Please restore our civilisation

SIR - Our road has become a bombsite. We have empty houses, fly tipping and, worst of all, vandalism.

Most of the houses on this street are privately owned, yet we are unable to park outside them because of vandals. Most people have either got rid of their car or had to find somewhere else to park. I no longer have a car. It had windows smashed three times and was set on fire in October.

A neighbour has twice had a planning application to install a drive rejected. The Council says that the grass verge in front of the houses is too steep. Yet the drives on Bolton Road are even steeper.

We pay our Council Tax, even though it goes up every year, don't get any help from the police and have to park our cars miles from home.

We desperately need help to bring Sandholme Drive back to civilisation.

Mrs A Milner, Sandholme Drive, Thorpe Edge, Bradford.

Clumsy Kilroy

SIR - In response to Dr Iqbal (Letters, January 19) concerning Robert Kilroy-Silk. I would say the TV presenter's comments were clumsy but, I believe, never racist. I would also like to point out to Dr Iqbal that in recent polls on this matter a very large majority of Britons agreed with Kilroy-Silk.

It would be a refreshing change to see the likes of the CRE and the Muslim Council for Britain condemn these oppressive and barbaric regimes instead of calling for the prosecution of the messenger ie Kilroy-Silk.

Andy Hall, Fenwick Drive, Bradford.

Petulant display

SIR - Councillor Simon Cooke's response to a report which criticises plans for a private partner to manage and purchase some council properties was a petulant display of foolish arrogance (T&A, January 16).

Here we have a senior councillor dodging adverse evidence in pursuit of flawed policy.

And for what? Adherence to a failed political dogma and a fast buck.

For months the ruling alliance on Bradford Council denied that plans were underway to sell off its assets and privatise its services. Even now, when the cat is out of the bag, they still want to brush aside reasoned argument and hide the project from public scrutiny until it's a done deal.

How are the people of Bradford, through their elected representatives, to have any influence on redevelopment and regeneration if the Tories and Liberals sell off assets which will be key to the process? It is short-sighted nonsense.

If new Tory party leader Michael Howard wants examples of waste in public services, he need look no further than Coun Cooke's pet project - it will lay waste to the entire district.

Andrew Thornton, Beechwood Road, Wibsey.

Holy dilemma

SIR - Walter Metcalfe (Letters, January 15) advises us that, should we have a problem with God's actions or inaction, we should ask him about it ourselves. The snag, however, is that when people talk to God it is called praying but, if he answers back, it's called schizophrenia. So be careful.

Peter Wilson, Thornhill Grove, Calverley.

No Brussels plot

SIR - Before they became apologists for letter bombers targeting MEPs' offices, I was sometimes amused by the rantings of the so-called UK Independence Party. But Mr Walker (Letters, January 6), writing in from South Wales to announce his candidacy in this year's European elections for Yorkshire and the Humber, leaves me unsure whether to laugh or cry.

He peddles the myth that our forthcoming debate on whether to have an elected regional assembly in Yorkshire is, somehow, a plot from Brussels in order to centralise powers in the European Union. This is conspiracy theory gone mad!

Quite how or why the EU is supposed to have anything to do with this issue is, of course, not explained. How devolution to Yorkshire equates with centralisation is similarly not explained.

Whatever the fantasies of the euro-sceptics, this is a subject over which the EU has no jurisdiction whatsoever. It has made no proposals on this matter, which is purely internal to the UK. And it is hard to see why on earth they would want to anyway.

If they did, I and my colleagues in the European Parliament would soon come down on them like a ton of bricks.

Richard Corbett MEP (Lab, Yorkshire and the Humber), Blenheim Terrace, Leeds.

Talking sense

SIR - Your correspondent Mrs Evelyn Jacobs utters so much common sense when she says Britney Spears needs a spanking (Letters, January 20) that I am tempted to hazard a guess and say she would have to be over 60 years of age.

Ken Lorne, Hull Avenue, Lurnea, New South Wales, Australia.

Don't eat sea bass

SIR - I would like to draw attention to the sad plight of dolphins and porpoises being slaughtered each winter in the South West of England.

As a "Yorkshire Tyke" now living in Cornwall, I feel many people are unaware of this tragedy which is caused by trawling for sea bass. The main culprits are French boats, but some Scottish and South West fishermen are also to blame.

Steps are being taken to try to stop this slaughter, but each year hundreds of dolphins and porpoises are cruelly killed in the nets. This year is expected to be even worse.

Anyone who cares should refuse to buy and eat sea bass. If the market collapses for this fish, then the boats will stop fishing for it.

I walk along the beach here and come across dead and rotting corpses of these poor creatures and soon there will be none left. If you care, boycott sea bass.

C M Sykes, Lansallos, Looe, Cornwall.

Schools' success

SIR - I was very pleased to see your report (T&A, January 15) on the progress made by many local secondary schools in the national league tables.

Three schools did particularly well and Dixons, Grange and Belle Vue Girls' Schools deserve special mention as they finished in the top 15 nationally, out of more than 3,000, for the value added to the performance of their students.

Indeed if the religious, single-sex and selected schools are discounted, Grange Technology College added the most value of all the mixed comprehensive schools in the country.

Well done, students, teachers and governors.

Councillor Keith Thomson (Ind, Wibsey), Heights Lane, Bradford.

Hands off Odeon

SIR - Won't it be nice if Spice! project director Jan Smithies is deluged with protests against that part of her proposal which utilises the site of the old Odeon Cinema building.

Develop a visitor attraction and commercial centre by all means, but please leave this building alone. I am sure that the vast majority wish it to be retained in its entirety for some purpose - ideally a new concert hall.

Whatever happens, it must not be demolished and I do hope that this message is conveyed to her with great force. Her plans must be amended accordingly.

R S Watson, Springfield Road, Baildon.

Easing pressure

SIR - There seems to be some doubt about how to stop the continuous rises in council tax. There is one way of taking the pressure off a little.

The police service and the fire service are civil servants and, just like the armed forces, their yearly budget should be paid for by national taxation.

As it stands, we get little value for the council tax we already pay and if it continues to rise, we poorest-paid pensioners will have to call on the Government for extra benefits.

N Brown, Peterborough Place, Undercliffe.