Act now or watch more schools close

From: Robert Bottamley, Thorn Road, Hedon, East Yorkshire.

SOME time ago, the Yorkshire Post was kind enough to publish a letter I submitted, deploring the destruction of small schools in general and by East Riding Council in particular.

In it, I urged parents who value such schools to unite against these closures and not to wait until the threat arrived at their own gates.

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The ERYC has just approved the closure of three more little primary schools; the announcement was accompanied with a warning that others are similarly threatened.

In the past, the local authority has denied that it has an agenda to close down small schools. This announcement, I think, puts an end to the pretence.

Neither the schools now facing closure, nor those that have already suffered it, can be described as inadequate; in other words, their closure cannot be justified on educational grounds. The inescapable conclusion is that the ERYC is willing to destroy fine educational standards for the sake of economies of scale.

It is worth noting that these latest closures come at a time when the East Riding LEA is subject to censure from Ofsted for its falling standards, and during a period when class sizes in primary schools are rising.

In an attempt to deflect criticism, the local authority has stated that there will be no further closures during the current year. Almost certainly, this statement can be rewritten in the form “there will be closures during the next year”. Councillors and council officers already will be discussing their next targets, be sure of it. No small school in the East Riding is safe; if parents want to preserve them, I repeat my suggestion that they should act together – now!

Fairer deal for party funding

From: John Fisher, Menwith hill, Harrogate.

THE recent problems created by political donations to the Conservative Party clearly emphasise the need for a better system of financing the political parties.

One option used by other countries is a government payment to political parties 
based on the number of MPs elected.

This limits the amount spent in elections and provides a more equal playing field on which an election is fought.

The present system relies on the trade unions to give financial support to Labour despite the fact that many trade unionists do not support Labour. The Conservatives rely on large businesses to give generous financial donations, which raises the question of what is given in return for this financial support.

Small parties are the real losers. Combined with the first past the post system, democracy suffers. The public are opposed to their taxes being used to replace this flawed system of party finance and therefore must not be surprised at the continuing spectre of political manoeuvring to buck the system.

North needs its own voice

From: Robert Craig, Priory Road, Weston-Super-Mare.

A NEW report released by the Government estimates that there is twice as much shale gas under Lancashire and Yorkshire as had previously been thought.

The North needs to learn the lesson from Scotland, which was cheated out of years of revenue from North Sea oil and gas by the government in London. If Scotland had been able to husband its oil, as Norway was able to do, it would be a rich country today.

The North needs its own parliament in Leeds to protect the North’s interests, otherwise the London-centred government will squander its money on vanity projects such as HS2, the cost of which has risen from £30bn to £40bn and is forecast to rise to over £50bn. That is money that should be spent on developing rail infrastructure across the North, but will not be.

Another example of why the North needs a parliament in Leeds is local government income which central government is slashing by over 10 per cent in the North. Meanwhile London’s allowance is to rise by 40 per cent.

In defence of thin blue line

From: Peter Hyde, Driffield, East Yorkshire.

THE police are getting a bad press just now and there seems to be no-one to stand up for them. As a retired police officer, I am distressed by the name calling that now exists.

Yes, I have no doubt that 
there are corrupt officers who give the rest a bad name but 
there are many just, upright and honest officers who do a fine job of work despite the slating they get from the media and 
the complete lack of support from the current coalition Government, who seem determined to undermine their efforts at every turn.

The appointment of police and crime commissioners and the handing over to a private company to run control and custody are just two of the laws that seem designed to destroy our once much respected officers of the law.