Tuesday's Letters: Don't be too critical of Osborne and the Conservatives

I HAVE been a regular reader of the Yorkshire Post for 20 years but have never before been moved to write to the editor. However, with the General Election campaign about to begin, I wanted to let you know my thoughts.

I have been a Conservative all my life. I will vote for them this time more enthusiastically than ever before, because of David Cameron and, yes, George Osborne.

Some will find that hard to believe and I admit I wasn't won over

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easily. But it's worth pointing out some of the Conservatives' best ideas (and ones which have done so well) have been his – stamp duty, inheritance tax, council tax freeze and the latest, the National Insurance tax cut.

It is for these reasons I am writing – I am saddened by your stance towards him and, seemingly, towards the Conservatives as a whole.

I am sure many people aren't convinced by Mr Osborne (Tom Richmond, Yorkshire Post, April 3) and they're entitled to their view, but if talking to my friends is anything to go by, he's winning people round. Mr Richmond's views are further compounded by his apparent love of

Vince Cable. He's anything but a saint – changing his mind on key policies, not getting everything right as he likes to claim.

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Throughout the time I have been reading your newspaper, you have been a critical friend of the Conservative Party – and rightly so. I want you to push them, kick them and get them to answer tough questions. But I want them to win. And I would hope you do as well.

From: Martin Heron, Garden Road, Brighouse.

From: RC Curry, Adel Grange Close, Leeds.

GORDON Brown is pursuing a lost cause with his National Insurance tax rise on businesses, but he is just not man enough to turn to the tens of thousands of otherwise unemployed who he has signed up to be useless jobsworths, and say, "Sorry folks, the party's over and the non-jobs have gone".

Public services can no longer stand this weight of senseless

bureaucratic waste, and the taxes are a shackle on productive


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Instead, he will let his successor be the one to pick up this loaded gun, and then turn the blame on him. In the meantime, he hides behind his Business Secretary, whose unctuous approach is repellent.

Strange though it may seem, the much maligned bankers are the ones who have done as much as any to get the economy going in the right direction. Their international operations are on the up, and, above

all, they have ceased to lend money to businesses which have no intention of paying them back and expect the money to be poured down black holes of failure. It is about time bankers were given a pat on the back for getting on with the job of righting their wrongs.

We should not blame David Cameron one bit for being cagey about details, as so much of what he has let out so far has been cherry-picked by his opponents as if they were their ideas.

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One thing is certain, however, the public needs a rest from all the charade which has cluttered the media for far too long, so roll on election day.

From: Ian Barnes, Blake Court, Wheldrake, York.

IN December last year, I started to draw my state pension and I also have a company pension, which I contributed to over many years. In April, the state pension will increase, however I have received a

notice of coding from HM Revenue & Customs stating that my tax code

will reduce by the same amount as the increase.

I have also received a letter from the trustees of my company pension to say that it would not be increased this year due to the fact that the Retail Price Index for September 2009 was –1.4 per cent.

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The RPI bears no resemblance to what is happening to inflation. It was set up by politicians to con us into believing prices are not increasing at the rate we know they are. For example, my council tax has just increased by five per cent, petrol is on the increase, food, electricity and all the normal things we need to buy to live have increased in price. Yet effectively my income has reduced, due to the real cost of inflation, not massaged figures. How long do politicians think we can carry on like this?

We have an election coming up and it is the one time that we, the British public, can change things. Forget voting for the Tories or Labour, we have seen decades of misrule by both parties.

During their tenure we have seen riots on the streets, mass

unemployment, three-day working weeks, the winter of discontent, inflation in double figures, strikes, sleaze, sex scandals, not to mention the recent fiasco with the banks plus the debacle over MPs' expenses.

If either of them get in again, history will repeat itself, I can

almost see the future headlines.

How can we drop our ethical code?

From: John Watson, Hutton Hill, Leyburn.

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I AGREE wholeheartedly with Andrew Charles (Yorkshire Post, March 30) where he is putting across the Catholic case regarding Harriet Harman's equality laws.

First, let me say that I am not a Roman Catholic and there are certain doctrines in that Church with which I don't agree. However, I

vehemently support it in its endeavour to run its adoption agency

without political interference. As I have said in previous

correspondence, it is doing nothing but good and makes sure the children in their care get a proper father and mother.

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I, and most of my generation, were brought up with strict ethical codes which would naturally stay with us all

our lives.

Now, in this permissive society, we are being asked to adopt standards which are anathema to most of us and the human rights legislation has a lot to answer for.

Are we going to be criminalised because a lot of the basic common sense we were taught as youngsters is being discarded to accommodate lenient attitudes towards paedophilia, lurid tabloid journalism and single sex marriages?

From: M Hellawell, Cross Lane, Scarborough, North Yorkshire.

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WHAT is hearsay, what is true? How can anyone actually have proof of who covered up sex abuse and the reasoning, and in many cases, lack of moral fibre and misunderstanding that happened decades ago?

Peter Tatchell wants to be very careful of what he is accusing the present Pope of. He's very good at preaching his views, regardless of whether they are correct or not.

It is not just the Catholic priests. Much abuse took place in the forces, all types of orphanages, public schools, Scout groups, choirs, etc.

So why just bash the Roman Catholics? It is disgraceful and unacceptable. Nowadays, we are more aware of what goes on. In the past, it was hidden and not faced up to by all levels of society.

A worthwhile investment

From: Peter Lacy, Abbey Road, West Bridgford, Nottingham.

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REGARDING the negative comments from BH Hardwick of Rothwell (Yorkshire Post, March 25), he is obviously unsympathetic to the fact that all MPs, MEPs and businessmen who need to travel to London (and Europe) from the North on a frequent basis do need high speed domestic UK travel.

Mr Hardwick implies that there would be loss of passenger capacity;

while the reverse is reality: existing train services are speed-constrained by original BR track curvature, whereas new high speed operation on greenfield track must be routed separately between the few station stops – thereby substantially increasing total passenger service capacity and choice options of travel time/ticket cost.

Certainly, building new high speed rail routes will incur major

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opposition over specific areas of green belt land affected by high

speed rail; consequently, sympathetic landscaping with tunnels and

cuttings would need to be considered – certainly, construction cost

will involve billions, but long-term benefits for regions north of London will justify the investment.

A more cheerful story for aspiring writers

From: Paul Andrews, The Beeches, Great Habton, York.

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RICHARD Heller's pessimistic article on the publishing industry is not the whole story (Yorkshire Post, March 25). In many ways, there are now more opportunities for unknown writers than ever before.

Mainstream publishers may be unwilling to take risks with new writers and new ideas, but the self-publishing market is booming and bustling with creativity, ambition, talent and sales.

If you have a computer, all you have to do is to upload your manuscript to a site like "Lulu", and the site will print as many books as you want. If you are thinking of getting a book published professionally, there are reputable self-publishing companies which will publish your book at a modest price.

Some of these will also market and rep the book. Costs are much cheaper these days than in the past, as the text can be uploaded by broadband, and the type-setting is now largely done automatically by computer. So, once published, your book can appear in shops beside books published by mainstream publishers.

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Since the days of Ancient Greece, there have been formulas or models

for writing successful books, but a self-published work does not have to stick slavishly to modern day formulas, as a main-stream publisher would expect.

This can make many self-published novels more attractive, innovative and fun than the latest formula blockbuster from a big publishing firm. Self-published books from unknown authors sometimes win prestigious literary awards and book prizes.

There are correspondence courses available which teach how to write for the public, and there are critics who will vet and advise on your work. So, if you have a story you want to tell, and can write reasonably well, there are resources out there to help you get it into print in a form which is reasonably entertaining.

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These resources were not available at reasonable cost 20 years ago when I wrote the first version of my novel The Loner, a story about student life at Liverpool during the Swinging Sixties. I could not afford to

get it professionally self-published then as I have done this year, a very much revised and improved version. Marketing is hard work and I

have no idea how successful The Loner will be, but at least I have

been able to get over the first hurdle.

A nation blighted by litter

From: Stephanie Shield, Sinnington, York.

BEN Stafford is spot on with his article "Let's banish the litter that blights Britain" (Yorkshire Post, April 2).

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I drove from North Yorkshire to Cambridge the day before Ben Stafford's article appeared and commented to my companion in the car on how untidy and dirty our highways have become.

My journey along the A64 road, joining the A1, passed through several counties.

The verges of both roads for the whole of the journey, approximately 180 miles, were strewn with every imaginable piece of litter.

All the local authorities within this 180-mile drive should hang their heads in shame. Britain is blighted by litter.

Derailed by force of law

From: ME Wright, Grove Road, Harrogate.

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I SEE that the proposed rail strike has been curbed by a court

injunction (Yorkshire Post, April 3).

I wonder why the law was not framed to permit an injunction when many dentists abandoned their NHS patients and similarly, against bankers, who continue to stick two well-manicured fingers up to the rest of us.

Could this possibly be the British (non-existent) class system at work –"professional people" versus "lower orders"?