These Tories have a way with words

From: Max Hey, Fairway Grove, Bradford.

DURING Prime Minister’s Questions, David Cameron said that the bedroom tax was not a tax but an “under occupancy penalty” because you only pay tax when someone earns money. Thatcher tried to introduce the poll tax which she called a community charge. You have got to give it to these Tories, they have a way with words.

My thesaurus informs me that tax could mean duty, levy, toll, tariff, income tax or excise. On the other hand, penalty means punishment, price, fine, sentence or consequence so Cameron could be right in saying he would like to punish, charge etc and to hell with the consequences for some of the most impoverished members of society.

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High pay and poor roads

From: TW Coxon, West Auckland Road, Darlington.

WHEN one sees on TV the shocking state of Britain’s roads and experiences the damage to motor vehicles by the multitudinous potholes, one wonders how much political motivation, or lack of it, is involved when councils blame lack of funding from central Government and then the Government says the opposite.

What we do know is that some councils have given their chief executives a 10 per cent pay rise and at the same time awarding some directors thousands of pounds increases to their annual income. When one compares what these officials earn with the salary of the Prime Minister, surely there is some anomaly?

It adds no credence to the plea of lack of funding.

Breathtaking prejudice

From: John Street, Ilkeston Road, Heanor, Derbyshire.

WE are all entitled to our prejudices, but your contributor Tom Richmond (Yorkshire Post, March 16) takes his to a breathtaking level.

He rounds on the newly-elected Archbishop of Canterbury for his criticism of some of the government’s proposed welfare reforms, labels all benefits recipients as “workshy”, and seems to take the view that anyone in public life who expresses any concerns about government policy should stand for election as an MP. Yes, the welfare budget is high, but a civilised society is judged on how it treats the less advantaged members of that society.

Let libel laws free the press

From: John Watson, Hutton Hill, Leyburn, North Yorkshire.

WHY have the three party leaders got their heads together to do away with press freedom?

It was a bad year for the press last year and I am sure the phone-hacking business has given them a real fright, with one newspaper closing down altogether and with several newspaper employees facing a jail term, I don’t think we will see anything like that again.

If it hadn’t been for the press, a lot of our MPs would still be fiddling their expense accounts at the taxpayers’ expense.

Several times the press have exposed dodgy dealings and criminal behaviour which we would have never heard about otherwise.

Why do the likes of Hugh Grant and other people in the public eye want do to away with freedom of the press? I have always maintained that if they had nothing to hide it would not be a problem to them and they always have the libel laws to fall back on.

Inhumanity on the railways

From: Christopher Lawson, Cookridge, Leeds.

THE shortened two-carriage trains on rush-hour services from Leeds to Harrogate demonstrate quite clearly the total contempt Northern Rail has for the people who live in the corridor served by this line.

The guard on the train on Tuesday evening made no reference to the inhumane conditions caused by the restricted size of the train, although he did urge passengers to read the safety notices – which no one on board could get near.

The train was packed, made worse with bicycles and luggage blocking the aisles.

When I mentioned the overcrowding to the guard at Horsforth, he said: “Look – the state of the train is nothing to do with me or the driver.” He’s right, of course.

As I have said so many times, Northern has no idea how to communicate – if they told travellers what is going on, why the trains are short, why they are having to travel in such appalling conditions, they might try to understand.

It seems to be getting almost the “norm” for the 17.29 train to be cut in size.

Although after a busy day at the office I am eager to get home, there doesn’t seem much point in going for this train until the Northern management shows its (reluctant) willingness to try to make things better.

Up the river over licensing

From: Belinda Denton, Postern Close, York.

THE Labour-run City of York Council are not just wasting council taxpayers’ money on “vanity projects”; they are effectively offering funding 
to a new “public house” and outdoor live music venue, in the form of the questionably named “Arts Barge” proposed to be moored in a quiet residential area of York.

Where is the probity, when they own the land, they provide finance and they will determine the planning application? Oh yes, and where is democracy when they didn’t bother to notify the nearby residents of the proposed opening until 1am?