Life before EU

I REFER to the letters from Susan Latter, Dave Dalton and Ian Hobson (D&S Times letters, Nov 30) and my replies to them are set out below:

1.Susan Latter claims I was calling Northern MPs (whose constituents all voted for Brexit) corrupt. I referred to unelected political failures in Brussels eg Barnier, Junker and Tusk. All Northern MPs were elected. A referendum is the epitome of democracy and we have had one which voted out. So I have nothing whatsoever to apologise for.

2.Dave Dalton claims we were not fully informed of the consequences of leaving the EU. Call me Dave Cameron spent £9m of taxpayers’ money on leaflets spelling out the consequences of Brexit which included leaving the Customs Union and Single Market. The campaign to leave also made it clear we wanted control of our borders, immigration, laws, trade and taxes.

3.Ian Hobson is another remoaner who claims we were not informed of the consequences. Again see para 2 above. All of the project fear and fake news forecasts by the remoaners have proved untrue, ie pound collapse, stock market crashes, mass unemployment, a plague of locusts et al. The EU has deliberately placed obstacles in the path of Britain leaving the EU of which May has failed to see. Those who claim they did not know what they were voting for are political ostriches with their heads in the sand. Turn the clock back to pre-January 1, 1973, that’s what the majority of the people voted for. May has allowed the undemocratic EU dictators to stitch her up like a kipper.

I have said this before and will say it again. Ninety per cent of remoaners were not born or at best at primary school on January, 1 1973 when Britain got entangled with the Brussels mob so they do not have a clue what life was like outside of the EU. I was and it was fantastic. We traded with the rest of the world with impunity and thrived. As for damage to our car industry as the remoaners claim, if the EU starts putting tariffs on British cars exported to Europe then BMW, VW, Porche, Mercedes, Fiat, Peugeot, Renault, Citroen will feel the pain ten times worse than Britain.

Trevor Nicholson, Leeming

Fuel prices

WHY are we seeing such a difference in fuel charges between petrol and diesel cars – 10p a litre? Surely this can't be blamed on Brexit or production costs. Or is it an underlying obscure tax by government to demonise the likes of myself who use a diesel car who, incidentally were not too many years ago, encouraged by government to buy diesels?

While I understand some of the reasoning by our green police, I don't notice any great objection by them of the delivery of our country's essential products by road transport in large lorries. Indeed I understand about 94 per cent of all we use comes this way.

It begs the question, if it is not a direct charge against diesel cars then when will we see these added charges imposed on hauliers passed to the country as inflation?

Until we have a viable alternative please don't just pick on the poor diesel car owners. Remember our cars go through the same legislative MOT as petrol users.

John Stenhouse, Leeming Bar

Friarage doughnut

PLAYING about, as one does, with Google Earth on my computer, I was astounded to see a huge ‘doughnut’ shaped building dumped within the car park of the Northallerton Friarage Hospital. Its facade proclaimed it to be “The Sir Robert Ogden MacMillan Cancer Centre”.

Who is to provide all the doctors, medical nurses, clinical technicians, secretaries, clerks, cleaners, cooks, porters and necessary support for such a centre and its effective operation when the present Friarage hospital is in need of huge support from such stalwarts as the Friends of Friarage and the efforts of the local MP? Surely not those genteel North Riding ladies, holding coffee mornings in order to tip a couple of hundred quid into the kitty.

West Riding residents know of the wonderful work done by “Bobby” Ogden, the local multi-millionaire, son of a Bradford builder, in giving thousands upon thousands of pounds towards the further education of worthy West Riding teenagers and getting them to University. Not wanting to forget the North Riding, Sir Robert had a magnificent cancer centre built in the grounds of Harrogate District Hospital. But then, a gentle reminder that Northallerton, not Harrogate (as it arguably ought to be), was the designated County Town of North Yorkshire, probably provided the impetus for the ‘doughnut’.

A letter from A. Essex-Cater (D&S Times letters, Nov 23) criticised the lack of architectural adventure shown in the forthcoming Treadmill Centre. Perhaps that is what the Friarage Doughnut really is – a Treadmill laid on its side.

N. Taylor, Northallerton

Local decisions

REGARDING Rishi Sunak’s column entitled ‘Giving power to people to make local decisions’ (D&S Times, Nov 30) can I just make you aware that multiple people have written to Mr Sunak about local decision making, for example, concerns about how a school is run and all we have ever received back are stock answers, and in one particular case documentation advising how to complain to central government.

We have made some of our concerns known to the town and district council but while they are sympathetic, they are limited in their power to support and help, forcing us down more formal and sometimes intimidating routes.

Can you advise, in your role as minister, Mr Sunak, how parish and town councillors can harness this power to do “an even better job” considering as you say, they receive no payment as “fantastic community servants”, so they can properly represent the people who vote for them?

Arwen Webb, Richmond

Great range

I'D like to congratulate Hambleton Forum in Northallerton for hosting a great range of events. Friends and I recently saw an excellent production of Steptoe and Son by Hambledon Productions at the Forum, which superbly captured the characters and humour of the comedy classic live on stage.

The evening was enhanced by the professional lighting and sound, the friendly staff and the Forum's pleasant, relaxed atmosphere. Very good value too.

We're looking forward to seeing more stage shows, music, talks and live cinema broadcasts in 2019.

Philip Mason, Kirkby Fleetham

Red star town

SEASON'S greetings and congratulations to all those responsible for the white and red flashing star mounted on Northallerton Town Hall. Red star over Northallerton, who would have thought it!

Tony Robinson, Northallerton

Three choices

I AM weary of Brexit supporters like Trevor Nicholson (D&S Times letters, Nov 23) bleating that we had a referendum in 2016, and so there should never be another referendum on membership of the European Union.

By that logic we should not have had one in 2016, because the matter was settled in the 1970s. If it was democratic to allow the people of the United Kingdom to express their views 30 months ago, it is equally democratic to allow them to do so at the end of the negotiations. The British people have the right to change their minds, and particularly because the 2016 referendum was unsatisfactory in several ways.

Because it was enacted as an advisory referendum, there was insufficient consideration of the need for thresholds either for the percentage of people voting, or for a sufficient majority in favour of either course of action.

Had the referendum been a binding one, like the 2011 one on voting systems, then there would have been a need to consider properly thresholds on such a major issue. In May 2016. Nigel Farage recognised the need for a substantial majority to decide matters, saying in an interview. “In a 52-48 referendum this would be unfinished business by a long way. If the remain campaign win 2/3 to 1/3 that ends it.”

Under the British constitution, the monarch in Parliament is sovereign, not the people. But it is evident that Parliament is split, and it appears there is no majority for Mrs May’s deal, nor for a no deal Brexit. It is also evident that we know far more now about the likely result of leaving the European Union.

So, I believe that there is a case for a third referendum, or People's Vote, to settle the matter. It should offer a choice between a no deal Brexit, the deal available, and remaining in the EU.

Further, it should not be a question of voting for one of those alternatives, but an opportunity for people to express their first, second and third preference. That would be a truly democratic exercise.

Brian Hazeldine, Northallerton