YP Letters: Fracking report was suppressed

From: Glyn Wild, Swinton, Malton.

There has been widespread opposition to the prospect of fracking starting in Yorkshire.

The Government (and our local MP) have consistently misled us on the issue of fracking. The latest refusal to release the Cabinet Office report on fracking because it “could call into question the industry’s viability” is just the latest example.

Previous reports detrimental to fracking have also been suppressed and claims of cheap gas and tens of thousands of jobs have shown to be false. And now the government is trying to change the planning system, overturning local democracy, to allow fracking applications to be decided solely by central Government.

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What contempt for the electorate by the people who are supposed to represent us. Kevin Hollinrake claims that an overwhelming number of his constituents support fracking. What is his basis for this and can he still justify this claim?

PR no cure for political ills

From: MR Gilbert, Thongsbridge, Holmfirth.

Regarding Don Burslam’s letter on Friday (The Yorkshire Post, March 16). There are a number of contentious points he raises in defence of proportional representation (PR) as a panacea for this system.

If you vote for a party and not your local candidate as your MP you lose local accountability, and how democratic is it to have party politicians, based no doubt in Westminster, choosing who you can vote for?

Is this really better than “a small group of reactionaries or extremists in the constituencies who are at least local and know their area?”

We have usually had strong governments based on the election of local MPs who represent their area and their voters. While the current government is not so strong this time, we have a coalition, which is what he favours, with the DUP supporting the Conservatives.

He cites Germany’s PR system as an example that we should follow, especially when considering its economic success. Well, a lot of Germany’s economic success is due to it benefiting from the euro’s lower value reflecting the whole Eurozone rather than Germany itself. Its hard to claim that it is PR that delivers the strong economy.

Half of Germany’s MPs are voted in on the basis of a first past the post system while the other half are allocated by the parties.

So by no means is it a truly PR system.

Add to this the fact that this system has just taken over 24 weeks from the election results being declared (in September) to a coalition being agreed and a Government being formed (last week). Hardly Utopia.

So lets stay with our system which has worked well over the centuries and consign PR to the bin. If you want reform then concentrate on sorting out the House of Lords. There might be a case here for PR if you can get rid of these mainly political appointees who have no accountability to the public.

Carragher was contrite

From: Brian H Sheridan, Sheffield.

Rarely am I at odds with Tom Richmond who is knowledgeable about a range of sports so I was disappointed that he contrasted an isolated public-spirited action from rugby player Jonathan Davies with Jamie Carragher’s conduct to discredit the much-maligned sport of Association Football (The Yorkshire Post, March 17). Carragher spat into a car – not directly at a 14 year old girl as was implied. The moment of madness was none the less disgraceful but Carragher was genuinely contrite, as was the provocateur who pleaded for the pundit not to lose his job.

Carragher married his childhood sweetheart and has a 14 year old daughter himself. He performs a lot of charity work and gives talks promoting family values. Meanwhile the England rugby coach, no less, launches a calculated public vilification of the Scots and the Irish and gets away with an apology.

Gratitude for our NHS

From: Bernard Cross, Thixendale, Malton.

I wish to express the excellent care and dedication we have both received from NHS staff at the Derwent Practice, Malton and York hospitals, and also to include other contributary services. All have been most helpful, efficient and showed genuine care of their patients. I wish to give a big thank-you to you all. Too many people complain about our NHS service in general; pre- 1947 it was ‘pay up front or suffer’ (as I well remember).

The $100bn question

From: E Gardner, Leeds.

I recently travelled for business to the new US Embassy in London. It’s a square tower block, set awkwardly within its plot near Battersea. The remarkable thing is its astonishing cost of $100 billion.

To a Yorkshire native, such overspending is a shock. How much would $100 billion have helped the disaster-struck island of Puerto Rico, still struggling with power and water, or addressed any number of social problems in the US?

It seems like all sense of proportion and accountability went out the window.