YP Letters: Keep our English folk culture alive and dancing

Should more be made of St George's Day?
Should more be made of St George's Day?
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From: Martin J Phillips, Leeds.

FURTHER to the push for increased patriotism associated with the recent celebration of St George’s Day and the dawning of Brexit, perhaps we should look at other ways to enhance our “Englishness”.

There are many English traditions that are disappearing from our culture. With Leeds planning to hold a ‘year of culture’ a few years hence, it would be a good time to try to reinstate some of our historical traditions.

One area where there is a need for new blood is English folk dancing. Local Morris dancing, country dancing and sword dancing groups are crying out for new dancers and musicians. Not only would new members help to retain these traditions but it is also enjoyable, inexpensive, healthy exercise and an opportunity to make new friends – fighting obesity and loneliness at the same time.

This does not mean that we should avoid or exclude other cultures within our communities – including those from within Europe. While Remainers suggest that after Brexit we will no longer be European, this is absolute nonsense. Geographically, historically, and even genetically, we will continue to be European.

Although I supported Brexit, I am always keen to attend events hosted by other communities like those held at the Polish Centre in Leeds.

While many people there were born and raised in England, it is great to see them dressed in traditional Polish costume continuing the traditions of their relatives who came here after the war.

We need to recreate a similar sense of patriotism and to be proud of our heritage.

Death penalty was deterrent

From: Mr C Lambert, Morley, Leeds.

I HAVE just come across a newspaper cutting dated March 5, 2014. It states that in 1964 there were 296 murders, a homicide rate of 6.3 per million in England and Wales.

In 2010/11 there were 636 murders – a murder rate of 11.7 per million – roughly double that during the final period of the death penalty. Surely this proves that the abolition of the death penalty was a great mistake?

Murderers nowadays are sent to prison for a few years to be kept in better conditions than many of our pensioners and unemployed people.

They don’t have to wonder where their next meal is coming from.

The death penalty of hanging was brutal, but so were the murders that were committed.

Murderers should not be let off so lightly. They have proved that they cannot be trusted amongst a vulnerable public.

BBC role in Rudd demise

From: Christopher Clapham, Shipley.

AMBER Rudd was right to “tough it out” as Home Secretary.

From day one when the BBC thought they could make anti-Government propaganda and bring about the possible resignation of a Minister, they ran the story 24 hours a day – even the BBC One Show was in on the act.

Playing at socialism on the BBC is one thing, however the country needs someone to govern it and the clearly talented Amber Rudd, seen by many as a potential future leader, should have been allowed to do her job and not be hounded out in such a disgraceful way.

Speaker who declined title

From: Michael Meadowcroft, Former Liberal MP, Waterloo Lane, Leeds.

YOUR piece following the death of former Commons Speaker, Lord Martin (The Yorkshire Post, April 30) made the point that “by tradition Speakers are elevated to the Lords”.

In fact there was a notable exception. On his retirement, JH Whitley, the Speaker from 1921 to 1928, requested permission not to be made a member of the House of Lords. Harry Whitley was a Yorkshire textile man and the Liberal MP for Halifax from 1900 to 1928.

He is best known for chairing the House of Commons committee during the First World War that produced the Whitley Councils which regulate the relationship between employees and management.

In recent years, the Whitley family have sponsored an annual lecture in his name at Huddersfield University. I was honoured to give the 2017 lecture last October.

Wrong place for statues

From: Paul Emsley, Hellifield.

FEMINISTS have recently raised concern about the lack of female statues in Parliament Square. I wonder why?

The people currently remembered there are there by merit. I sense that this is yet another cause célèbre.

Suitable female candidates should be in Parliament Square, but would this be the right place to remember such figures?

I think that most of them would have preferred to be remembered in a location associated with their life and works, unless Parliament Square is to become yet another 50:50 quota environment.

I believe merit should be the only criteria.

Miss Grace Darling is better remembered in Bamburgh – what do you think?

Some more expert advice

From: David Quarrie, Lynden Way, Holgate, York.

WHAT Paul Emsley (The Yorkshire Post, May 1) says about experts is so true. The Yorkshireman’s description of an “expert” is “an ordinary bugger from a long way off!”

So true.