Welcome win over forces of destruction

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From: Patrick Argent, Fulford Road, Scarborough, North Yorkshire.

IN regard to the recent article ‘Tide turns against rock armour’ (Yorkshire Post, December 13), once again The Sons Of Neptune have successfully spearheaded the campaign to protect the assets of Yorkshire’s premier resort and its future economic viability from the institutionalised recklessness of ill-conceived and misguided public works.

To the enormous long-term benefit of Scarborough, the Neptune group have again been an authoritative voice of reason, common sense and steadfast civic responsibility, in a world that has seemingly gone completely mad.

Similar to the defective justifications presented in the past for the insanity of discharging raw sewage into the town’s bathing waters, the proposition to dump unnecessary rock armour at the Spa was yet another desperately lame attempt to fit the facts to an untenable case.

For far too long Scarborough’s character and ambience has suffered from a frenzy of idiocy 
in the wanton destruction of prime buildings and the depressing proliferation of bad design.

Despite the obvious, chronic, abject mistakes of previous decades that have irreversibly degraded much of the town’s architectural heritage, it is alarming that still now in the 21st century, the simple idea of rational conservation still fails to be heeded.

Just how significant do any of Scarborough’s remaining outstanding buildings have to be before they too are also considered as prime targets for permanent defacement or even worse?

Historic event trivialised

From: Colin Foster, Scalby Beck Road, Scarborough.

IN attempting to spin an amusing tale about the first trainspotter (Yorkshire Post, December 28), your reporter should have ascertained her facts more carefully.

The Stockton & Darlington Railway is not a 26-mile track that runs just between those two towns. It started at collieries west of Shildon and passed through Darlington, which is only 12 miles from Stockton by rail. The town’s name is in the company’s title because it was largely Darlington money that funded the building of the line.

Amongst the main supporters were the Quaker businessmen of the Pease and Backhouse families, which is probably why a letter from young John Backhouse survives. As stated, he was writing to his sister in October 1825 to describe the first train on the opening of the line the previous month.

I think it rather frivolous to try and label him as the first trainspotter when the historic significance of his letter is that he was a youngster who had witnessed an extraordinary event in mechanical progress and was trying to explain this to someone with nothing to compare to it.

He deserves credit for attempting to do this and should not have his interest trivialised.

With his distinctive surname, it is possible that he was related to Jonathan Backhouse, the banker, who is known to have attended the opening day.

Mission not complete

From: John Watson, Hutton Hill, Leyburn, North Yorkshire.

DAVID Cameron returned recently from Afghanistan and declared “mission accomplished”. I hope he is right, but that is not how I read it.

The Nato forces have lost over 2,000 young men, slaughtered by a barbarian culture which is oblivious to the rules of warfare (if there are any in this day and age) and the Geneva Convention. A culture which thinks it is normal to execute its enemies and make a video of the procedure.

It was our intention to get rid of the Taliban and to stop the small farmers from growing poppies. I think that once we have gone the Taliban will be back into the country as strong as ever they were. There is nothing to stop them. We have been trying to train the Afghan army to take over the duties which we left behind, but how many of them can be trusted? We have been told of several occasions where the trainees have turned against their instructors in murderous fashion, and probably been bribed to do so.

As for the farmers, we are never, ever, going to stop them growing poppies. There seems to be very little else they can grow in that barren land. And who are we to prevent them a livelihood? I don’t think we should tell farmers in far off lands what to produce. The obligation is on us to try to prevent anything we don’t like reaching our shores.

The amount of money being spent to combat this situation would be more profitably spent on staff whose job it is to prevent forbidden drugs coming into this country. We seem to be able to do anything else in this world with the brains and money we have at our disposal, and yet we cannot stop drugs being imported or smuggled into our country.

Weekend work for health staff

From: Malcolm Nicholson, Barwick-in-Elmet.

THOUSANDS of people die because senior NHS staff don’t fancy working weekends. Many organisations operate perfectly well Monday to Friday. The health service doesn’t. Its ‘customers’ get sick seven days a week.

Doctors are even refusing to work weekends, so may I ask what they intend to do during that lovely work-free time? Maybe a round of golf? Sorry, the ground and clubhouse staff don’t want to work at the weekend, so the course is closed. Perhaps go out for Sunday lunch with the family? Sorry, the pub is closed, restaurant staff won’t work at the weekend. Never mind, they can always stay home and watch telly. But, oh, sorry, the electricity has been turned off and the TV stations are unmanned too.

The days are long gone when consultants were too lofty to be disturbed out of hours. That goes for GPs too.