AFRICA: HUGH Pender's letter (HAS, June 3) saying the Americans and British have killed millions shows his ignorance of the facts.

Journalist John Pilger is a Marxist and it is the policy of Marxism to heap criticism on those whose land they wish to take, to deliberately demoralise them and paralyse their will to defend themselves.

Pilger blames us for the starvation in Africa. By doing this he conceals the real reason for this starvation and prevents it from being recognised and rectified. African men will not wear condoms, despite seeing the consequences, ie too many children and the spread of Aids.

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Add this to the squandering of Africa's wealth in wars promoted by its rulers, many of them Marxists.

The African birthrate is such that its population of 750 million will be six billion in only 60 years' time. No one would be able to help such a population.

In reality Mr Pender is aiding and abetting this catastrophe by concealing these facts. He will bear some responsibility for its consequences.

William T Morris, Darlington.

POLITICS

IN his article "Can New Labour win next time?" (Echo, May 31), Ashok Kumar MP hopes that a smooth and rapid transition of power from Tony Blair to Gordon Brown will allow the Labour Party to win the next election.

If Mr Blair, as he promised, completes a full third term then New Labour as a product in a rapidly changing world will be well past its sell-by date. Mr Kumar's reference to "Big Britain" is the new brand name we shall have to get used to.

Also, on May 31, it was announced that the American government in co-operation with the European Union would begin a diplomatic initiative with the Iranian government on its nuclear programme. China and Russia were encouraged to assist the talks.

If President Bush knows Mr Blair is going sooner rather than later, has he decided to include "Big Britain" in the European Union? Does he count France, Germany, Russia and China as the large power brokers with Britain leading the New Europe of smaller nations?

The world stage is beginning to change. Theatregoers know that when the curtain closes after the first act it has only been an introduction to the remaining acts when the real action will be revealed. There is always a subtle twist in the final act which makes the drama more intriguing.

Thomas Conlon, Spennymoor.

DARLINGTON

MY wife and I decided to visit Darlington market on Bank Holiday Monday and although disappointed at the too few stalls, the day was nevertheless pleasantly spent.

On returning to our car, my wife had lost her prescription sunglasses, so we drove back to the market square. My wife got out and went into the shop where she thought she had left them. Within a second a traffic warden came and said I could not park there. I tried to explain why we had stopped but he said I could park over there, pointing in the air.

How on earth was I to know where 'there' was? When I asked I was told I could not park there. I said I would not drive off and leave my wife without her knowing where I was. He had no compassion or conscience, and walked away.

I have always had respect for traffic wardens but not now.

Happily my wife returned within minutes reunited with her glasses.

I removed my blue disabled badge and we drove home, vowing never to return to Darlington by car again.

John and Jane Douglas, Middlesbrough.

CAKE

OH dear. First, we are not allowed to take photographs of children playing, second, while it is recommended that sun block is applied to children at school the teachers are not allowed to apply it. And now 'Home made cake banned'. What next I wonder?

We are all recommended to eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, and healthy foods which contain no additives, and Jamie Oliver has tried so hard with school dinners. But a lady who baked a cake for somebody in a home was told the cake could not be given to the residents because the ingredients were not displayed. This forces people into manufacturers' hands.

Any cake which is baked in my kitchen is made under strict hygiene conditions, with organic flour, Jersey butter and fresh, local, free range eggs and sandwiched together with home made jam, all with less sugar than manufactured products.

So please somebody call at my home for a cup of tea and a cake with no ingredients listed but also with no artificial colours nor additives.

Doreen Turner, Thirsk.

BUS SERVICES

WHY is it that the residents of St Andrews Estate, McCullagh Gardens, Northend Gardens, Gent, Hilton, Taylor and Thompson Roads in South Church, Bishop Auckland, suffer due to Arriva's erratic bus service?

Most of the residents are senior citizens who need to go to the post office, have doctors' appointments or go to the bank.

On the other side of St Andrews at Henknowle estate, buses run regularly.

Yet we get an hourly bus services. Sometimes we get buses not turning up for two to three hours. Is this bad management or is there a logical explanation?

A Parker, Bishop Auckland.

THE Ford Way Youth Shelter all weather football pitch in Bishop Auckland is planned for a residential area surrounded by houses occupied by some very vulnerable people and children.

Anyone with any common sense can see it is quite unsuitable and there are much more suitable areas - we know there is a need for these facilities for the youths on the estate.

The planners of this scheme have not thought about the close proximity to shops, bungalows, street parking for cars etc, the sewer and drainage system from houses, as well as the noise the residents have to endure, and vandalism to cars parked in the street.

Doreen Kett, Bishop Auckland.

ANIMAL EXPERIMENTS

One thing Tony Blair did when he said he would sign a petition supporting experiments on animals for medical research is get people talking.

Unfortunately, one scientist, Professor Colin Blakemore, felt confident enough to suggest that in extreme circumstances the Government should consider using the great apes, chimpanzees and gorillas in research.

I know how things are done. Ask for the maximum to get a compromise. Put the idea in people's minds and they get used to it and eventually think perhaps maybe just a few chimps would not be too bad.

If we go down that road, man's conscience and self respect would be gone forever.

Baboons and monkeys handcuffed and tied as they are today is bad enough, but imagine the restraints needed for gorillas. It would be like a King Kong movie.

I hope I am not alive to see it.

M Embling, Hunwick.

YORHSKIRE'S ROSE

SOME years ago I was exploring Yorkshire in my car, got a bit lost, went down a steep hill into a delightful village.

I stopped and went into the only shop and asked where I was. The answer was Kettlewell.

A year later I stayed there for a week sketching daily. It's no surprise North Yorkshire won the county award.

Fred M Atkinson, Shincliffe.