Bonus was intended for new homes

From: Coun Debbie Davies, Conservative Spokesman on Housing, Planning and Transport, Bradford Council.

YOUR front page article on the Government’s New Homes Bonus (Yorkshire Post, June 21) suggests that money is being targeted in the South at the expense of the North.

In fact this year Bradford is due to receive over £5.5m from this scheme, Leeds nearly £8m, Salford over £6m and the highest amount of all is due to go to Birmingham, with over £10m. These are hardly insignificant sums and are intended to be used to encourage house building programmes where they are needed.

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Government guidelines say “we expect local councils to consult communities about how they will spend the money, especially communities where housing stock has increased” and yet I am sure Labour-led Bradford Council is not alone in adding this money to the general pot rather than using it as it is intended.

So, rather than erroneously whinging about money being spent in the South I suggest these Labour MPs try looking a bit closer to home at how Labour-run councils are spending this money.

The virtue of disobedience

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

SIR Winston Churchill once said “democracy is bad, until you consider the alternatives”. But, what is democracy? The dictionary will say “the form of government in which the sovereign power is in the hands of the people, and exercised by them, directly or indirectly”. In other words, government by the people, for the people.

Clearly that situation has not taken place in numerous parts of the world, and recently we have witnessed attempts to “improve” things, in places like Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Morocco, Libya, Iran, Mali, and Syria.

For decades people have been trying to alter the status quo in places like Russia, Palestine, most of central and southern Africa, Saudi Arabia, China, parts of Latin America and Indonesia and Burma. Many people, especially “in the West”, think we have it about right, but there are now clear signs that this is no longer the case. People in ever larger numbers are taking to the streets and saying enough is enough.

I am continually amazed at how much we put up with from our band of ever-worsening politicians. I have lived here for very nearly 67 years and feel that things have only got ever less democratic.

Oscar Wilde had it right when he famously said: “Disobedience, in the eyes of anyone who has ever read history, is man’s original virtue. It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion.”

Terrible plight of caged hens

From: Aled Jones, Mount Crescent, Bridlington, East Yorkshire.

AS time passes, we hear less and less about the tragic plight of battery hens and of the heart-wrenching statistics involved.

Our sentimental preoccupation with free range farming needs to be tempered by a hard-headed realisation that more than half of eggs on sale in Britain still come from battery hens.

Every year approximately three million hens die in their tiny cages, having never been able to spread their wings, or roost, or build a nest, or see the sun or a clump of grass.

The average battery cage has a floor space not much bigger than a sheet of typing paper. Such unnatural confinement leads to abnormal behaviour in hens including hysteria, aggression, feather-picking and, worst of all, cannibalism.

The suffering of so many innocent creatures in the name of profit is utterly obscene – for when are hens not sentient beings?

Clearly, when they are being abused by our insensitive rulers in Parliament, who should have had the decency to outlaw this wicked practice decades ago.

The battery egg industry is ethically and nutritionally unacceptable. Unhappy hens produce unhealthy eggs, of that there is no doubt.

EU’s malign tentacles

From: Nick Martinek, Briarlyn Road, Huddersfield.

I HEARD it on the BBC. So it must be true. The giants of the political stage – the two heroic Davids, Milliband and Cameron, plus rising stars Jack Dromey, Ken Clarke, Nick Clegg, Lord Howe, the list of the great and the good is nearly endless – are warning in fearful tones of the disaster of “leaving Europe”. In my own puny way I must echo my lords and masters: “leaving Europe” is a terrible idea.

Just think what would be involved: we would have to saw all the way round Great Britain with giant rock cutters to separate us from the eurasian tectonic plate; then we would need phenomenal sized flotation bags to enable our land to float on the sea so that we could tow ourselves with super tugs to somewhere warmer (since global warming doesn’t seem to be working any more); and finally settle off some other continent somewhere. Crazy – only mad, swivel-eyed loons could talk about “leaving Europe”!

Now if we were only considering leaving the EU rather than “Europe”, how much easier it would be. After all, the EU is merely a temporary political arrangement whereby politicians give each other non-jobs paid for by thieving money from the taxpayers. True, the EU has spread its malign, corrupt tentacles into every aspect of our current life, from immigration to polluting the North Sea with dead fish, but that is only a matter of substituting UK laws for defunct EU legislation. And our wonderful politicians are so good at that job. They keep telling us.