Let everyone count the cost of sell-offs

May i congratulate Elaine Kay on her article in the Friday Forum series (The Journal, September 29)?

May i congratulate Elaine Kay on her article in the Friday Forum series (The Journal, September 29)?

It should be printed in full detail in every newspaper in the country every day, until people understand what is happening to them and to everyone in the United Kingdom.

Our post office is being handed over to private enterprise, likewise schools, hospitals, prisons, airways, railways, academies, libraries. Everything belonging to the public is to be sold off for nothing.

The schools will be sold for peanuts, with the buyers also taking the assets which will include the entire school budget, robbing the teachers and pupils of millions of pounds.

The gold of the famous Klondike in Canada's Yukon Territory will be overcome by the takeover of all our assets.

This Government is determined to create a country like America in order to satisfy rich people who will only leave when the riches are gone. England will be multinational, no longer ours.

The Prime Minister leads an army of what the Germans used in France during their victory in 1940: these were named fifth columnists. New Labour are what they are: betraying the nation with lies. Our Parliament swarms with people who are not English but vote.

Blair refuses to go until all his plans come to fruition.

Every school, every hospital, every doctor and consultant will be bid for. The services disposed of will probably fetch a billion pounds.

Over 100 academies will be created in preparation for the great sale where every school becomes a business and our schools become just places where a little democracy used to live.

A last line: why are our councillors nearly all in favour of disposing of all our schools and care homes, which no one wants to part with because they are their homes? Why, why, why?

HJ SPEIGHT, Bedlington, Northumberland

Blair made the world more dangerous

I, AND others I have spoken to, question what Tony Blair has accomplished in his term of office.

The National Health Service is in disarray, education has been changed so many times that the teachers are confused, and crime must be worse than ever.

Rape, muggings, stabbings, beatings, burglaries are an everyday event and now our police are having to spend time looking out for terrorists, which is costing them millions of pounds extra and is down to Blair accusing Saddam Hussein of having illegal weapons, which was never proved and never apologised for, and was an excuse for going to war.

As Claire Short said, Blair has made the world a dangerous place. We should never have intervened in Afghanistan, a lawless country where soldiers have died and others are having to deal with impossible situations which are more than any human should be expected to endure.

Do older readers remember our patriotic songs, such as There'll Always Be An England? There won't be if Tony Blair doesn't go soon. He is letting the country down, but then he didn't live through the Second World War.

NAME & ADDRESS SUPPLIED, Hexham, Northumberland

I'm running round the corridors of power

HOW come after spending ages (I'm the one who has aged) running around Wansbeck District Council managers before being reimbursed for the cost of correcting council errors, I today find myself again in trouble with the council?

I am very apprehensive about embarking on another "battle" with the council and I do not have the time to do it - hence this letter.

Lionel Bart had a simpler way of putting it and would have asked: how do you solve a problem with Wansbeck Council? He has solved his problem, but the real question that should be asked is, would he have solved it if he'd been dealing with Wansbeck's managers.

The difference is that he is not a geriatric 75-year-old and I can't sing my problem from the hill tops (I suppose it is arguable, if I am allowed to mention pit heaps, that they would provide a suitable alternative). Some old timers, myself included, would prefer the sound of Woodhorn Colliery brass band where the local pit heap used to be, to hills which are alive with the sound of music.

Both of my problems with the council arose as a result of errors originally made by council staff.

They could have been resolved very quickly, without any of the worry or hassle which my wife and I were put through because of the dogged insistence that the council had no responsibility in meeting the costs of the errors and which left the ratepayer with little alternative but to pay the costs before trying to recover the disputed payments.

EDDY POXON, Stakeford, Northumberland

A few tea party tips will help lots of people

AS a nation of tea drinkers, Journal readers will be interested to know that next Friday, Epilepsy Action is holding its fourth National Tea Break event.

Since the first National Tea Break, the charity has raised an amazing £44,000 from more than 400 tea breaks held up and down the country.

I hope your readers will join in this year by organising their own National Tea Break event.

To help, Epilepsy Action has produced a fantastic organiser's pack filled with tips on how to make the most of your tea break, a sample pack of tea and biscuits, plus recipes from a host of celebrities.

A number of celebrities have had enormous fun decorating Crayola message mugs, including Jo Brand, David Neilson and Julie Hesmondhalgh (Roy and Hayley Cropper) from Coronation Street.

The mugs will be auctioned on eBay on October 13 to raise even more money for the charity.

And there's also the chance to win some fantastic prizes in a special prize draw.

For more details and to register, log on to www.epilepsy.org.uk/teabreak, e-mail fundraising@epilepsy.org.uk or telephone (0113) 210-8800.

So get your mates round and put the kettle on!

PAUL TANNER, Fundraising Manager, Epilepsy Action, New Anstey House, Gate Way Drive, Yeadon, Leeds LS19 7XY

Assemble this big quango for expulsion

IWAS interested to read that Chris Foote-Wood wants to abolish North-East quangos (Voice of the North, October 2) and I have to agree with him.

However, where do we start?

I have an idea on this problem: why not start with the North East Assembly? After all, that non-elected, not wanted, over-bloated, money rich, waste of space is the biggest quango in the North-East.

Mr Foote-Wood wants us to believe that this quango is elected.

However, can anyone tell me when we elected these quangocrats directly to the NEA? The simple answer is that we didn't and therefore, in the true sense of the words, this is not an elected body. It is a party-appointed quango.

What we should have is a vote on full autonomy. The English, that political conglomerate of tribal kingdoms, have never treated this nation well. You only have to cast your mind back to the Thatcher era to see what a disaster rule from London is.

The major problem with the Labour Party is that they are no better than the Tories. We've seen what the two-party system does for this nation: we are treated with contempt whoever has power.

It's time for a change, time to be what we once were: a separate country under our own rule. Any time you want to debate with me face to face, Mr Foote-Wood, feel free to do so.

JOHN W GRAY, Oxclose Village, Washington

Breast cancer needs your help right now

IWAS interested to read about the appeal made by Dr Mary McElroy, the senior oncologist at the breast cancer unit at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, and her friends, who have also suffered from breast cancer, for donations towards the cost of buying a new ultra-sound scanner for the unit (The Journal, September 18).

I find it a sad reflection on the stare of affairs when Dr McElroy's employers, the National Health Service, either cannot or will not fund it themselves. Having had breast cancer myself earlier in the year, I realise only too well how important these machines are.

I hope that everyone who reads or hears about the scanner appeal, finds it possible to make a donation towards the cost. They can do so by contacting Mrs D Wilson on (01665) 575090.

JEAN SKIPSEY, Longwitton, Northumberland

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