A selection of readers’ letters from the Bury Free Press of Friday, September 11.
COUNCILS SHOULD OFFER SHELTER
Yvette Cooper, the Shadow Home Secretary has called for local councils to offer to provide
refuge for families from Syria and other war-torn countries on the same basis as Germany and other European countries have done. I hope West Suffolk will be generous in its response to the humanitarian crisis that we face.
In 1972,the Conservative-led local authority of which I was a very junior opposition member responded magnificently to the expulsion of Asian families fromUganda. Let’s do the same.
-- David Dawson, Bury St Edmunds
I’M ASHAMED OVER RESPONSE
The picture of Aylan, the dead three-year-old Syrian refugee laying in the surf in Turkey covered in the press made me cry. But even more it made me ashamed, ashamed I don’t know enough about the crisis, and ashamed to be British with our poor response to this humanitarian crisis.
So very sad for someone with so much left in life to lose it through such desperation. I don’t know or understand enough about the politics of what has led people to these desperate measures to escape crisis. Or why most of the world are turning their back.
But an image like this brings home that it’s not about politics,
or border control,
or war. It’s about our inability as a human race to care for one another.
Those stupid human constructs above are taking the lives of the people we’re lucky enough to share this planet with. And we’re dehumanising it by dressing it up in statistics and naming them ‘illegals’.
I feel ashamed. Ashamed that by not understanding and helping to act that this little boy, and thousands of others are dying.
-- Steven Bennett-Day, Rattlesden
MIGRATION POLICY IS IN TATTERS
So what do we learn from Jo Churchill’s analysis of the Syrian refugee crisis? (Bury Free Press, September 4)
Firstly, that the Tories’ migration policy is in total tatters. The fact that Jo Churchill started her column by expressing her disappointment at the latest net migration figures, which revealed a rise of 94,000 last year to an all time high of 330,000, immediately exposes the corner the Tories’ have painted themselves into by conflating migration with genuine asylum seekers. It is no good Jo Churchill suggesting that ‘migration should not be confused with the complexity and misery of the situation as we look across the channel’. If you didn’t want to confuse the issue why not deal solely with the biggest humanitarian crisis involving the mass movement of people across Europe since the Second World War.
I’m afraid once again we are back into ‘dog whistle’ politics, the message being that we just cannot keep letting these foreigners into our country, surely the only reason for her including the fact that the UK is now home to 8 million people who are foreign born.
The Tories went into the 2010 General Election promising to cut net migration to tens of thousands something that was never going to be achievable on the basis that several immigration channels are beyond control, most notably the freedom of movement across the European Union.
In respect of the Syrian refugee crisis, Jo Churchill dutifully trots out the Conservative central office line that they have committed £900 million in aid, totally in line with David Cameron’s actions in January 2014 when he refused to commit to a United Nations appeal to take part in a large scale programme to resettle 30,000 people fleeing from Syria. It was weeks before he responded and when he did he stepped up British aid. One week on from Jo Churchill’s column we have seen David Cameron shamed into action by announcing that Britain would face up to its ‘moral responsibility’ by taking in more refugees fleeing the Syrian civil war, however the numbers would still appear to be comparatively small.
In 2014 the UK granted asylum to just 14,000 people with 15 other EU countries admitting more asylum seeker per head of population than the UK.
Being an effective backbench MP sometimes requires independent thinking, and however emollient Jo Churchill’s words are, they are merely parroting a Tory policy on immigration that has palpably failed and a response to the asylum seekers crisis that has been weak, mean spirited and out of touch with most of the rest of Europe and public opinion.
Actions always speak louder than words.
-- Richard Soer, Great Barton
DAY CENTRE BEING FORCED TO CLOSE
After 25 years, the Blackbourne Day Care Centre has had to announce that it can no longer provide day care due a lack of support and will close at the end of September.
The few remaining clients who are frail and elderly will miss their weekly day out.
The centre opened in 1991, at that time under the umbrella of Age Concern 9now Age UK), meeting at Norton once a week and providing personal care, a hot lunch and activities appropriate to the clients’ needs.
In 1996, a private committee took over and the centre moved to New Green at Thurston where the facilities were better and since then have been meeting once a week for 50 weeks a year; providing transport to and from the centre in a specially adapted minibus and the care and supervision of two trained members of staff and a dedicated team of volunteers giving up to 20 frail and disabled people a day out and, importantly, their carers respite.
Recently, clients have reduced drastically in number due mainly to the withdrawal of financial support from Social Services.
It is now no longer financially possible to continue this service. What will these clients do? They are socially isolated and their carers have no respite. The only remaining service in the villages is at Hopton, where they are having similar problems, and with Age UK at Oasis Day Care Centre, in Bury St Edmunds, where costs are much greater and transport a problem.
-- Joan Mangnall, on behalf of Blackbourne Centre Committee
CHARGING IS A STEP TOO FAR
How come the list of reasons for us having to pay for our brown bins to be collected starts with European Guidance?
This is purely and simply down to cutbacks by this government.
I already compost what I can, but still need my brown bin. But I, along with many others, I believe, will be telling the council to take the brown bin away.
We have taken on board all the recycling that has been asked of us. We have even stopped lighting bonfires. Now they are doing this to us.
A step too far!
-- Gill Malik, Bury St Edmunds
REDUCE COLLECTIONS TO SAVE CASH
Do these councillors have any common sense?
They expect people to pay £35 a year to have a brown bin...on top of our Council Tax.
People will be tempted to hide their garden waste in the black bin,or fly-tip. This will cause more expense to clean up.
Maybe reducing the collections to once every four weeks would save money.
Are they going to take back those bins from those who won’t pay? I suppose they could be sold off to raise some cash.
-- David Baldry, Rougham
GREAT WAY TO ENGAGE PUPILS
RE All-Through Academy Trust’s announcement of a technical academy.
I wanted to write to applaud whole heartily this new initiative.
I firmly believe that a vocational approach to education is a brilliant way to engage savvy teenagers, a ‘this is what it is like in the real world’ insight is invaluable, enabling them to understand the industrial context and the actual application of the science and technology they learn in the classroom.
When run by a school that has a proven track record of excellence this is bound to be a winning combination.
-- Lucie Smith, via email
REDUCE WIDTH OF THE ROAD
Now that the photo opportunities are over and we have all said: “I told you so”, there is still a damaged lollipop tree in St Andrew’s Street and an ongoing problem with a street, looking more like a road than a pedestrianised area.
Firstly, why cannot we have the international ‘No Entry’ signs –this could stop all the unauthorised cars, van and motor bikes, going through the street.
Secondly, it’s a difficult street to pedestrianise, as all the shops on one side get deliveries from very large vehicles, as does The Apex on the other side.
Buses go in both directions, through the street.
The last expensive refurbishment, causes buses parking at Palmers to mount the pavement to get into the bay.
Both town and borough councillors have asked repeatedly for this problem to be solved, before the next photo opportunity is us laying flowers for someone killed or badly injured.
Why cannot we have the road narrowed to one vehicle width at the two pedestrian crossing areas, one that comes out next to the rear of the Post Office and one next to the rear of Boots?
A narrowed single lane, with lit bollards it would make it far safer for pedestrians, the narrow one-vehicle width would slow all traffic, giving pedestrians young and old a fighting chance to cross safely, from the arc to the old town squares.
The roadway leading to the pedestrian areas could have ‘pedexing’ on the road, with appropriate figures to make it clear.
The holiday shopping season is coming, as are darker evenings and poor visibility. Can we have action now before another photo opportunity with a round of ‘we told you so’s’.
-- Tom Murray, Bury St Edmunds
DELIVERIES GETTING LATER AND LATER
May I through your newspaper, ask the Post Office why in March last year, the East Anglian area spokesman, Mr R Croucher, when asked about the postal service record, commented that ‘they had recently invested nearly a quarter of a million pounds in updating their equipment in order to supply a better service to their customers’.
That’s fine, but why then in the last two months, has our post been delivered after 2pm several times and yesterday in this road it was delivered at 4.21 pm. Bearing in mind Christmas will soon be upon us and the current price of postage, what on earth is happening and why?
-- Roger Holton, Bury St Edmunds
FIRMS SHOULD BOYCOTT EVENT
One of the world’s biggest arms fairs, the Defence and Security Equipment International exhibition (DSEI), will take place in London between 15-18 September. This will involve more than 1,000 companies and 30,000 attendees and is heavily subsidised by the British government.
At every DSEI arms fair since 2005, illegal weapons have been promoted for sale . These include weapons designed specifically for torture, as well as cluster munitions and anti-personnel land-mines. Thales Optronics, who have a division in Bury St Edmunds, will be among the exhibitors.
We believe the international trade in arms is not only unethical, but is also damaging to both people and economies. We call upon firms such as Thales to reconsider their involvement with DSEI, this year and in the future.
As many of your readers will be aware, DSEI is controversial. It has been repeatedly associated with the marketing of banned weapons and torture devices, giving rise to negative national press coverage as well as being the subject of questions in Parliament.
The fair has attracted extensive protest in the past and is likely to do so again this year. This is in part because weapons sold at the fair are associated with human rights abuses. We ask firms concerned to remember that responsibility for the manner in which these weapons are used lies not only with the states which buy and deploy them, but also with the companies who design, build and market them.
We know that only a part of Thales’ business is associated with the arms trade. Consequently, we urge their board of directors to reconsider the company’s involvement with products which support conflict and with regimes which abuse human rights.
At this time when so many people are fleeing from conflict and seeking refuge in Europe, we might reflect reflect on the fact that two-thirds of UK arms exports currently go to Middle Eastern countries.
We would also ask your readers to consider whether a country which prides itself on its compassion and sense of justice should be hosting an international arms fair at all.
-- Bury St Edmunds Quakers, St John’s Street, Bury St Edmunds