North’s sense of identity growing

From: Prof Paul Salveson, General Secretary, Hannah Mitchell Foundation, Huddersfield.

THE IPPR North report (Yorkshire Post, January 2) contains much that is to be welcomed. In particular, the suggestion that 
the North as a whole should 
work together is really positive.

Yet it is surprising that IPPR North shies away from advocating greater democratic accountability with real devolution such as that 
enjoyed by Scotland, Wales 
and London. Tom Riordan, 
chief executive of Leeds City Council, was largely right in saying that proposals for regional assemblies failed to win enough support because they did not involve a significant shift of power.

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But the only place where that has been put to the test has been in the North East nearly 10 years ago.

A lot of devolved water has flown under the bridge since then, with Scotland, Wales and London demonstrating the effectiveness of devolved, elected bodies.

Whatever the outcome of this year’s Scottish referendum on independence, Scotland is certain to get further powers over its own destiny.

The North of England is not a nation, but it does have a growing sense of its own identity and shared interests.

An elected Northern Assembly with real teeth and tax-raising powers would be a much more attractive proposition than the current mess of joint bodies and unelected boards.

Far from taking power away from local government, it should form part of a new political settlement within the UK which includes local government re-asserting itself with greater powers.

Questions over
MP’s influence

From: Bridget Guerin, Salton.

I GATHER that the membership of the Thirsk and Malton Conservative Association is shortly to be asked to vote “To Be or Not to Be” about Anne McIntosh being re-adopted as the Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate for the Thirsk and Malton Constituency.

What is strange about this ballot is that only the sitting MP can set out her case in a letter accompanying the ballot papers.

The 560 members of the Conservative Party might wonder why there is a ballot at all if everything in the garden is as rosy as Miss McIntosh is likely to point out in her address to her party members.

It appears that the local Conservative Executive Committee, with whom you would expect Miss McIntosh to be in perfect harmony, are anything but. They are not allowed by the Conservative Party rules to say why.

I will ask myself the following questions:

Has Miss McIntosh been good at answering my correspondence?

Have the answers been helpful?

What has Miss McIntosh done in my local area to improve the infrastructure or solve problems?

Has Miss McIntosh been a good leader of the grass-roots volunteers? I will then try to find out why this ballot is being called at all – In other words, what don’t I know that I should? Then I will cast my vote.

Power-hungry
digital radio

From: Andrew Suter, Station Road, Ampleforth, York.

WITH reference to the debate about digital radios, first they, even the new ones, can use electricity in an unbelievable fashion. I have a small portable FM radio and two AA batteries last in excess of 200 hours including being left in an outdoor shed for winter. Digital radios either need a power station to hand or somebody with deep pockets. It is worthy of note they all come with a mains adaptor.

Our ‘Pure One’ will simply not operate next to double-glazed windows. I visited a friend the other day who was listening to digital radio on a 42in television. At that point from my little radio we have increased our power consumption by a whacking 1,000 per cent or more. Green? I don’t think so.

But hey, who cares when the FM bands are left and up for financial grabs?

Outstanding NHS care

From: Michael Clarke, Carter Avenue, Leeds.

I AM writing to express the appreciation and profound gratitude of my family for the excellent care which our sister received as a patient on Ward 91 in Bexley Wing, St James’s Hospital, Leeds.

Our sister’s most recent spell in that ward lasted from July 2013 until her return to her sister’s house after discharge on New Year’s Eve.

Her prolonged sojourn was made bearable by the compassionate care and respect for patient dignity exercised by a consummate team of nursing, medical, domestic, catering and administrative staff inspiringly led by an empathetic and communicative Sister.

Despite a very heavy workload, every member of the team devoted themselves completely to the onerous task of attending to the needs of their patients and consequently alleviating the physical and mental stress from which many of the hospitalised tend to suffer.

If the compassionate team work witnessed in this ward was to be adopted as the standard benchmark throughout the National Health Service, then there would be a consequent increase in patient satisfaction and, conversely, a decrease in the incessant litigation that so often besets the NHS.

Our thanks once again to a ward which shines as a beacon of hope for patients and maintains standards of care and respect for their dignity which exemplifies the best in an oft maligned NHS.

From: Terry Duncan, Greame Road, Bridlington.

IN my 73rd year, I feel young enough to recall issues that will affect my little grandchildren’s future. Top of the pile is our present Health Secretary, the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt, mastermind of our present National Health Service.

Clueless Hunt is destroying the NHS – like my local 40-year-old Bridlington Hospital, where three wards are piled up with beds ready for the scrapyard (as a day patient I have pictures of them).

Is he not the same Jeremy Hunt who was, as well as being Minister of Sport and Minister for the Olympics two years ago employed G4S to secure the complex? Now he is at the right hand of David Cameron. Does that not leave a message for the country? Yes, one of incompetence!