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WEEKEND WEB: Free Press letters

READERS' PICTURES: The River Welland in Spalding by Keith Mansfield
READERS' PICTURES: The River Welland in Spalding by Keith Mansfield

Your views on politics, Brexit, Spalding’s water fountain and crime

Put it in Hall Place for its original purpose

John Elson's Lincs Free Press cartoon.
John Elson's Lincs Free Press cartoon.

Now that progress is being made on removing the drinking fountain from Ayscoughee Gardens and replacing it with a World War II Memorial it would be nice to see South Holland District Council getting ahead of the game in deciding where the fountain should be located.

Given the current concern over plastic pollution caused in no small extent by single use drinking bottles surely this is the ideal opportunity to be proactive.

The fountain came from Hall Place where it served the purpose of providing clean drinking water for many years. Might this not be the ideal time to put it back where it belongs?

A constant supply of free drinking water available to all in the centre of town would obviously need to meet whatever legislation is probably in place now for public health and hygiene purposes. A suitably landscaped area with the fountain as the centre piece would go some way towards improving the appearance of Hall Place and may just possibly restore a sense of pride amongst the populace.

It would also, however, show that our local representatives are capable of doing something useful to benefit the community.

Mark Loosemore


Attacker should have been deported

I agree with Mr Mumford (assault victim, Jan 23 Free Press), his attacker should have been deported instead of getting free bed and board at the expense of the tax payer.

Anyone who comes to the UK should firstly have a job and somewhere to live. They shouldn’t be allowed entry in order to get benefits etc that are handed out so easily.

Lorraine McDermott

via email

A chance to speak out over pavement cyclists

Paul Redgate praises a paragon called John Hayes (Free Press letters, January 23). Are there two people of that name? The description doesn’t altogether ring a bell.

He speaks of Mr Hayes’ decision to step down from his ministerial post as if he had initiated it himself. Surely, the truth is that he was asked to resign.

He describes Mr Hayes as ‘by far’ the most witty and stylish speaker from the dispatch box. Really? I’ve watched on TV several times, and that wasn’t a thought that ever occurred to me.

He mentions the episode when Mr Hayes attempted a joke by saying that, when speaking, he would not answer a question from anyone not wearing a tie. I viewed that performance: it was clumsiness exemplified. The laughter in the house was not in amusement, but in mockery at the absurdity of the performance. To show its silliness, one lady MP riposted by announcing that she would not answer questions from anyone not wearing a feather boa!

He speaks of Mr Hayes’ various achievements, and mentions skills policy. It was Mr Hayes’ scheme for apprenticeships that was widely criticised nationally because it provided scope for unscrupulous employers to get cheap labour for shelf-stacking and other low-grade jobs.

That may have been through inadequate specification or (perish the thought) was it perhaps a way of keeping unemployment numbers down, as Mrs Thatcher did via disability benefits?

Mr Redgate speaks of the prospect of nervousness amongst ministers at future questioning by Mr Hayes. Well, there’s a ready-made case he could begin with without further delay, and the more he worries ministers the better.

There have for some time been almost weekly serious protests in the local press about cycling on footpaths, resulting largely from the over-zealous reduction of police numbers.

The practice is not only dangerous, but also underlines the principle that law not enforced is effectively law non-existent, which leads to a general perception that law doesn’t really matter.

Mr Hayes has appeared to have stopped-up ears and a closed mouth on this matter. He could now open up on this serious issue and stick with it until he gets a result.

I’m not sure Mr Hayes is up to it, but you never know!

John Tippler

via email

Facts are facts

As Christina Lamb, chief foreign correspondent of The Times, said on Desert Island Discs this week, “Facts are facts. You can’t have alternative facts.”

So, in this context, let’s explore Paul Foyster’s assertions in his latest letter (Reader’s View, January 25).

First, Paul said earlier (January 4), “For many years every single time the UK has objected to new EU rules and laws, we have been outvoted and overruled.”

This assertion remains completely untrue. However, he now suggests his assertion can be ignored because he “missed out” the word “significant” before “new laws”. Well, no it can’t. His statement (even with the word “significant” included) still remains completely untrue.

Then, he suggests I ought to take a look at an article by Professor Simon Hix. However, he neglects to mention this article (which concerns decision-making only in the Council of Ministers), fundamentally undermines even his own assertion.

Moreover, he also fails to mention a far more relevant article by Professor Hix (at ukandeu.ac.uk/explainers/is-the-uk-marginalised-in-the-eu-2/), which examines EU decision-making more widely.

This article demonstrates that, across ALL policy issues, the UK has been the fourth closest of 28 nations to the policy outcomes we were seeking.

Moreover, on “highly salient issues” (i.e. issues we most cared about), we were second closest of 28 nations to the policy outcomes we were seeking. Will UKIP please now stop saying “every single time the UK has objected to new EU rules and laws, we have been outvoted and overruled.” It’s simply untrue.

Instead of continuing to argue with Paul about facts that he consistently denies, I think the time has come to start acknowledging the benefits of EU membership.

Let me quote just one recent example. Earlier this week, Theresa May made a much-trumpeted statement saying the UK would be abolishing charges for credit card use. Jolly good. But did she mention this step forward was merely putting into effect an EU-wide agreement? Absolutely not. Instead, she hogged the credit and didn’t even mention she was merely implementing an EU-wide agreement that the UK had helped to create.

The fundamental problem, as I see it, is that, for over 40 years, UK politicians and our anti-EU press have unjustifiably blamed all our domestic problems on the EU, while taking credit for every benefit EU membership has delivered.

So, as Nigel Farage has recently suggested, it seems to me the time has come to give voters a ‘final say’ on the terms of Brexit negotiated with the EU. I recognise many voters locally will still wish to leave the EU at any price. However, many won’t, notably young people whose lives will be most adversely affected. I just wish this ‘final say’ will be based on facts and evidence, not beliefs and assertions.

Alan Meekings


Does anyone remember Mr Spencer?

I am researching the life of Norman Albert Pearmain Spencer, a schoolteacher at Spalding Church Of England Primary School between 1930 and 1940.

I wondered if any of your readers has any information whatsoever on Mr Spencer. A longshot perhaps, but there might just be an ex-pupil still living in the area.

If you have any information please contact me on 01328 856456 or by email wickens356@btinternet.com

David Wickens



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