CHURCH OF ENGLAND: AFTER reading the article by Peter Mullen on the retiring Archbishop of York (Echo, Jan 17), I would like to make one or two points myself.

I found the information regarding the Archbishop interesting indeed, especially his bias and opposition to the emancipation of women in the Church of England.

I served on my PCC during the years of women's ordinations and these two points were never, to my knowledge, ever discussed as they were not at all relevant to the issue; more to the point, that without women's admittance to the diaconate and priesthood, many small parishes would have no-one to minister to them and with male ordinands slow to consider coming forward.

So now, as a parish priest, will he be totally prepared to co-operate with them in his work? Because I can tell him that many of my friends in the laity now accept women priests, trust and respect them very much, when at first they were not in favour.

My final comment is this. Without women priests, the C of E would be in a more parlous state than it is today. - AE Donkin, Durham City.


RECENT figures from our police forces make grim reading regarding drinking drivers.

Is it only me that concludes that there is something sadly lacking in a society that bans smoking in pubs, where the deadly effects take years to act, but one can drink alcohol "legally" and take control of a motor vehicle capable of instant death, should the worst happen?

Why not make 2005 a total drink ban on drivers, (this obviously includes drugs) a problem unheard of years ago?

Legislation, however, needs to be policed, total loss of licence for life, loss of liberty, and in the most abhorrent cases causing death due to drink/drug use, should carry a minimum ten years sentence in prison, (still only five years really). The reason for this God only knows.

Please write to your MP to promote a no drink-drive campaign, if it saves only one precious life, (I suspect it would save many more) it will have been well worth it. - Robert Bridgett, Shildon.


WHILE it is humiliating for Iraqi detainees to be abused and, of course, a disgrace that British soldiers should behave in such a manner, surely a degree of perspective is required.

I am certainly not condoning the abuse of prisoners, but this tiny minority of our military are under severe psychological pressure, which may mitigate their behaviour.

What I do find barbaric is the death and destruction caused by bombs and missiles resulting in men, women and children being blown to bits or burnt alive.

The perpetrators of these crimes will never be brought to justice and these few soldiers will no doubt be sacrificed to salve the consciences of their superiors. - Hugh Pender, Darlington.


THE UKIP press secretary for Hartlepool writes a letter (HAS, Jan 17) which primarily objects to the mention of Sir Winston Churchill in the context of the present European Union.

It is a very unwise position to take because there is no doubt that many see Churchill as the original inspiration for European unity and joint action.

Churchill was the founder of the European Movement immediately after the Second World War, in the years 1946-1948, when Europe was in deep trouble with destroyed infrastructure, helpless hordes of people on the move, shortness of food and shelter. He spoke and negotiated tirelessly and passionately for the creation of a forum for joint action by all member states in Europe. Thus the Hague Congress of Europe was organised in 1948 with Churchill as the prospective leader.

Fifty years on, in 1998, it was hailed as the starting point of the present European Union with the slogan: "Let's build the Europe of the 21st Century - an area of Solidarity and Freedom".

Far from acknowledging the influence of Churchill, Mr Pascoe attacks the very notion of a link to the present EU by Churchill. He gives as his reason for this a typical UKIP myth: the core objective of the EU is the end of the free nation state.

Once indoctrinated with a UKIP view, it must be hard to start thinking objectively, but that myth is not valid.

The new constitution of the European Union states clearly: "'The Union shall respect national identities of its Member States, inherent in their fundamental structures, political and constitutional, inclusive of regional and local self government. It shall respect their essential State functions, including those for ensuring the territorial integrity of the State, and for maintaining law and order and safeguarding internal security". - E Whittaker, Richmond.


GEOFFREY Taylor (HAS, Jan 18) asks if the council can give him a piece of the highway to park his car, as he is a disabled driver.

Why doesn't he use his blue disabled card, the scourge of able-bodied drivers, as we attempt to use the roads and negotiate the abandoned-without-thought disabled vehicles that litter our streets on a daily basis?

Not content with what they see as their God-given right to park anywhere, as a pedestrian I have lost count of the times I have found them on pathways, leaving me no choice but to walk into the roadway, and danger.

Couple that with the amount of times you see the driver and their passengers skip away from the obstruction they have caused, you have to ask are they disabled at all?

The icing on the cake is the tax disc which usually confirms it's been issued free of charge.

No Mr Taylor, you can't have your private parking space, because people like me are paying for it. - Joe Wellthorpe, North Ormesby.


THERE are many British people excluded from society by poverty and have homes damp and unhealthy to live in, many of them pensioners.

There are young people on various cheap schemes and no promise of a future, many leaving school and no hope of earning a decent wage.

We have a Prime Minister too engrossed in his own ego to care much for the many problems still facing many of the British people.

We are told that the NHS and others are short of skilled workers, so they are looking abroad, ignoring the fact that these skilled workers are desperately needed in their own countries.

As for this country, England in particular, we are facing a poverty crisis that will increase the more we allow this farce to continue.

The rich are happy, they are getting richer while the poor are getting poorer. Those in other countries have a responsibility to their own country and have no right to walk all over the people of Britain. - John Young, Crook.