Thanks for highlighting views of the people

MANY thanks to The Journal for highlighting the views of some of those who live and work in North Northumberland.

MANY thanks to The Journal for highlighting the views of some of those who live and work in North Northumberland.

It is we who live here who will be most affected if the plans for wind farms in the area were to go ahead.

In promoting these plans, the foreign-owned companies who are to be the major financial beneficiaries stress only the supposed (and highly doubtful) global benefits of their schemes.

They totally ignore their effects on the local area and its economy.

They never consulted local people about their plans before publishing them, merely holding so-called “consultations” at which they presented their plans before going ahead with them against the views of the majority of people who attended these sham consultations.

Your reports this week have focused on the enormous negative impact that the proposed wind farms will have on tourism in the area.

Although not involved in the tourist business in any way, I am fully aware that it is the spending of visitors to the area, particularly during the summer months.

This is what makes many local shops, restaurants, pubs and post offices viable businesses.

A downturn in tourism will result in many of these businesses closing, which means that those of us living here will have much reduced services – fewer shops, fewer post offices, fewer restaurants and fewer pubs.

Lack of local services will make it even more difficult to attract business to the area and the economy of North Northumberland will quickly spiral downwards.

I hope that when these wind farm proposals come before our elected local authority members, government appointed planning inspectors and government ministries, they will think wider than the claimed benefits put forward by developers.

They must also recognise the disastrous knock-on effects on the Northumberland economy, and put the plans where they should always have been – in the bin.

Sandy Cox, Lowick, Northumberland.

We should take in diversity of beliefs

IT was good of Wayne Rapley to confirm the Tearfund research stating that 47% of people in the North-East region have no religion (Voice of the North, July 12).

With this figure in mind, I would argue that Northumberland County Council should be recognising and serving all communities.

This includes the many who base their morality and behaviour on the personal and human desire to help others and support their communities, and who feel no need for any God, rewards in heaven or punishment in hell, as a motivation for the good things they do.

At the moment the position is that the Government, supported by the county council, is providing substantial funding for groups such as the Emmanuel Foundation to run academies where they can promote their biblical literalism, including creationist beliefs, to children.

The Government is also supporting a major expansion of mainstream Church schools.

Rather than backing the narrow religious fundamentalism of the Emmanuel Foundation, Northumberland County Council needs to recognise the diversity of people and beliefs of all those who live within its borders.

And that includes the large number whose morality and contributions to the community requires no god(s).

Philip Nathan North-East Humanists

Allowing faith school is a backward step

How bitterly disappointing to learn of the backward step taken by the Northumberland LEA in allowing an organisation with beliefs based purely on faith and myths to run a school.

No group with beliefs based on a set of views and no evidence should be allowed to bring propaganda into schools.

All schools should be secular and under local control as they are, for example, in France and the USA.

It would not matter if 99% of the population said they were Christian – although, in fact, a recent poll showed more than 50% of adults and, perhaps more importantly, over the past 10 years, 40-60%, depending on age span or question, polls of young people between 11 and 21 showed that they did not believe in a personal god.

Academies, regardless who runs them, are fundamentally wrong.

They are given vast amount of additional government funding and superior staffing, thus putting other schools at a disadvantage.

Vitally, no governing body divorced from national-local control should be allowed to control the curriculum.

And finally, faith schools, wrongly, have been able to operate a selective entry system, thus improving intake.

Where they do not exist, local schools can do every bit as well.

John Severs Durham City

Constitution artfully disguised as a treaty

WITH regard to opt-outs from the EU Constitution, now artfully served up again in the guise of a treaty, Commissioner Margot Wallström has announced that “an opt-out is also an opt-in”.

By this, presumably, she means that, once the “treaty” has been signed, recalcitrant provinces of the Euro-Empire recently unveiled by Commission President Barroso can be nudged into submission by decisions of the European Court of Justice.

According to Barroso, this new European Empire is the first “non-imperial empire”, because, unlike empires “made through force, with a centre that was imposing a diktat”, this very special, new kind of empire is composed of provinces which “freely decided to work together to pool their sovereignties”.

How reassuring it is to know this.

I expect that’s why Provincial Governor Brown doesn’t see the point of giving us freely-consenting people a referendum.

Gillian Swanson, Whitley Bay.

Tell us the truth about David Kelly, Gordon

I HAVE kicked the Labour Government through my letters to The Journal, but I must admit I am impressed with Gordon – at present.

He has rightly squashed the Super Casinos and now looks like squashing the (unelected, unwanted and unnecessary) North-East Assembly.

Now to complete the three can he now tell this country and the rest of the world the truth about the death of Dr David Kelly.

In my opinion, there is no way did that gentleman committed suicide.

And you won’t find any clues in Campbell’s so-called diaries.

Robin Thompson Amble.

‘Reality tours’ were far removed from reality

THE Journal picture of actor Vicky Blacksmith playing a heroin addict down-and-out at Alnwick Gardens was one of the most affecting I have ever seen (“Junkies, drunks and lout”, The Journal, July 12)

I am still full of emotion as I write this thinking of the heartache a parent feels when seeing their lovely child’s life being destroyed by alcohol or substance misuse.

But what saddens me most about the moral story, is that the “reality tours” were far from being reality at all.

The reality is that children are well aware they can die from alcohol and drug misuse, research showed this to be the case more than 10 years ago.

What children, society, and health organisations seem unable to get to grips with, on the other hand, is to understand why youngsters feel the need to destroy their precious lives.

All too sadly today, youngsters are being chased away from their doorstep to some outlying part of town to drink alcohol and smoke cannabis.

Indeed, had Vicky Blacksmith been lying in some gutter away from the niceties of the Alnwick Garden, onlookers would almost certainly have said the she should bloody well lie where she belonged.

Drug and alcohol addicts are riff-raff, scumbags, and something that aught to be scraped off the bottom of ones shoe, ill informed and narrow-minded neighbours often say.

It is a tragic indictment on humankind as a whole, and that is the stark reality.

Alan Savage Cramlington

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