Labour failing to support trade unions

From: Brian Oxtaby, Aintree Avenue, Cantley, Doncaster.

As a retired trade union member, and upon reading the minutes from various committees on the Doncaster Council website over the last three months, it seems to me that the union membership can no longer rely on the socialist group (the Labour elected members) for their support anymore. If the same thing is happening in other authorities across the country, the question is: is this the death knell for the trade union members in the public service arena?

Without the public service membership the unions would fail. For example, where and what is the NUM today?

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Doncaster is now contemplating cutting their terms and conditions, holiday entitlement, sick pay and even considering wage reductions.

Large numbers of the high earners have left by voluntary means with fat pay cheques, and now that they have been sorted, the low to middle earners are having to take the brunt as even their redundancy terms are being halved.If I remember rightly, was it not the trade union movement membership that started the Labour Party, and is it not still the unions that plough millions of pounds of members’ money into its coffers to keep the party afloat?

If I were a member of any trade union in Doncaster Council, I would be looking seriously at what my monies were being spent on, and it would certainly not be going into Labour Party coffers when you cannot rely on them for any returns.

You should help the people that help you.

From: Geoff Wilson, Forest Crescent, Harrogate.

PERHAPS the Yorkshire Post can pursuade Mr Dave Prentis to write an article jusifying why the members of his particular union should have pensions subsidised by other trade union members who pay tax and do not have the level of pension which his members enjoy. I won’t hold my breath waiting for him.

Paltry fine for poppy burning

From: Mrs Wendy Cook, Prince of Wales Terrace, Scarborough.

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MAY I add my voice to the excellent letters of condemnation regarding the behaviour of Mr Emdadur Choudhury in burning the poppy? His fine of just £50, representing a paltry 3.9 per cent of his £1,272 per month income, from benefits etc, is nothing short of appalling.

I am a pensioner, have and continue to pay my taxes, wear the poppy with enormous pride and gratitude to the brave men and women who have given me the right to express my feelings freely. I have many Muslim friends who are honest, hard-working people, so let us not tar all with the same brush.

Our feckless Government and judiciary do not see fit to mete out the appropriate penalty, so I appeal to the many decent Muslims, making a real contribution to this country, to dissuade Mr Choudhury from ever repeating this action.

MP playing to the gallery

From: Quentin Deakin, Newark Road, Crossflatts, Bingley.

OVER the last week, Shipley MP Philip Davies has asked three questions in Parliament, including a somewhat hypocritical one criticising the closure of local libraries (Tom Richmond, Yorkshire Post, Mafrch 12).

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Hypocritical because he is part of the government withholding the money and unwilling to tax the rich more. For his second question he objected to greater restrictions on the sale of the cancer-causing drug called nicotine.

For his third, he suggested that former Conservative Minister Chris Patten was too left-wing to be running the BBC – this the man with a dozen directorships.

Mr Davies, who, when first elected in 2005, said he only wanted to be a “good constituency MP”, is steadily gaining prominence on the far right of his party. Why isn’t he asking why “Diamond Bob” of Barclays bank is taking home twenty million a year while his Shipley constituents are getting poorer by the day thanks to cuts, pay freezes and reduced sales?

I suspect he only objects to cuts when there is an opportunity for political point-scoring.

Common sense at last

From: Phyllis Capstick, Hellifield, North Yorkshire.

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WHY has it taken so long for top scientist Sir John Beddington to say what common sense has been saying for a decade (Yorkshire Post, March 14)?

He wants farming moved up the national policy agenda. Ever since the foot-and-mouth debacle of 2001, farmers have been told to diversify into other areas, rather than concentrating on the production of food.

In the 19th century, as Sir John says, we had to chop down trees and clear forests in order to produce food. 

He goes on to say that we need to be getting much more from the land.

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How is it then that since the devastation of 2001, Defra has been giving farmers huge grants to do anything but produce food? They even give these grants to grow trees on good agricultural land.

I firmly believe there is enough in this world for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.

Congestion challenge

From: Stuart Clark, Aberford Road, Garforth, Leeds.

WITH its reputation for congestion, I try to avoid Kirkstall Road in Leeds but reader Andrew Mercer’s letter prompts me to say that Monday was an exception (Yorkshire Post, March 14).

Unless quite an amount of property is demolished in the central area, a dual carriageway along its length would seem out of the question, so there seems little prospect of relief.

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However, what appears to be landscaping at the outer ends should make the journeys more pleasurable.

By contrast, I crossed over the M1 along the M62 after a considerable lapse of time and here the responsible agency deserves great compliment for the quality or remedial work and improvement carried out, although leading to congestion in recent times.

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