Respect for UK industry has been declining for many years

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From: Jennifer Hunter, Farfield Avenue, Knaresborough.

George Hodgson’s impressive, well-written letter (Yorkshire Post, January 27) about manufacturing has awoken dormant memories with regard to my much younger days in Germany.

Mr Hodgson mentions how German industry was largely flattened by Bomber Command. Almost 30 years ago, during the early and mid-1980s, I spent very many hours talking to and going on trips with my German exchange partner’s father and family.

I was a young student of languages, but I always enjoyed learning history and discussing matters of a historical, cultural and political nature. It was explained to me that the Allied bombers had, indirectly and inadvertently, done Germany a great favour when they bombed the factories and destroyed old machinery and buildings.

According to my guide Dieter, the Germans rebuilt their factories and industries favouring the installation of more modern and efficient technology. When he explained all this to me, Germany was still a divided nation and Berlin’s famous Wall remained an effective fortification system.

Dieter was an “Oberstudienrat” (senior teacher) at a Gymnasium (grammar school) in Siegen, Westphalia. I believe that Siegen retains twinning connections with Leeds, although at the time I first took part in the exchange programme, Siegen was twinned with Morley. His specialist subjects were history, German and social sciences.

Gerald Hodgson is completely correct when he maintains that manufacturing needs to be admired and not denigrated and that bright young people should be attracted to its ranks.

My guide and mentor in 1980s Germany was a senior grammar school teacher whose father had been an industrialist and who was greatly proud of the achievements of his native country, albeit divided at that particular time. Although he did not work in industry, he obviously had very great respect for it and I can imagine that he was a very good teacher in a school environment.

In retrospect, I have a lot to thank Dieter and other Germans for with regard to understanding their overall view of manufacturing and industry. I feel that the respect for industry in this country has been declining for very many years. Engineering and manufacturing fields have been allowed to sink into oblivion, whereas preferential treatment has been given to providing and promoting employment which does not involve people having to soil their hands.

I hope sincerely that Gerald Hodgson’s faith in the possible regeneration of British manufacturing is justified and that his hopes come to fruition. This regeneration is necessary, as well as the reinstitution of a sense of national pride and direction.

From: Michael Booth, The Birches, Bramhope, Leeds.

I SEE that yet again the unemployment figures have increased and the Leader of the Opposition blamed the present Government entirely and as usual advised them how to put matters right.

I truly think that virtually all our MPs, irrespective of party affiliation, think that the general public all came up the river on a banana boat and we believe everything they tell us.

Some 60 years ago, when I left school, jobs were plentiful as in those days this was Great Britain, one of the leading manufacturing countries in the World.

Since then, times have changed. The mining industry, car manufacturing, most of the steel industry, heavy woollen industry, the cotton industry, motor cycle manufacturing, and tailoring have all gone for good. They were all very high employment industries, in total providing millions of jobs.

Nowadays we don’t make anything hardly, we import it all. The population of Britain is increasing rapidly to the point where, thanks to a slack immigration policy, we haven’t a clue what the true population count is.

As such, I certainly don’t envy the young people of today. I worry for my grandchildren and their future.

From: Brian Wells, Hebden Bridge.

THE Government intend to facilitate the formation of co-operatives in order to foster economic development.

On reflection, this seems to be a worthy initiative. In particular this approach would be very beneficial in the gas and electricity supply industry.

The companies in this sector bid separately for gas and electricity supplies, so working as a co-operative would enable them to buy at lower rates.

Further co-operation in meter reading, billing, customer services and IT would also bring substantial savings and enable even lower prices to customers. The industry regulator’s work would be simplified and be more effective.

How can the powers that be not make this happen and make everyone a winner?

From: Peter Hyde, Driffield, East Yorkshire.

WHY is it that as soon as the country is in trouble financially two things are sure to happen. The unions will start talking about strike action and the Government will find a reason to give money we have had to borrow in the first place away to others, some better off than we are.