Baltic Does What It's Meant to Do

Article excerpt

I appeal to your readers to take no notice of Brian McCusker's rant about the Baltic's recent exhibitions.

Does he really think that the Baltic, an art gallery of regional strategic importance, should be displaying primary school students' work? Should the political and economic history of Gateshead mean that we get to see poorer selections of art than, say, Liverpool or the major cities of Europe?

My son and I visited the Baltic recently and we had an enthralling afternoon tackling some very curious pieces, and trying to fathom out possible meanings. We found some of it absolutely hilarious, which sparked off animated discussion with other visitors about what they thought and the whole visit was highly thought-provoking. Brian McCusker says it's `taking the mick' ( but aren't wit and irony key aspects of art? It's the thoughts you take home from an art exhibition which make you see your surroundings in a different light ( that's the real value of art. I applaud the Baltic and all those who support it, for its defiance and its vision.

DENISE ROBSON, Gateshead

Hypocrisy over buses

THE fuss that you report over the bus shelter in Benwell is sadly typical of how Labour operates these days.

With highly selective amnesia, Coun Higgins conveniently forgets it was the former Labour council in Newcastle who negotiated the bus shelter contract with Adshel.

Yet they now try to stick the blame on the Lib Dem council when Adshel stick to the terms that Labour agreed and refuse to keep on restoring a shelter that is consistently vandalised. This is typical of the negative election-time campaigning that we have seen from Labour across the city. They offer not a single policy (incredibly they have no manifesto) and not one positive suggestion to help take the city forward. And, of course, they stay strangely silent on the fact that we now have fewer buses at non-peak times and higher fares for young bus-users because of their Government's fiasco over concessionary fares for older people. Taken with the Chancellor's withdrawal of the pounds 200 help on council tax for older people, we might be forgiven for thinking that Labour's concern for older people is just crocodile tears.

On bus shelters ( which are important, especially to older people ( my colleague Mike Cookson has the right idea. We are increasing the budget of the local ward committees so Coun Higgins can use some of this increase to fund a new shelter. Over to you guys.

Coun DAVID FAULKNER, Liberal Democrat, Newcastle City Council.

Insulting to poorer areas

THE complete lack of sympathy for the plight of elderly bus travellers in Benwell displayed by Lib Dem Coun Mike Cookson does not really come as a great surprise to me (`Gimme Shelter', Chronicle, April 22). However, does he really need to add insult to injury by suggesting we should purchase a replacement bus shelter out of the Ward Committee budget allocated to this area?

May I remind Coun Cookson that one of the first acts of the incoming Lib Dem administration following the last local election in Newcastle was to cut this budget by over 50%? This means we barely have enough money to support the many worthwhile groups in our area who provide such a vital service to the community, let alone a bus shelter. …