Readers' letters from this week's Journal
Feeding seagulls is anti-social
Well done to Lowestoft Vision regarding their use of a hawk/falcon for attempting to deal with the serious herring gull situation in Lowestoft that was getting worse every year as the numbers increase. They should be applauded, not got at.
Regarding the question raised about introducing fines for feeding seagulls, I feel that this would be a crucial and important first step in acknowledging the scope of the problem in Lowestoft.
I live in the town centre and the noise and screeching from the gulls is causing unbelievable distress to us and has done for the last eight years. I agree with the writer in the Journal regarding the problem of people feeding the gulls.
I have witnessed certain habitual feeders who regularly come to the town centre with heavy shopping bags filled with bird food etc and pour it on the ground in various locations. These people should be fined as it amounts to anti-social behaviour.
What is a nice little hobby for these people is contributing to a serious gull problem and misery to others. As in many parts of Britain this has become a serious situation that needs urgent attention.
Milton Road East,
Voters, lest we forget the past
While Mr Armes made some good points in his letter (Journal, May 26), it surely is the ultimate political parody for Jeremy Corbyn to set himself up as the home owners’ defender. Lest voters forget, the last Labour government set in train property revaluation across England, the end result would have been huge increases in Council Tax - it fell to the Conservative led coalition to consign that to the waste bin.
Tellingly, unlike other parties, there’s no mention of Council Tax in Labour’s manifesto, but spending promises fall well short of their ‘soak the rich’ income. Indeed, when Corbyn talks about taxing corporations, it is not they, but ultimately either we as customers or workers jobs that pay for punitive tax take and, inevitably, the threshold drops ever lower.
Before you know it, we are all ‘rich’ and ripe for plunder. Readers need only look at the economies of Zimbabwe, Venezuela – oft lauded by Corbyn - and Greece as examples of Socialism in action. Not exactly a prospect to relish should Labour win on June 8.
Info screen is much welcomed
As public transport users, we in the East Suffolk Travellers’ Association should like to thank Suffolk County Council for erecting a real-time information screen at Denmark Road bus stop, opposite the railway station.
This is a welcome facility, not only for local people but also for visitors arriving by train and wanting to continue southwards to Kessingland, Pakefield, Carlton Colville and other destinations.
Can we now expect action on the bus shelter, originally promised by the council in March 2015?
Clapham Road South,
The stigma of means-testing
There must many pre-war oldies, who like myself will recall and also deplore the undignified stigma attached to means testing, so prevalent in those far off years and now brought to prominence by Theresa May’s statement regarding the country’s annual fuel allowance.
Many elderly folk will no doubt also recall those good/bad times when both wealth and poverty was the criteria with which we were judged, a shameful period when a multitude of poverty stricken individuals became subjected to a lifetime in workhouses destined to be unceremoniously buried in uncared-for paupers graves.
Children from poor families compelled to wearing footwear studded with hobbed nails to avoid the cost of repair and many a lad would arrive at school dressed in ragged clothing and be greeted by mocking shouts.
Friendly societies became lifesavers for those incapacitated by ill health with many families forced to join clothing clubs etc, having to part with a few pennies a week which they could ill afford.
Thankfully it was not all moan and groan, so it was with a certain amount of relief when compassion became the order of the day with the founding of the welfare state and Aneurin Beavan’s Labour Party’s National Health Service (now sadly under threat and decline) when at last all were treated as society’s equals so ending generations of inequality and ignorance.
I feel sure most people would agree that Theresa May’s act of bringing back means testing is not only a retrograde step but possibly more appropriate to those of her hunting friends that gain so much sadistic pleasure in watching a hunted wild animal being torn to pieces by a pack of well fed hounds.
In conclusion, and also in keeping with the essence of this letter, I am sure many readers will reminisce and join with me in remembering the late Maurice Chevalier singing “Ah yes, I remember it well”.
Every voter’s voice should be heard
This letter was originally conceived to reflect on the current state of our democracy but now events have well and truly derailed the general election with the horrific terrorist outrage which took place the day after the Tory election was beginning to go toxic with major u turns and Theresa May in extremes of public denial with her whole policy on social care in disarray.
Now we have an electoral campaign set within a context now deemed so critical that emergency measures would for the first time deployed with the army brought in protect key sites and support a police force which according to their own representatives is under resourced and unable to deal with the increased surveillance and community support required to deal with such events. There is now the ever present danger that fear will drive for even more draconian measures: an agenda which will only exarcebate the multi-ethnic identity that this country has become as solidarity and confidence building is the key and not false siren calls of internment camps.
That an individual who has just returned from Libya armed with a sophisticated device is testimony to the disaster of this British and French military intervention which turned an autocratic regime and replaced it with a country so politically porous with no-go zones for extremist sects who have nothing to give the world but somehow committed to the nether world only testifies to a world gone awry
But to return to the political and electoral fray with the unabashed attempt by the Tories to persuade working class Labour voters who not only voted Labour or Ukip and actually having the bare-faced affrontery to call themselves the workers party...
Well Cameron did not expect to beat Ed the Red and then went on in their first budget with Osborne pickpocketing the living wage brand and now with some mischievous pundits even suggesting that Theresa May should find The Edstone herself and sculpt it with a different signature.
I would not go as far as that which had far more to do with the opportunist positioning for the democratic vote at all costs but does show that intervention post Brexit even state ownership might well be necessary with the prospect of a return to a mixed economy with even socialisation of utilities as an economic and political requirement for a successful economy...yes the return of industrial planning in the light of our declining home base of manufacturing industry writ large in Lowestoft and our dependence on inward investment which has often been predicated on access to the 500 million population in the single market...just see the finance houses heading for transfer and location behind the European wall at the end of the Euro tunnel.
In my opinion Corbyn and opposition forces should have teamed up and defended the fixed term parliament by not allowing the PM to spring an election requiring 2/3 majority or at least provoked as necessary a vote of no confidence or at least delayed and respected the spirit of that legislation...no wonder the Conservative manifesto includes removing that legislation.
As a socialist I am a supporter of electoral change: every vote should be the sounding board for every voice and should count in order to bring about a healthy democracy rather than an electoral process which has now been constrained and damaged by appealing to boundary marginals and allowing media tycoons such as Murdoch and the rest to manage voter intentions.
Address needs of our pensioners
All candidates aspiring to represent Waveney as its MP have been circulated copies of the ‘A Pensioners’ Manifesto of the National Pensioners Convention (NPC) with a recent Old Grey Matter article of mine.
There are six demands to consider that are not unreasonable for the world’s sixth largest economy to adopt! They are:
1 A state ‘living’ pension set above the official poverty level at c£200 a week, linked to the triple lock of the higher of earnings, prices or 2.5%.
2 Greater funding for the NHS, an end to privatisation in the health service and a national social care system funded from general taxation free at the point of delivery and without means-testing.
3 Maintenance of universal pensioner benefits such as free bus travel, £500 winter fuel allowance, free prescriptions and a free TV licence for the over 75s.
4 More homes that are both affordable and suitable for everyone, whilst recognising the specific barriers to downsizing that older people face.
5 New legal protection for older people from all forms of elder abuse to ensure dignity and raise standards of care.
6 A Brexit deal that safeguards the payment of pensions, the EU health insurance card and the rights of those UK pensioners living abroad.
Some have argued the older generation has escaped austerity at the expense of the young, despite the fact that older people are very concerned about their descendants’ future, and in many cases, are actively supporting them in some way.
Plans to take away benefits such as bus passes or the triple lock are a bit of a red herring, and will not help young people one bit, furthermore they will have a negative effect on all bus users and the economy as a whole.
In reality, NPC say that Britain at the moment is not a great place in which to grow old. Our state pension is among one of the least adequate in the western world, our social care system is in crisis with 1.8 million seniors no longer getting the help they need and in the last five years over 141,000 pensioners have died from cold-related illnesses. Going some way to meet those demands would surely make our country better for all concerned and we look forward to candidates addressing these demands at any meeting, interview or hustings they attend.
Lowestoft Branch, Suffolk,and Anglia Region,
Pensioners Associations (NPC).