Saturday's Letters: First-time voter appalled at treatment on election night

THROUGHOUT my life I have grown up believing that we live in a democratic nation where every person's vote is given equal value. However, having queued for over two and a half hours in a separate line for "temporary residents"– what I, as a student am apparently classified as – while permanent residents walked straight ahead, I have sadly had to question this idea.

After arriving to queue at 6.40pm, I was amazed at the amount of people who had turned up to vote, particularly students. Considering that in the past, young people had often shown such a lack of interest in politics I assumed this would surely be a good thing.

About half an hour into our wait, I witnessed a group of, what appeared to be locals, walking past everyone who had been patiently waiting. I assumed they would be asked to return to the back of the queue. Instead of this, a member of staff named Andy Globe came out about 10 minutes later and told us that we were to separate into "residents" and "students".

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This meant that due to the fact students made up the majority of the queue, "residents" who had only just arrived were able to walk past those had been waiting over an hour. When students asked why our votes were of any less importance and pointed out that we were also residents of the Sheffield Hallam constituency, Mr Globe replied by informing us that we are, in fact, "temporary residents".

After more anger from students, he then added that most of the local residents are "elderly, infirm or have young children". A generalisation somewhat. Apparently, this discriminatory decision was to "make it fairer for everyone".

Both myself and others waited for almost three hours, while people who had only just arrived were able to vote within about 20 minutes. Not only this, I later heard that many were turned away at the door. This surely means that not only is the system undemocratic in that people who wanted to vote were unable to, but also that the votes were surely biased in that most of these people were students due to the fact that locals were allowed in faster.

As a first-time voter, I have found myself absolutely appalled.

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Firstly, at the fact that anyone has been denied their right to vote and secondly, that students have been discriminated against. While I appreciate that the turnout was much higher than usual, I believe that changes could have been made to adapt to this.

From: Charlotte Pape, Sheffield.

No chance to face up to candidates

From: D Downs, Mountbatten Avenue, Sandal, Wakefield.

I COMPLETELY agree with the content of John Sentamu's article titled "The price of freedom is to stand up and vote" (Yorkshire Post, May 6) but would comment on the paragraph which reads, "Please spend a few moments reading the candidates' literature, asking them questions, telling them what you want and see their reactions".

I read their literature which told us little about them and regurgitated their parties' rhetoric, but where and when does anyone get the opportunity to address them face-to-face?

In my constituency of Hemsworth, no-one came knocking on the door and there was no notice of any public meetings, giving the local electorate any opportunity to question any candidates.

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I did attend a hustings organised by Wakefield Cathedral which commenced at 12.30pm, but the attendants were not allowed to challenge the candidates' responses to prior submitted questions.

From: Stuart Asquith, Windsor Road, Wrenthorpe, Wakefield.

I WORK at Morrisons distribution depot, Junction 41, Carr Gate, Wakefield.

Recently, as I went to work one night, a large part of the car park was cordoned off, the area where the directors park when they are attending meetings.

When I got in, everyone on the day shift was talking about David Cameron coming through the night. There had been a dozen men cleaning the yards and buildings and when the night shift started, it was the same.

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Then at 2am one of the managers came round picking out a few people to go to the bottom of the building to take part in questioning David Cameron. I wasn't asked. I am 65 and would have liked to ask about my private pension. The bulk of the men who now work here are ex-miners and will never vote Tory. David Cameron lost out as he and his entourage were brought in through a back door and never came to the warehouse.

If he had just walked through and spent some time with the workers, he could have probably gained a few votes from the ex-miners. It seemed to be all for the TV, a complete waste of time. All his visit did was to give the directors something to talk about.

From: Tom Howley, Marston Way, Wetherby.

"IF you vote Liberal Democrat, Green or Nationalist, you must be out of your tiny mind", (Bernard Ingham, Yorkshire Post, May 4).

Even by Bernard Ingham's disgraceful standards, this is an extreme example of arrogance and sense of his own importance.

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Thousands of good honest citizens will have voted for these recognised democratic parties believing that their policies would improve the running of the country.

Mr Ingham may not agree with them, but he has duty to give them respect.

From: Peter McCormick, Slead Avenue, Brighouse, West Yorkshire.

BERNARD Ingham's article (Yorkshire Post, May 5) "explains why I regret not getting round to launching my English Common Sense Party" – well, I say, the sooner he does, the better.

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An excellent article by a much experienced and respected member of our society who upholds everything the right-minded citizen of this country yearns for.

From: Terry Morrell. Willerby, East Yorkshire.

DAVID Cameron has no one else to blame but himself for not achieving an overall majority. Three million Conservatives chose to vote for either English Democrat or UKIP simply because he did not offer them a referendum on Europe. The Tories could well have attracted votes from others, too.

From: R Clark, Coach Road, Sleights, Whitby.

THE remarks made by Gordon Brown off camera about Gillian Duffy (Yorkshire Post, April 29) just proves the contempt all politicians have for the voting public.

They have no interest in their opinions and just do as they like and follow the party line once in office.

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They can't face the public in open debate, it has to be stage- managed with a chosen audience with no dissent. Then they wonder why there is a poor turnout at the polls.

Surely immigration and the benefit culture are two of the most important issues?

As has been said before, it should be a condition of any prospective or standing MP to read the letters page of the Yorkshire Post. Then they would hopefully get the message.

From: James Turnbull, Deerstones, Skipton.

I AM very surprised and not a little dismayed to note under the heading "Vote couture" (Yorkshire Post, May 5) the reference to "would-be first ladies".

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I feel certain that none of the ladies in question, if they became the wife of a British Prime Minister, would dream of claiming a title rightly belonging to the Queen, unlike the wife of a previous Prime Minister.

Mesdames Brown, Cameron and Clegg are far too well informed and well

bred to make such an assumption.

From: KM Herbert, Bluebell Avenue, Penistone.

NICK Clegg, the leader of the Lib Dem Party, reminds me very much of Pike in Dad's Army.

As Captain Mainwaring would remark: "You stupid boy."

A very shallow person, and lacking in all departments, as are all the people in that party.

Exciting times ahead for Henry Moore centre

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From: Duncan Robinson, Chairman of Trustees, The Henry Moore Foundation.

FIONA Russell is right to suggest ( Yorkshire Post, May 1) that the Henry Moore Institute is one of Leeds's most important cultural venues, and that its combination of exhibitions and study resources make it central to the appreciation and study of sculpture not just in that city, but to an academic audience UK and worldwide.

Contrary to what the article suggests, this is an exciting time for the institute, and not a threatening one.

As well as maintaining its own programme of exhibitions, it will play a bigger part than ever in the cultural life of Leeds and the wider Yorkshire region as the major Henry Moore exhibition opens next door to it at Leeds Art Gallery in 2011. This exhibition has been lead-sponsored by the institute's funding body, The Henry Moore Foundation, and visitors will be encouraged more strongly than ever to explore the displays at both venues.

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May I remind your readers that the foundation runs an international exhibition programme from its Hertfordshire base, and that as well as funding virtually all of the institute's activities in Leeds, it regularly awards grants to other Yorkshire venues. Last year alone

these included Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Hepworth Wakefield and S1 Artspace in Sheffield.

The arrival of the institute's new head, to be announced soon, provides an opportunity to work more closely with all these venues.

The foundation's trustees and director give careful consideration to the role of the institute, just as they do to all of the activities which fall within its charitable remit.

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Although we serve different audiences at different times, we try to deliver both intellectual rigour and accessibility in equal measure, in keeping with Henry Moore's founding principle of encouraging public appreciation of the fine arts.

Cue for snooker irritation

From: Andrew Mercer, Oxford Road, Guiseley, Leeds.

THE BBC's documentary on the 25th anniversary of the black ball finish at the World Snooker Championships at the Crucible in Sheffield was a compelling programme.

It brought back so many memories of the great match between Dennis Taylor and Steve Davis, and the brilliance of their snooker.

This was a time when snooker players were almost as famous as pop stars.

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What a shame, therefore, that this programme was spoilt by the ego-maniac of a presenter, Colin Murray, who was simply interested in

his views, and what he was doing, rather than this great sporting occasion's place in history.

Irritating on the radio, he's going to be even more irritating as one of the BBC's new faces of football and other televised sport. Surely there are more talented people on the BBC's pay roll?

Enjoyment in every word

From: Geoff Beacham, Draughton, Skipton, North Yorkshire.

THANK you for your letter informing me that I had won second prize in the Saturday crossword competition number 1259.

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The cheque for 10 is most welcome and will be put to good use.

You may be interested to know that I have the Yorkshire Post delivered daily and I get considerable enjoyment in solving the crosswords, or at least trying to solve, on some occasions, each morning.

I have recently celebrated my 90th birthday!

I am one of the dying breed who say "thank you" for all the small mercies in this world.