From: Geoffrey North, Silverdale Avenue, Guiseley, Leeds.
WITH the use of powerful imagery in his words, Boris Johnson has rekindled the debate concerning burkas and face veils. I suspect many people share his views but this does not make Boris or others racists or islamophobists.
If Caucasian women started to wear similar headgear, there would probably be a an outcry. Young men wearing hoods which hide their faces create a feeling of unease. Instant thoughts could be “What are they up to or what are they hiding?” Motorcyclists who wear all over-head helmets look like aliens from outer space. But they do it for safety reasons and I am sure that they are only too glad to take them off.
My point is that the disquiet is not related necessarily to race or religion, but to the basic psychology behind personal communication, although it may provide ammunition to groups with extremist agendas. For hundreds of thousands of years, humans have developed sophisticated and complex means of communicating with one another which puts them apart from other species. In addition to sounds and words, body language is fundamental and the face with all its multiplicity of expressions plays a key part.
The eyes provide direct communication with other individuals. The size of pupils can change depending upon situations, good or bad. The mouth can turn into smiles or snarls. In turn they are both surrounded by facial muscles which, in combination, help to express friendship, happiness, sadness, anger and many other feelings. Burkas and face veils hinder this process of personal communication.
When I purchased a copy of The Yorkshire Post, one headline in an adjacent Daily Telegraph quoted “Burkas are the same as crucifixes”. I did not read the context which may have been related to employment issues. However they are not the same. Crucifixes do not hide the face.
Boris may have used inappropriate words in his article but he has certainly brought the controversy back into the limelight. Let us now debate the issues openly and sensibly, but with sensitivity and tolerance to other people’s feelings.
From: Tony Armitage, Fulwith Road, Harrogate.
CONSERVATIVE politicians are queuing up to condemn the right of free speech recently exercised by Boris Johnson.
Could it be that this brouhaha is really to prevent any leadership challenge which Boris may have in mind?
If so, those in condemnation of Boris are the ones guilty of fanning the flames of Islamophobia.
MPs should oppose HS2
From: Paul Dainton, Altofts.
THE report about the salaries of HS2 staff (The Yorkshire Post, August 9), and that a quarter earn over £100,000, comes only weeks after a leaked report claimed that the scheme was “fundamentally flawed” and that the costs may exceed its budget by as much as 60 per cent.
Objectors in Altofts have long since criticised the fact that consultation days on HS2 are costing approximately £10,000 a day to stage. These days are only to tell you what HS2 is planning to do as its officers appear to refuse to take back any ideas, suggestions or objections to the scheme. These open days are often not even in proximity to the actual rail route.
One has to ask why te Wakefield district MPs are still happy not to object to the scheme? Why do they think it is okay for the route to destroy our wildlife, environment and housing when the train will not even stop at Wakefield?
This crisis is closer to home
From: Roger Backhouse, Orchard Road, Upper Poppleton, York.
SIR Bernard Ingham may have solid Yorkshire roots, but he’s clearly spent too long in the Whitehall bubble. The dismissive Civil Service attitude to local government is too apparent in his latest article (The Yorkshire Post, August 8).
Local government is in crisis but few nationally recognise it. Social care costs are rising as more of us get old, taking an increased share of budgets. Central government has cut grants to councils since 2010 leaving little spare after children’s services and adult social care services are paid for. Few Councils want to raise council tax and even a three per cent rise won’t cover rising costs.
We’ve seen libraries closed, museums shut, potholed roads of ‘third world’ quality, environmental health services reduced and rural bus routes slashed.
That’s just for starters. Service quality has deteriorated to poor or non-existent across the board. The current crisis in Conservative-run Northamptonshire is only the beginning. Many councillors fear the same will happen to their authority. The Local Government Association warned of problems ahead, but no-one in Government chose to listen. Ministers prefer fighting each other over Brexit to dealing with real problems in counties and cities.
Disc parking explained...
From: James Sherwood, Communications Officer (Digital), Harrogate Borough Council.
IN response to Maureen Hayton’s letter (The Yorkshire Post, August 8), we’d like to say thank you for coming to visit Harrogate and we’re disappointed to hear that you were unsure of where to park using the parking disc, and left prematurely as a result.
If you have access to the internet, our website (www.harrogate.gov.uk) has details about where you can park using discs.
Just follow the link for ‘car parks’ and then ‘disc parking’. We hope you return again soon!