Bloomin’ lovely

WHAT a simply lovely place to live is Thirsk, no wonder we are full of visitors.

All that amazing knitting by the yarn bombers for the Jubilee, and now the town beautifully planted up with summer bedding by the Thirsk in Bloomers, I was once a Bloomer, hence my poem:

I moved with Fred to Yorkshire in the year 2001

I now know it was truly the best thing I’ve ever done

I joined the Thirsk in Bloomers, helped with planting up the town

I was only in the 60s then, no trouble bending down

Just everyone would come and smile and everyone would say

It’s really good to see you out, have a happy planting day

The coffee mornings and the dinners I really moved to do

It was just another way I felt I could really get to know you

But the years rolled by, and aches and pains began to give me gyp

My dearest Fred one Christmas even bought me a new hip!

But I really knew the rest of me wasn’t feeling very good

So, resigning as a Bloomer, I really knew I should

But despite the fact I’ve lost my Fred, I will never move away

I can still come out and see the town looking lovely every day.

Thanks for the memories.

Betty Woodhams, Sowerby.

Airshow shambles

HOW sad that at the birthplace of the railway, the most efficient mass movement of people ever invented, there were no extra trains put on for the Teesside Airport Airshow.

I know the organisers have promised to look into the traffic debacle, but let’s be honest, their bank account will still show a healthy return so just how much "soul searching" are they going to do.

Sorry Ben Houchen, if you really wanted to celebrate the airport then you would have asked questions in advance as to how the normal people were going to access the event.

Sadly, yet again, politics has got in the way of what should have been a local celebration, run by local people who knew the challenges the local road network would pose.

But no – Mayor Ben (who now seems to have a protected status amongst Tory voters) preaches to the underlings that he will fight for our refund. Sorry sir, but I call doubt that – you and your friends will whitewash the pain, just as your central government do every day.

Andy Bramfitt, Darlington.

Busy Boris

AFTER reading the letter “Future for Boris” by John Ashton I found it necessary to check the writer was not St John, alas not (D&S Times letters, June 10).

Mr Ashton openly accuses Boris Johnson of lying, incompetence and duplicity and goes on to tell how he would be unemployable on his demise as Prime Minister, quoting how four previous Prime Ministers have done well for themselves eg, Tony Blair who took us into war on a pack of lies, costing the lives of hundreds of our soldiers and thousands of civilians, creating total instability in the Middle East.

David Cameron, the anti-Brexit PM, who resigned after he failed to convince us all what a disaster Brexit would be and Theresa May, I can still hear those words over and over again "no deal is better than a bad deal", yes, she still sits in the House of Commons but only to seek revenge on those responsible for her justifiable removal as PM.

Finally, John Major who, during his term of office despite his successes suffered accusations of poor moral conduct and sleaze.

So may I remind Mr Ashton there are very few people in the world today who can openly criticise Boris Johnson, he may not be a saint, as some, particularly the left would like to think that they are. Hypocrisy comes in many forms (Bible quote: "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone").

So hats off to Boris Johnson who, when he became PM, took the bull by the horns in getting Brexit done, coping with Covid himself and having to deal with almost three years of a pandemic akin to a plague, plus running the country and now the war in Ukraine, I often wonder just what he does in his "spare time".

Trevor Mason, Swainby.

Tax reduction

THE Prime Minister has expressed a desire to reduce income tax.

If this materialises, it is to be hoped that this is done in such a way to concentrate benefit on those on the lowest incomes, and thus most in need, by increasing tax free allowances rather than reducing the standard rate of income tax which would unnecessarily be of greater benefit those who are better off.

John Watson, Darlington.

Driving standards

I HAVE been driving back in this country for more than 50 years and then I would consider the driving was among the best in the world.

I think it has deteriorated drastically in that time.

There appears to be a lack of consideration from a good percentage of drivers, especially the young.

Most appear to have forgotten their vehicle is equipped with an indicator.

A lot of drivers do not appear to look ahead to see hazards especially on motorways and there appears to be an increase of pulling out to overtake at the last second.

I know my driving could improve at times but it is the increasing lack of consideration which annoys me.

Thomas Ball, Barnard Castle.

Rwanda scheme

THE government’s Rwanda scheme is “ungodly” (the Archbishop of Canterbury) and “appalling” (the Prince of Wales).

Presumably they are not among those critics who see money given to a Third World country as money wasted.

What is their objection, and can they suggest an acceptable plan for stopping the informal migrant flow across the Channel?

If there isn’t one, and these migrants are to stay here, then surely we must stop characterising those who bring them as criminal exploiters of desperate victims and recognise them as entrepreneurs providing a service worth every penny they charge for it.

If those who side-step our entry controls are to remain, what moral basis do we have for continuing to apply such controls to those naïve or timid enough to respect them? The end result of leniency or generosity in an apparently limited number of cases is an open-door policy to all those wishing to work or settle here, which is perhaps what many campaigners intend.

But could people as high minded as the Archbishop and the Prince be satisfied with this? First there is the question of fairness. We would need to ensure that lack of money is not an obstacle to taking up this opportunity.

Secondly, it is important that what we achieve is free movement and not forced movement of people, which doesn’t have a history to be proud of. By this I mean the benefits of coming to Britain should not be unnecessarily restricted to those who do come. To experience the British weather you really need to be here, but to produce goods for the British market you don’t. Allowing an equal freedom to live in one’s country of origin would require us to abolish all import duties.

We rejected, I think justly, the notion that free movement of goods entails the free movement of people. But freedom for people but not goods makes no sense unless you are trying to expand your population, which would be foolhardy for a county already far from self-sufficient in food production.

Similarly, those who increasingly meet our long-term care needs should have the opportunity to do this within their own home territory. Why should any preference of the patient for the familiar take precedence over that of the carer for his or her family network?

Of course, few needing care will seek it abroad without corresponding NHS cover. We should provide this for enclaves of British retirees in other countries.

But the requirement goes far beyond this. What speaks more of forced migration than to say you will get lifesaving medical treatment if you come to Britain and not if you don’t? Less dramatic but still compelling are education and welfare provisions available to those in Britain (even if they have just stepped out of a rubber boat) and only to them.

"Freedom of movement" will be a deception unless and until we have pooled state services and funding for them with any and every country wishing such a collaboration with us, or reaching a harmonisation of living standards by some other route. How many of us are up for this any time soon?

John Riseley, Harrogate.

Keep schtum

PRINCE Charles has stated that he doesn't like the idea of sending asylum seekers to Rwanda.

Then he is free to open up Buckingham Palace at his own expense.

The cost so far this year is in excess of £1bn.

Priti Patel is trying to find ways to alleviate the problem, and it will stop unscrupulous human traffickers from making a fortune. Those who spend thousands and risk their lives to get the UK may think differently.

So Charles, if you want the respect of a future king, keep your mouth shut or leave it to William – a much safer option.

John Brant, Darlington.

Party roots

BORIS is back, or so the Tory media barons would have us believe – and they control over 90 per cent of national newspaper circulation. Even in his darkest hour he still had the support of about 40 per cent of voters.

This should utterly shame Labour's very un-dynamic leadership duo of Keir Starmer and Rachel Reeves, and shows what enormous damage was done to the Labour Party by the Blairite infatuation with the EU.

Crucially, most Tory MPs backed Johnson, no doubt following Ben Franklin's advice to his fellow American colonists: "Hang together or we'll surely all hang separately."

Another reason was revealed by progressive Labour MP John Trickett, who pointed out that each Tory MP received a threatening letter from millionaire party donors ordering them to "back Boris or else". As Trickett says: "Government of the rich, by the rich, for the rich."

To pacify his paymasters, Johnson immediately announced plans for tax cuts, benefitting the economic elite.

Once again there's a clear link between Tory policy, the leaders they impose on us and the barely five per cent of the UK population whose objective class interests coincide with that of the Conservative Party.

The problem isn't Boris, it's his party.

C Walker, Darlington.

Election vote

I SEE we continue reading the Tories won because of their election policies in the red wall areas.

When are those MPs and local papers going to admit the truth: voters had little or no idea what Tory policies were, if there were any.

The vote was simply a disguised “Brexit” re-run – nothing more.

G B Butler, Stockton-on-Tees.