WEEKEND WEB: Free Press letters

This week's Free Press cartoon by John Elson.
This week's Free Press cartoon by John Elson.
0
Have your say

Your views on war, welfare, homes, speeding and theatre

Let’s not forget original message of ‘Never again’

Byron Hahn's photo of a woodpecker in his garden.

Byron Hahn's photo of a woodpecker in his garden.

The Spalding Quakers are grateful to you for covering the exhibition currently in Spalding Parish Church last week (Spalding Guardian, October 26). In many ways your piece was accurate and detailed but can we correct one aspect of it?

Most Quakers (‘Friends’) in time of war firmly believe they must not fight, but they have other options.

A hundred years ago a third of Quakers who refused certainly refused absolutely, as your article recounted, whatever the pain and cost to themselves.

However, another third opted instead to grow food, dig coal or work in other harmless ways for the good of the community.

And another third chose to risk life and limb to rescue the casualties of war, mainly as members of the Friends Ambulance Unit.

It takes rare courage, and we believe it shows rare humanity, to go completely unarmed where bullets and bombs are flying, to seek and save. The FAU did just that, as the exhibition shows – and there is much more information about it available on line.

As November 11 approaches and we are reminded once again of the horrors of war, Quakers feel as much as anyone.

We may not wear replica red poppies as much as other people because all too often nowadays they seem to carry the message of pride and power rather than pity and pain. Or you may see us wearing white poppies in memory of all the civilian casualties of war, the masses who are all too easily forgotten. And it goes on and on, even today.

Let us not forget the original message after world war one: “Never again”.

Roger Seal

Spalding Quaker Meeting

There has to be a fairer way

I was listening to an interesting debate on the radio last week where proposals were being discussed regarding taxing the older people to help the younger generation.

I am sure most of us can relate to helping our children out, even those in work, and not being able to make ends meet at times and also living with their parents for longer because of house prices and unaffordable rents. But there has to be a fairer way.

I am totally fed up with the attacks on the older generation, especially with the default retirement age being increased to 66 in 2018, 67 in 2026 and 68 in 2037 and forever under review no doubt going forward. Surely this cannot help the younger generation get onto the job ladder in the first place?

Rather than hiking the pension age, the government must do more for the older workers who want to keep working and paying taxes. Also in line with the younger workers, why not be fairer with the young and simply pay them more ?

I note the TUC has warned in its evidence to the Low Pay Commission that the National Minimum Wage rates risk leaving young workers behind, as the rate for 21- to 24-year-olds is growing more slowly than the amount paid to older workers. Analysis reveals that the gap between the pay of people in this age group and those over 25 on the National Living Wage has widened by more than £400 a year.

I agree with the TUC, who say it’s time for the National Living Wage to be extended to all workers aged 21 and above, the rates for 16 to 20 year olds to be increased and more resourses for the enforcement to ensure the new higher rate is being paid to all who qualify.

In a recent report from the Low Pay Commission, as many as 580,000 workers have been affected by underpayment of the NMW during certain times of the year. So there is a clear case here for better practice.

Perhaps its time for the government to name and shame organisations which fail to pay the National Minimum Wage on a more regular basis ?

If the NMW is not applied more fairly and continues to lag behind any reasonable standards the government’s target of £9 an hour by 2020 will be complete fantasy.

Rodney Sadd

Spalding

Lack of parking facilities spoils this plan

In principle I think the plan for 26 new homes in Broad Street, Spalding (Free Press, October 24) is a very good plan, except for the lack of parking facilities.

The block of flats opposite has secure parking, and I think they too may be considered as being within the town centre or is this a type of discrimination?

The people living in these flats will not be able to work out of town – or work shifts – out of hours transport is difficult.

A visit to A&E would be out of the question, as would a job where there is an element of ‘on call’ work. I wonder if the Highways officers have four-wheeled transport or do they all go to work on a bike?

Jennifer Hemingway

via email

Bad driving in Quadring even worse than in Gosberton

Your columnist Guardian Angel mentioned being overtaken at speed in Gosberton (Spalding Guardian, October 19).

I live on Main Road, Quadring (the A152) and the problem of reckless driving and speeding is much more prevalent here I believe.

This morning as I walked back from the local shop I saw four vehicles coming toward me.

To my amazement vehicle four, a Vauxhall Insignia, pulled out to overtake the three other vehicles. Not only was he speeding in a widely disregarded 30mph limit, he had crossed the hatched road markings which mean ‘no overtaking’ and was completely oblivious to my and my neighbour’s driveways which are pretty blind exit-wise.

Had one of us been turning left, a collision would have been inevitable. Apart from this he was also driving into bright sunlight and could not have seen another vehicle or cyclist coming toward him very easily.

Also, he was only just back on to the left side of the road just before the crossroads and a bend. Again, had anyone turned left out of Town Drove there would have been a head-on collision.

This happens regularly, indeed my garden man told me on Tuesday that his transit had been overtaken at high speed as he went towards Donington.

He then caught the car up as there was traffic, the car then turned off into Church Lane and drove off at high speed. Sooner or later somebody will be killed or badly injured by these imbeciles who never seem to get caught by the police until it’s too late.

We used to see the speed trap van quite regularly but nobody I have spoken to has seen it for months, if at all this year.

I don’t know what the answer is and I realise that police resources are stretched but surely they could deploy a deterrent sometimes at least?

Even as I wrote this ,a powerful motorbike has roared past way over the speed limit. Judging by the poor driving standards I have encountered since I moved here I am not at all surprised that Lincolnshire has a high accident rate.

Paul Gatty

via email

Hard to believe it was amateur production

As occasional visitors to Spalding, we were delighted to be taken by our hosts to the South Holland Centre to see St Nicolas Players perform ‘The Vicar of Dibley’.

This very small cast amazed us with their faithful portrayal of these well known characters. All of the actors had taken on the mannerisms and voices with great professionalism.

Alice and Geraldine were brilliant during their scenes in the vicarage and Geraldine’s comic asides and facial expressions in response to Alice’s barmy comments had the audience roaring with laughter.

We particularly enjoyed the unexpected addition of Mrs Croppley whose ever-changing hat collection and off the wall remarks had us all chuckling.

An amazing set design, slick costume changes and most unbelievably of all – it was an amateur production.

It was a joy to see the community fully involved, the children from Act II choir performing as we arrived and the talented ladies from A Handful of Harmonies keeping us entertained during the interval.

Susan McCranor

via email

It was as if TV cast had come to Spalding

Having been to see ‘The Vicar Of Dibley’ I would like to say how brilliant the whole show was. It was as if the original TV programme was brought to the South Holland Centre – just brilliant... well done to everyone. And thanks to the Spalding Guardian for the tickets we won in the competition.

Jane Arnold