Tuesday's Letters: We care more for criminals than those who obey the law

WHEN are we going to get a grip with prisoners, start using common sense and care about the majority of law-abiding British people?

It was only a couple of months ago that young offenders in a South Yorkshire unit wantonly wrecked their accommodation (Yorkshire Post, November 5), leading to them being immediately rehoused, which cost the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of pounds, and now we have had imates at Ford Open Prison causing damage with an estimated repair bill of 3m to 4m (Yorkshire Post, January 3).

In both cases, it wasn't just the prisoners' accommodation which was destroyed. The reality is that offenders were simply creating an enormous bonfire of taxpayers' money, the latter, apparently, being available in abundance and of no concern to them.

At a time when many thousands of decent, hard-working and law-abiding people are sick with worry about keeping their jobs, their homes, supporting their families and paying their living expenses, along comes another bunch of incarcerated thugs hell-bent on causing them more heartache, all in the sure and certain knowledge they will be immediately rehoused in alternative, comfortable and probably even cushier quarters, which will be ripe for further destruction.

Our nation better looks after and cares more for convicted law-breakers than it does those who obey the law. The latter are merely used as cash-cows; their opinions contemptuously ignored, their only use being to fund such decadence.

Unless someone in Government has the backbone, the wit and the courage to oppose the loony minority whose policies appear to have bred such appalling indiscipline, we must expect more similar occurrences. Proper and harsh punishments, in lieu of the present slapped wrist, must be imposed to deter any future madness. A seemingly endless time ago we were forcefully told about prisoners: "Treat t)hem with respect and they will return this respect." The respect demanded by the prisoners should be translated as satisfying their every request, providing them with every modern facility and never allowing prison officers to raise their voices. In return the respect shown by the prisoners will be not to cause any trouble if allowed to do as they please.

We could seek the advice of countries with successful law and order policies, countries like Singapore, but we won't, for our politicians are so full of their own importance they are unable to admit they simply don't have a clue how to address the problem.

We will continue with the same, failed, wishy-washy ideas and accept future prison riots as unavoidable.

From: Barrie Frost, Watson's Lane, Reighton, Filey, North Yorkshire.

Supermarkets fuel tide of drunkenness

From: Ian Gill, Great Ouseburn, York.

THE Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police is just another addition to the pub bashing brigade (Yorkshire Post, January 7) with his call to curtail opening hours on Christmas Day.

Most people drinking in pubs, regardless of the number of hours or specific days, consume alcohol under strict supervision by licensees who can lose their licences and livelihood if they allow their customers to over drink. As far as I am aware, serving a drunk is a criminal offence. However, supermarkets can serve unlimited amounts of cheaply priced alcohol with no responsibilities after point of sale.

Until somebody is prepared to address this situation, drunkeness on the streets of this country will continue to increase, as it becomes more and more expensive and restrictive for people to consume alcohol within the control of licensed premises, i.e. pubs.

As to police officers responding to burst pipes on Christmas Day, surely this is a plumber's job and not that of a highly trained police officer. The Chief Constable should get out of his pulpit and into the real world.

If he speaks to his own officers on the ground, they will tell him that the majority of trouble from drunkeness on our streets is caused by "pre-loading", from consuming large amounts of cheap alcohol prior to going out for the evening.

A very prominent Yorkshire-based supermarket has recently been adveristing, nationwide, almost 28 pints of lager for 18. This equates to less than 65p per pint. In the light of this, can the Chief Constable please justify his public rantings with regard to the sale of alcohol in pubs?

From: N Bywater, Aireadale Terrace, Morley, Leeds.

NOW that we are into the first part of 20011, it might be a good time to look back at some of the election promises by the Conservatives. One of the main things that warmed me towards David Cameron was his apparent empathy towards living a good life and respecting other people. Back in May 2010, the Conservatives' manifesto said that they would "raise taxes on those drinks linked to anti-social drinking" and "ban off-licences and supermarkets from selling alcohol below cost price".

Yet, when I compared prices of bottled water and cans of lager in my local supermarket, there were various different prices – but a four pack of lager cost 92 pence and a similar pack of water could cost as much as 2. So while the Tory press try to alienate the public towards the Liberal Democrats for making pie-in-the-sky promises, we should be looking at what the Tories are doing.

The Ambulance Service said that New Year's Eve was the busiest night in its history, due to a high number of alcohol-related incidents. Figures from the Office Of National Statistics show that the number of alcohol-related deaths in the UK has increased from 6.7 per 100,000 in 1992 to 13.6 per 100,000 in 2008. It seems that while we are all living longer, more people are killing themselves by drinking too much alcohol. In England, 17 per cent of all road fatalities are alcohol-related.

Honour the volunteers

From: William Dixon Smith, Welland Rise, Acomb, York.

AS far as I can see, the Big Society entails sacking people, but kindly allowing them to work for nothing while they search for a new job (Yorkshire Post, January 4). Nevertheless, an unemployed plumber is a plumber still. A plumber is defined by his expertise, not by the way he is treated.

Equally, a volunteer is simply an employee who elects to forgo remuneration. He too is defined by his expertise, not by his zero salary. When the celebrated architect Lewis Cottingham generously offered to supervise the restoration of York Minster following the fire of 1840, what was he but a "well-meaning volunteer"?

How is it that the term "well-meaning" has come to imply incompetence, and is so readily applied to volunteers? As we have seen in some well-publicised cases, professionals are not free from the charge of incompetence.

Time is proverbially money. Volunteers, who give their time, and perform what others expect to be paid for, should be judged by their worth, and doubly honoured for their sacrifice.

From: Kendal Wilson, Wharfebank Terrrace, Tadcaster.

THE great Labour property deception has ruined society. The post-Thatcher right-to-buy empowered man, who then through the New Labour years rode the crest of the property price surge, yes banks were on to a winner, a man on ordinary wages could theoretically borrow many times more than the over-inflated price of the usually ex-council home.

So there was no going back. The working class loved it. Labour encouraged much talk of the property ladder. Indeed what a roll, for 15 years or more we've seen former purpose built family homes with unsightly carbuncles spoiling the harmony of areas.

Property alone, politicians, does not make an economy. Good industries, regular pay-packets, continuity and communities are the building blocks of society not pure gambling and speculation.

We have talk now of the Big Society, elected politicians administering their responsibilities and making you feel good by the thought of empowering you as a champion. The doers in society have always been there in communities. Why glorify it? This false empowerment is another way of the corporate-backed politicians making you, the citizen, believe you are in control when you are not. All the mucky destructive policies are passed and implemented while you are being made to feel democratically enabled.

Time to eat your words over dinner times

From: Jean P. Leach, Middlewood Close, Kilham, Driffield.

ERIC Houlder must have a real "chip on his shoulder" (Yorkshire Post, December 30). Doesn't he realise one reason for eating the main meal of the day in the eveningis that both parents may have been out at work during the day? If they have children at school, taking a packed lunch for their midday meal, it is the one time of day when all the family can gather round the table and have a meal together.

One of our children is a vegetarian and, when at school, could not get home at midday for a meal and the school meal offered was inadequate for him.

After battling with Dewsbury Council and Margaret Thatcher, the then Minister of Education in 1970, I obtained the right to have a place provided in all school dining rooms for children to take a packed lunch.

My husband and I, and our five children, enjoyed our evening meal together for many years until, one by one, the children left home.

However, when they visit us or when we are on our own, the evening meal is our "dinner".

It is nothing new, it hasn't come from the South, it is simply the answer to a busy working day.

Occasionally, my husband and I visit a local hostelry for Sunday "lunch" but I have yet to hear it pronounced "lanch".

You are moving in the wrong circles Mr Houlder.

From: Gurth Robinson, Threshfield, Skipton.

THE letter from Mr Houlder was not so much about meals, as regrettably about hostility towards southerners. Dinner is the main meal whenever you take it. If you take it in the evening, the midday meal is lunch. When I collected dinner money at school, it was for a good knife and fork meal, those with sandwiches brought them in lunch boxes. It's not fair to criticise southerners because they don't speak right.

Congratulations to bin collectors

From: Ian Smith, Colston Close, Bradford.

I SEE that 64 per cent of respondents to the Question Of The Day (Yorkshire Post, January 6) complain about council waste collections throughout Yorkshire – or maybe that should be Leeds?

I wonder if, like me, many of the minority 36 per cent reside within Bradford Metropolitan District Council's area and in view of the conditions are pleased with collections. In recent weeks, only one collection of recyclables and garden waste was missed on my never-gritted street. On the whole, the chaps are winning through – congratulations Bradford Met staff, perhaps you might educate Leeds City Council.

Pot holes on a road to ruin

From: John Beadle, Etherington Road, Hull.

Although pot holes are already currently a large news item following the recent bad weather, the state of the A1079 near Pocklington is appalling. I have to travel on this road every weekday during the hours of darkness.

Following the bad weather last winter, a section of the road near to Pocklington was not repaired due to the impending construction of a new roundabout. Work on this roundabout did not start until late November 2010 so drivers have had to endure the pot holes already for all of last year.

Law online

From: Martin Hickes, High Street, Farsley, Leeds.

With Facebook now one of the most highly valued of online businesses, is it not time social networks, online media and their content were brought more into line with the law?

Reputable newspaper journalists for years have operated assiduously when it comes to revealing potentially prejudicial details about crime suspects when proceedings are "active". How is it then that the seemingly ubiquitous new social networks can blatantly carry speculative comments and material which, very easily, could be deemed to present a substantial risk of serious prejudice to active proceedings and jurors?