Lessons that are never learned

From: Trevor Mumford, Rutland Drive, Harrogate.

YET again bad weather has paralysed rail and road travel across much of the country and left tens of thousands of people without power for unacceptably long periods of time.

As ever, talking heads from Network Rail, the Highways Agency, power distribution companies and politicians have been paraded before the media to trot out the well rehearsed phrases ‘exceptional circumstances’ and ‘lessons will be learned’ when everyone knows that they never have been in the past and probably never will be.

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If fallen trees bringing down power lines is a problem, then launch a programme of cutting back or felling trees.

Similarly at one time vegetation adjacent to railway lines was routinely cut or burned back but today trains proceed through mile after mile of green tunnels which apart from providing abundant autumnal material for the ‘wrong kind of leaves’ also provide trees which are ideally positioned to fall across the line in a gale.

In the case of landslips, are drains and culverts being properly maintained?

A drive along many country roads will identify plenty of dead and diseased trees both on road margins and in hedgerows many of which are festooned with ivy to make them even more susceptible to wind damage.

I fear that the lesson which needs to be learned is that Network Rail, power distribution companies, councils and landowners need to get their act together to take the necessary precautions to minimise the risk of falling trees and landslips by proper management of their estates whereas in the past abdication of responsibility seems to have been the preferred course of inaction.

From: Peter Hyde, Driffield, East Yorkshire.

THE Prime Minister has been berated for failing to do more to alleviate the distress of those poor people flooded out and without power. Just what could he do?

The main problem is too deep seated to be solved easily. Rivers that were once dredged and banks maintained are now neglected in case we disturb voles or otters. The workforce demands its time off at Christmas. Councils are strapped for cash due to government restrictions. Yet we send money to China, a very rich nation. We send money to every disaster and yet get little relief ourselves.

We accept thousands of immigrants and at the same time give the EU carte blanche over our laws.

Until such time as we get another Churchill or Thatcher, we shall continue to sink deeper and deeper into the mire.

Checkout story defies belief

From: Keith Sturdy, Grimbald Road, Knaresborough, Harrogate.

IS it me or is there more to the story about the Muslim checkout operator at Marks & Spencer refusing to serve a customer with alcohol than meets the eye? Surely any person who applies for a job knows all the big supermarkets sell pork products and alcohol.

They also must know that these are packaged so they do not, if handling them, have to touch the actual contents. Even if an employee was so naive to the fact that the retailer sold alcohol, she would still have to undergo till training which would include the law on buying or selling alcohol, so no excuse there.

If every employee took this stance stores would be in chaos. Take for instance Morrisons in Bradford – every store I have been to there has a vast range of multi-cultural employees including many Muslims, none of which I have ever had any problems with.

Something about this story does not add up.

Call to condemn fundamentalists

From: BJ Cussons, Curly Hill, Ilkley, West Yorkshire.

YOUR article with critical views by the Faith Matters group was unbelievable (Yorkshire Post, December 28).

I have news for Fiyaz Mujhal, the director. It is not Far Right groups who are being turned away from Islam but it is also the ordinary man/woman in the street. Our country practises democracy. We are tolerant of other people’s faiths. However all around the world we have daily reports of killings and cruelty by fundamental Muslims. Do we hear Faith Matters speak out about that?

Salmond’s dream year

From: Ian Smith, Colston Close, Bradford, West Yorkshire.

I WONDER why Old Bill (Carmichael) forgot to mention in his review of events in 2014 (Yorkshire Post, December 27), the impending demise of the UK after Scotland voted narrowly against independence. Of course, it was the BBC that did it – deciding not to provide weather forecasts to an independent Scotland proved too much for the country’s electorate.

Having reckoned they should not to go it alone, the Scots had realised that Devo Max would give them everything they could want without having to fight their own corner after all. The Government wrongly enjoyed seeing Alex Salmond’s tears immediately after the vote – they were tears of joy because Salmond had always intended forcing the UK Parliament to relinquish all its powers over Scotland.

The PM had said: “It is important to remain as one entity because we were always all in this together.” The SNP had reluctantly agreed, but it promised to seek binding arrangements to close the nuclear deterrent base at Faslane, provide all UK shipbuilding on the Clyde, and restrict immigration to England alone.

That was when the demise of the UK began, though no-one realised it until all our road signs were written in the Gaelic.