Letters - October 9, 2017

Jeremy Corbyn
Jeremy Corbyn
Have your say

I wouldn’t trust Corbyn with a piggy bank

Labour activist Roy Lewis once again looks very selectively at our economy in his stinging attack on the government with the usual Labour soundbites (Your Say, October 5).

In the last seven years we haven’t had “economic failure”, after inheriting a massive deficit from Labour, the Conservatives have massively reduced that while delivering a growing economy.

Yes poverty and homelessness are issues which need attention but they didn’t just appear in 2010, these are long standing issues sadly.

It is rather unbelievable he tries to blame the government for the collapse of Monarch, who have long been in difficulty and Ryanair’s issues.

Brexit was voted for by the majority of the electorate and a massive majority of Blackpool residents. Liam Fox is doing a fantastic job of negotiating with other trade partners, while Corbyn flip flops on the issue and the Lib Dems try and stop Brexit.

It’s anything but chaos and I am confident we will be much better off out of the EU gravy train.

As for electrification, I look forward to much improved Blackpool links to Manchester, Liverpool and beyond with new electric trains thanks to this government.

The only party which cannot be trusted with our economy is Labour. A shadow chancellor who has condoned violence and criminal behaviour in the past is not fit to hold our purse strings and I wouldn’t trust Corbyn with a piggy bank.

Coun Christian Cox

Sawley Avenue


Keep guards – keep trains safe

During the current strikes on Arriva Northern trains, the company is handing out leaflets to passengers at stations saying, “Modernising your train journey means making changes to how we support our customers, including the conductor’s role”.

The truth is no one is opposed to modernisation – indeed RMT Union members have been on the front line when it has come to campaigning for new trains, more trains and more seats – but these strikes are all about safety.

RMT wants a guarantee that a safety critical and operationally trained guard will be on all trains in passenger service – that’s the current arrangement.

Arriva Northern trains and the Tory Government want to scrap that guarantee.

The strikes are not about wages, terms and conditions or pensions, the strikes are all about safety.

At the moment, guards are trained and qualified in some 30 plus operational and safety roles, including train evacuations, dealing with fires on trains, train failures, signalling systems, overhead power line isolations, even routes.

In the event that a driver is incapacitated or trapped in an incident, guards can step in to protect the train and the passengers, but Northern doesn’t want to give the guarantee of a guard on every train. Indeed, they have accepted a franchise specification from the Tory Government that says at least 50 per cent of services can be operated under DCO the new name for Driver Only Operation.

At the moment on Northern it is zero per cent!

Guards don’t just carry out a key safety role. At a time of increased recorded crime and anti-social behaviour, they provide vital reassurance to passengers and, with ongoing security issues, it seems utter madness to want to take these staff off trains.

There are also accessibility issues because the GUARANTEE of a guard ensures people with disabilities and mobility impairments can access trains.

Indeed, Northern is suggesting that, on some routes, they are planning to have no second member of staff on board to look after passengers at all. How is that “modernising” or “improving” customer service?

The company claims that, by changing the guards’ vital safety role, they will be more visible to passengers on trains. The reality is that, on many trains, they will become invisible as they won’t be there at all. Keep guards on trains – Keep trains SAFE.

Craig Johnston

Relief Regional Organiser (North)


Universities need revamp

In years gone by, only a small percentage of the brightest pupils took degrees.

Consequently the state could afford to pay for their tuition, and give students 
a proper means-tested 

But for whatever reasons, including the desire to keep the dole queues down, it was felt necessary to try and get half of all scholars undertaking degree-level study.

Not only did this dilute the quality of a degree, but it made the potential educational costs far higher unless steps were taken to introduce fees and loans.

It would be better to ‘re-polytechnicise’ some of the lesser universities, to let them concentrate on practical job-related subjects once more.

Meanwhile the cleverest students could get a debt-free degree, whatever their background.

Tim Mickleburgh