Age not to blame for leader’s fall

From: Chris Steward, York Conservative Group Leader.

I READ with interest your Editorial on the resignation of James Alexander as leader of York Council (The Yorkshire Post, November 20).

However I think to link this to a broader question about the young politicians of the future was too big a step. Coun Alexander is in his early 30s, as am I and as indeed is the York Liberal Democrat leader and it is quite possible the Labour successor to Coun Alexander could be even younger.

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Age brings greater wisdom, with a flipside that youth can (I only use the word can!) bring more energy, but the problem of Coun Alexander was not his age.

His reign saw council tax needlessly hiked, the Lendal Bridge debacle, £200,000 lost on a council concert and a focus on grand vanity projects while basic services such as repairing potholes and filling grit bins were neglected.

The consistent theme was, unfortunately, a refusal to listen to York residents which led to an incredible fifth of his group leaving and then the two-thirds slide in the Labour vote at the Westfield by-election.

There can be little doubt the motion of no confidence we announced for December would have passed, and he has jumped before being finally pushed.

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Many people are turned off from politics due to their belief politicians don’t listen. In this regard and sadly many others Coun Alexander hindered rather than helped further greater engagement, not least amongst the young; but it is his actions rather than his age that brought his demise.

Take stand on moral decline

From: J Michael Walsh, Leeds.

I AM prompted to write this letter because of the constant and increasing publicity surrounding cases such as that of convicted rapist Ched Evans who resumed training with Sheffield United before this was revoked (The Yorkshire Post, November 21).

While it is possible to appreciate the reasoning behind the decisions, the fundamentals of decency, honesty and morality seem increasingly to be sadly ignored. Indeed the very fact that such a situation should cause so much interest is an indication of the lack of morality which many in our society seem to consider the norm.

There is little point in voicing the opinion that footballers are role models to be looked up to and emulated by the young.

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Leadership starts at the top and if we wish to maintain a society that is just and morally sound we need to ensure that such standards are rigidly adhered to. We are governed by Parliament. Some MPs have illustrated by their actions that they themselves have little or no regard for honesty and morality.

In many cases it is not their illegal actions which are a major cause for concern, but the very fact that they do not seem to appreciate that what they have done is wrong.

Society should strive to maintain the highest level of morality and honesty and where someone especially in authority abuses this, regardless of any punishment meted out, they should be stripped of their position and set as an example.

Convicted persons continue in their roles without shame and this is unacceptable.

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Society does not and will not condone their action. A fundamental overhaul of our views on right and wrong is needed. There would then be no argument as to whether or not the footballer in question should be reinstated.

Sad toll of miners strike

From: Jack Brown, Monk Bretton, Barnsley.

ENOUGH already! (“Remember women’s role in the strike”, Dave Waddington, The Yorkshire Post, November 14). Did any men take part at all?

“A small minority of marriages failed”, says Mr Waddington. What percentage? What has been the increase in annual divorce rates since?

Margaret Thatcher introduced single parent allowance to address the problem and exacerbated it.

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As a consequence, how 
many ex-miners have contributed to the male 
suicide rate?

While I was seconded to the Thatcher government shortly after the strike, Barnsley feminists publicly challenged 
my university-researched figure of two-thirds male.

Today it stands at 70 per 
cent. I’ve lost count of the number of my divorced 
ex-miner friends who have committed suicide or are killing themselves slowly with alcoholism.

Orwellian warning

From: Coun Frank McManus (Labour), Todmorden Town Council.

I AM alarmed by David Cameron’s words on Ukraine at the recent G20 meeting in Australia: “This is going to be 
a test of the political will of the US and EU.”

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Surely it is not the business of Britain to interfere in the Ukrainian civil conflict?

Mr Cameron appears to promote George Orwell’s 
vision in 1984 of a world 
of three power-blocks, 
Eurasia (EU), Eastasia 
(Russia and China), and 
Oceania (US), at perpetual 
two-against-one loggerheads 
if not war.