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Capitalist business gives us the wealth we have.

In response to the letter "Only socialist policies can turn the tide against capitalism" ( Les May seems blissfully unaware that the very paper he's reading is part of the capitalist culture.

As for socialism saving the day, would that be the socialism of the 20th Century, which wiped away at a stroke our chances of being a world leader in education by introducing the ill-fated comprehensive system that the same socialists now regard as a failure?

The socialism that so hated anything that smacked of success that it introduced top taxes in the upper 90%, hence ensuring that successful people took their wealth overseas?

The socialism that was so close to USSR-style communism that it was in some respects hard to tell them apart?

Or is Mr May talking about 21st Century NEW socialism with its thin veneer of appealing to capitalists just long enough to get party funding from them before stabbing them in the back with stealth taxes.

The previous version of socialism ensured that working people, regardless of their political tendencies, were forced by union fees to contribute toward the Labour Party whereas Mr Blair's MK II socialism prefers the company of very rich people.

That'll be the socialism that hates the people whose entrepreneurial skills make this country work and whose success makes a major contribution to the payroll of vast hordes of civil servants that work for the state.

The socialism that so despises rural middle classes that they recently spent almost as much time debating the irrelevant hunting bill as they did figuring out how to wage war in Iraq with their own totally inadequate intelligence services.

While most of the public in the 21st Century have come to realise that it is business and indeed capitalist business that gives us the wealth we have, socialism and its close cousin communism stifle people and innovation.

We're in a world surrounded by capitalist individuals and nations who are doing better than we are.

We can join the party, ensuring that government does its best to control only when and where necessary, or we can all become losers and rot.

I'm sure that emerging economies could not give two hoots whether this tiny island succeeds or not.

Peter Scargill,

Double standards will generate hate which is last thing needed

JM Metcalf asks the important question when will the hate stop?

I think looking from the viewpoint of someone with Middle Eastern roots would help us to see how some of that hate might come about.

Such a person would see and have seen:

* Western governments happy to support and do business with Saddam Hussein prior to his invasion of Kuwait.

Not until he trampled on the wrong interests did he become the "Beast of Baghdad" and trigger the 1991

* A sanctions policy, enforced by the US and UK, that hurt the weakest members of society. An estimated 5,000 children dying per month due to the lack of basic resources.

* The 2003 invasion with deaths estimated by The Lancet at 100,000 and a country thrown in turmoil, with the law of the jungle prevailing in large parts of it.

This is all fertile ground for exploitation by disparate groups and fanatical individuals, many of whom have been radicalised by the invasion.

We must resist the temptation to think that as long as the victims of violence are in a foreign land they can be dismissed as "collateral damage" or made part of a "blood price".

It is this kind of implicit double standard that will generate the hate that is the last thing we need.


Price of pounds 9 for park and ride seems extortionate

IAGREE with the letter writer about the benefits of park-and-ride schemes which I have used in other cities eg York and which are infinitely preferable to getting stressed out driving round a city centre looking for parking places.

When my husband and I went to see the Tall Ships after work one evening this week we thought we'd use the Town Moor park and ride.

The first greeting from an attendant was "are you aware that it's pounds 9 to park here?"

We weren't so said goodbye and went to park in the city centre and use the free electric bus from the Haymarket down to the Quayside.

pounds 9 seems an extortionate price ( what was the reasoning behind this I wonder?

Hardly designed to encourage people to park and ride.

Judith Metcalf,

Why did Tall Ships event get so little coverage on the TV?

WHILE the Tall Ships extravaganza was extremely well reported by BBC Radio Newcastle on a daily basis, I deplore the fact that BBC1 and Tyne Tees TV News hardly gave it a mention.

The coverage in The Journal took longer to read than to watch the TV reportage.

We have it all going for the North-East so why are the major news programmers not giving us a fair crack of the whip?


The Government has long been wasting our money

MOST people know the Government has no money. It is the taxpayer's money they spend, spend, spend.

Here is just one example of where your money goes:

In the summer of 2004, the European Central Bank issued a report to the effect that the British public sector is amongst the most wasteful in the world, compared to the USA and Japan.

On aggregate it found in the order of 20% of public sector spending was wasted.

Well it is easier for the Government to spend your money than spend their own.


Art is about artists simply creating something they like

DAWN Hoskin's sincerity in her letter on art (July 27) was outdone not only by her verbosity but by her misconception.

Art is not, as she states, about "being questioned, excited, re-evaluating the world," it is about artists simply creating something they like, hoping somebody will like it too.

Dawn may possibly love ugliness and violence as seen in Kienholz's work at the Baltic but this is only personal preference.

She is free to dismiss the classicists if she wishes but her rejection is both irrelevant and invalid.

As a jazz enthusiast I find the same argument in music.

Classic stylists are only artisans, unforgivably enjoying playing stuff the audience enjoys hearing, while "real artists" lock themselves and the listeners in a depressive search for "something" that inevitably emerges cloaked in ugliness and aggression.

Art has no "message", it is simply good or bad, though works by the best have an inborn vibrance; I recall the breathtaking moment on first seeing a Degas exhibition, but God forbid him, for Dawn it would seem never will, he painted pretty pictures.


Arrangements for arrival of Princess Royal questioned

WHILE I appreciate the many good works done by the Princess Royal, I must question the arrangements for her arrival in the city for the Tall Ships' Race.

I believe that this was a `private visit', so it was necessary to declare it as an emergency requiring blue lights and sirens courtesy of Northumbria Police with at least five motorcycle outriders, the High Sheriff's car, a protection vehicle and three traffic cars?

I wish I had available that level of escort to get me through the traffic on the Central Motorway at 4.30 on a Wednesday afternoon ( or any other day for that matter.

GM crops article little more than scaremongering

YOUR recent article "GM finding is no surprise" amounts to little more than scaremongering. The Centre for Ecology & Hydrology which published the research the story was based upon, have issued a statement which clearly states that "Hybrids between the two species referred to in the study (oilseed rape and Sinapis arvensis) are not only rare, but previous studies have shown they do not produce viable seeds.

"Thus they do not persist ( and so are not weeds, let alone superweeds."

As the industry body for the agricultural biotechnology industry we believe it to be vital that the public is offered a balanced view of GM technology to allow them to make an informed decision based on fact, not emotion.

GM crops have an important role to play in future farming and agriculture and it is essential that their development is considered within the context of a sensible and informed debate.

We cannot achieve this balance when important research is distorted and misrepresented in the media.

Tony Combes,

Deputy Chairman,

Agricultural Biotechnology Council (abc), London.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jul 30, 2005
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