Readers’ letters - December 28

Marchers at Knottingley mark the closure of Kellingley Colliery. See letter
Marchers at Knottingley mark the closure of Kellingley Colliery. See letter

Sad end to mining past

Coal was responsible for kick-starting the Industrial Revolution 250 years ago and generating much of the country’s energy needs since then.

The closure of Kellingley colliery is a sad end to the proud history of deep mining coal production in the UK. There is a future for coal in the UK and it is not a lost cause. We urge the Government to turn more attention to surface mining and its future development and creation of much-needed employment.

We are sitting on a sea of coal that Ministers now seem to have discarded in their energy calculations, despite the fact that we are living in an increasingly insecure world where oil and gas imports could be under threat.

The last straw was the jettisoning of the £1bn carbon capture and storage (CCS) competition by chancellor George Osborne last month that would have given coal a real future, while keeping carbon emissions within EU limits. This technology is already used effectively in Canada and Sweden.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Amber Rudd does not seem to have a grip of her portfolio and appears to be rudderless under the weight of Treasury pressure. Coal is a victim – as are the dedicated workers at Kellingley – of this policy of drift, cutbacks and short-sightedness.

Currently 31 per cent of electricity comes from coal burning power stations, but a third of this is expected to close by next year and by 2023 the National Grid expects all the power stations to close, leaving a gaping hole in the UK’s capacity. When the sun is not shining, the wind is not blowing and there is peak demand, we need other affordable, reliable and secure sources of UK energy supply.

John Allott

Unite national officer for 
coal

One for all and all for one

It struck me that we have had a Northern powerhouse before.

In 1070 following the harrying of the north, King William installed his vassal lords to take over the best bits of the north and leave the rest as waste.

They then paid homage to the king by passing most of the wealth of the north to the king down south. They used the best horses and oxen to move it south as fast as possible.

We now have King George (of the Osborne) doing exactly the same. He is offering power to local vassals, but only if they obey his rules (elected mayors).

Despite these rules having been constitutionally rejected, he will still hold the purse strings and woe betide you if you step out of line.

He is also keen on HS2 to get hold of his vassals and the money as quickly as possible.

You may say that we will have a constitutional say in this. Then we look at 1215, the Magna Carta, this was signed by King John but later watered down by subsequent monarchs to such an extent that it was not until the 19th century that the freedoms people thought it embodied actually started to come about.

Do you live in a powerhouse or the waste? What about one for all and all for one?

David Collins via email

Face reality

It is said that Iain Duncan Smith is devising a way of ‘burying’ our child poverty statistics. The last child poverty figures showed that over two million children were suffering poverty in the UK.

If the Government can’t face the reality of child poverty, then how then how can it hope to improve things? Tell the truth on child poverty, IDS, and shame the devil. Then in 12 months’ time, children in poverty can have a happier Christmas.

Max Nottingham via email