Letters December 8

AS I read through the Free Press this week I noticed an article ‘Have your view on referendum’.

Apparently this consultation has been going on since September 19 and ends on Dec 18. The question is, why isn’t the mayor advertising this consultation more widely so that we the voters don’t have to stumble across it in a side column in a newspaper?

There is a consultation document available on line, but why hasn’t the printed document been sent out to the electorate, I certainly haven’t received one.

I’m looking at the current mayor’s manifesto, his fourth point was, and I quote: ‘Hold a referendum on the mayoral governance of Doncaster’.

I read recently that he thinks the people of Doncaster prefer the current system. If he thinks this is the case then he will be vindicated.

He should carry out his manifesto promise and hold a referendum. So come on Mr Mayor, stick to your manifesto promise, hold a referendum and let the people of Doncaster have their say.

Martin Johnson, Meadow Croft, Edenthorpe

Editor’s note: Tony Machin, head of electoral services at Doncaster Council said: “Information on the referendum was distributed to every household in Doncaster through the council’s What On newspaper as well as on our website and in council offices. If the council decides to go ahead with a referendum further consultation will take place including the delivery of information to all households in the New Year.

“It is not within the elected mayor’s power to call a referendum. Residents have until the December 18 to take part in the consultation. Visit the council’s website or call Electoral Services on 01302 734649 for more information.”

Wrong to attack Ed on economy

BRIAN McQueen’s rather tired attack on Ed Miliband (Freeviews, December 1) trotted out once more the same old lines the Tory-led Coalition have used again and again in their attempt to make them stick.

But he’s out of date in his view that the world’s leading economists are focused on criticizing what he calls ‘spend and owe’ policies.

In today’s harsh reality and with the threat of a disastrous depression looming, the weight of informed economic opinion has shifted towards the kind of sensible and targeted ‘spend and grow’ policies advocated by Mr Miliband. That’s because the government’s too rapid cutting approach simply isn’t working.

Though it’s not working, it’s certainly hurting, as shown in Doncaster last week by the massive public sector walkout.

And rather than us all being in this together, it’s also clear that it’s the squeezed middle in the private and public sectors which is being forced to make the most sacrifices.

It’s a sign of how much Mr Miliband has his finger on the pulse that just a fortnight ago this phrase of his - the ‘squeezed middle’ - was given the accolade of ‘word of the year’ by the Oxford English Dictionary.

Meanwhile I can’t help imagining a scene with a banker, a Coalition supporter like Mr McQueen, a public sector worker and a Doncaster Free Press reader sitting round a table.

In front of them is a plate of ten biscuits. The banker scoffs nine of them. The Coalition supporter turns to the Free Press reader and whispers in his ear: “Careful, mate! That public sector worker’s after your biscuit.”

Jerry Lloyd, The Cottage, Brodsworth

Rovers clash was fantastic

IT would seem that most football pundits didn’t much enjoy last Saturday’s match with Watford, determing to highlight errors than the delightful touches shown my our new players.

Mindful of the short time that they have been together, I much enjoyed the encounter, with both teams moving with skill and speed. This was a huge improvement upon what we supporters have had to endure of late.

After a very fair result I detect a new urgency in the team, boding well for our continuing presence in the Championship. Further, both goalkeepers were superb.

John Ryan is fond of saying ‘Rovers till I die’. As an 88-year-old I think I could safely say the same.

John Glasbey, Bessacarr.

Ryan on the record - Turn to Page 94

Pension horror began in 40s

YOUR diarist’s pensions nightmare began in the 1940s with the introduction of the welfare state.

In at the start we two, on 75 pence and £2 per week respectively, paid pensions for those who were pre-scheme.

Whether contributory/non contributory no one gets a private pension to which they are not entitled.

All working people know that the benefits system has no right to confiscate billions from pension funds, nor change pension rules.

Out of interest your diarist doesn’t say what years he will work.

AM Frost, Broad Lane, Sykehouse

Editor’s note: Donny Diary tells me he has about 15 years left at the coalface. Unless Mrs Diary can keep him out of the house for a bit longer. Read his latest column on Page 19

Brilliant staff at the super DRI

A MASSIVE thank you yo surgeon Mr Abbidin and also I would like to say a big thank you to all the staff on Ward 7 at Doncaster Royal Infirmary.

They made you feel relaxed, at ease and nothing was too much trouble day or night.

There are too many negative comments about the hospital and not enough positive. They work so hard, long hours and not enough praise. Job well doen, keep up the good work.

E Kilburn, Wheatley

Councillors have to ditch the ego

LYDIA Atkins (DFP, December 1) has raised a very important topic by asking “what do councillors and MPs do to keep themselves in power, and what motivates them?”

The answer is to keep everyone confused by being ambiguous, so that everyone believes that they have a reasoned response to any question.

Consensus is usually a simple answer to a very complex question.

The question of the referendum to decide whether there should be an elected mayor, is a case in point. It is the only question which the Labour group wish to have considered and ignoring the question of why does the council need 63 councillors?

If the Labour group support the right of reply the ballot if it goes ahead should ask both questions.

It seems incongruous that Doncaster MBC require ten per cent of the number of members elected to Parliament, which covers England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The excuse is that the work done by councillors is so time consuming that they could not expect 21 councillors to cope with the work load. Any self respecting student of business studies will quote ‘Parkinson Law; that work will fill the time available’.

In simple terms, an hour’s work can be stretched into eight hours of time.

In my opinion there are two factors which motivate councillors, their egos which demand celebrity status, and greed. How many committees can I serve on and what renumeration is to be achieved.

Anyone with any experience of committee work either in the public or private field will agree that most are a complete waste of time. A benevolent dictator at least gets things moving.

H W Marshall, Muirfield Avenue, Bessacarr

Festive fair stall was a success

IN response to the letter from Bea Gibbons regarding the Festive Food and Gift Fair (Freeviews, December 1).

In answer to the question, ‘Can someone explain the festive nature of a Cash For Gold stall?’ the explanation is that the stall was there to promote the business of N & A Jewellery, and to showcase our products, which were provided already gift boxed, this being a Festive Food and Gift Fair. We do more than just buy gold!

At this event, we were promoting our jewellery, which had been chosen for its appeal to young and old alike.

The display was well thought out and showed a wide range of rings, necklaces, bracelets, earrings and watches.

We had one of the largest displays of gifts at the fair, showcasing everything from new Shamballa bracelets at £25 up to diamond rings and Rolex watches priced at around £5000.

We were debuting our new jewellery cleaning service, which we provided for free and over the course of the weekend.

It was a huge success with both customers and the other exhibitors, the stall had a queue all day, and every person who visited the stall walked away pleased, with the free service they had received. How much more festive can you get, than offering a free jewellery cleaning service, that usually costs somewhere in the region of ten to a hundred pounds?

I am amazed that the nature of the stall escaped Ms Gibbons, especially as she and her partner went round the fair TWICE.

Sara Lonie, Financial Administrator, N & A Jewellery

Football fans ruin train trip

THIS is NO criticism of the East Coast service - on catching the 6.30pm from Kings Cross everything was going well until we reached Peterborough when 20 or so males, no older than 40s, boarded the train holding either a half empty bottle or can of alcohol.

They were chanting ‘We’ll do what we want’. Obviously they had been drinking elsewhere and I wondered which team or area they were from.

They didn’t have any scarves or other identification. They just behaved in a neanderthal-like manner, constantly trying to push their attentions on two lone females.

The spilling of beer as they staggered about was inevitable and the of throwing muffins about the carriageway in a schoolyard manner expected.

The rail staff did pass through but obviously any strong instructions would have made matters worse.

Identification became clearer when I found out that Barnsley FC had been playing Peterborough.

We started to arrive at Doncaster, they all made their way to the doors as the shouting and swearing got worse.

I heard a thud, which sounded like a bottle being thrown at a window. It went quiet. Nothing broken they made their way from the train and towards the town centre.

If the window had broken the ‘cavemen’ were home, it would have been the rest of the Newcastle-bound passengers that would have been left waiting for another train.

This is certainly not a ‘go’ at Barnsley people, because to be fair I didn’t hear one Barnsley accent which I found strange.

It’s a go at the male football ‘fans’ who think they can do what they want, when they want.

A.Taylor, Hatfield, Doncaster