Friday's Letters: Dinosaurs are beginning to roar over removal of cheques

THE letter from Alexander Ogilby (Yorkshire Post, December 28) with the heading "Bank customers want cheques" struck exactly the right chord with me. It is obvious that cheques are the only way to send money safely through the post.

Having experienced a potential scam, I am very wary of divulging my credit card number and I dislike direct debits. Nor am I prepared to buy goods on the internet as we will end up with ghost towns if everyone does that. Charities will also suffer if people cannot respond to mailed requests by cheque.

When I was giving vent to these feelings recently to a man some 20 years my junior, I wondered if I was becoming a difficult old woman. He said there was a word for it. Inwardly, I thought, perhaps feisty? I would quite like that. "Dinosaur," I was told. "I've always liked dinosaurs," I retorted. After a lengthy pause, he said slowly and emphatically: "They are dead!" That is what I call a conversation stopper!

However, I am convinced, from the letters and articles I read in the Yorkshire Post, that there are many dinosaurs out there who are alive and active. Indeed, they are fighting a splendid rearguard action to stem the terminal decline of what we dinosaurs remember was a great nation of which we were justly proud.

Soon, one in five of us is likely to live to be 100 so it looks as if dinosaurs are on the increase and will be a force to be reckoned with. You would think that the bankers, who cannot be highly rated in the popularity stakes, would want to regain the position they once held when they were respected and trusted.

To retain cheque books would be a gesture of goodwill towards their loyal, older customers. It would be a first step towards reconciliation.

From: Maureen Hunt, Woolley, Near Wakefield.

From: Coun Elizabeth Nash, hon. secretary, Friends of the Leeds City Museums, Morris Lane, Leeds.

THE cessation of cheques in 2018 will have a disastrous effect on small businesses and small charities.

I am the honorary secretary of the Friends of the Leeds City Museums, an organisation which raises money to purchase new items for the Leeds Museums and restore existing items in the collections.

Its income is derived not only from an annual subscription (which could be paid by standing order) but also from excursions to places of interest in the north of England. Members send cheques for the latter.

It would be too costly to install a dedicated phone line for a credit card and this and other methods of payment are too time consuming for volunteers to administer.

Although not ideal, a solution would be, perhaps, for the banks to put a small charge on cheques as there used to be years ago.

This would deter people from using cheques where another method of payment was available but would act as a safety net where there is not.

Many of the banks have cost this country and its taxpayers dearly.

I do not think it is too much to ask that they return the favour by looking after small businesses and charities.

Best wishes to Estonia for joining euro

From: James Bovington, Church Grove, Horsforth, Leeds.

THE people of Estonia are to be congratulated on joining the euro, becoming the 17th member of a largely successful European currency, whose international value is now higher than at its launch in 1999.

I envy the Estonians the ease at which they have welcomed their European destiny – previously having shown commitment to pan-European initiatives by joining the liberating Schengen agreement while Britons continue to sweat in hot cars to show their passports to the bossy "Homeland Security" wannabees of the UK border force.

I have previously campaigned enthusiastically for Britain to play a full role in the development of the EU and still believe that this is the right course for our country. However, I also know that it isn't going to happen. We had a putative pro-euro campaign a few years ago but it was strangled by Gordon Brown and Ed Balls.

Apart from a few isolated commentators, the only mainstream prediction of the imminent demise of the euro comes from British eurosceptics who cannot stomach the fact that the British Empire is dead – great though it was – and whose wilder fringe hanker for the continental architecture which almost a century ago brought our young people to meet on the battlefield rather than as today in European cultural exchanges. I will never dance to their repulsive tune.

Europe-wide support for the euro remains high – despite recent problems a survey showed that only 35 per cent of the French consistently want to exit the euro. I always objected to Greek membership but Britain would have been a big fish in the eurozone comparable to France and Germany against whom we should be judged, two economies which have fared much better than us in the recent economic downturn.

It is a shame that the vast majority of our politicians are such third-rate backward-looking cowards when it comes to promoting the benefits of European co-operation and interdependence. We are shamed by the positive example of smaller, forward- thinking countries like Estonia who will prosper and win in this new century. Good luck to Estonia and future euro members.

From: John Wilkinson, Bateman Road, Rotherham.

I AM sure that the normally perceptive Edwin Bateman is being more than a little tongue-in-cheek with his letter (Yorkshire Post, January 1).

The answer to his question as to whether or not the coalition might repeal the European Communities Act so as to permit our withdrawal from the EU is surely a tad disingenuous.

Mr Bateman knows as well as the rest of us that the Lib Dems are fully sold out to Brussels. Furthermore, the Conservatives are almost as pro-EU – despite their apparent changes of opinion whenever an election is in the offing.

History role for Charles

From: David McSherry, Hemingbrough, Selby.

REGARDING GP Taylor's New Year wishes (Yorkshire Post, January 1), the sheer baseness and crass intelligence of Prince Charles and his advisers will never leave the memories of the British public.

I am sure that on his desk is the saying "time is a great healer". If the machinations of his cohorts work out, Charles and Camilla will bring this country one stage closer to being a republic.

Of course there may be historical precedent but then that's where Charles deserves to be – relegated to history.

Long live Queen Elizabeth and her successor Prince William.

Unnoticed victims

From: Keith Nunn, Burton Street, Farsley, Leeds.

TIM Conolly's thought-provoking letter (Yorkshire Post, January 4) highlighted the need for justice rather than stupidity in matters of prisoner appeals. So often, the needs and injustices suffered by the victims of crime go unnoticed. High-profile appeals by unsuitable applicants (Peter Sutcliffe et al) tap into readers' sense of moral outrage; victims' injuries and mental trauma go unreported, unseen.

The recent Radio 4 programme, In Touch, highlighted the plight of Cumbrian policeman David Rathband, blinded by the merciless gun of Raoul Moat last summer. It was an enthralling listen. Rathband is facing his new life of unwarranted blindness with the tenacity and grim humour associated with his profession.

Determined to rebuild his life, Pc Rathband is a shining example of an innocent victim intent on making the best of his situation. The programme's gritty and heart-rending realism was an aural triumph.

Extortionate amounts of money raised to defend indefensible criminals on the grounds of spurious human rights sit uncomfortably alongside maimed and permanently disfigured victims.

This radio programme was an extraordinary embodiment of blind (in)justice.

Insurance answer

From: Barry Metcalfe, Emmott Farm Fold, Haworth, Keighley.

I REFER to the letter from D Birch of Leeds (Yorkshire Post, December 29). I received my motor insurance renewal notice on Christmas Eve, which was " great price from our panel of insurers". It was, indeed, a great price rise – from 309 to 634.

On Boxing Day, I visited a cost-comparison website dedicated to motor insurance. I then fed in all the particulars from my existing insurance schedule.

The result was that I was able to select a policy from the many options available.

This offer was tailored to my input and at a cost comparable to that of my existing policy.

I would recommend this course of action to your correspondent and other people similarly affected by motor insurance cost increases.

Farmers need some certainty in dairy prices

From: Timothy Kirkhope, MEP (Conservative), Yorkshire and the Humber, Scotton, Knaresborough.

THE letter from Kathleen Calvert (Yorkshire Post, December 31) highlights the difficulties for our dairy farmers in their dealings with retailers at a time when the European Commission is reporting to me, and my colleagues in the European Parliament on the subject.

Only this week, I had a meeting near Otley with representatives of the farmers and the National Farmers' Union to discuss the position and it is clear that there is an urgent need to get some form of contractual certainty, at least, between them and those they supply.

It can surely not be right, for instance, that, having agreed a 12-month contract, one party can arbitrarily drop an agreed price leaving the producer out of pocket despite ongoing and often rising costs to them.

This makes it very difficult for farmers to invest for the future where they have no certainty of the level of their income and this is hardly an incentive for the young to carry on in their family businesses.

I can assure all those affected that I and my colleagues in the European Parliament are going take a hard look at these EU Commission proposals to ensure there is in future greater transparency and fairness so that dairy farming can continue to thrive and we as consumers can continue to enjoy milk and milk products from cow herds reared and based in our region.

Eric and Ernie: streets ahead

From: David Quarrie, Lynden Way, Holgate, York.

FOR once, I agree with your columnist Tom Richmond (Yorkshire Post, January 1) regarding the absurdity of Ant and Dec being favourably compared with the late, great Morecambe and Wise.

I am in 100 per cent agreement that no one comes anywhere near the fabulous Eric and Ernie, not even the two Ronnies.

From: Gerald Cox, Harrogate Road, Leeds.

THE marvellous BBC film on Morecambe and Wise's early days earlier this week was a salutary reminder of real comedy – and real comedians. Ant and Dec, watch and learn.

Honesty award is needed

From: Peter Bye, Park Crescent, Addingham.

IN the next honours list, I would like to see an award presented to the head of any business or industry who have demonstrated honesty and integrity.

This would be a refreshing change to seeing awards being given to those who hide behind their organisation's "terms of business" which are designed to protect them from their own customers, many of whom have suffered from dismal performance standards.

Jail them

From: John Wilson, Wilson's Solicitors, New Road Side, Horsforth, Leeds.

REGARDING your reader's suggestion (Yorkshire Post, January 1) that we should do without security lighting to help the environment, why not just put all the bad guys in jail?

Holiday choice

From: Nick Hockin, Woodside Hill Close, Leeds.

I DON'T know the exact details of Chancellor George Osborne's family ski trip over the New Year, but is he not able to have a holiday of his choice?