LETTERS: Wakefield readers on the community payback team, the EU and fracking
I recently asked the probation service if the community payback scheme would be interested in clearing a path.
The path was Hostingley Lane, Middlestown. Over a period of time the hedge had been cut and the path was now unsafe to walk on and was about a third of its original width. The road is very dangerous and vehicles travel along the road often well in excess of the 40mph limit.
I note that the path has now been cleared and is much safer.
Can I thank the people who have paid back the community and now made the path much safer?
Water Lane, Middlestown
Best to stay in
I would like to reply to the letters from Ruth Sheard (April 8 and 22) and Professor Geoff Pugh (April 15) regarding the EU referendum.
Mrs Sheard says that the EU has only been in existence for 23 years, but I would point out that its origins lie in the 1940s when politicians all over Europe (including Winston Churchill) resolved to finally end the terrible bloodshed of war. The European Coal and Steel Community was set up in 1951, the EEC in 1957, and its successor, the EU, in 1992.
I agree with her that the Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights are also important, but I think it is day-to-day co-operation in matters of trade, the environment, security, health, employment, travel, etcetera (all conducted through the EU), which are really key to stability in Europe.
She argues that the UK has no influence on EU policies, but there are in fact many examples to disprove this. For instance it was the UK which encouraged the expansion of the EU into eastern Europe (Margaret Thatcher was very keen on this), and pressed for reform of the Common Agricultural Policy. The UK also played a major part in developing the EU’s military strategy, and a more liberal trade regime.
I’m sure we could be even more influential if we cast off our negative attitudes. But obviously if we left the EU we would have no influence at all, even though we would still be affected by most of its rules.
With regard to our financial contribution to the EU budget, independent experts have calculated that while this costs each household about £300 per year, the benefits to each household are worth £3,000 per year due to lower prices, more jobs, trade and investment.
Her quotations from the Open Europe report are interesting but that is only one report amongst many. As Professor Pugh explains, most economists think we would be worse off after Brexit. Even eurosceptic think-tanks don’t think there would be much economic advantage in leaving the EU.
In any case I do not believe that financial considerations are the main reason why other EU countries (and the US) want us to stay in the EU. Much more important is political stability.
We form a counterbalance between France and Germany - the Dutch and the Scandinavians would be particularly dismayed if we left, not to mention the Irish Republic. How does she think Brexit would affect the peace process in Northern Ireland when passport control and customs posts were set up along the border?
I assume she is prepared to accept the breakup of the UK, since most Scots wish to remain in the EU, so Brexit would inevitably lead to an independence vote in a future referendum.
Finally, she is concerned about EU migration into the UK, that old red herring of the tabloid press. About two million people from other EU countries live here. They are usually young and well educated; they are mainly working, contributing to our economy, enriching our cultural life, and claiming less benefits per head than UK citizens.
They come because we are relatively prosperous; if our economy deteriorates, numbers will reduce. There has always been immigration into the UK, we thrive on it, there is no question of the cataclysmic scenario she predicts.
But what about the two million British people who live in other EU states, either working, or retired to countries like Spain, has she considered the effect that Brexit would have on them?
I was involved in the first European referendum in 1975, so I have been thinking about this issue for a long time. It seems to me to be a no-brainer.
With global threats from terrorism, climate change, income inequality, etcetera, it is more important than ever to co-operate with our friends.
Why on earth would we not want to work together to build a better, stronger Europe, a force for good in the world? This is a clear and positive objective, unlike the vague and depressing isolationism of the Brexit campaign.
Leeds Road, Wakefield
All about profit
There are many people who believe in fracking despite the massive health and environmental problems seen in the USA.
Indeed the problems have been so bad that many European countries refuse to have fracking within their own borders.
Believers in fracking state that new regulations will protect our health, welfare and the environment.
Perhaps these people should take a look at the most regulated power industry in the world: the nuclear industry. Despite massive legislation in every country with nuclear power it has not stopped catastrophes in the USA, Russia and Japan.
Strange as it may seem there is no comprehensive list of nuclear accidents, escapes or leaks, to water, land, or air, held in the UK either by the government or the industry. In fact, the industry and government do everything to prevent the public from finding out about and viewing such problems.
The nuclear industry is the most secretive power industry in the UK and makes massive profits with no solution as what to do in the long term with its waste,
The industry, just like the fracking industry, is about profit, any one who believes that domestic or industrial gas prices in the UK will fall to the level of the USA will be sadly disappointed.
Fracking is about one thing - profit for the investment companies. No amount of regulation will keep the environment safe, just as masses of regulation has failed to keep the nuclear industry clean and safe.
With dozens of companies drilling in every part of the country the industry will be able to keep secret any problems from the public, and the cheaper the costs the bigger the profits, the cheaper the costs the more dangerous the risks.
You can make all the regulations you want, pass laws and have regulators but when things go wrong as it did in the USA, Russia, and in Japan’s nuclear industry, sorry will not be good enough.
The health and welfare of us all, along with the environment will be lost for a profit for the few.
President of Residents against Toxic Scheme (RATS)
Fee amazes me
May I follow up the letter in last week’s Express from Bryan Denson with an example or two of my own.
Two great Wakefield Trinity supporters, Ron Peters and Horace Spooner, died and their families asked about the possibility of their ashes being scattered at Belle Vue, a ground where they had spent so many happy Saturday afternoons. I contacted Ted Richardson, the president, who was delighted to agree.
Ted made it a really memorable occasion, by inviting family members to attend a league match as guests of the club and, at the end of the match, arranging for a number of great Trinity players from the past, like Neil Fox, Ian Brooke and Geoff Oakes, to attend the dignified ceremony.
This kindness was much appreciated by all, leaving lasting memories and, of course, there was never any mention of a charge. As a former councillor, like Bryan, I was amazed to read of the ridiculous charge asked of the Dale family. Peter Dale was a hard working man, with a real decent family and how on earth they were charged a figure of £70 for an officer to spend a few minutes with them amazes me. Nor, I note is there any response from Wakefield Council.
Woolgreaves Drive, Sandal