Tuesday's Letters: University funding should be spent solely on education

Instead of putting up tuition fees, which presumably is being done to lessen the cost of educating people, why not get universities back to their primary function of providing education?

It seems to me that a lot goes on in universities that has little or nothing to do with education, such as business enterprise, property development and job creation. It worries me that vast sums of public money seem to be getting invested in such things by people who are, presumably, academics. You read about money being spent on things with only a tenuous link to education, such as Leeds Metropolitan University famously sponsoring a rugby team.

York University openly advertises "early stage funding, support and investment opportunities for business". Where does this money come from, and was it not intended to provide education?

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As a businessman, I freely admit to knowing nothing about delivering higher education, and conversely I don't believe that academics should be dabbling in business. They should stick to what we pay them for, and university funding should be spent on education.

From: Paul M Rouse, Main Street, Sutton upon Derwent, York.

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

I THOUGHT Mr Hinchliffe (Yorkshire Post, November 22) struck the right note about students.

Time was when students were prominent in causes such as nuclear disarmament and German rearmament, which were admirable in the context of the time. Now they have degenerated into a disorganised, self-obsessed rabble. In the recent deplorable disturbance, they were infiltrated by hard-left and anarchist groups. They stood by and cheered on these extremists, gravely damaging their own reputation as a result.

It is interesting to compare the hysteria caused by the proposed increase in tuition fees with the plight of people at the opposite end of the age range.

Students have to pay a considerable amount for their education which they will recoup many times over in their career.

On the other hand, what I call the obedient generation will sooner or later need extensive and expensive treatment at home or in a home. At some stage, their houses will be sold. If the students spent a little of their abundant free time taking up the cudgels – the most appropriate term – on behalf of their elders, they would command more respect. After all, they will be old some day.

Churchill's vision of unity for Europe

From: Michael Swaby, Hainton Avenue, Grimsby.

IT is interesting that Mrs DM Cope should seek "someone of Churchill's stature to get us out of the EU's clutches" (Yorkshire Post, November 20).

It is believed by some that because he led us in the fight against the obnoxious Nazi regime, Winston Churchill was Europhobic. Nothing could be further from the truth.

It was he who, in an effort to keep France in the war, on June 16, 1940 despatched General Charles de Gaulle to Bordeaux, bearing an offer of "indissoluble union" between the two countries. Nothing came of this, as Paul Reynaud's government was on its way out, to be succeeded by others who had decided that they could take no more.

It was also he who toured the Continent in 1946 making keynote speeches, such as that at Zurich on September 19, in which he said: "We must build a kind of United States of Europe. In this way only will hundreds of millions of toilers be able to regain the simple joys and hopes which make life worth living".

Of course, Churchill was also fully aware of the strong ties that bind us to the other English-speaking peoples, and he mentioned these on many occasions.

I must admit to an interest, in that I am a member of the European Movement, which was formed by Winston Churchill in 1948. I believe that Mrs Cope will understand when I say that if it was good enough for him, it is good enough for me.

From: Mrs SJ Dowson, The Avenue, Driffield.

THANK you for Bill Carmichael's "Silence of the Eurofanatics" (Yorkshire Post, November 19). At last we are seeing the European Union for what it really is. I just hope it is not too late for Britain.

Many years ago, I used to say this would happen. I have a notice on my door saying "Don't Let Europe Rule Britannia" and was labelled a Eurosceptic. If we had not gone the way we did, there would not have been the financial mess we are in now. Let us leave them and go our own way.

From: Ivor Jones, Shireoaks, near Worksop.

I TOTALLY agree with 90 per cent of Bill Carmichael's article (Yorkshire Post, November 19). All the champions of the euro are deadly silent now that the Irish republic is in trouble with its finances, mainly because of its adoption of the currency. Where are the great and the good who tried and failed to convince the population of Britain to adopt the euro?

All the failed Westminster politicians – Chris Patten, Neil Kinnock and Peter Mandelson, to name a few – have all gone on to feather their nests in Europe.

From: Jeffrey Shaw, Sheffield.

THE hated European Commission is investigating an Elton John concert in Italy. Apparently, officials spent 720,000 of EU money in organising the event. Why?

Similar provable extravagance emerges every week. I'd love to know from where the EU gets all its supporters? If proof were ever needed that the UK's europhile Lib-Lab-Cons quislings haven't a clue about what is best for us, this is surely it.

From: Les Arnott, Athelstan Road, Sheffield.

I HAVE just watched television's The Fall of The Iron Lady and I must admit that I had quite forgotten the extent to which the European Union underpinned and caused Margaret Thatcher's downfall.

The Tories were quite happy to accept her leadership, her many successes, her genius, her many mistakes, her strategic brilliance, her crassness, her victories, her detachment from some – and even her arrogance – but what they could not take was her greatest attribute, that she had had the audacity to stand up to the EU!

This could not be tolerated under any circumstances, by a singularly Europhile party.

Those who welcomed her "fall from grace" were too busy cheering to look at the whys and the wherefores.

But today, so many have clearly forgotten the rank Tory Europhilia in the higher echelons of their party as demonstrated by this "assassination".

Yet right up to the present, astonishingly, the Tories continue their disingenuous pretence of being largely eurosceptic and duplicitously make empty claims such as "so far and no further" whenever the EU is mentioned.

Cameron and his cronies are just the latest gang of Tories being dishonest with the electorate. The Lib-Lab-Cons are all unequivocally, irreversibly and unapologetically pro-EU and consequently the needs of this nation are relatively low on their agenda.

Karl Sheridan, Selby Road, Holme on Spalding Moor, Yorkshire.

I HAVE to admit that the eagerness of our coalition government to bail out Ireland does make me question just how bad our own situation is.

Although having great sympathy for Ireland and the plight they find themselves in, I do not seem to remember any offers of help from them or indeed other EU countries when the UK found itself in dire straits.

Two questions present themselves – one being that New Labour, for all its faults, appears to have been quite instrumental in laying out the groundwork for our economic recovery, allowing us to surface pretty quickly compared to other countries.

The other question is, if we are in such dire straights as the coalition maintain we are, how come we can afford to finance a well-over-budgeted Olympic games plus an extravagant Royal wedding, but can apparently also afford to offer a substantial loan to a failing country that happily adopted a Mickey mouse currency?

Further to that observation, I also have to question the sheer exuberance of the coalition for eliminating all the hard-won services and facilities that the working classes have had to fight for over the years.

Unfortunately it appears that those of us who voted for real change via the Lib Dems merely facilitated the reinstatement of a Conservative government, but without the moral constraint that we are used to – that is, all promises and bribes made pre-election are null and void. Mrs Thatcher must be hugging herself to bits.

Dedicated people working to build great schools

From: Lord Hill, Schools Minister, Department for Education, Whitehall, London.

WHAT a shame that the hostility Chris Keates obviously feels towards academies and free schools (Yorkshire Post, November 25) blinds her to the facts.

The truth is that academies, introduced by the last government, have raised educational standards: GCSE results have improved twice as fast in academies as the national average and in some academies much faster than that.

International evidence shows that free schools also raise standards in schools. So in Bradford, the passion and determination of inspirational teachers to make a real difference with new free schools should be celebrated, not attacked.

Contrary to what Ms Keates says, free schools will not be established without rigorous checks and independent schools that become free schools will have to stop charging fees.

The Schools White Paper sets out our plans to raise standards and start to close the gap between rich and poor. It's shocking that the latest figures show that only 40 of the 80,000 children in England eligible for free school meals secured places at Oxford or Cambridge.

It is the children from the poorest backgrounds who have been let down the most so, yes, we want to move fast.

Fortunately, passionate teachers, parents and charities are working flat out to create more great schools and give pupils more choice. It is they, not Ms Keates, who are leading the way.

Don't put drugs on prescription

From: Robert Carlton, Athol Crescent, Ovenden, Halifax.

I FEEL I must reply to Roger M Dobson's letter (Yorkshire Post, November 16). He states that class A and class B drugs should be put on doctors' prescriptions, free to users if necessary.

It is easy but it is not the answer. I've struggled for years to persuade my teenagers to keep away from drugs. I've always trusted and respected the doctors' actions in advising people not get involved in drug-taking.

How is a doctor going to prescribe something that causes violence, causes people to neglect their children and causes people not to care about themselves or others around them?

Whether they pay for drugs or get them free, the problems that come with them are still going to be the same. Often, but not always, people take drugs because society has let them down or because there is no view of a future; for doctors to say they don't care either would only increase every problem imaginable.

I worry what people are turning to because of the behaviour of others.

Plight of our skilled workers

From: G Ellison, Hawthorn Avenue, Dronfield.

WHAT are these highly skilled workers we desperately need (Yorkshire Post, November 24)? When there is a disaster abroad, the UK sends over skilled workers to help.

When we have our own disaster, such as the recent flooding which is far too common, no foreign skilled workers come over to prevent it happening again. In fact, no foreign aid at all.

Britain has always desperately needed jobs as we have too many jobless skilled workers and this has always been the case.

Unhappy return

From: Harry Robinson, Cedar Drive, Keyworth, Nottingham.

My reaction to Bill Carmichael's column (Yorkshire Post, November 26), in which he appeals to George Bush to "come back – all is forgiven", is to quote John McEnroe – you cannot be serious!