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By Spalding Today Letters


He shows a complete lack of understanding

I must take issue with Steve Forster (‘We should take trains out of Spalding’)

The idea of moving the railway around Spalding to avoid a few traffic hold ups is the limit, and shows a complete lack of understanding of the matter. A short history will confirm that once Spalding was a major junction, with lines from March, Sutton Bridge for Norfolk, Peterborough, Lincoln and Boston. It had more trains an hour than is now seen in a day or two. Following Beeching and other factors many of these lines closed, leaving the links as they are today. There is some discussion about re-opening the March line but who knows?

The pure cost of “moving” the current line to go round Spalding would be immense, and not serve much purpose. The current plans for a Western bypass show that that may well disrupt many local folks’ lives and absorb many hectares of good farming land. Railway costs are always eye watering for various reasons, not all easily understood. And for what?

I am aware that there are a number of level crossings through parts of the town, which sometimes cause delays. These could be eliminated at a minute fraction of the cost of re-routing by the simple and relatively cheap cost by building bridges over the line. This may need the demolition of a few properties to make space, but that could have been taken care of in the recent past when laying out the many estates of housing. What would stop that happening is one of the various parties involved playing monopoly over which council/rail itself/or the Department of Transport.

The use of the Tallington crossing is typical. Spalding is a lightly used line, of just two tracks. Tallington is on a major main line with in excess of four heavily used high speed tracks, not quite the same animal. Bearing in mind that that used to be the main A16 route, not just a local byway maybe helped get the new A16 road built. That was planned as a dual carriageway by the local authorities, but Treasury said no, and the results are there for all to see, and suffer from daily.

The use by freight trains has raised suggestions of a reduced speed limit. Using the Spalding line gives flexibilty to the mainline, but a freight train travelling slower just takes much longer to pass, more noise for the folk living nearby, and more delays at the level crossings.

Spalding would benefit a lot from a better passenger service, both to Peterborough and Lincoln and beyond. So, a couple of low cost bridges and a bit of propaganda is needed.

• I also could not hep see the letter from Andrew MacDonald about the lady who went off to support the Syrian war, knowingly and willingly. Now when the war is more or less lost, wants to come home, at the Government’s expense, no doubt.

This is not a subject for a local newspaper, and has had too much time on mainstream TV. She has rejected her right to UK citizenship. OK there are international rules which may make that difficult, but I hate to see the state paying for repatriation, even if followed by a prosecution, no doubt funded by heavy legal aid costs.

Please don’t deride our MP John Hayes for sticking with the Home Secretary to revoke her citizenship. Most Brits will not want her back, in or out of prison. There are many more refugees in that camp who are more worthy of help by this country and the world in general.

David Blaxter

Whaplode St Catherine

John Elson's Free Press cartoon. (7537635)
John Elson's Free Press cartoon. (7537635)


Wasn’t our MP using hate speech here?

With regard to the piece about Shamima Begum by our MP in last week’s Free Press, I was shocked at his intemperate language, claiming ‘we must redouble our efforts to eliminate the murderous ideology of Islamism’.

Isn’t this hate speech, made a criminal offence by his own Government? And shouldn’t he be referring to Islamic State, rather than appearing to condemn the entire Muslim population in the UK, the vast majority of whom are peaceful, law abiding citizens?

Consider this. Readers may recall that a few years ago a group of Rochdale taxi drivers went to extraordinary lengths to groom a load of underage girls for sex. Eventually it came to light, the girls were rescued and, one hopes, given counselling to get over their mistreatment and trauma.

The men are now languishing in jail. This was just one of a number of similar cases at the time.

Or this. The government has a Slavery Tsar, who tells us that slavery is alive and well in the UK. This includes disadvantaged women who are trafficked from abroad on the pretext of jobs – to have their passports confiscated and be sold into prostitution as sex slaves. If/when they are found they are rescued, rehabilitated – and their pimps sent to jail.

Or this. In 2015 three London schoolgirls are groomed by persons unknown to become Jihadi ‘brides’ far, far away. The police and the school are aware, but take no action. Two of the three girls are 15, the other 16, which the state has a duty to protect. The idea of being a Jihadi bride must have seemed enormously glamorous at that impressionable age. And what was it? Another glorified form of sex slavery, to be used, abused, widowed, discarded – and further indoctrinated with ‘murderous ideology’.

Of these three the 16-year-old is now dead, the third’s location is unknown and the other is Shamima Begum, four years, three pregnancies, two dead babies and one live one (so far) later.

Has she had a chance to grow up? To question her indoctrination? Or has she been completely traumatised by her experiences?

She is not an evil monster, she is a victim. Why is she being so thoroughly let down by the state?

May I suggest that if she had been a white girl lured into sex slavery in this country she would have been rescued.

The fact that she is a brown girl of Bangladeshi heritage, spouting unacceptable dogma, apparently makes her somehow ‘other’ and therefore disposable.

She is a UK citizen, we have a responsibility for her welfare, and she and her baby should be brought home. Perhaps our MP’s ire would be better spent on asking who groomed them, who organised (and paid for) the flights out of the UK and beyond – and why there is such a deafening silence about prosecuting them?

Annette Faulkner


EDITOR: Islamism should not be confused with Islam. The former is a ruthless political ideology, the latter a religion.

READERS' PHOTOS: Cowbit reader Rachel Baker sent us this lovely snap of her daughter Beth Baker's dog Pippa smelling her first spring daffodil during a lovely sunny walk in Pinchbeck last week. (7494856)
READERS' PHOTOS: Cowbit reader Rachel Baker sent us this lovely snap of her daughter Beth Baker's dog Pippa smelling her first spring daffodil during a lovely sunny walk in Pinchbeck last week. (7494856)


Why being a great listener can make all the difference in Lincolnshire

As a proud Scout Ambassador I’m always looking for ways to help young people in Lincolnshire develop the skills they need to succeed. One of the most essential of these is active listening.

Today, according to new YouGov research, 86 per cent of UK adults who had a view said we don’t listen to each other enough in UK society. That needs to change.

In my profession, on the set of a Hollywood movie, if actors don’t listen to each other, the scene doesn’t work. The same applies in real life – it’s about taking the time to understand different points of view and showing respect. Good listening is vital at both home and at work. Some 94 per cent of those with a view believe active listening is important in creating a productive work environment.

The good news is that the Scouts in Lincolnshire are leading the way in this area. Over 90 per cent of UK adults say that the Scouts are helping young people to develop this important skill by working together with different kinds of people in small teams.

When young people learn listening skills, it encourages them to develop empathy and understand more about the needs of others. So whether you’re an adult looking for a great volunteering opportunity this year, or a young person looking to develop your skills, then visit www.scouts.org.uk to find out how to get involved. Thanks to all our great Scout volunteers and thanks for listening,

Warwick Davis

Actor, Director and Scout Ambassador


We should also take action on a local level

Climate change is the most urgent problem faced by humanity. It threatens our way of life, the security and well-being of our children, and the ecosystems on which all life on earth depends.

It is a problem that transcends national boundaries, with solutions that require international cooperation with our European partners, global institutions and countries around the world.

Action on a local level is also essential, to decarbonise our transport and energy systems, and to engage local communities in this effort.

Please join me in calling on South Holland District Council to follow the lead of 27 other councils and declare a climate emergency, to commit to urgent action to reduce carbon emissions.

Simon Whitmore



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