I FEEL compelled to write to you after reading Alan Benn's letter (HAS, May 7). He made reference to the Blair Bashers having more than their fair share of space in your columns. It could be, of course, that there are more of them.

I can only assume from the stomach-churning stuff trotted out by him that he is after advancement. His adoration for the Prime Minister has obviously blotted out the disasters and debacles perpetuated by this Government since 1997.

It is worth recounting them, or some of them: The wasted £700m/£800m on the Dome at the start of Mr Blair's premiership. To date, it is still costing the taxpayer hundreds of thousands of pounds a week to maintain; the students' A-level debacle on examinations; the foot-and-mouth disaster made worse by Government dither and incompetence; the private pensions debacle where pensions will generate far less than expected on retirement, partly due to Gordon Brown's extraction of billions of pounds from them; the national census debacle when papers were not issued to hundreds of thousands of people; the current Inland Revenue debacle regarding payment of the children's tax credit - delayed; the current chaos regarding asylum seekers with uncontrolled borders.

What this has cost the country financially no one knows. The Government has stopped issuing any statistics.

The Government successes: fighting wars and winning (with America) and the minimum wage. - Leslie Tyson, Crook.


THE news that non-elected health authorities may be given the responsibility for decisions to increase fluoridation of water supplies by our control freak-style Government is outrageous.

This measure would overturn the decisions opposing fluoridation by hundreds of local councils representing a large section of the population. Fluoridation is highly controversial, entailing enforced medication with one of the most toxic chemicals known.

Dental fluorosis (disfiguring, mottling of teeth) affecting up to 50 per cent of young people in fluoridised areas, is reprehensible. However, fluoridation has more serious effects: accumulation of fluoride robs the body of calcium, damaging the immune system and leading to brittle bones (skeletal fluorosis), kidney disease and IBS.

Water filters and bottled water would not remove the hazards; countryside mandatory fluoridation would mean fluoride in all manufactured drinks and increased amounts in foods like soups, jams etc, through boiling. A fluoride-free diet for invalids would be impossible.

European countries have made fluoridation illegal because of its harmful effects, so why should we accept it? - FG Bishop, Darlington.


WHAT a democratic shambles the recent elections to the Scottish Parliament were.

The Labour Party, the largest party in the parliament, with a paltry 17 per cent of the electorate voting for them, still cling on to power with the help of the Liberals, who did worse with only 7.5 per cent voting for them.

This lack of public support has not deterred them from demanding 25 per cent of the seats in the cabinet, a new system for voting in Scottish local elections, free eye and dental checks.

The Scottish Socialists, who have six seats in the new parliament, went one better than the Liberals and have demanded free heroin on the NHS.

To think the Labour and Liberal parties are trying to foist a mini-type Scottish parliament on the North-East beggars belief. - Stan Smith, South Shields.


RE Antony Gormley's Domain Field, why was it necessary to plaster cast people in order to produce this farce?

I could have managed the same result just wielding a carpenter's folding rule. And what about using the sophisticated electronic measuring equipment which would have made short work of it?

How is the work and the exhibition being financed? The fairest way would be from voluntary donations from the visitors to the exhibition, or perhaps an entrance fee.

Seeing the Baltic Flour Mill operating in its original state would have been far more interesting than any of the exhibits so far. - Peter Scholey, Chester-le-Street.


ALTHOUGH I agree that football hooligans should be punished, I feel a little bit sorry for the fans who invaded the pitch at the Stadium of Light.

I know they should not do this, as they will no doubt now realise, but in my opinion, managers and players are just as much to blame.

If managers stopped players from running to the sidelines to receive the plaudits when they score, none of these invasions would happen, although you will never stop the odd nutcase from showing off. - PD Shoulder, Bishop Auckland.


THE North Yorkshire Retired Greyhound Trust - the local charity dedicated to finding homes for ex-racing greyhounds - would like to thank all those who supported its recent "Meet and Greet" session at Thirsk Tesco.

We raised £240, which will go directly towards the welfare and upkeep of greyhounds kept in kennels whilst homes are being found.

It was also a great opportunity to let people know about the work we do and the urgent need to support retired greyhounds.

Contrary to popular misconceptions, greyhounds make excellent pets, being gentle, loving and able to adapt to most types of lifestyle.

If you would like to find out more about the North Yorkshire Retired Greyhound Trust, or think you could provide a home for one of these dogs, please call us on (01845) 526 024 or visit our website at - Karen Fraser, North Yorkshire Retired Greyhound Trust.