In or Out

THERE was no democratic decision when we were taken into the then Common Market by the arch-traitor Edward Heath in 1973. This embryo federal Europe was sold to the British people as purely a trading arrangement as he, and those supporting him, knew we would never voluntarily surrender our sovereignty.

De Gaulle vetoed our membership three times as he knew being part of a federal bloc would not suit us, and Heath only got in by giving away our fishing rights in our territorial waters, resulting in the decimation of industry in our coastal towns. There was no referendum, no debate in Parliament, no appeal to the House of Lords. He took us in on the Royal Prerogative which was illegal. One day we were out and the next day we were in.

Surrendering to public pressure, Harold Wilson gave us a referendum in 1975. The Keep Britain in campaign was given government, I.e. taxpayers’, money to fight the campaign while the Keep Britain Out campaign was mainly dependent on fund-raising. The In campaign won, and since then our ability to rule ourselves has been slowly whittled away.

David Cameron gave us a referendum in June 2016. He spent £9m of taxpayers’ money on a leaflet delivered to every household setting out exactly what Brexit would mean. Most of the mainstream media, large corporations, international bankers and other vested interests engaged in Project Fear - trying to frighten us into staying in and sheltering under the corporate comfort blanket of the EU, whose profligacy with our money has bled us dry. They have bankrupted Greece, Italy and Portugal who have no chance of ever getting out.

In spite of all the forecasts of gloom, doom, recession and business failures, the British people voted Out. If the Remainers were too lazy, smug or complacent to vote, as suggested by Jim Robinson (D&S Times, Nov 10), then that is their fault. We voted out and out we will come. Surely the Remainers can now see by the antics of Jean Claud Juncker and Michel Barnier that they have no love for us as they try and put the heel of the jackboot on our throats.

There is no “hard” or “soft” Brexit. There is only In or Out.

Brexit means that we will control our laws, our borders and our money. That is what it is all about. It will be liberation and opportunity. The crops will not be rotting in the fields and the hospitals will be staffed.

It is time for the Remainers to accept that we are coming out of the EU, and work together to make it a success.

Ruth Robinson, Sutton, Thirsk

Purest form

I REFER to Andrew Newens’ letter (D&S Times, Nov 19) and his view that referenda are a "device for dictators and demagogues." I challenge this distorted view because a referendum is the purest form of democracy. The proletariat get to choose what they want as opposed to having arrogant out of touch politicians deciding on what they deem the people to want.

There have been several referenda in EU countries where the wishes of the EU dictators were voted against by the electorate. A few examples are Denmark (2000) and Sweden (2003) on acceptance of the Euro, Ireland on the Nice Treaty (2001) and Lisbon Treaty (2008), France and Netherlands on the Constitutional Treaty (2005), and Greece on austerity measures (2015) which the Greek Government ignored. The EU response was these countries MUST hold more referendums until they vote in agreement with the EU. The Remoaners want the same for the UK because they cannot/will not accept democracy.

Switzerland is governed successfully by referenda. They have had dozens of referendums on issues with their relationship with the EU.

The comedy duo Blair/Brown promised us a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty but when two sentences were altered they deemed we did not need a referendum.

The British people have spoken, they want control of our tax, trade, law, immigration and borders. We do not need a second referendum. All other issues are tertiary and easily dealt with.

The North-East have many industries which will thrive outside the EU when they will be able to trade freely with the rest of the world. I can already hear the Remoaners screaming "the EU will introduce tariffs which will effect Nissan and all of its supply chain in the North-East." I suggest they think outside the box. Any tariffs on our motor industry can be reciprocated to European motor industry and you can imagine the thunder Messrs Mercedes, BMW, VW, Porsche, Fiat, Citroen, Peugeot, Renault will cause with their political leaders. This also applies to French wine and cheese.

Barnier, Junker and remoaners are inventing mendacious and spurious reasons why we should remain shackled to the EU gangsters. The people have spoken. Out now.

Trevor Nicholson, Leeming

Health lament

WE in the Upper Dales have grown very tired of hearing claims by local NHS managers that patients are prepared to travel further to access the best hospital services for urgent healthcare events, as their spurious justification for closing down those services at the two hospitals closest to our local communities. These NHS managers imply in their self-serving arguments these two hospitals are offering second rate healthcare, and in repeating them they undermine the already depleted morale amongst the dedicated staff in Northallerton and Darlington.

Quite the contrary we have been served wonderfully by the family circle type care at the friendly Friarage Hospital and the welcoming Darlington Memorial Hospital (DMH). Rather than continuing their closure by stealth of these urgent services via fake public consultations the local NHS should be re-doubling its half-hearted attempts to overcome the staffing issues they have so ineptly mismanaged, so both our loved local hospitals can carry on looking after us so very well.

The target of the local NHS is to transfer these services to the James Cook University Hospital, another brilliant healthcare resource we are fortunate to have serve us. However the James Cook’s Centre of Excellence status will be compromised if more services and more patients are re-located there, as the demands already being placed upon the hospital is stretching its capacity to deliver them.

In short the ill-conceived plans of the local NHS and those guiding the STP process which involves urgent care services at Stockton’s North Tees Hospital will result in everybody losing out when we become unexpectedly unwell, because the James Cook will be unable to cope.

So please Janet Probert of the HRW Clinical Commissioning Group, Siobham McArdle of the South Tees’ Trust, and the faceless STP bureaucrats, take note that we who your hospitals serve have lost confidence in you, and do not trust your lacklustre and unresponsive management of our hospital services.

Why should mothers to be in Hawes have to face a 60-mile journey to have a 24/7 consultant-led birth? Why should a young person suffering from appendicitis have to drive past the DMH on their way to an overwhelmed James Cook? Why should an elderly mental health patient be consigned to an unfamiliar institution in Bishop Auckland, which might just as well be in a foreign country?

We deserve a local NHS. Get real and deliver it for us please.

Cllr John Blackie, Hawes

Hospital sale

FOR reasons of their own, the NHS senior management are determined to close smaller hospitals, even though it is obvious that as far as patients are concerned this involves delays in treatment, unnecessary extra journeys and is time consuming for patients and their families.

There seems to be no evidence the larger hospitals offer any benefits in efficiency and they appear to be expensive, inefficient mistakes

The Lambert Hospital in the past provided efficient minor surgical, A&E, and geriatric facilities to the local community in a building that was donated to the town. How can this be sold off with the money being hived off to central funds?

We are told that suitable staff could not be found. Surely it is the job of NHS management to provide staff. If they cannot carry this out they should not be occupying their highly paid (by us) positions in the NHS. There are many businesses in the local area who are able to recruit and find the qualified and skilled employees they need, why not the NHS?

The NHS management is over staffed and over paid for what they do.

As an example, the large number of staff in the department which continually finds time to claim that they are underfunded should be eliminated.

I have yet to hear of a drive within the NHS to eliminate unnecessary bureaucracy, better use of facilities etc.

CL Wright, Thirsk

Railway facts

IN a recent House of Commons debate Helen Goodman, Bishop Auckland MP, referred to Locomotion No 1 as “being built by Timothy Hackworth in Shildon in 1825.” She is also “concerned about Locomotion No. 1, the first passenger train steam engine.” (D&S Times, Nov 3)

This misinformation must rank with her telling a meeting of Ingleton WI in Co. Durham that she looked forward to visiting their famous caves. The caves to which she referred are at Ingleborough Hill, near Ingleton, about six miles from Settle.

The steam engine “Locomotion” was built in George Stephenson’s Forth Banks Works, Newcastle.

Incidentally, the number “1” was allocated to “Locomotion” when it was added to other steam engines, some built by Timothy Hackworth who was brought to Shildon by George Stephenson.

That first combined cargo/passenger train ran from Shildon to Stockton on September 27, 1825.

As the Peases from Darlington were certainly the principal sponsors of the Stockton & Darlington Railway Company, much of the capital required was provided by their Quaker or family connections such as the Norwich-based Gurney’s and the Roman Catholic Thomas Meynell from Yarm.

The inaugural Stockton & Darlington Railway Company was held in Yarm and its first secretary was Thomas Meynell, a Stockton solicitor.

Mrs Jenny Chapman MP describes Darlington as “the birthplace of railways,” a somewhat spurious claim.

There is certainly the strong connection with the Darlington-based Pease family, but the town’s pre-eminence as a railway town rose from the transfer of the locomotive works from Gateshead to North Road, Darlington, in 1863.

As MPs receive a generous expense allowance to employ researchers, it seems unfortunate that our local MPs should have such misapprehensions about our region’s genuine railway heritage, largely due to such Tynesiders as George and Robert Stephenson and Timothy Hackworth.

Norman Welch, Darlington

No logic

TO minimise the effect of recent law and order cutbacks, Cleveland Constabulary should be squeezed out, with the north going into Durham and the south joining North Yorkshire.

Cleveland Police Authority is a surviving vestige of the former Cleveland County which, thankfully, went out of existence over 20 years ago. There was little logic then in retaining a Cleveland Authority, and there is absolutely no logic now.

Even if we put aside the catalogue of expensive embarrassments that have dogged Cleveland Police, it is too small ever to become an “outstanding” force, like Durham.

In rural East Cleveland, Cleveland Police are already obliged to work closely with their North Yorkshire counterparts, whose patch is statistically the safest area in the country.

Further, as an East Cleveland resident living in the Cleveland Constabulary area, when I dial the non-emergency police number 101, I am always put through, initially, to North Yorkshire Police. You couldn’t make it up!

As with local authority and sub-regional boundaries, wouldn’t it be simpler if everything north of the Tees was Durham and everything to the south was Yorkshire?

Whether it’s local government or policing, it works better with popular understanding and popular support.

Cllr Steve Kay, Moorsholm

MP rules

THERESA May says “there should be a new code of conduct to defend women against sexual harassment” and she also says the disgraceful behaviour of MPs is cross-party - but young interns working in Westminster were told if they complained about sexual harassment even rape “it would be a blot on their career prospects.”

Can we trust what Government ministers or even our MPs say or do? First we had the expenses scandal now the sexual harassment scandal but the working practices of Parliament are a disgrace.

We are told that MPs are a law unto themselves, each MP makes their own rules up, they are not employed by parliament or by their political parties. You cannot complain about any of them because there is no independent person to complain to.

I have highlighted many issues to my MP Rishi Sunak and he has refused to reply or comment. Issues like the Grenfell Tower fire, air pollution in our towns and cities causing 40,000 deaths a year, Heathrow’s third runway, the Lariam that was given to our soldiers as an antimalarial treatment and car insurance fraud are just a few. I put it to you that If he replied professionally “it would be a blot on his career prospects” - also we cannot have trial by newspapers.

All this incompetence is costing us money and Parliament is achieving next to nothing and this is increasing the length of austerity. The rules of the dinosaurs of Westminster have to be challenged.

Brian Tyldesley, Middleham

Deep in debt

DURING the campaign for the General Election in June the Liberal Democrats proposed increasing all rates of income tax by 1p and spending the money on the NHS and education.

With the NHS on its knees and head teachers asking for donations from parents to keep their schools running, Philip Hammond has an opportunity to do something bold and spend more money where it is desperately needed. My guess is that, instead, he will keep the Tory paymasters happy and reduce Corporation and Capital Gains Tax.

After seven years of austerity, cutting services and increasing VAT from 15 per cent to 20 per cent the Tories have “reduced” the national debt from £1trillion to £1.7trillion. The debt has been growing at £100billion a year – faster than it did under Labour

The Tories blame Labour for the recession despite it being caused by the global financial crash. Who will they blame for the increase in national debt and when will someone hold them to account for the damage that they are inflicting on the country?

Philip Knowles, chair Richmondshire Lib Dems

Doctors’ pressure

A NEW survey conducted amongst senior hospital doctors, GPs, trainees and charity supporters released today alarmingly finds that two-thirds of respondents would not recommend medicine as a career to their children, despite the fact that traditionally it’s been a family career throughout generations.

The survey was released by he Royal Medical Benevolent Fund (RMBF), a charity which helps doctors, medical students and their families, as part of their new ‘Together for Doctors’ campaign. Whilst the majority of doctors said that they would still study medicine given their time again, 92% think that working conditions in UK hospitals have deteriorated in the past decade, and 93% are concerned by the number of doctors choosing to leave the profession.

In spite of the bravado culture that is seen to prevail in medicine – a culture which places value on the ability to work under pressure and cope with long hours - rising targets and demands on resources are taking their toll. Of the 1,800 individuals that took part in the survey, 93 per cent think hospital doctors are forced into uncomfortable decisions due to current pressures in the NHS such as discharging patients early to free up beds. It is vital that we listen to those on the front line before it is too late.

Together for Doctors aims to raise awareness of the need to offer support to doctors throughout the UK who are working under increasing difficulty and scrutiny, as well as encouraging doctors themselves to come forward and seek help when they need it. Doctors work tirelessly to support us all in our times of need, yet worryingly many feel unable to ask for help when things aren’t going well for them. We know that there are many more doctors in this country who could benefit from the RMBF’s help. I hope that by talking openly about these issues we can encourage more people in need of support to come forward.

Professor Dame Parveen Kumar, Royal Medical Benevolent Fund

Questions, questions

I DO not understand the Government’s plans for regional devolution. It must be obvious to anyone that if this process is ever to work and engage the people the ancient counties of Yorkshire and Cornwall should be the starting point.

Why isn't there a Yorkshire County Council? Why aren't the county functions all based in the City of York? Why are there five police forces covering the ancient County of Yorkshire when plainly one will do just as well?

Is it because more people live in Yorkshire but Scotland has more than twice the number of police than Yorkshire? Are Whitehall trying to hoodwink the tax payers of Yorkshire? By keeping the county's police forces fragmented as they do, is that how they pull the wool over everyone’s eyes?

Northern Ireland has only a third of the population of Yorkshire and covers a similar sized area. They count their police differently but it seems they have more police than Yorkshire. Regional devolution should be based on the County of Yorkshire and the County of Cornwall if it is to work, engage with the people and be fair.

Nigel Boddy, Darlington