Letters, Febraury 17, 2011, part two

PUBLISHED: 11:31 17 February 2011 | UPDATED: 11:31 17 February 2011

Voting change is not required

SIR – Our island’s history can be read as a struggle for liberty.

That for one brief glimpse of man’s story on Earth, people are able to chose their leaders, who in turn govern in the interests of the people, is awesome.

This precarious idea is threatened repeatedly by populists, ‘progressives’ and extremists.

Already our democracy is limping, as it carries the ‘dead weight’ of EU deal making over its parliament.

The attempt to finally finish off representative democracy on May 5 should be resisted.

“Smoke-filled rooms” of the ruling “elite” brokering governments every five years would finally break any link between an individual’s vote, and the policies they get as a result.

I suggest St Albans defends itself and says ‘No 2 AV’.

MATTHEW PECK

The Cleave, Harpenden

SIR – The argument in favour of proportional representation and alternative vote put forward by Dr Leigh seems to be that the candidate chosen to represent Harpenden and Hitchin should not reflect the votes of the constituents.

He claims some votes are wasted if they oppose the will of the majority.

Isn’t that the whole point of democracy? The candidate with the most votes wins the seat?

Under AV there is a danger that the elected representative could be a member of a minority party who is least offensive to most constituents.

Voters in Harpenden and Hitchin and in any constituency should be represented at Westminster by their primary choice.

If AV is indeed a step to PR then it shoud be rejected.

PR demands that minority MPs will be imposed on constituents to construct a proportional parliament.

This would be a dreadful system where people will really understand the meaning of wasted votes.

RICHARD SMITH

Fellowes Lane, Colney Heath

SIR – A very interesting letter (Herts Advertiser, February 10) from Dr David Leigh giving food for thought but, I fear, not sound reasoning.

Dr Leigh suggests that under the present first past the post system only the votes of the 50,000 or so floaters in marginal constituences really count since “safe” seats will always remain safe.

This is palpably not the case as we have seen in several elections where so called shoe-in candidates have been ousted by a disillusioned electorate.

And if we were to accept Dr Leigh’s proposition would that mean that once elected a “first past the poster” was there for life?

Heaven forbid. I have campaigned for years that every candidate for every seat should stand for re-selection.

Dr Leigh goes on to say that “CLEARLY the fairest way of electing a government is by proportional representation”.

I submit that this is “clearly” one of the most unfair ways because what that system does is to give the decisive casting votes to the least successful party and this is why the Lib Dems are so keen on trying to get the present system changed – they would be the sole beneficiaries.

This has been shown very clearly indeed in our present cabinet where half a dozen Lib Dem ministers are controlling the cabinet and stopping the majority party from implementing it’s manifesto pledges.

The tail is wagging the dog which is hardly democratic, i.e. as Abraham Lincoln said in his Gettysburg address: “Government of the people, by the people, for the people.”

Whilst first past the post does not comply 100 per cent with this philosophy it does, at least give the majority party the right to govern .

I think AV is preferable to PR which I can see is a different view from Dr Leigh’s but I think first past the post, whilst frustrating for a Lib Dem minority (decreasing rapidly it seems), it has stood the test of time.

Imperfect though it might be, it has not caused any Lib Dem dissent on the local council with less votes than the combined opposition parties.

But they have the majority of seats which puts me in mind of Mark Twain in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer: “H’aint we got all the fools in town on our side?

“And ain’t that a big enough majority in any town?”

First past the post seems to be acceptable in St Albans but not in Westminster. So that’s all right then?

As I write I have just glimpsed through an early election leaflet from a hopeful Lib Dem candidate in Batchwood Ward who fills an A4 sheet with shallow comments but fails to make a single reference to the biggest story around for months, the Westminster “Bodge”.

And he is seeking votes on the Lib Dem record!

The mind boggles.

PHILIP WEBSTER

Townsend Drive, St Albans

Origins of UKIP are in other parties

SIR – With reference to the correspondence about UKIP, I must say that the formation of the party would not have been necessary if other parties had taken note of the wishes of their members on Europe.

The fact is that party establishments have often been bought off by the enticement of lucrative sinecure jobs in Europe.

An unsavoury former Labour leader obtained a job as European Commissioner and then also obtained jobs in Europe for his wife and son.

Two particularly useless members of the present cabinet made their fortunes as a result of EU patronage and grooming.

It would be appropriate if the unelected geriatric ‘president’ of Europe were removed by mass protests as in Egypt.

Until then, work will continue on his £440 million palace.

At least the fear of demonstrators has stopped the rapacious EU ruling clique from descending, locust-like, upon one city after another in Europe and block-booking the top restaurants and hotels for a week-long binge at our expense.

RICHARD DURRANT

Park Avenue, St Albans

Rolls Royce memories

SIR – A long term (1940-1983) resident of St Albans, Albert Edward Patrick Savigear, known as Pat Savigear, made a significant contribution to the history of Rolls Royce cars.

An electrical engineer, he was the only known sub-contractor that Rolls Royce appointed.

He was responsible, from as early as 1933 to as late as 1960, for joining the wiring harness that had been installed on the car’s chassis at the factory, to the accessories, such as headlamps, horn, etc., which had been fitted to the body by the coachbuilder.

Savigear was self-employed but was based at coachbuilder HJ Mulliner in Chiswick, West London, near to where he was born, in 1913, and lived until the move to St Albans, firstly at 27 Firwood Avenue and, from 1951, at Alban House, 65 Watford Road, where his wife Joan died in 2003. Pat worked with his younger brother Edmund.

Did any of your readers know the family?

I would like to contact anyone who did know Pat Savigear, perhaps who has memories or photographs of his work activities, in order that his place in Rolls-Royce history might not go unrecorded.

Please contact me on the email address below if you can help.

PETER BROWN

Gillingham, Dorset

077 1028 7309

pb@motspur.com

Name and shame district’s fly tippers

SIR – Surely a good way to deal with fly tipping is to publish photos of the dumped items on the council website. Someone will recognise their own items or those of friends or neighbours.

That will then lead to those responsible.

Also people should use the council to remove their rubbish.

It doesn’t cost too much for large items and if anyone is doing it cheaper, there’s probably a reason for that.

I can’t believe the people dumping hundreds of tyres can’t be found. It clearly comes from a commercial garage.

If they won’t come forward then make it mandatory for commercial outlets of any kind in this county to smart water items for dumping.

It’s not just commercial outlets dumping tyres of course. Anyone who walks in the woods off Marshalls Heath Lane will see plenty of them dumped by local horse riders who built jumps from them and left the dozens of spares strewn across the wood. Maybe they would like to clean up their act too?

KIM THORNTON

St Leonards Court, Sandridge

712 campaign continues

SIR – I am writing with regard to the possible demise of the 712 bus between St Albans and London.

Although I am not a frequent user of this service, it has proved to be invaluable to me as I sometimes travel between St Albans and Bournemouth.

Having travelled up on the National Express coach from Bournemouth to Victoria, a journey which takes two hours, it has been far easier to continue to St Albans using the 712 instead of having to make my way across to St Pancras via the tube.

In other words, crossing from one coach station to the other at Victoria has made a huge difference – maybe not in time, but certainly far less hassle – especially when carrying heavy luggage.

It would be great if Uno could continue this service, which I feel with a good advertising campaign, will be very successful.

CAROLINE JAMES

Mercers Row, St Albans

SIR – In the considerable correspondence about the withdrawal of service 712 I have seen no reference to the fact that at certain times of the day it ran to and from Kinsbourne Green and Harpenden as service 713.

There was an early morning service and another at 10.30am and in the afternoon and evening three or perhaps four of the services continued from St Albans on to Harpenden.

I hope that if the 712 is reinstated an extension to Harpenden will be included.

BETH GOWLAND

Townsend Road, Harpenden

SIR – Great news to read in ths week’s Herts Advertiser that our 712 bus service into London is being revived by the Uno bus company.

If this service is given publicity and a reasonable marketing campaign it cannot fail to be successful.

All credit must be given to the Herts Advertiser and the group of stalwarts who worked so hard to ‘Save the 712’.

I shall look forward to reviving my regular trips to London by 712 coach.

RICHARD DAVISON

Abbey Avenue, St Albans


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