Your letters to the Herts Ad...

PUBLISHED: 16:00 18 December 2017 | UPDATED: 16:00 18 December 2017

Have your say and write to hertsad@archant.co.uk

Have your say and write to hertsad@archant.co.uk

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Email us at hertsad@archant.co.uk or write to the usual address in French Row...

Having just read your article ‘4,500 homes on our doorstep? I felt compelled to write a letter as the comments from the chairman of Redbourn Parish Council David Mitchell appalled me.

His NIMBY attitude to affordable houses being built in the north Hemel/Redbourn are just the sort of thinking that has got us into the situation we are in.

I used to live in the Redbourn parish and welcomed the proposal of more house building in the area as I wasn’t thinking of myself I was thinking of others who desperately needed hope that one day they could buy an affordable house or flat to live in this area.

Probably like David Mitchell I used to be a homeowner in Hertfordshire but due to circumstances out of my control I had to move into the rental sector. It has been a real eye opener for me.

I have seen the appalling houses/flats landlords are renting in St Albans for crazy high sums of money. I have seen young families living in cramped living spaces.

These families, like me, can’t move to the north of England (as Mr Mitchell suggested) because we have children at school in St Albans and employment in the area.

Because the rents are so high it’s so hard to save the money needed for deposits. We can’t make the rental homes real homes for our children as landlords don’t allow for long contracts.

On a positive note, because I have felt what it feels like to live in rental accommodation I am able to empathise with others who are in a similar position.

Perhaps if Mr Mitchell had my experience of the rental sector he too might have some empathy for others who are less fortunate than he is.

Human beings need homes, if that means as a community we have to give up some of our green belt then so be it. Please support the plan to build 4,500 new homes in the north Hemel/Redbourn area.

LIZZIE LARDNER
By email

In the last few weeks celebrations have taken place across the country to mark the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration.

This was a public statement issued by the British government during the First World War announcing its support for the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine.

The letter sent by Arthur James Balfour was important as it recognised the right of the Jewish people to self-determination.

The modern state of Israel was established on May 14 1948, and we should mark with pride the role that Britain played in helping the establishment of the only true democracy in the Middle East.

Sadly those who claim to represent the interests of the Palestinian people blame Israel, Britain and others for not having a state, while ignoring their own culpability.

Had the Arab nations accepted the 1947 United Nations partition agreement there would be a Palestinian state now. There would have been no wars in 1948, 1967 and 1973 and there would have been no loss of life in the countless terror attacks that have taken place since.

If the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, would correctly recognise Balfour today as a positive step towards Jewish statehood, and not be so embittered by the failure of his own leadership to achieve sovereignty for his people, it would be a step towards peace in this troubled region.

Today the modern state of Israel, and its recognition as a sovereign state by the UN, serves as a lifeboat for Jews from around the world. It is a guaranteed safe haven for any Jew who faces persecution in the future, their ancient homeland as through the ages there has never ceased to be a Jewish presence in the land of Israel.

At this special time it would not seem right to undermine President Trump’s proposal to re-establish the US embassy in Jerusalem, as it is the heartbeat and touchstone of the Jewish people. We are all called to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

LINDA POWELL-JONES

St Albans

As an atheist, I fully respect the views of other faiths, except when those views are forced on others. Whilst Joanne Tredinnick believes her religious views are relevant to the lives of young children who she’s never met, I do not.

Regarding transgender children and Mrs Tredinnick’s comment that “God knows what is best for them when he created them male and female”, I assume she believes that the same God created hermaphrodites? Where was God’s clarity then, I wonder?

Can I ask whether she expects hermaphrodite people to assume a male or female identity? Or does she feel she has the right to decide that too? One certainly cannot base such a decision on the extent of the male or female organs: it is far more complicated than that but, sadly, Mrs Tredinnick shows an astonishing ignorance of basic biology.

She is clearly unaware that some patients undergoing gender reassignment surgery are found to have the internal organs of the gender they felt they were born to be, even though their external organs were of the opposite gender. Similarly, studies of transgender people tell us that their brains, when scanned, often do not match their birth-assigned gender.

Gender is not something we “accept” or choose: it is innate within us. I’m sure Mrs Tredinnick knew she was a girl from a very young age, just as any child knows their own innate gender, which can differ from the gender suggested by their sexual organs.

Gender is not as simple as male or female: although we are used to basing gender purely on the genital organs at birth, science now tells us that it is far more complicated than that.

A National Geographic article (‘How Science is Helping Us Understand Gender’, available online) explains how science has progressed from the very basic understanding of X & Y chromosomes which we have accepted for decades. We now know that a child born with female genitalia can have male chromosomes, and vice versa.

Further, whilst genital assignment happens within the first two months, it is not until many weeks later that the brain starts to develop its gender identity.

In those weeks, many factors come into play, including hormones, nutrients, chemical changes, all of which can impact sexual differentiation. Which is why scientists now recognise that gender is a spectrum.

Whilst, for many, it really is as simple as the genitalia they were born with, for others, life is so much more complex, confusing, and often scary – made even more so by ill-informed views such as Mrs Tredinnick’s.

Mrs Tredinnick simplistically suggests that a child should simply “accept the gender they were born with”. Where is the acceptance to be found for a person living an inauthentic life in a body they loathe, a body which doesn’t match the brain that Mrs Tredinnick claims God gave them?

If they choose not to accept such misery, their only choice is to undergo traumatic treatment, counselling, and the potential risk of major surgery, in order to become the gender that their brain tells them they are.

Nobody makes that decision lightly. No child risks the derision of family and friends on a whim – their choice is to face that derision and live their life authentically, or to continue to hide their true identity, to play the role society has assigned them when their biology is telling them they are someone else entirely.

It would appear that Mrs Tredinnick would condemn these children to a life of lies, self-loathing, and secrecy, simply so that her narrow, uneducated views aren’t threatened.

Does she know how many people commit suicide in the transgender diaspora?

Does she care? Or does she expect them to continue being desperately unhappy in their own bodies, just so that she can maintain her own narrow view of the world?

Mrs Tredinnick, your letters to this page repeatedly show the lack of compassion which caused me to become atheist when I was very young.

Where is your Christian spirit? When will you turn the other cheek? What possible business is it of yours? How is your opinion remotely relevant to families going through the trauma of gender misalignment?

I await your answers with great curiosity. In the meantime, can I suggest you update your O level biology education to match with 21st century science?

MELANIE SMITH

How Wood, Park Street

Jack Pia is absolutely right to raise concerns about the air quality in St Peter’s Street and to highlight the health benefits of possible pedestrianisation.

The temporary closure of St Peter’s Street worked very well as the roads around the town centre and surrounding streets were much clearer once people realised the restrictions were in place. This made the city centre a nicer place to be - and less polluted! If you want the rat runs stopped, then stop the main cause - the through-city rat-run!

An urgent review of the potential for pedestrianisation should be carried out as part of a formal air quality action plan from St Albans district council.

If the evidence shows that pedestrianisation would improve air quality and reduce congestion, we should do it. Action is desperately needed to combat the very serious public health dangers from air pollution in the centre and other parts of the district.

As Jack Pia points out, babies and young children are especially at risk, as well as adults who have breathing difficulties and other medical conditions.

I’ve just collected 20 diffusion tubes around the city centre - part of the ongoing air quality monitoring that St Albans District Green Party is carrying out. These give a monthly average level of nitrogen dioxide concentrations in the immediate area. Once they’ve been independently assessed, as with our previous monitoring, I’m sure it will show the high levels shown previously. We decided to do this off our own bat as the council’s own monitoring is inadequate and the information badly publicised.

A clean air zone should be declared for St Albans, as Green Cllr Simon Grover has proposed. We have developed a 10 point action plan ourselves to tackle vehicle emissions, green our city, and improve public transport - see www.bit.ly/stalbansair.

It’s about time that St Albans district council and Herts county council started to take their public health responsibilities seriously for all our sakes.

KEITH COTTON

St Albans District Green Party

It was not only Anne Main who voted against the clause acknowledging the sentience of animals

Harpenden MP Bim Afolami also went through the NO lobby. His actions were subsequently explained on his Facebook page thus: “We voted against an unnecessary amendment that would do more harm than good in creating legal confusion around an already adequate piece of legislation.”

Many of us have emailed/tweeted/contacted Mr Afolami over various amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill, asking him to support them.

Despite promises to “consider” each amendment carefully, so far, we have seen little evidence that he listens to us. Indeed, so far as we can see, he has always voted against any UK membership of the EU.

Hitchin and Harpenden was one of the areas that had a high Remain turnout in the 2016 EU Referendum, like St Albans.

We are disappointed that our MP (who himself also voted Remain in the Referendum) seems to be ignoring us.

CAROL HEDGES
Coldharbour Lane, Harpenden

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