SPALDING GUARDIAN LETTERS: March 21, 2019
Memories of Spalding bulb seller?
I wonder if any of your readers could tell me about a war time pilot that was shot down and suffered terrible burns to his face and hands. He maybe had limbs missing – I am not sure.
He lived in a bungalow, I think, on the Spalding side of the River Welland on a road corner.
He used to have his garden open to the public, growing a lot of tulips and selling tulip bulbs.
I remember going with my parents, aged around 12, going to see his garden and remember seeing him, but I cannot remember his name.
I am now 72 years of age and often thought about him and just wished that I could remember who he was.
My own dad was badly injured in the Second World War, with half of his face blown off. I think that is why now, at a later age, I would like to know more of the pilot in question.
Does no-one care about our roads?
I’ve lived in Whaplode Drove all my life, over 70 years. It was once known as the sleepy village but it is no longer.
Miles of uneven and dangerous roads. If you travel to Hulls Droe in Crowland, to Postland Road or to Spalding via Moulton Chapel it is very dangerous with potholes all the way.
Then go down Chapelgate or Parson’s Lane. Don’t go by bike though – it’s bad enough by car. Whale Drove is just as bad.
I have been trying to get something done about the roads in south Lincolnshire since 2013. I still have a letter from John Hayes, who I wrote to with concerns six years ago.
Where are the Highways Department? I have had meetings in Whaplode Drove and Cowbit with them. Also, the signs are either gone, knocked down or covered by hedges and trees. Doesn’t anybody care about us?
Why I voted to remain
Sorry to be at odds with so many people here, but I spent 11 productive years in two other EU countries, and as a teacher I have helped numerous students to pursue careers and strike up friendships, especially in Germany.
It grieves me that this will be more difficult in future – we have all learned so much from living in European countries, including achieving a clearer understanding of our own country. We have also learned so much about hospitality from German families that we have met.
The EU is far from perfect, but it strives to bring people and nations together on many levels; I sometimes think that Brits think they are still fighting old wars - or are we just afraid of people who speak different languages?
The EU is in some ways undemocratic, granted, but so is the UK, where our national life and prosperity are in the hands of multi-nationals and banks and shareholders.
And as for getting our country back, we have sold off so many companies to foreign interests, like all our major utility companies, Arriva buses, and so many others; we no longer have a native British car manufacturer or ferry company, and I don’t remember being given a democratic vote on these sales.
And I don’t remember anyone voting for poorer bus and train services or longer NHS waiting times – and these ills are not caused by EU membership.
And there is so much that we can learn from our European friends (because we are not world leaders in everything that we would like to think we are).
Other countries seem to be able to teach foreign languages to a much higher level than we do, there are examples of legislation for fairer rents, better protection for tenants and workers, better cycle facilities, better training, let alone the situation where a party getting 20 per cent of votes gets 20 per cent of seats in Parliament – how undemocratic would that be?
If we have to disagree, I hope we can do it without anger; Sir John Hayes and I disagree totally on Brexit, but we maintain a measured and amicable correspondence.
I do hope we can all, after Brexit, find ways to rebuild relationships with our European friends and neighbours. They are not our enemies.
The past is another country
Britain’s flawed electoral system has since 1900 routinely handed excessively concentrated executive authority to a party, not supported by a majority of those who actually voted and never to a majority of those entitled to vote.
Britain’s government is a dictatorship elected by a minority of its people who are periodically given an opportunity to vote for another minority.
How Britain does politics is the basis of our democracy. Britain’s historic experience, learned the hard way, is that no individual faction or party has a monopoly of what is true or right and that compelling others to accept your opinions never works. To freely speak their mind is every British adult’s right without fear or threat or unwarrented abuse.
Britain’s democratic tradition is built on compromise, a willingness to seek the common ground which never totally satisfies everyone ( never the zealots ) which they can accept for the time being because they can, using any lawful means, seek to persuade others that their approach is better.The aim is to sustain the social cohesion that makes democracy possible.
Referenda pose binary questions and are inevitably divisive. Of those entitled to vote in the Brexit referendum 37 per cent (17.4million ) voted to leave the EU, 35 per cent ( 16m) voted to Remain and around 12m effectively abstained. Polling returns suggest that among those who did vote there has been a barely preceptable switch to remaining
Since June 2016 the electorate has changed.Many of the older voters who overhelmingly voted Leave have died, while younger voters who overwhelmingly favour remain has increased significantly and more of those who abstained having witnessed the chaos of Brexit and with an increasing realisation that sovereignty does not put food on the table, pay their housing costs or guarantee their job may decide to vote. This is why the Brexiteers will obstruct any proposed second vote.
Our MP Sir John Hayes through his column Hayes in the the House never uses the language of conciliation.
He has opposed attempts to make our parliamentary system more fairly reflect the people’s opinion.
His ‘Back to the Future’ proscriptions for Britains future prosperity usually have just a hint of plausability but are unrealistic fantasies . Too many genies are out of the bottle. The past is another country.