We must campaign

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Yet again we read “Bryan Lodge claims...” This time he says “it could be millions”. Will they share with us the relevant parts of the contract? Only if it suits them. We can’t verify claims. The press can’t verify claims. Only the Labour Cabinet and Amey will know the small print.

The Streets Ahead contract lasts until 2037. The detail was never debated in the Council chamber, never examined by a scrutiny committee. It was signed in 2012 as massive public service cuts began to bite. Is it wise for contract repayments to increase year on year? Answers to this and other public questions were needed. No one got the chance to ask.

Council inaccuracies and misinformation have become the norm. Using a dodgy dossier of consultation outcomes and interpretations. A one-party state ruling council group oversees a contract we can’t see. They think and act using “commercial confidentiality” as their bulletproof vest.

Sweep aside Independent Tree Panel views. Ignore viable engineering solutions. Bypass dispute resolution and go straight to court. It’s just about winning now and burying opposition individually and collectively.

20 more years of Streets Ahead. Maybe 19 more years of the Veolia waste contract. Our council tax funds massive repayments, but with no transparency, no public scrutiny, no democratic accountability.

We must campaign against the council’s tree felling programme, campaign to open up all Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contracts to public scrutiny.

We must campaign to oppose privatisation and bring public services back “in house”, campaign for truth and against “fake news” PR.

Consumer champion Ralph Nader once said :“If you’re not turned onto politics, politics will turn on you.” Don’t sit back and do nothing.

Eamonn Ward

Sheffield Green Party

Call things what they are

Suppose a newspaper reported that British tourists were wreaking havoc. How would we react? Some people might think that their own families and friends wouldn’t behave so badly. Others might feel ashamed that British tourists could behave that way. But no one would accuse the newspaper of blaming the whole British population.

So when Sarah Champion wrote an article under the headline ‘British Pakistanis are raping white girls and we must face up to it’ why would anyone think she was blaming the whole Pakistani community? She wasn’t, she was focusing on a particular problem with Pakistani gangs exploiting and raping children.

But Mr Corbyn and some members of the Labour Party decided that Ms Champion was blaming the community and this led to her resignation.

I think Mr Corbyn was wrong and I think we should call things what they are. If groups of British tourists wreak havoc then we shouldn’t be afraid to call them British and if groups of Pakistani men exploit and rape children then we shouldn’t be afraid to call them Pakistani.

When a perpetrator’s ethnicity is relevant we ought to say so, and no one should assume that we are blaming the whole community.

Michael Andrews

Brocco Bank, Sheffield, S11

An expensive luxury

Once again I am perplexed by the recent announcement by Sheffield Council, (Saturday, August 19), that they intend to commit £800,000 of taxpayers’ money investigating the possibility of medieval tunnels beneath the city centre.

Investigating history may be interesting but is an expensive luxury and must be taken in context of the current financial crisis. It’s not that long ago that the council closed three care homes for the elderly and vulnerable apparently to save £800,000, and have subsequently made significant closures and cuts to many other core services.

It may be that £800,000 is considered chicken feed or inconsequential when set against the bigger financial picture, but not to the families of those who lost their place in the care homes, or staff their jobs. It’s not viable to cry poverty in one breath, and then commit hard earned resources to non-essential projects.

It’s becoming increasingly apparent that the current council membership does not have a grip on reality.

Jim Chalmers

Woodhouse

Get out more

Can I make a suggestion as to the most boring contributor to the letters page?

Write something interesting instead of the usual rubbish.

The Crown goes to Mr EB Warris, must get out more.

Michael Durkin

S10

Let him eat cake

EB Warris’ account of him eating cake in John Lewis’s cafe has me wondering if he’s sampled Atkinson’s cuisine further down The Moor, for Atkinson’s have reigned supreme with their buns, scones and tea cakes, since opening up their cafe.

In the two Morrison’s restaurants, one in Ecclesfield and one in Hillsborough Barracks, one is spoilt for choice. So EB Warris, if I were you I’d take myself into Morrison’s, for I doubt if you’d ever enter John Lewis again! Despite it’s so called premier status.

Peter Godfrey

S36

Heartbreak of fellings

There are many sound arguments for retaining mature healthy trees wherever possible, but one thing has been missed which explains the passion and tenacity of those campaigning against needless felling.

Each tree felled represents a personal tragedy to someone, whether an individual sitting quietly at home, possibly too intimidated by neighbours to raise their voice, or an entire community coming out onto the streets to protect their trees.

These trees live alongside us and are part of our sense of where we live and who we are. Losing them is heartbreaking to many.

The complete lack of empathy or aesthetic sensibility in a Town Hall run by a regime which would rather spend hundreds of thousands on legal fees or PR schemes to crush opposition, rather than negotiate and find compromises, is an utter disgrace.

A Labour council doing this to protect the interests of a multinational company is grotesque.

E Northwood

by email

Inundated with calls

HS Direct’s Nick Murphy claims he can’t get staff to train in sales or customer service.

I’ve never seen HS Direct jobs advertised in Thursday’s Star.

By the way, the average wage is minimum wage or if the company decides to pay more, not £27,000 as the government claim.

HS Direct, put an ad in The Star and you’ll be inundated with calls and letters from the unemployed and those in dead-end jobs.

S Ellis

S65