Your main leading article (Yorkshire Post, January 18) on David Cameron's proposed NHS reform was most balanced and realistic. I applaud your caution of his haste and presumption. As they say, some "rush in where angels fear to tread".
Now over 80, I retired as a surgical consultant. Since then I have been an in-patient as an emergency, and also an out-patient.
Not surprisingly, most of my friends and acquaintances of similar age have experience of the NHS. More than a few were medical colleagues who were no strangers to the NHS. So I have kept fairly well up to date.
The mantra "competition" is the current buzz word. Your opinion page contributor James Gubb propounds this, though he generalises and does not define what he means by '"productivity".
Privatisation was the way to competition and the promised land. Now there is constant dissatisfaction the length of the country with our railways. You published a letter from Kathleen Calvert on the same date which highlights the harm done to dairy farmers and the rural economy by supermarkets. Now they are very competitive.
However important the organisation of the NHS is, the people working in it are the most important. They need to be trained fully and dedicated. There is a shortage of midwives, and I do not think it is just a question of money.
It will take more than money to meet the huge challenge of an ever-increasing number of older people; the increasing incidence of diabetes linked to obesity; and the increase of Alzheimer's.
Three years ago, you were good enough to publish a letter in which I described David Cameron as a "cardboard cut-out figure" in my opinion. He is articulate, but one wonders what he really thinks and feels behind it all. His only real job was as a public relations officer for a TV company. One thing is clear – he appears to be changing his stated opinion on quite a number of matters.
From: Andrew Gentles, Hollins Crescent, Harrogate.
From: Bernard Robinson, Midland Terrace, Hellifield.
I AM getting rather tired of watching Labour MPs on TV complaining about cuts. They don't appear to be able to get their heads around the fact that the country is in a financial mess. Was it not a Labour Government that got us into this mess?
What have we learned in 2,000 years? Consider the words of Cicero in 55BC: "The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work instead of living on public assistance."
Protection call for Hull's History Centre
From: Trevor Williams, Station Road, Preston, Hull.
AS I write, it is now just about one year since the Hull History Centre opened, and as Fiona Spiers, of the Lottery Fund, said at the time: "It's wonderful that Hull's treasure trove of an archive has moved into a new home... the Fund is proud to have helped... The History Centre will be a huge asset to the city."
There were also similar expressions of pride and delight from the then Lord Mayor and from the Vice-Chancellor of the University.
A huge asset it was planned to be, and it has become a jewel in the crown of the city of Hull. Since its opening, it has achieved all that was expected of it and more, schools, colleges, family historians and a whole range of interested students and researchers have benefited from it and the expertise of its staff.
I have been involved in a number of courses as a tutor which have opened the door to many who otherwise would not have had the confidence or skills to develop their own research – and now they have those skills.
But now this very successful asset, this source of civic pride, is about to have its heart ripped out. Redundancies, cutbacks in the opening times, experienced highly-trained staff being cast aside in order to save what I understand to be 130,000.
This sounds like a lot of money, and, yes, we do need to all share in the cutbacks, but after just one very successful year?
What an image to create for the city. At a time when elsewhere another 49,700 of similarly resourced money is being spent to find out what "Hullness" is, here we have it (Yorkshire Post, January 12).
Are we such philistines that we have no deeper understanding of the damage being done to the city and our heritage?
This Centre should be prized, we should be so jealous of it that we should protect it, yet we seem to be destroying the very heart of it, for a saving of only 130,000.
Is this "Hullness"?
Dignity in death
From: James Colin Smith, Beech View, Ferrybridge.
I REFER to the letter by PJ Gray (Yorkshire Post, January 18) and totally agree with the writer.
My wife and I had to have our old dog put down a few years ago. This was done with dignity and no pain and took only two injections. Total time less than three minutes.
Such a dignified death should be available to human beings if they so wish. Anything else is archaic. If God exists and doesn't interfere in all the tragedies that happen to mankind, because we have free will, then we should have free will in the circumstances surrounding ones death.
That of course is accepting he exists. I am always reminded of the quote: "If God is omnipotent he is not benevolent, and if he is benevolent he is not omnipotent." At the very best we are his playthings.
I totally concur with his/her last sentence. We are not peasants any more. In the past we were controlled by the threat of Hell and Damnation whilst the people making the rules lived off the fat of the land. Time for change.
From: Mrs E A Henry, Larchfield Road, Doncaster.
I HOPE your letter writer, PJ Gray, never serves on a committee deciding who is euthanised. How many of us would meet his criteria of being "...cheerful, smart intelligent.."?
I'd rather take my chance with Father McNicholas, any day.
Sacking the unsackable
From: TW Jefferson, Station Road, Hensall, Goole.
IT IS interesting to note, that in defending Baroness Ashton against Tom Richmond's call for her to be sacked as EU Foreign Minister, James Bovington (Yorkshire Post, January 19) does not extol her abilities to do the job, but is happy to celebrate the fact that she is unsackable. Hardly what the eurosceptics want to hear.
He goes on to use his usual hackneyed claim that many eurosceptics are "wrapped in nostalgic patriotic loyalty" and says they do not understand Europe.
Such condescending language does nothing to promote sympathy for his views.
At least Mr Bovington is being realistic enough to accept that the pro-European side has largely lost the argument, but I look forward to the day when he addresses the issues that concern the ordinary people of Europe.
For instance, the "democratic deficit" that prevents people feeling that they have "ownership" of those that govern them.
Also, what would he do about the fringe countries of the eurozone, whose people are suffering extreme economic hardship, on the altar of the currency experiment he so passionately favours?
Folly to cut policing
From: Peter R Hyde, Kendale View, Driffield, East Yorkshire.
We are told that it is likely that police patrols are to be cut.
Yet every day, on quite short journeys, I see people using mobile phones when driving, and the number of cars that are being driven by night with defective lights, many with just a nearside light lit, is quite staggering.
Patrols are already at a low so to cut further must be folly. I am sure that many savings could be made by the police simply by cutting the huge amount of paperwork they have to complete for the most minor of offences.
Let central government take immediate action to cut unnecessary administration rather than police presence on our roads.
Losing libraries may bring us to reality
From: James Anthony Bulmer, Whitehall Court, Peel Street, Horbury, Wakefield.
Regarding Ian McMillan's article "This library is where I learned to love words...." (Yorkshire Post, January 15), Ian doesn't appear to see any further than his beloved Barnsley when he infers that the present Government is responsible for the closing of his libraries.
The Labour-led council of Wakefield had all these cuts in mind as far back as 2008 and one or two libraries were closed or under threat. Plus, 3,000 public workers' jobs were to go to over a four-year period.
Why is Ian so distraught at the cuts, which are only just beginning, when the last Government had all this in mind but were willing to prolong the agony and deepen the debt?
Does Ian not think that, if given time, some of these cuts and price increases may bring people back to reality?
For example, all governments realise our roads and city centres cannot cope with the volume of traffic.
Does he not think that the increase in fuel prices may get people back onto public transport?
Could this also make the oil producers see a little sense?
Ian's libraries may be his food for thought, mine is food for sustenance. His anger should be aimed at the retailers, whose exorbitant prices and profits should be worth a few angry comments, after all we can't eat library books.
Will these people reduce their profits to offset the VAT or will greed prevail?
Come on, Ian, be a Yorkshireman: "Hear all, see all, say nowt, eat all, sup all, pay nowt, if tha' wants owt doin for nowt do it thissen."
Blot on the landscape
From: Norma McNichol, Lynwood Drive, Carlton, Barnsley.
I READ the letter from James Altofts concerning the Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield (Yorkshire Post, January 19). He describes the building as "a ghastly grey blot on the landscape". Carlton residents now have a ghastly black blot on our landscape in the shape of the new Carlton ALC.
The architects have designed a huge ugly monstrosity with an entrance which is a lopsided lump of metal and glass on stilts. Maybe the interior is conducive to learning, we can only hope so.
I am waiting for all the trees and shrubs which have been planted to grow quickly and obscure the view of the whole site.
From: John Wilson, Wilsons Solicitors, New Road Side, Horsforth, Leeds.
YOU state (Yorkshire Post, January 11) that "Business Link Yorkshire had laudable aims".
Since when was it a laudable aim to tax our money out of us and then offer to lend (not give) it back to us if we first fill in lots and lots of forms? I suppose it must have created some jobs to deal with all that paperwork at a cost of 35m a year, but I doubt they were the sort that we really need.
From: William Dixon Smith, Welland Rise, Acomb, York.
It may seem odd that it is left to York's unelected chief executive to sing the praises of the compulsory electoral register (Yorkshire Post, January 13).
The reason is not far to seek. Councillors can be relied upon to do as they are told, and not ask awkward questions. Residents can not.
From: Ken Holmes, Cliffe Common, Selby, York.
THE notorious highwayman, Dick Turpin, riding his beloved "Black Bess" could have hijacked and robbed the occupants of at least three stagecoaches on his journey from London to York and still overtaken and beaten the much-publicised electric car. So much for progress.