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Lincolnshire Free Press letters - February 26, 2019

Memories of Oak Apple Day

With reference to our MP’s suggestion (Hayes in the House, February 19) that Oak Apple Day should be re-instituted.

Some years ago the late Ethel Halgarth (who lived to her 103rd year at Fleet) described Oak Apple Day when she was a child when schoolboys wore short trousers while girls were in long skirts.

Respectful children took oak leaves to school to celebrate monarchy while the less respectful took nettles to sting the boys’ bare legs. Nowadays it might be hard to find oak leaves but nettles are still abundant, alas.

Joan Woolard

Fleet Hargate

READERS' PICTURES: Malcolm Pepper's beautiful photo of a singing robin in Spalding. (7339494)
READERS' PICTURES: Malcolm Pepper's beautiful photo of a singing robin in Spalding. (7339494)

Car factory closures have nothing to do with leaving EU

It comes as no surprise that the remoaners are trying to link the Nissan decision and Honda closing their plant at Swindon with Brexit, even though both companies have made clear these are global business decisions that have nothing to do with Brexit.

As usual Mr Meekings has got his facts wrong. There will be no job losses at Nissan in Sunderland and if this announcement was Brexit-related they would have announced their plans to produce the X-Trail in another EU country. Instead they will be building the X-Trail in Japan.

In particular, the X-Trail is a large sport utility vehicle, predominantly run on diesel, which has been struggling to comply with new EU emissions targets.

Given the slump in diesel car sales in Europe and their pariah status in the EU, plus the EU/Japan Free Trade Deal, there was no longer a strong enough business case for producing that model in the UK, or indeed anywhere else in the EU.

Nonetheless, Nissan is pressing ahead with its other investments in Sunderland, including the next-generation Juke and Qashqai, and its best-selling electric car, the LEAF.

These sorts of ‘business reasons’ also lie behind the planned closure of Honda’s Swindon factory. Operating at well below capacity since Labour’s Great Recession, there is no longer a strong business case for building their cars in Britain, or indeed anywhere else in the EU.

Honda is also closing their factory in Turkey that has a Customs Union with the EU, which highlights the fact that these closures have nothing to do with Brexit.

The slump in diesel and the EU/Japan Free Trade deal that scrapped the import tariff on cars built in Japan means that the business dynamics have changed for all EU countries, including the UK. It is worth noting, however, that Honda will be retaining their European HQ here in the UK, which explodes yet another remoan myth.

Once again the facts and evidence are contrary to the hysterical scare stories that Mr Meekings tries to peddle in his efforts to thwart Brexit.

We know they will use every trick in the book to stop us taking back control. They will not succeed in trying to pull the wool over the electorate’s eyes through their constant negative narrative of false news and misinformation.

Craig Jackson

Vote Leave constituency co-ordinator

South Holland & The Deepings

John Elson's Free Press cartoon (7398516)
John Elson's Free Press cartoon (7398516)

Rescuing our democracy

I strongly agree with Coun Paul Foyster that our democracy is being stolen by "a small but all powerful overclass" who don't understand the needs and best interests of ordinary citizens or our country as a whole.

However, I disagree with him that this trend has anything whatsoever to do with membership of the EU. Specifically, when he says "Remain ensures the inexorable demise of true democracy", he's pointing the finger of blame in completely the wrong direction. The blame actually lies with today's flawed political system in Westminster.

Coun Foyster goes on to suggest that holding another election might somehow make things better. Frankly, it can't and won't.

Moreover, leaving the EU will only make things even worse, as, in addition to crippling our economy, it will leave our politicians and civil servants in Westminster overwhelmingly obsessed for a decade or more with renegotiating the 127 trade-related agreements and over 750 other beneficial international agreements we currently enjoy by virtue of EU membership, together with concurrently attempting to negotiate brand new trade agreements with the EU, the US, China an India (on our own and with no help from the EU).

Today, the Conservative Party can't even agree within itself what Brexit should look like, and Labour is similarly divided (with Corbyn wanting to Leave and members wanting to Remain).

So this makes no conceivable sense. Moreover, there will be no 'headspace' in Westminster to think about how to resolve the seriously pressing social issues facing society today, such as: underfunding of housing, healthcare, social care, policing, local authority and other public services; the north-south divide and left-behind communities; and rising inequality, poverty and homelessness.

We urgently need to extend Article 50 – to ensure we don't exit the EU with a catastrophic 'no-deal' Brexit on March 29 – and, instead, start focusing our attention on how to improve our failed political system in Westminster.

In this context, Sir Henry Royce (born in Alwalton near Peterborough) famously advised, "Strive for perfection in everything you do. Take the best that exists and make it better. When it does not exist, design it."

So, let's start working together to re-design politics in Westminster. This is what will make our country great again – not Brexit.

Alan Meekings


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