MARGARET Thatcher’s long premiership has left a legacy in the part played by Britain in the European Union.

In her famous speech to the College of Europe in Bruges in 1988 she said “Britain does not dream of some cosy, isolated existence on the fringes of the European Community.

“Our destiny is in Europe, as part of the Community. The European Community is a practical means by which Europe can ensure the future prosperity and security of its people in a world in which there are many other powerful nations and groups of nations.”

Baroness Thatcher’s main contributions to Europe were to promote the Single Market and the enlargement of the EU, two of the EU’s greatest success stories.

How ironic, therefore, to hear her successors today condemn and seek to reverse the natural consequences of these achievements – the free movement for EU citizens from central and eastern Europe – from which the UK greatly benefits.

The sad reality is that today’s anti-Europeans disown the more open, free market Europe that Mrs Thatcher herself helped to create and in so doing risk losing our ability to have a say in its future.

John S Murray


A great legacy

FOR most of the Margaret Thatcher period as Prime Minister I lived abroad, but always followed the political news.

The recovery of a broke and broken Britain in the mid 1980s was one of the reasons behind our return.

Thatcher’s legacy in my mind was that she led Britain to be Great once more. She was a consummate politician, respected worldwide, yet hated by the left wing in this country.

In truth, one loved her or hated her. What I don’t understand is the continuing nasty vitriol spouting to this day from mouths like George Galloway and certain current members of the Labour Party. She should be remembered as a great political figure.

Alan Burton

Chairman, Dewsbury Constituency Conservative Association

Why no day off?

SURELY Mrs Thatcher’s passing warrants a national day of mourning and at least a day off work?

Richard Huddleston

West Slaithwaite

Old and abandoned

MY uncle Fred Mann told me he was at one time Relieving Officer for Huddersfield.

This involved going with a doctor and policeman to collect deranged people.

He apprehended a chef with delirium tremens on the roof of the Queens Hotel. He was mainly involved with senile old folk abandoned in hotels by their rich relatives.

Mrs Thatcher spent her last days at the Ritz – no old folks home for her.

Wilf Lunn


Sad final days

THE general public are divided in their reaction to the death of Margaret Thatcher – the one person who made the rest of the world take notice of our country.

Although I had great admiration for The Iron Lady (whose like we may never see again), I am not saddened by her death. Why? For me, the sadness had been there for quite some time. How sad to see the gradual fading of one so great.

As a sole-occupier of my home, I always thought that the Poll Tax was a good idea!

Elsie M Eva


Benefits safety net

PEOPLE such as Mark Weatherby (Mailbag, Monday, April 9) have my greatest sympathy when they fall on difficult times.

The benefit system was created for such times.

The problem is that this very same system which was created to help people when they did fall on hard times has been so badly abused by scroungers who wish to use the system from cradle to grave or to supplement ‘off the books’ working.

Our annual benefits bill runs into billions of pounds and our Government has now very belatedly found that this is unsustainable.

On the one hand I would agree that our benefits bill has to be reduced.

On the other hand I feel that this annual payment is a monster which has been created by successive governments trying to buy votes and not supporting our manufacturing industry as they should have.

Tony Blair once said that our country had moved away from manufacturing and was now leaning more towards the service industry. What a dangerous man he and Labour turned out to be.

One issue that binds this emotive issue of benefits is the very same issue I have droned on about for many years and that is jobs.

We need jobs. It’s no use giving work to other countries when the people of Britain are in desperate need of meaningful work.

By its own admission the Examiner’s article on the Leeds City Regeneration Scheme stated that some 27,000 people migrate each and every working day to other parts of Yorkshire/Lancashire to work. Locally we are dead in the water for jobs (supermarkets do not apply) and have been for many a year.

If you wish to get people off benefits and back into work then there has to be jobs for these people. Meaningful jobs, jobs which will create wealth for the individual in terms of pride and monetary payments and also for the country in the form of exports.

Our country cannot afford to keep paying out such vast sums of money for no return. We also cannot afford to be adding to this by uncontrolled immigration. The benefit system was not set up to be abused. The benefit system was a safety net, not a way of life. I would like to wish Mark and others such as he who find themselves in their present situations good luck.

As for the deadbeats and leeches, get a life, get a job and show people you are worth something.

R J Bray


Holmfirth wants a store

IN response to Tess North’s letter of April 17 about Meltham being quiet on Easter Sunday when Morrisons was closed and her point about nimbyism regarding people from Holmfirth travelling to Meltham yet not wanting a store in their area.

Taking up the second point in her letter, yes, there is an element of nimbyism (not in my backyard) in the opposition to the proposed supermarket development at the former Midlothian site but I think it is clear that the majority of Holmfirth residents back the plan which was proved when three different polls held on the subject last year all returned a resounding 70%+ majority in favour of it, including a poll carried out by this newspaper.

Perhaps common sense will prevail at the planning appeal. Let’s hope so.

Tim Radcliffe