Letters, January 20, 2011, part two

PUBLISHED: 11:42 20 January 2011

Thanks for support to orchestra

SIR – We would like to thank warmly, through your columns, everyone who contributed so generously to three different Christmas and New Year charity collections involving St Albans Symphony Orchestra. Altogether the good people of Hertfordshire have helped us raise nearly £4,000 for charitable causes.

In December, members of the orchestra were delighted to accompany the annual carol concert in aid of Grove House Hospice, held in the Kingsbury Barn, which raised almost £2,000.

Our brass players then braved falling snow in Harpenden and St Albans on the Saturday before Christmas to play carols for shoppers who contributed £450 to a collection for the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Special thanks go to Costa Coffee and the Maltings Centre management who allowed use of their bandstand at short notice so the music could continue despite the blizzard.

As is traditional, our New Year concert in St Albans Abbey also included a retiring collection divided between a local and a national charity.

This year our large audience made it possible to raise over £1,490 for the Open Door shelter for homeless people in St Albans and for Brain Tumour Research, based in Milton Keynes.

Charitable fundraising is an important part of St Albans Symphony Orchestra’s work, but we are particularly encouraged that people have donated record sums at a time of economic uncertainty.

We are very grateful indeed.

BJORN BANTOCK (Conductor) and KIERAN McGUIRK (Chairman)

St Albans Symphony Orchestra

Wife’s rescuers and carers praised

SIR – I would like to thank all those kind people who helped my wife following her fall in St Peters Street, outside Ottoways office, on Sunday, December 19, at about 4pm.

She suffered concussion and a cut to her head and is now recovering slowly. The treatment she received from ambulance crews and staff at the QEII hospital was first class.

BRIAN BRANCH

Evans Grove, St Albans

No support for Ryder memorial

SIR – I must apologise to Dick Biddle for failing to make myself clear in my letter (January 6).

My complaint about the council was not that they were unwilling to pay for a memorial to Sam Ryder but rather that they were reportedly unwilling to make any effort to support such a scheme.

I wholeheartedly commend the suggestion of Mr Schroeder (Herts Advertiser, January 13) that the interested parties nominated by him should combine in working towards a positive result.

Bearing in mind that professional golfers have been the biggest beneficiaries of Mr Ryder’s initiative it would appear only realistic for them to be the major contributors to the cost.

I agree with Mr Biddle that councillors are elected to represent the interests of the people and they do this in an advisory capacity for handsome allowances and with the help of paid officials.

What I was suggesting was firstly that with fewer officials the role of councillors would be likely to be diminished and consequently fewer councillors would be needed.

Secondly, since the introduction of so called “cabinet” governance the non-cabinet members’ roles have shrunk to such an extent as to be almost irrelevant and we could manage quite successfully with a much lower ratio of councillor to official.

If Mr Biddle is asking if I have a “hit list” for underperforming councillors the answer is in the affirmative but the only influence I can bring to bear on the issue is my single vote in the May elections.

PHILIP WEBSTER

Townsend Drive, St Albans

Give police free rein to act as needed

SIR – I read your copy dated January 13 and was slightly at a loss as to Mr Izzard’s thought process and why it had been given the oxygen of publicity.

Unless I am wrong, police were called by an independent witness stating Mr Izzard had a knife in a public place. Officers attended the scene promptly.

While they investigated and searched Mr Izzard, they handcuffed him for their own safety (remember, last month, two officers in Ealing were seriously wounded by an unknown male at a bus stop after asking to see his ticket). The moment it was found he had no knife, they went to take off the handcuffs.

Mr Izzard decided to keep them on in order to make a “point” to his wife – thus detaining himself longer than needed and creating a further scene.

Is he seriously implying that police officers should not handcuff people for their own safety when a weapon is spotted by a member of the public?

Is he suggesting that no middle-class people in society suffer from serious mental illness and may pose a risk to the public?

Or is he suggesting that the police should not investigate certain members of society because they are dressed in a more ‘respectable’ way than others?

Is he advocating stops based on “profiling” rather than (as in this case) direct intelligence?

It appeared Mr Izzard has his own muddled agenda. I was just surprised this paper gave it the light of day.

CRAIG McGILL

Albert Street, St Albans

Highways work is noise pollution

SIR – I am writing with regard to Herts Highways and their workmanship.

I have the misfortune to live close to the A414 and have to say that if Herts Highways did as much work on the other Hertfordshire roads as is done on the above road, there would not be potholes or problems with any roads in Hertfordshire!

Almost every week it seems there is some work going on and instead of working at a reasonable time of say 8pm until 12 midnight, Herts Highways work until 5am on some occasions (if you believe the people shielding complaints about noise calls they are only supposed to work between the hours of 10pm and 2am).

Why is it so necessary to work so much on the A414?

To my knowledge there are no accidents so what work is so essential that it has to be done with such noise from people shouting and machinery scraping, banging, drilling and generally making a dreadful racket at silly o’clock in the morning?

Perhaps Herts Highways would like to explain why it is so necessary to make so much noise into the early hours of the morning!

SUSIE BEE

Bedmond Lane, St Albans

Tribute to town’s paperman

SIR – It was a relief to read your recent article about paperman Joe Thrussell (pictured below), who worked outside George Wilson in Harpenden.

It was a joy to buy the Sunday papers from him – he was always cheerful regardless of weather conditions. It’s not the same buying the papers from Sainsbury’s! Hope he has a long and happy retirement, and is soon 100 per cent.

M COWELL

Bloomfield Road, Harpenden

Unfair loss of vital disability allowance

SIR – In the Comprehensive Spending Review, the Chancellor announced that the government would be removing the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for those people who live in residential care homes.

Disability charities and organisations, such as Mencap, are campaigning against this decision.

We are all very concerned that, as an unintended consequence of this proposal, many people with a learning disability will no longer be able to afford to go out and meet with friends and families, participate in external social activities and engage with their local communities.

I believe the government has misunderstood how disabled people use this important benefit. Without this vital lifeline, many disabled people in residential care will lose much of their independence.

C PALMER

Homewood Road, St Albans

UKIP are no moderates

SIR – I’ve recently returned to Hertfordshire after a number of years, but it’s lovely to see from your recent correspondence that it’s still a hotbed of right-wing, middle-class conspiracy theories.

What would any leafy commuter town be without Eurosceptic reaction and UKIP!

However, the fact is that UKIP is not a moderate party. This is a party that endorses a single rate of income tax rate for the badly off and the super-rich.

This is a party that continuously panders to fluffy notions of conservative shopkeeper-nationhood through banal campaigns about hospital matrons and imperial measurements.

And, diabolically, this is a party whose leader invited Geert van Wilders, who calls for the banning of the Koran, to Parliament in 2010, motivating a Westminister rally by the racist English Defence League.

UKIP’s party leaders are former Conservatives who have left the Tories to stake out a position to its right. It’s a party of middle class reaction against the big business interests of the Conservatives that benefit from the EU’s free trade and free flow of labour.

But what’s particularly insulting about the rhetoric coming out of your letters page in the last few weeks is the attempt to blame the budget deficit on the EU.

People aren’t stupid. They know who caused the international financial crisis and the resulting bailouts: it was the banks.

We all know that budget cuts are about the recapitalisation of private banks institutions. Blaming the EU is utter fantasy.

On this issue, and probably on many others, the band of small businessmen and professionals who make up this right-wing, Thatcherite protest party are totally alienated from the great mass of the population, who clearly understand that the cuts are simply the biggest redistribution of wealth from the poor to the rich in the history of humanity.

Nothing more, nothing less.

RICHARD DONNELLY

Colney Heath


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