YP Letters: Post columnist's right to hold public officials to account

From: Kathleen Calvert, Clitheroe.
Yorkshire devolution means more effective political leadership, argues Tom Richmond. Do you agree?Yorkshire devolution means more effective political leadership, argues Tom Richmond. Do you agree?
Yorkshire devolution means more effective political leadership, argues Tom Richmond. Do you agree?

YOUR columnist Tom Richmond should continue being a “thorn in the neck of the self-serving council chiefs and leaders” for as long as they remain too far detached from public accountability.

From my own experience, the root and branch review of all public sector roles must surely focus on the pay gap between frontline services and the leadership, and the cascading layers of inefficient management that separate the leaders not only from their public accountability, but from direct responsibility for the success or failure of frontline operations.

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For too long, we have been a nation run by managerial hierarchies and politicised leadership that conceals wrongdoing and vested interests, and those who focus on vanity projects and on creating pointless, unrealistic, and ever-shifting targets.

Meantime, conscientious and diligent staff resort to survival by “firefighting,” and the too-trusting conformity or indifference of a materialistic and comfort-seeking public.

Some achieve too much while unrestrained, then trample on others, rest on their laurels, and abuse their privilege, while others take too much, yet achieve too little, with both staying blind and deaf to those who actually get things done.

This situation is untenable as it holds back the progress of the more conscientious yet silent majority who somehow must pay for it all through their personal income, time or assets, and you have hit the nail on the head by stating that duplication of effort means less money being spent on infrastructure, investment and frontline services.

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The damage to local economies also extends to lack of effort by some and too great a share of that money being directed into someone’s oversized pot by others. Keep up the good work!

Rich North boosts South

From: Gerald Hodgson, Spennithorne, Leyburn.

VINCE Cable (The Yorkshire Post, September 2) makes a number of telling points about this London-centric government’s neglect of the North and other regions of England and Wales.

But one I think is particularly worth highlighting and that is that the development of areas outside the South East is very much in the interests of the inhabitants of that area.

A thriving North will help to reduce the pressures of space, population, traffic and house prices which make life in the South East increasingly unpleasant. Investment in proper infrastructure, now being disgracefully abandoned by Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, would enable a more balanced economy to offset the money- juggling casino which is much of the activity of London’s financial sector and which produces nothing in real terms.

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It also makes the nation highly vulnerable to the possible departure of significant banking business after Brexit. And let us not forget the massive cost to us all of having to bail out the irresponsible decisions of the banks in the run-up to 2008.

In the 1920s, the city of Bradford was synonymous with wealth. Everyone, not least the inhabitants of the London area, would benefit from a resurgence of our great provincial cities, especially here in the North.

Innit useful sometimes!

From: Tony Sheridan, Tickhill, Doncaster.

OF all the colloquial developments of the English language bemoaned by your correspondents, ‘innit’ seems to be singled out as the ultimate enormity. In English we have to use an individual construction for the purpose, don’t we? It is different depending on whether the preceding words are singular or plural, isn’t it or aren’t they?

It must be tedious and confusing for foreigners, mustn’t it? It should be simplified, shouldn’t it? As, presumably, a shortening of ‘is it (the last statement) not so’, ‘innit’ solves all the problems and should be welcomed, innit? I hope that I have the courage to implement my conviction.

From: SB Oliver, Heckmondwike.

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ONCE again the degeneration of the Queen’s English has reared its unwelcome head with letters from self-confessed pedants about pronunciation and the incorrect use of the tense of verbs.

The apostrophe is mentioned and gets both overused and underused. My best example of this was over a year ago when I saw a grown man proudly wearing a Leeds United replica football shirt which had, printed on the back, the words “were all marching on”. Sadly today, most people wouldn’t notice or even realise the blunder.

From: Brian Sheridan, Sheffield.

FURTHER to the debate on the English language, it is not often that I disagree with your regular letter-writer ME Wright. However, I am not troubled by Americanisms such as “Hi guys” and “Have a nice day” (The Yorkshire Post August 30): I myself say “go ahead” rather than “after you” or “wow” if I am astonished.

There is no ambiguity about “I was sat” (in the uncommon case of the verb being used passively the context will clarify), but if you say something is “unique” (being the only one) when you mean “extraordinary” or “fortuitous” (by chance) when you mean “fortunate”, you are atrophying two valuable words. In other words, the greatest threat to our language is pretentious and ignorant use of vocabulary.

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