SIR - There are those who would like to ban free speech or have it contained in a politically-correct form. This would go against everything our fathers and ourselves fought for because it would be the foundations of a state that would eventually control comment against the Government of the day.

The true value of free speech lies in the right to put thoughts into words which can be accepted as fair and agreeable comment or argued against as total rubbish.

The bottom line of free speech is a word that is almost forgotten in our everyday life, "respect" - for someone else's point of view.

We are all equal in dignity and rights and leaving aside country, religion, or colour we should talk freely with reason and respect. It is only by talking freely and openly with respect can we gain respect in return.

Article 19 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights states: "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression. This right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."

James Priestley, Denbrook Avenue, Bradford 4.

SIR - I write to respond to the criticism made of my review of U2's Greatest Hits 1990-2000 (T&A, November 23) in your Letters column (T&A, November 27),

I have clearly upset Ms Tedder by criticising the band's experimental phase in the 1990s.

I have no problem with musical experimentation, when it is done well. My view is that with U2 it wasn't, merely mirrors the band's own criticism of the phase, and their return to their traditional sound is proof enough of their dissatisfaction.

Equally, as someone who was buying their records before Ms Tedder was born, I feel I'm more than entitled to an opinion.

Many international sales and number ones were achieved during the 1990s, but if Ms Tedder sees this as synonymous with great songs then I must sorely disagree.

Whigfield, Bob the Builder and among many others, Las Ketchup prove this only too well.

Lindsay Farrington, Pentland Avenue, Clayton.

SIR - If Councillor Richardson thinks Bradford is as safe as Windermere, he either stays in bed all day and night or goes out when everybody else is sound asleep.

I agree with S Owens (T&A, December 4). Somebody ought to show him the new report by the Chief Constable Colin Cramphorn.

I have been to Windermere many times as maybe the councillor has. But maybe he hasn't been to Bradford.

Michael McGann, Broomcroft, Clayton.

SIR - Re your report concerning tethered horses (December 2). I must dispute the statement of Supt Walker of the RSPCA. I was the person who found the young foal strangled to death, and the sight of it will haunt me the rest of my days. But what was more upsetting was the attitude of RSPCA and Dog Warden Services.

I did ring Dudley Hill Police and this was the only place who helped as by this time I was distraught.

They contacted the Council's Animal Health Inspector but by the time he got here the poor creature had been cut loose.

I am not the only one who still wonders just who Inspector Walker wants us to ring in these circumstances. No-one seems to care until something drastic happens to an animal.

Catherine Alderson, St Margaret's Avenue, Holme Wood.

SIR - Your report on Yorkshire Forward's decision to back out of the proposed regeneration scheme involving Petergate, Broadway, Forster Square, etc made disturbing but not surprising reading in view of the experience of previous laudable attempts to get Bradford up and running after many years in the doldrums.

That the Heritage Textile Company Ltd has had to call in the receiver also comes as no surprise, given the generally poor level of investment in the textile industry over these past 30 years or so and the failure of successive governments to stop the huge flood of foreign textile imports.

Successive councils cannot be absolved from blame by their unwillingness to subsidise local firms and manufacturers by way of cheaper rates and other facilities.

A few years ago, there was a campaign called "Bradford's Bouncing Back". Following the many failures of once-prestigious Bradford firms in both the textile and light engineering trades and industries, allied to what must be the most depressing, dilapidated shopping centre in the whole of the Metropolitan Districts throughout the land, I can only conclude that poor old Bradford is bouncing - but backwards.

Rest in peace, Bradford.

Donald Firth, Harrogate Street, Undercliffe.

SIR - Ralph Berry continues his mean-spirited attack on "David Ward's plans to close schools", claiming that there is some unprincipled or unplanned process intent on shutting necessary facilities down (Letters, December 2).

Councillors of all parties will work together for the good of the city and its environs. They talk plans through, offering suggestions and criticisms when these can be acted upon. What good is it to sit back until decisions are made then carp about them in the hope of scoring cheap political points, or worse still, misrepresenting the facts?

Mr Berry appears not to like the fact that Liberal Democrats are prepared to work with others who share our views on certain matters (for the good of the city) rather than stand on the sidelines chanting "Oh no it isn't!" You cannot take this as evidence of a coalition, son!

It strikes me that with panto season coming up, young Berry might be better employed on the Alhambra stage than in City Hall!

John Hall, Pennithorne Avenue, Baildon.

SIR - There is a fundamental error in Councillor Ralph Berry's letter of December 2 in which he attempts again to attack David Ward's handling of the Education portfolio.

The original proposals brought to Executive in July were not David Ward's proposals; they were the officers'. Coun Ward made this clear at that meeting - and he stated right from the start that he was critical of some suggestions and would seek to alter them.

The proposals were put out to consultation as a first "cock-shy". Ralph Berry is aware of all this. He and I were at that same Executive meeting. It is therefore disingenuous for Coun Berry to constantly refer to "Councillor Ward's plans".

With schools such as Hoyle Court Primary, David Ward has won a reputation for being honourable in his handling of this issue.

It is a pity that not all correspondents in your letters column could act in a similarly honourable fashion.

Councillor John Cole, Oakroyd Terrace, Baildon.

SIR - In answer to Michael Breen (Letters, November 30), councillors should do the job voluntarily and then we would get a better service. All they should receive is bus fares, phone bills, and money for stamps etc.

So come on, all you people, stand up and be counted. Do the same as Michael and stand as a councillor.

J R Smith (Bradford North Alliance), Flawith Drive, Fagley.