Monday's Letters: Voters have been misled on Labour shambles

I SIT here incredulous that Labour could be returned to power in the coming election. Certainly, the polls look ominous.

I am thinking of another five more years of this shambles of a Government, of both social and economic decline, of monumental incompetence and policies, that even if well-meaning, nearly always fail to achieve their target, the whole engulfed in a sea of deception, dissembling propaganda and dodgy statistics.

So how come the electorate could be so misled? In one respect, Labour has been highly successful – the success of their core strategy of retaining power; hence their 13 years of dominance. It is true that all governments try to propagate their influence but Labour's efforts are pure Machiavellian (or should I say Mandelsonian?)

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They have spread their tentacles of control throughout the social network of the nation, both Blair and Brown overseeing a mushroom-like growth of the public sector not only to expedite Brown's madcap policies but also to entrench the Labour vote.

A deliberate, but covert policy to swamp our cities with ethnic minorities, which since 1997 are rapidly becoming ethnic majorities through the Government's open door immigration stratagem, is further cementing the Labour franchise. Almost as important, has been the penetration of the benefit system into the whole social structure; it now encompasses a majority of the population in some shape or form and has been a potent way to capture votes. By setting up countless quangos, mostly staffed by Labour sympathisers and Blair/Brown cronies, the Government has been able to exploit a very influential source of power especially in the doling out of subsidies and largesse to vested interest groups almost exclusively on the Left of politics which has further enhanced the Labour Party's political muscle.

This success, however, has come at a price, in that the resulting impenetrable and suffocating bureaucracy created, has gummed up efficient administration and has led to the quagmire of political correctness blighting our lives – a heavy price in the consequent damage to the Government's reputation for competence.

But despite this, it's clear that enough of the electorate are entrapped in Labour's intricate web to make things extremely difficult for the Tories, especially as the Conservatives' campaign so far has been far from inspiring. Nevertheless, I just hope that they can summon up enough resolution, political energy and flair to overcome these obstacles and rid the country of this ruinous Labour administration.

From: Gordon Lawrence, Stumperlowe View, Sheffield.

Challenges facing our countryside

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From: Dr K Swann (CPRE member), Summerdale, Gomersal, Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire.

I AM sure readers will agree with your comments regarding the "Green Revolution" (Yorkshire Post, March 11), for our countryside faces many challenges in the years ahead but the coming General Election provides an ideal opportunity to express to our politicians that they have a chance to demonstrate the value and way forward to approach and maintain the countryside, now and in the future.

Last year, the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) launched a vision for the countryside in 2026, the CPRE Centenary Year, being optimistic that our countryside can be a better place in 2026 than it is now, depending of course on decisions made between now and then. As a member of CPRE and a contributor to environmental issues and policies, I support the future proposals.

The CPRE are calling for a more beautiful, tranquil and varied countryside and expect supporters to support a democratic planning system that protects and enhances the countryside, promotes urban renewal and improves quality

of life.

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This means protection of our best landscapes, wider countryside and green belts and tackling the rising litter fly-tipping.

It also involves helping to deliver a low carbon future

and allowing local communities to make the important decisions on developments that affect them and the countryside they love.

I sincerely hope that readers who value the environment will support CPRE's approach and future policies.

New scale of foot spa

From: John A Harries-Harris, Berkeley Street, Scunthorpe.

I AM a frequent traveller to Thailand and have recently returned from a trip there.

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During my trip, I visited Chiang Mai. While browsing in one of the superb shopping malls to be found in that country, I came across a foot spa similar to that mentioned by Martin Slack (Yorkshire Post, March 10).

It cost 60 bart for 20 minutes and, although odd at first, was a very pleasant sensation, the fish were about one to two and a half inches long and very enthusiastic, tugging away at dead cells.

Those who have visited the infamous bridge at Kancharnaburi will have no doubt visited the Jeath Museum, this is privately owned and is superior to the official museum; in it there are many items from the days when the Japanese forced prisoners to build the equally infamous Burma railway. In particular, artists' drawings of servicemen sitting on the river bank while dangling their legs in the water so that the fish could clean the puss from their infected sores. You see it is not such a novel idea.

Vicar out of step

From: Catherine Watson, Norman Road, Hatfield, Doncaster.

WITH regard to the article (Yorkshire Post, March 19) about the Vicar of Totley banning Tai Chi from the church hall, I am astonished at the vicar's attitude. Has he actually been to one of the classes?

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I'm a long-standing member of my church, on the Parochial Church Council and other committees and I also do Tai Chi along with other "girls" of a certain age. The exercises keep us fit, supple and active.

There's a lot of laughter, particularly when one arthritic limb has to move in a direction that it doesn't find easy.

The connection with an Eastern religion does not take any part of the instruction during the classes – I regard it as insulting that he should think that it does.

It does have a basis of martial art in the exercises for protecting oneself which could be regarded as a good thing as we grow older.

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Where is he coming from? Please, Vicar Rhodes, go to a class, try the exercises and take part in the enjoyment with the group and don't upset some of your elderly parishioners with

your bigotry.

Cost of the rail crossings which hold up traffic

From: E Fullerton, Hornbeam Drive, Cottingham, East Yorkshire.

THERE is a growing railway problem here in Hull and district, which is crying out for serious action, the cost of which would be a drop in the ocean by comparison to the 30bn for high-speed trains mentioned in your article (Yorkshire Post, March 14).

It is the constant ever-growing hold-ups to the flow of traffic caused by four level crossings: one in the Walton Street area of Hull, two in Cottingham and one in Beverley.

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Recently, I have observed no less than 60 or more vehicles stationary at just one of these crossings. This is happening four times every hour, every day. If one multiplies this with the four crossings, the figure is staggering.

Make no mistake; it is going to get worse. The monetary cost in time lost etc, is truly becoming unacceptable.

The big question is why? Why do thousands of people have to tolerate this on a permanent basis, all for the benefit of a relatively small number of travellers who wish to visit the relatively small number of destinations north of Beverley? Does it really make good sense?

Furthermore, what about the carbon footprint, are we really serious about it? We are possibly talking about two million vehicles stood

pumping out the poison year in and year out.

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What can be done to alleviate this ever-growing problem? Underpasses, flyovers, too costly and certainly too disrupting. Why not close down the rail line between Hull and Beverley, or at least between Hull and Cottingham. Replace it with a road straight from the centre of Hull.

This would give the planners a blank canvas to produce an almost straight road free from parked cars. With roundabouts in place of rail crossings, better and more access to the new road would save the longer journeys, which at present many have to take.

No longer would vehicles have to drive the longer way through Anlaby and Willerby when travelling north; those who need to get to Beverley would not have to wait for trains which run only twice in the hour.

Buses would no doubt run more frequently, and for those who wish to board the train for all stations north it would be no hardship joining the train at Beverley.

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All in all more convenient for everyone and at the same time having a significant effect on carbon footprint.

Exceptional demands

From: Don Burslam, Elm Road, Dewsbury Moor, Dewsbury.

I ATTENDED the Question Time with David Cameron at the Yorkshire Post on March 11. The session was certainly interesting though I didn't manage to put a question. Mr Cameron was taller than he appears on TV and extremely fluent; personable is the word.

Politics is now a turn-off for most but I have a slightly different take. The job of Prime Minister is such an awful one that we should actually be grateful there are people anxious to take it on.

Wherever one looks there is a slew of chronic, deadly and insoluble problems. Apart from the dire economic situation, the threat from terrorism and militant Islam seems destined only to get worse.

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Whatever one's political view, these people must be regarded as quite exceptional.

Our petrol stealth tax

From: M Hodgson, Hollinwood View, Bingley.

REGARDING your article (Yorkshire Post, March 13) noting the annual rise in petrol prices due to taxation, as well as we poor motorists having to bear the brunt of these continuous rises, these increases have to be passed on.

This means that every commodity you can think of has at some stage to be transported by road resulting in price rises across the board which also means extra VAT on these commodities and revenue for the Government. Another stealth tax may I suggest.

No difference for defector

From: Godfrey Bloom, UKIP MEP for Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire.

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IT afforded me much amusement to see the Yorkshire Post make news of Edward McMillan-Scott's defection to the Liberal Democrats.

As if it made the slightest difference! All the main party MEPs vote yes to everything, stand up for the European anthem and salute the blue flag with the gold stars.

Spare us the political wives

From: Margaret Claxton, Arden Court, Northallerton.

I DON'T always agree with Jayne Dowle but I have to say that she has hit the nail on the head with the article about the wives of MPs (Yorkshire Post, March 18). Do they really still think women voters fall for such trivia? I consider it an insult.