay for all our needs.

And then the banks collapsed. What a fiasco. And we bailed them out! They should have been allowed to fold. Only the shareholders would have been affected. Depositors would have been protected. If the Government hadn't meddled, a minimum of jobs would have been lost. Why didn't we bail out Nestles in York? Or Cadburys? Or all the little companies and farmers who have gone bust because the bankers won't or can't help?

We have the lowest level of state pension in the world. Please don't deny me the little bit of interest I used to earn before Gordon Brown was let loose. Heaven save us from this type of sordid socialism.

From: Derek Curson, Ennerdale Drive, Elland.

Britain has sold off the family silver

From: JW Slack, Swinton Hill Road, Dinnington, Sheffield.

WITH reference to Austin Mitchell's excellent article (Yorkshire Post, January 16) and the comments of Simon Curtis (Yorkshire Post, January 20), I would like to add that whenever takeovers of firms occur that there should also be a clause ensuring that no county should be left in the situation where it cannot be self-sustainable.

The fact is that as our national resources have become depleted we have sold the national silver in our utility services, manufacturing base and our farmers are being squeezed to the bone by the supermarket giants demanding quality produce at cheap prices while making considerable profit themselves.

It is 65 years since the Second World War ended and we still have no integrated public transport rail and road system or made better use of freight transport. We have closed our rail carriage works, have to buy rolling stock from abroad and buy supertrams from Germany. Car and van manufacture is in turmoil and workers who often have given years of service to a company have found their savings devalued and the provision of care into old age broken.

We are now being asked what our aspirations are so that our politicians can meet them. Sorry – they have already failed.

What we need are politicians who can plan and work together to develop a society whose wealth and property are fairly distributed and where research and new technologies helpful to our physical and intellectual well being can be developed.

The party political system has proved a failure – they cannot agree

among themselves in their own parties.

Problems of older parents

From: Chris Schorah, Gascoigne Avenue, Leeds.

I CAN'T help feeling uneasy about Liz Addy's view of becoming a parent at the age of 52 (Yorkshire Post, January 21). It's of course possible that her children will grow up unaffected by their parents advancing years.

But to say, as she does, that she "cannot see the problem", would suggest she simply hasn't looked. NHS and private-clinic guidelines have upper limits of 39 and 50 years respectively, indicating that health professionals can see problems.

I, whose parents were relatively elderly, but not as old as Ms Addy, experienced a few and I'm sure your readers could identify some potential ones.

Overall, I sensed more than a whiff of self-focus in Liz Addy's attitude, although she would probably call it self-assertion. But I suppose here she's just being a child of her age.

Wise words of Lincoln

From: Mrs N Hough, The Ridings, Market Rasen, Lincolnshire.

I CAME across this quote quite recently. It is reportedly by Abraham Lincoln.

"You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.

"You cannot strengthen the weak by discouraging the strong.

"You cannot help the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.

"You cannot further the brotherhood of man by encouraging class hatred.

"You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.

"You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.

"You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you can earn.

"You cannot build character and courage by taking away man's initiative and independence.

"You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves."

Is it too late in 2010 for all our politicians to take heed of this advice from a much wiser head? My feeling is that it is much, much too late. What do other readers think?

Quick death for the fox

From: Alan Marsden, Pledwick Lane, Sandal, Wakefield.

WITH reference to all the recent correspondence on hunting, when the RSPCA declared its opposition to hunting, I write to ask for a less

cruel way of controlling foxes than by hunting with hounds.

Perhaps the anti-hunting lobby can answer that, because the RSPCA never has. A hunted fox either escapes or suffers a quick clean death. Do not give me that claptrap about a fox being torn to pieces. That happens after it is dead. A fox killed by a hunt does not die slowly of gunshot wounds, or by poisoning or trapping.

The Hunting Bill was put before Parliament by Tony Blair to appease the Left wing, and it shows this Government's ignorance of and contempt for all things rural.

Crucible shop displays the life of a steelworker

From: Tony Swift, hon secretary, Sheffield Industrial Museums Trust Limited, Alma Street, Sheffield.

I WAS interested to read the report (Yorkshire Post, January 9) concerning the proposed restoration of the Darnall Crucible Works in Sheffield.

There is a crucible shop which forms part of Kelham Island Museum in Sheffield. Built in about 1860, it was part of a small complex of buildings known as Russell Works and occupied by Wheatman and Smith, who were involved in the manufacture of steel and the production of saws, files, edge tools and the like.

In January 1861, what the Sheffield and Rotherham Independent described as "a disgraceful outrage" was perpetrated at the works which "happily was not attended by any fatal consequences". The perpetrators had placed a heavy charge of gunpowder in an outfall pipe which ran under the floor of the workshop and into the adjoining River Don. This caused a loud explosion which "severely shook the workshop, forced up the floor and displaced several tools".

In 2008, this crucible shop was identified by English Heritage as one of the best surviving examples of buildings associated with Sheffield's metal manufacturing and metal working trades and because of its significance as a rare survivor of a crucible shop it was listed as a Grade II Building of Special Architectural or Historic Interest.

With the benefit of funds from the River Don Millowners Association, the Museum was able to restore it with advice from English Heritage and conservation officers from Sheffield City Council.

In two months time, it will be open to the public and will house a display of the life of a steelworker. Members of the public will then have the experience of seeing a 19th century crucible shop as part

of their visit to Kelham Island Museum.

The route to a bottleneck

From: PD Marquis, Moorhead Terrace, Shipley.

WILLIAM Lakin (Yorkshire Post, January 22) is obviously looking at the issue of the Bingley Relief Road from a very narrow viewpoint. Of course, the traffic problem in the centre of Bingley has been massively reduced, but all the relief road has really done is move the jam which once occupied the length of Main Street two miles in towards Bradford, where it now sits a mile each side of Saltaire roundabout.

There is no point in constructing a superb piece of dual carriageway which leads traffic straight into an obvious bottleneck. What we need from government, central and local, is joined up thinking which leads to joined up road systems.

Discipline and deterrence

From: Dorothy Cope, Beckwithshaw, Harrogate.

IT is high time action was taken to deal with our present "lawless generation" (Yorkshire Post, January 9).

Discipline should be firmly started at the "toddler" stage. Instead of giving fathers paternity leave for newborn babies (mothers get plenty of help here with post-natal and health visitors), fathers should take it when the child is 20-24 months when more supervision is needed. This is also when mothers need more help, especially if dealing with a

second baby.

School should be a place of learning and the headteacher should be allowed full control of discipline. The cane should be reintroduced as a deterrent and the head allowed to use it at his/her discretion.

Surgeon's gift

From: John Horton, Hollingwood Rise, Ilkley.

FURTHER to your obituary of the heart surgeon Geoffrey Wooler (Yorkshire Post, January 9), and the subsequent contribution that he saved the life of President Tito, it is my understanding that, in gratitude, Tito presented him with a villa on the Dalmatian coast – only the second Briton, or, indeed, westerner, to be permitted to own their own property in the then Yugoslavia (the other was Sir Fitzroy McLean).

Queen for a day

From: Mrs S Taylor, Lime Tree Crescent, Bawtry, Doncaster.

YOUR archive photograph (Yorkshire Post, January 18) reminded me of when I was Carnival Queen at Elland. I lived at Lower Edge, which was about halfway between Brighouse and Elland. I am now 84-years-old and live at Bawtry.

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