Monday's Letters: A new role model for a more decent society

From: Mrs Maureen Hunt, Woolley, near Wakefield.

WHEN I was walking around Newmillerdam recently, I noticed a man approaching with two lively dogs, one of which bounded towards me with obvious intention of greeting me exuberantly.

With a mittened hand, I tried in vain to keep its muddy paws off my anorak.

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The owner was occupied on his mobile phone and paid no attention. When he drew level with me, and his dog had jumped up once again, I pointed out that I had a clean coat on.

He retorted indignantly that I hadn't stroked his dog and he strutted off, chuntering that I hadn't paid his dog any attention.

Why do so many people find it difficult to apologise and to take responsibility for their behaviour, or that of their pet?

There is one man who has done just that. And, by so doing, he has set a precedent.

Tiger Woods showed remarkable courage last month when he faced the world media. No wonder he had close friends and colleagues around him for support on such a gruelling occasion. And who could have expected him to speak off the cuff? In no way did his written speech detract from the sincerity of what he said.

He should be applauded for his admission of guilt with no excuses, his remorse and for taking total responsibility for his wrongdoing.

His desire to become a man of integrity and honour is a beacon of hope in a world where such qualities are in short supply.

Often we wonder if this society can change or if it is already too late. If Tiger Woods succeeds in his quest to become the man he aspires to be, he could become a genuine role model who could inspire the younger generation to create a society based on firm values and decency.

High cost of Britain's wind farms

From: Peter Atkins, Northumberland Avenue, Hornsea, East Yorkshire.

I AM constantly seeing reports of our Government's massive investment in wind farms but never see what they achieve in a world situation.

The latest report that I have read (Yorkshire Post, February 20) was by Stephen Unwin which was mainly concerned about seeking professional advice before they are installed but he also mentioned a proposed large offshore

project to start in four years' time to generate up to 32 gigawatts of power, costing approximately 75bn. This would provide 15 per cent of the energy from renewables, required by the Government

by 2020.

The facts are they can provide no contribution to our base load requirements, for the simple reason that when the wind fails to blow they will provide no energy at all and therefore all their cost is in addition to what we must spend anyway on conventional generation to keep our lights on. I estimate that the 75bn is more likely to be in excess of 100bn in four years' time.

The offshore wind farms have an efficiency of about 30 per cent so their maximum power would only be available for an average of about seven hours per day. They also carry large subsidies from the Government (and taxpayers) which we can probably ill afford in our present circumstances.

To sum it up, what do they achieve in a world situation in terms of carbon deposits? A reduction of less than 0.1 per cent which must be grossly disproportionate to a capital cost of 100bn.

A Godless community

From: Chris Schorah, Gascoigne Avenue, Leeds.

JAYNE Dowle may well be correct about the sort of society that she sees emerging around us (Yorkshire Post, February 25). It is indeed a "brave new world", one that's completely self-obsessed and almost entirely Godless. It will be interesting to see how such a society fares.

Judging by the last few years, and in spite of our affluence, the omens aren't good.

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

JAYNE Dowle says we are living in "interesting times" – that is not how I would describe them. We do not communicate more, not with real speech or in hand-written letters, but by electronics in a very impersonal way. The children, or many of them, do call the shots – nothing to be pleased about there! Most of us never had any idealism in 1997 – only massive concern that things would end up far far worse than after all previous Labour administrations.

Bananas and Europe

From: Charles Rushton, Pasture Close, Strensall, York.

I HAVE to agree with Timothy Kirkhope (Yorkshire Post, February 25) regarding ludicrous EU laws on the shape of cucumbers, bananas, etc. I would ask him who passed them in the first instance and then if they are so ludicrous why does a UK Government obey them and not follow the accepted European practice of ignoring them?

I would also point out to him that, while his concern over the wishes of the peoples of Europe being ignored in this instance is commendable, why doesn't it extend to the wishes of the peoples of the UK regarding our continued membership of this expensive and corrupt body?

By all means, Mr Kirkhope, fight the cause of the bendy banana but don't imagine it will get you many Brownie points in the crucial battles ahead. The EU, education, immigration, and the truly dreadful state of law and order are the worries of the UK and so far not one of the major parties has shown any idea of how to sort things out even if they could.

NHS plight over dentists

From: Brian Sheridan, Redmires Road, Sheffield.

I HOPE the chairman of the British Dental Association Susie Sanderson will be successful in persuading the Department of Health to "reach out" to make NHS dental care available to more people whether they seek it or not ("More seen by NHS dentists but total is below pre-reform level", Yorkshire Post, February 24).

If general medical practices were run on the same lines as dental practices, we would have our GPs calling us in every few months for health checks and eking out consultation into as many visits to the surgery as possible.

Suffice to say that the National Institute for Clinical Excellence recommends dental examinations every two years.

To make the NHS more attractive to dentists, the Department of Health should encourage them to sign up more patients. They would then be paid according to the number of patients on their books. A GP once told me that his favourite patient was the one he never saw.

This may seem cynical but that patient would have access to NHS care if required, unlike many dental patients who can't get NHS treatment when they need it.

A badly thought out bill over fox hunting

From: John Grice, The Close, Durkar, Wakefield.

I AM not going to get into an argument about the Hunting Bill with JW Smith (Yorkshire Post, February 22).

Suffice to say, the Government and the House of Lords were trying to go down the road of compromise and regulation.

The anti-hunting backbenchers did not want that; it was too good a chance of upsetting people they did not like, both them and their lifestyle.

Therefore to get their way they invoked the Parliamentary Act, which was wrong, as the Government was not being impeded in its efforts to effect a compromise.

The MPs had no excuse for their behaviour. They had the Burns Report to guide them but they totally ignored that in favour of spite.

Wasn't it Tony Banks who said the Bill was "totemic" and not about animal welfare?

Also, after the Bill was passed, an eminent judge said using the Act was an abuse of power!

However, the rest of Mr Smith's letter I find puerile and silly. I will say a word on his comments about fox control, surely catching old and sick foxes was fox control?

If you stop and think for a moment, Mother Nature is a harsh and cruel mistress, she deals in birth, life and death, but not old age.

The fox is at the top of his food chain in this country. When his speed, stamina and teeth go, he is on the downward slope, a slow death.

In Africa, for example, the predators soon dispatch the weak and infirm. Is not that in a roundabout way what foxhounds were doing?

However, with a hunting ban, this method of fox control has been curtailed, another unforeseen circumstance of a badly thought out and unworkable Bill.

From: C Horsman, Coppergate, Nafferton, East Yorkshire.

I REFER to the excellent letter from William Snowden (Yorkshire Post, February 25). If the Tories decide to repeal the Hunting Act, they will lose the next election.

They will be appealing to people who get pleasure from killing wildlife for fun.

Wartime with swill power

From: Harry Fletcher, Lodge Street, Hull.

SO, we are being issued with slop buckets (Yorkshire Post, February 20). Big deal.

This is nothing new. During the last war, once a week a farmer would bring his horse and cart into town and around the streets and us kids would get a ride if we helped him to collect swill (pig swill) from the houses.

Everybody had a swill bin (slops to you), not to burn or bury but to feed livestock.

It ponged a bit in the summer, but we dragged out the bins and tipped them into the big drums on his cart and we got our ride and stroked his dog and patted his horse.

Bird town

From: Maud Hall, Carlton Close, Eggborough, near Goole.

IN my garden, I have just created an eco-town for birds.

In addition to numerous natural nesting sites in ivy, trees and bushes, I have provided a full range of housing, from affordable terraced, through to semi-detached and superior detached residences for our feathered friends. I am just wondering if I qualify for a government subsidy for my efforts. I am sure there must be some reference in the vast amount of documentation produced, relating to environmental and sustainable issues, as the houses are made

of wood!

Bank greed

From: ME Wright, Grove Road, Harrogate.

YOU wrote in your leader that there must be another way to attract quality people to the banks (Yorkshire Post, February 26).

Not according to the bankers, who claim that they have to compete for talent in the global market – a market which is, of course, determined by them.

If we cannot curb their consummate greed, can we at least ensure that they pay their full and unfiltered dues in taxation, like the rest of us?

Incidentally, is Sir Fred Goodwin and his wallet still in the UK?

Dales memory

From: Keith G Bowers, Sunnyfield Avenue, Morecambe, Lancs.

THE excellent photographs of the Yorkshire Post often bring out many wonders of God's creation. The Gunnerside picture (Yorkshire Post, February 22) brought back happy memories of walking the Yorkshire Dales. The snow on Great Shunner Fell stirred nostalgic thoughts of the rifle range from Catterick Camp beyond from my National Service days!

Many thanks from an exile

in Lancashire.