YP Letters: A gamble too far on betting machines

From: DS Boyes, Upper Rodley Lane, Leeds.

Is gambling out of control?

The PROPOSED reduction of stakes for fixed odds betting terminals in licensed betting shops to just £2 is a step in the right direction against the serious evil that gambling in every form represents.

Older people will remember in Leeds pre-1960 there were no betting shops, casinos or amusement arcades, as gambling was not only frowned on then, but illegal. Although many placed bets on horse racing via furtive individuals known as ‘runners’. most pubs displayed a sign in the tap room, “writing or passing of betting slips prohibited”.

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Even in the late 1940s, I believe some slot machines were seized by Leeds City Police and smashed up with sledgehammers outside Leeds Town Hall. Although no-one wants to go back to that situation, thanks to New Labour things went too far the other way.

Gambling operators, as usual, are lobbying the government with claims of lost tax revenues and jobs, bleating on about the offshore rivals who pay virtually no tax in the UK – a problem easily solved by any Chancellor if only the political will was there.

The supreme irony to me is that National Lottery tickets can only be purchased with cash, something which ought to be extended to every form of gambling!

Community is empty word

From: Philip Crowther, Bingley.

COMMUNITY is a word that has seeped into our lives in recent times, probably more so since David Cameron came up with the Big Society – code for ‘let’s see if they fall for providing public services on the cheap’.

In my view the ‘community’ tag is a sticking plaster term used by the Government to avoid having to address the true problems our country has.

I believe genuine ‘community’ ceased in the 1960s with the onset of mass TV ownership, as well as car ownership.

Community is now often cited by the media but where are the examples, other than very small hubs of people in hamlets or villages?

If you walk down any high street today, you are lucky not to be bowled over by people scurrying with a coffee in one hand, head down staring at their phone. ‘Please’’, ‘thank you’ and ‘excuse me’ are now terms that pass many people’s lips less and less.

What is community-spirited about many people being fearful of walking our streets?

This sticking-plaster term will not solve our problems of insufficient police to maintain law and order, health care and public service funds.

It may work during jingoistic events such as Royal weddings, but this is where it ends.

However, if we are brainwashed often enough to believe we have ‘community’, maybe all our problems will be solved.

Somehow I think not.

Brexit path no smooth road

From: Robert Bottamley, Thorn Road, Hedon.

GIVEN the volume of John Cole’s correspondence against Brexit, I suppose it was inevitable that one of his letters eventually would include something accurate.

Mr Cole quotes statistics from YouGov, suggesting that people generally consider the process of leaving the EU ‘not to be going well so far’.

Two points. First, given his determination – and the determination of like-minded anti-democrats – to subvert a legitimate election result, the path to independence from the EU never was likely to be entirely smooth.

Second, if your correspondent is even a little wise, the words ‘so far’ will temper his evident satisfaction.

Robin’s grave just a myth

From: Michael J Robinson, Park Lane, Berry Brow, Huddersfield.

I NOTE that a petition (The Yorkshire Post, May 24) aiming to prevent development near a site reputed to be the grave of Robin Hood has topped 5,000 names.

I imagine that none of the signatories will have a recollection of a series of fascinating television programmes hosted by 
Magnus Magnusson in which he explored British myths and legends.

Mr Magnusson died in 2007 aged 77 so it could have been about 30 years ago that the programmes were broadcast.

One of those programmes explored the claim that the Robin Hood’s grave marked on Ordnance Survey maps was where the outlaw was buried.

The result of the excavation showed beyond peradventure that the ground below the ‘grave’ had never been disturbed.

Signs of influence

From: David Burke, Horsforth.

THANKS to your columnist Tom Richmond (The Yorkshire Post, May 19), most of the out-of-date street signs from the Tour de Yorkshire etc have been removed.

He’s clearly more effective, and persuasive, at lobbying Leeds City Council than ordinary taxpayers.

Cans that can’t be opened

From: Elizabeth Stephens, Langley Road, Leeds.

WHAT has happened to our canned food?

I am finding that trying to open cans is very frustrating. I have two recently new butterfly openers, and a battery one.

I am finding it impossible to open most of the cans, ending up cutting the stubborn bits with heavy scissors, which can be quite dangerous.

Surely it is not through my inability, and the cause must be in the manufacture of the cans?