Thursday 24th March 2005
In response to Chris Foote-Wood, Northern Echo, 22nd March 2005
IT APPEARS that Chris Foote-Wood's ability to bend the truth is on a par with what Beckham does with balls.
Mr Foote-Wood is opposed to all quangos except the biggest one of all: the unelected North-East Assembly.
The referendum last November was for an elected assembly. The one to which Mr Foote-Wood refers is unelected. It has no elected members. They are appointees, appointed by their local authority. These individuals were elected to serve as local authority councillors and not to speak for, or represent the region. It is therefore deceitful to say the assembly has "democratic accountability".
Perhaps Mr Foote-Wood will expand on how the assembly's generous allowance system works. I am sure that he would not wish to give the impression that assembly members fund things out of their own pocket.
In the Government's information leaflet sent to every household before the referendum, the question was asked: "What happens if there is a No vote?" The answer was clear. There will be no assembly and decisions will continue to be made by Government and quangos in the region.
I look forward to your new campaign, Mr Foote-Wood, to rid us of the biggest quango of all: the unelected, unwanted and unaccountable assembly.
Neil Herron, Sunderland.
AS the last man this side of Mars to support the unelected North-East Assembly, it might have been apt to print Chris Foote-Wood's letter (HAS, Mar 21) on April Fool's Day.
He uses political double-talk by way of attempting to justify something, which he proudly sits upon, and that nearly 80 per cent of folk voted against.
Members are appointed by each local council - hardly democratically elected by the public of the North-East, and hardly accountable. And allowances are afforded to members, so "volunteer" and "unpaid" are not strictly true.
Jim Tague, Bishop Auckland Conservatives.
I WOULD dearly love to know how Chris Foote-Wood worked out his statements (HAS, Mar 21). The assembly is not elected by the populous, therefore it is not accountable to them. Many requests for information on the workings of the assembly under the Freedom of Information Act have been met with a refusal. Why will its members not disclose what "expenses" they are paid?
Archi Hipkins, Blyth.