I AM in the odd position of being a member of the Labour Party and defending Tory grandees.
However, I feel that in all fairness I must respond to Chris Body’s letter (Yorkshire Post, October 27) which refers to three incidents reported in the Yorkshire Post a week earlier and accuses the Tory leadership of being “spoilt children”.
The facts are:
1. David Cameron demands apology. Quoting from the Yorkshire Post, David Cameron says: “Chris Bryant has apologised to Lord Justice Leveson for his actions and he has apologised to the House for misleading it. However, he has not yet apologised to me.” If someone accuses me wrongly, then I think I would deserve an apology. I am sure Mr Body would feel the same.
2. George Osborne was allegedly caught travelling in first class on a standard ticket. However, Virgin Trains confirmed that “the Chancellor’s aide found the train manager as soon as the train left Wilmslow to explain the situation and pay for an upgrade.”
This is a recognised procedure which many have used in the past when standard accommodation is full.
3. Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell. The biggest scandal here is not Andrew Mitchell’s dispute with the police but the fact that this minor altercation was somehow leaked to the Press for political reasons. There should be an investigation and the policeman who was responsible for this leak should be disciplined.
Alcohol price plan will fail
From: Ian R Bolton, Knightsbridge Walk, Bradford.
THE Government is wrong to consider a minimum price for alcohol because no matter the cost people will still buy because they want it.
To cut down on excess drinking we need:
1. To restrict access to alcohol by reintroducing licensing hours for pubs and restricting the hours which supermarkets and other retail outlets are allowed to sell alcohol.
2. Ban the sale of alcohol on all religious festivals such as Christmas and Easter.
3. Increase the penalties for drink-driving offences.
4. Ban the sale of those drinks which are considered more harmful than others (I understand whisky is better for you than brandy).
5. Ban the import of drinks from outside the Commonwealth.
6. Increase the age when people can buy alcohol from 18 to 21.
Gambling law reform call
From: N Bywater, Airedale Terrace, Morley, Leeds.
EVER since the Labour Government relaxed our gambling laws in 2005 our betting shops have been thriving. This Government cares about cutting taxes and lowering our debt, both worthy issues, but surely we should protect people from addictions and being preyed upon by big companies?
Shadow Culture Secretary Harriet Harman has admitted the Labour Government was wrong to relax gambling laws. She recently said: “I have got the most heart-rending letters and emails and calls that I’ve ever had in 30 years of being an MP, just saying, ‘Please, do something about this. It’s ruined my life, it’s ruined my family, it’s really dangerous’.”
The problem is, it’s getting worse and that’s why we need the law changed so that something can be done about it.
Hypocrites – the lot of them
From: Bill Heppell, Rawcliffe Lane, York.
I CONSIDER the Government’s proposal to spend £50m on “celebrating” the start of the First World War to be disgraceful.
Both my father and father-in-law spent four years in dreadful conditions in France and Belgium from 1914 until 1918.
My uncles Tom and Albert both died there in their early twenties.
I spent four years in the last war, mainly in the Paras.
At the age of 90, like many other servicemen I may be faced with having to sell my house to pay for care because this Government and the last would rather spend millions on “commemorating” a war and on foreign aid rather than on the elderly. There is only one word to describe them – hypocrites.
If the Government is determined to give away a lot of our taxes in overseas aid it should only be in the form of goods and equipment made in this country, thus giving employment to English men and women.
Plea to Pickles over parking
From: Tony Wilding, Westfield Rise, Hessle, Hull.
IF you’re listening Eric Pickles, (Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government) perhaps you’ll step in and prevent a disaster before it happens.
I refer to the madcap decision by East Riding County Council to introduce car parking charges in Hessle Square and adjacent areas.
This folly will be the kiss of death for local shopkeepers struggling already for survival in difficult financial times – a double whammy is all they need.
We have a town hall, we have a town council – yes, a Hessle town council – who are wringing their hands in despair, seemingly powerless to stop this step into oblivion for local traders.
Why can’t Hessle councillors run Hessle affairs?
Take action Mr Pickles – do you wish to see more shops boarded up in Hessle?
We’re all in this together. Are we? Town councillors have the interest of the local community at heart – they know what’s best for Hessle. Whitehall says so, doesn’t it?
I beg of you Mr Pickles, stop this car parking folly now. No charges please.
You tell East Riding County Council to drop this ludicrous plan – or it will kill commerce in Hessle.
This community needs you. Not tomorrow or next week, now.