Letters, March 4, 2016

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Have your say

Shiny object a distraction

I am a Labour party member and an opponent of the council’s tree -felling plans, which include the felling of perfectly healthy mature trees and their replacement with saplings.

I am also researching politically manipulative speech. I’m writing to discuss a remarkably manipulative argumentative strategy used by proponents of the council’s felling plans.

One example is discussed here: www.thestar.co.uk/news/letter-defends-sheffield-council-and-slams-lack-of-perspective-of-tree-campaigners-1-7739862

The strategy is to list the horrific consequences of austerity cuts to Sheffield, and then to make two further moves – first, to note that those hardest hit by these cuts are not complaining about tree felling and second, to suggest that those who are complaining about tree felling don’t care about austerity cuts.

First let’s take the claim that those hardest hit by cuts are not complaining about tree felling. This may well be true. Those hardest hit by cuts are struggling to survive on a day-to-day basis and may well be unable to devote any energy to anything but immediate survival.

It is absolutely outrageous that we have so many people in this position, and a key reason that I joined the Labour Party.

But it does not mean that it is a mistake to devote any time to any other issues. This line of thought, taken seriously, would lead to a total neglect of long-term priorities that would be utterly irresponsible. (It’s probably also worth noting that these people are also not clamouring for the removal of trees in the interest of smoothing pavements).

Now let’s take the claim that those who protest about felling don’t care about austerity.

First, this is manifestly untrue. Many of us care a great deal about the appalling austerity cuts, and have taken a wide variety of actions against them. This was, as noted above, the key reason that I joined the Labour Party.

But it may well be that the council is relatively unaware of these actions.

Why? Because, unlike the tree-felling strategy, the austerity cuts are a product of the national government.

When I object to something, I relate my objections to those who have made the decisions I disagree with. I complain to the Sheffield council about tree felling, then, and I complain to the national government about austerity.

This entire line of argument, then, is a distraction. I thoroughly agree with those who oppose austerity cuts and willingly join them in the battle. But I also think the tree felling is a mistake. And while I cannot speak for all of those fighting the tree felling, I must say that this seems to be widely true. But most importantly of all, this line of argument has nothing whatsoever to do with the merits of the felling plans.

It’s a shiny object, dangled to distract us from the real topic: trees. Please can we get back to that now?

Professor Jennifer Saul

Department of Philosophy, University of Sheffield

Stop altering photographs

I bought my Star as usual today, I always look at the readers’ photos as I do dabble, but I am increasingly getting disappointed with some of the photos published.

On Monday, a picture of the Sheffield Mail Centre submitted by Gulfraz Siddique had plainly been Photoshopped, which to me isn’t what readers’ photos are all about.

They should be a good photo taken by the photographer who is struck by the subject captured, they should not be given extra impact by adding darkened clouds and other atmospheric adjustments. Its a no from me and lines should be given out.

I caught an ad on TV extolling the Dettol washer cleaner to remove those nasty smells. First it was a foreign-made ad, the lip sync just didn’t fit.

Now me and Her Indoors had this problem with our new washer stinking after just three months. We tried bleach, bicarbonate of soda, a special prepared product from Wilko’s.

None worked, so I sat down and thought about just when this kind of problem arose and I had a Eureka moment. We had been using liquid detergent and before that we used those sachets of liquid.

I discussed this with my missus and I persuaded her, after three rounds in the ring, to try ordinary washing powder as we had previously used for years, with no problem I might add.

She bought a large packet of powder and our trial began and lo and behold after just four weeks the nasty smell had gone and was back to a fresh drum again, so I urge anyone with a smelly washer who is using liquid detergent, switch to powder and see if it works for you.

Doesn’t it get your goat that instead of using the perfectly apt word Twice, we are now hearing another American import, “two times.” What’s wrong with twice?

Once we had the word continuous, now its “back to back”.

“Check this out” is another phrase, why not “look at this”?

America I hate your use of the English Language and the way you twist words out of all recognition, the shouting and whooping at concerts and such, this too has become the norm over here , why do we have to copy them?.We are English, well I am at any rate.

I don’t want to go into coffee shops that are furnished like the furniture department at Atkinson’s – the drinks they serve are just highway robbery, the assistants may as well wear a mask like Dick Turpin.

I think I’m getting to be a professional complainer, which I don’t mind at all as sometimes it does work, believe it or not.

I do urge the Star to stop printing Photoshopped photos as it is cheating really and just print the photos that have gone from the memory card and then been emailed to you without vastly adjusting them.

So I say: “Oi! photoshoppers, no, don’t submit photos that have been so heavily altered until they look like a pastel drawing.”

The Green Giant

by email

Alison made me see stars

Thanks to columnist Alison Dransfield for starting your second paragraph with “I’m a Libran so I like balance.”

This saved me from bothering to read the rest on the assumption that anyone believing their personality is linked with some lumps of rock millions of miles away is not worthy of my time.

And, Mr Editor, stop encouraging it. Get rid of the Russel Grant column.


by email

Consider your shortcomings

I write with reference to the comments by Jayne Grayson in your letters pages on March 1.

To judge by Ms Grayson’s spelling and grammar, she is far from being among ‘the best’ of this country herself.

I know a number of immigrants to Britain – all of them would have been able to write such a short letter without committing Ms Grayson’s basic errors.

Before she criticises others, maybe she might like to consider her own obvious shortcomings.

Ben Dunnell


Take control of our destiny

Has anybody considered what our brave soldiers, sailor and airmen who fought and died in the two world wars would think of our present government andthe EU referendum?

This is a government that wants to give away our sovereignty, law making and our border controls to unelected politicians in Brussels and Berlin.

These brave servicemen fought and sacrificed their lives in order for us to be self-governing as we have been for over a thousand years.

If we stay in the EU then it’s only going to get worse as far as immigration is concerned.

When Turkey join the EU there will be another 80 million people who will get access to our shores.

We need control of our borders for the sake of our children and our grandchildren.

It’s okay for big business people to say we need to stay in the EU.

They don’t have to put up with an NHS which is stretched to its limit because they have private health care.

They don’t have to put up with state schools struggling with larger classes and fewer good teachers because their kids will attend private schools.

They don’t have to live on estates, some of which are becoming ghettos due to mass immigration.

These things don’t effect big business people or politicians.

For the sake of our future generations please vote to get out of the EU.

Let us once again be in control of our own destiny and make Great Britain great once again.

This may be the only chance we will ever get to get out of this club which was for trade when we joined in the 1970s.

Its aim now is to get ever closer to a political union which is not why we joined in the first place.

T Jackson


I’ve never voted Tory

In response to G Ellison, Star letters, March 2, 2016 ,it would seem this correspondent, as all blinkered Labour supporters, assumes those who don’t vote Labour are Tory supporters?

I can assure GE that I have never voted Tory in my life. Indeed like millions of others I am one of Labour’s ex core voters whom Labour deserted and abused decades ago to attract what has now become Labour’s mainstay immigrant vote, without which Labour is dead in the water.

Like many other head-in- the-sand Labour supporters GE needs to take stock of the UK’s cesspit situation that Labour is mainly responsible for.

J C Oxby

Greenland Drive, S9