Reader’s letters - Wednesday 19 March 2014

Tony Benn pictured joining rail union members at a demonstration in London
Tony Benn pictured joining rail union members at a demonstration in London
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He was a man of the people

Tony Benn – champion of many great British virtues and a man of the people. Benn was a towering figure in British politics. A man of vision, integrity, peace and unswerving loyalty to UK interests and the British people.

He led the campaign for Britain not to join the bureaucratic European Union and was at the forefront of the fight for democracy, justice and equal rights. His integrity was never in doubt.

He could not be bought: no expenses, or sex scandals, no honours – nor a seat in the Lords, for his long service to Parliament, was acceptable to him.

Tony Benn was a leader of the campaign against nuclear weapons which I supported and wrote a booklet, What a nuclear war really means.

He campaigned against the war against Iraqi which I reluctantly supported.

Benn was one of the few top politicians to support the miner’s strike against massive pit closures and redundancies, the unjust jailing of trade union stewards, and others fighting for rights we now take for granted and neglect at our peril.

He was one of the most effective of all post war Cabinet members, overseeing major government departments for energy, technology and industry. Benn was no ‘Yes Minister. politician’.

He backed Concord, the fastest, world-beating airliner. He strived to ensure the long-term benefits of the new great riches of North Sea oil, and state ownership, to maximise the benefits for the UK and its people. Later, after Benn’s departure, it was sold out to multinational businesses.

I came into more direct contact with Benn during the nationalisation of the UK’s diverse and failing aircraft industry. As a leading lay union member, at the Warton Division of B A C, I organised the first meeting of lay union leaders from all the aircraft companies to be nationalised.

Then led the discussions with the then Secretary of State for Industry – Tony Benn. Tony was friendly, helpful and pragmatic with my union colleagues and I.

The newly named British Aerospace – BAe – made a dramatic resurgence, especially the nearly defunct civil side, including investing in a 20 per cent partnership in Airbus. Investment in training was significantly increased.

Shortly after, at the next election, Margaret Thatcher privatised a very successful and growing British Aerospace industry.

Of course the establishment, political leaders, managers and newspaper tycoons generally did everything possible to demonise and discredit Tony Benn. Of course Benn had his faults – don’t all great men.

But as a very successful cabinet minister, who put Britain and the British first, a man of great integrity, and a loyal family man, it could be a long time before parliament sees his equal.

Peter Ward, Cottam

Social workers should do job

I have a great idea for councils to save money and cut unnecessary expenditure.

Far too many families are being separated and ripped apart by local authorities and social workers.

They tear innocent children away from innocent fathers, whilst making up stories with no grounds or indeed proof, saving their jobs rather than doing their jobs.

So sack those social workers and keep the few who want to do their job rather than keep it.

If your readers remember, there was a Panorama programme where one young lady had to move to Spain just to avoid social workers ‘kidnapping’ her own child.

The MP John Hemming told the programme families would be better off moving abroad to avoid such horrendously brutal actions by the social workers.

The same is happening right here under our very noses.

Name and address supplied

Road should be done properly

I read your article on Lancashire County Council paying out £17m in claims for damaged cars due to the bad road surface (LEP March 17).

I would like to bring your

attention to a new housing

development in Bamber Bridge (Pear Tree Gardens).

Here they have built a new estate and altered the road system to get on and off and, when they resurfaced the main road, they only resurfaced a third of it! It will no doubt start to crack and disintegrate in no time, as is the problem with most of the roads in and around Preston.

Why did they not have to completely resurface at least the one side of the road that they altered and, indeed, after all the heavy traffic that has been going in and out of that site over the last 18 months, the whole of the road that they have been using to get in and out? Just a thought.

Ian Skapars via email

Looking for my father Ian

My name is Sheila Horn, formerly Williamson. I am looking for my father, his name is Ian Williamson.

I know he was born and raised in Preston and remember going there when I was little.

He was married to my mum, Ramlah Binti Haron, after meeting her in Malaysia while he was in the Royal Air Force, I am guessing in the middle to late sixties.

I was born in Akrotiri, Cyprus, while they were stationed there. I have three older brothers. We have lived in Akrotiri, Cyprus, and different parts of Peterborough, England. My parents divorced when I was a teenager and I was taken to the United States when my Mum remarried. I am now 43 years old and have a family of my own.

I would like to be in my father’s life and to know him and his side of the family. I know when I was younger, there were many ups and downs, but I prefer to leave that part of the past behind me and to try to renew old bonds broken by heartache.

We have all been through so much in our lives, I would like a chance to know my family and for them to know me, any information would be appreciated.

I have already lost my mum to cancer and am hoping I have not lost him and that part of the family. I may be contacted through my email address or my address, 27 Sandpiper CT, Hampton, VA 23669. Thank you for your help.

Sheila Horn (Williamson) via email