YP Letters: Social media's poisonous anonymity

From: Brian Sheridan, Redmires Road, Sheffield.

Message services like WhatsApp are in the spotlight following the Westminster terror attack.

I HOPE Home Secretary Amber Rudd intends to carry out the veiled threat to introduce laws to force the social media giants to clean up their act (The Yorkshire Post, March 27). It is an outrage that WhatsApp, owned by Facebook, prevents even its own technicians, let alone detectives, from reading messages such as those sent by Westminster terrorist Khalid Masood just minutes before the carnage he created.

It beats me why social media are not subject to the same regulatory regimes as the mainstream media, including newspaper publishers and broadcasters. The Yorkshire Post, like the only other newspapers worth reading, does not even publish letters submitted by “name and address supplied” or “disgusted of Tunbridge Wells” let alone the sort of anonymous poison endemic in social media.

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I would like to see a total ban on anonymous correspondence in any shape or form.

From: Peter Hyde, Driffield.

IN reply to Jayne Dowle’s question (The Yorkshire Post, March 27) as to why the armed officer she saw in Meadowhall was not on duty in Westminster, the answer is quite simple. He is a member of South Yorkshire Police and not the Metropolitan Police.

His presence in Sheffield is for the protection of the local public and not Londoners. Yes, questions should be asked as to why those officers on actual protection duties are not routinely armed and the answers must be provided by those who lead them.

I am eternally grateful that I served my 30 years at a time, and in a place, where radicalised Muslims were not a problem. I greatly admire those who serve today who, sadly, do not appear to have the backing of the Government of the day.

Countryside under threat

From: Arthur Quarmby, Mill Moor Road, Meltham.

THE widespread destruction of the British countryside between the wars – urban sprawl, ribbon development, conurbation etc – led to the welcome post-Second World War countryside legislation such as national parks, the green belt and other less severe restrictions on the spread of housing generally. They worked pretty well for the next generation or so in protecting precious, irreplaceable open countryside.

The present Government is surreptitiously setting aside these protections in its desperation to stimulate the economy by getting the building industry into full flow. Additional measures include inventing a non-existent countrywide housing shortage in order to justify its imposition of immensely-inflated housing targets on local authorities and, at the same time, advising planning inspectors to permit appeals almost anywhere, including the green belt.

This policy is not boosting the economy because it is based on imagined massive demand. Think of all those perfectly decent terrace houses which my wife and I, like most of our generation, were happy to use as a first step on the housing ladder but which nobody now wants. Look at the property pages of your local newspaper.

However this surreptitious removal or weakening of controls is causing immense and irreplaceable damage to precious countryside. Difficult to oppose this policy because it is carefully concealed – and we shall have to use our judgement when the next election comes around by asking who, if anyone, can be trusted to protect the British countryside?

Osborne loses sight of North

From: Eddie Peart, Broom Crescent, Rotherham.

GEORGE Osborne was number two to David Cameron when in power in the last government (Tom Richmond, The Yorkshire Post, March 30).

They failed to promote the Northern Powerhouse. Now George has formed a think tank (whatever that is) to promote the interests of people living in the North.

At the same time, he has taken on at least five other jobs, amongst them an editorial position on a London newspaper. Can he tell us where his plans for the North now fit in?

Fracking risk factors

From: Sue Cuthbert, Newton on Rawcliffe.

IN response to the letter “Why shale gas could transform 
rural life for the better” (The Yorkshire Post, March 23) from Lorraine Allanson, there are 
a lot of “what ifs” and “what abouts” in her letter of support for fracking.

How, one wonders, would the owner of a holiday business know so much about the fracking process? Yes, fracking would transform our rural life, but not for the better.

Lost time on transport

From: ME Wright, Harrogate.

LIKE Bob Watson (The Yorkshire Post, March 27), I, too, am totally bemused by Leeds City Council’s historic and ongoing prevarication in transport matters.

The latest news suggests that Councillor Judith Blake and her “transport experts” are still engaged in licking their self-inflicted ‘trolleybus’ wounds.

The loss of £70m on that failure can be sorted with 
skilful Westminster number-juggling; the loss of 10 years, 
on top of the original 20, 
cannot.

Bob mentions the success of Manchester’s Metro system. Dare I suggest the following?

Set aside all historic rose-based enmity.

Entreat Manchester to send a team to sort us out.

Tell the team that ‘First Bus’, with their Leeds near-monopoly, are not to be allowed malign influence.

As Bob suggests, “get a grip”.