Your letters to the Herts Ad...
PUBLISHED: 11:22 29 July 2016 | UPDATED: 11:22 29 July 2016
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I am a member of the St Albans and Harpenden Action Group on Facebook and I would like the opportunity to present my views on Brexit.
Recent events have woken in me a passion to do everything I can to prevent Britain from leaving the EU. I believe, as do the majority of St Albans residents, that the EU is worth fighting for. I feel proud to live in a culturally diverse nation, who as part of a bigger European family, strive towards environmental progress, scientific breakthroughs, fairer rights for workers and mothers and equality for all.
On referendum results day I felt sick to discover that so many citizens of this country felt entirely differently. My bubble was burst. The leavers demographic highlighted a deep divide in our nation, a divide between those with something to lose and those without. The majority of those who are out of work and in council or housing association homes voted to leave. I slowly began to understand why those who have been deeply affected by the austerity measures adopted by this Conservative government would choose to stick one to David Cameron and do anything but follow his advice. I started to understand why they would be drawn into the belief in a ‘better Britain’ and dare to hope for a change which would at last affect their families and improve their life chances. The saddest thing about this result is that leaving the EU won’t make this come true.
The vast majority of academics, economists and politicians believed that leaving the EU was not a risk worth taking. They warned of the detrimental effect on our economy, banks and big businesses, but, of course, this didn’t win those votes. If you are on benefits or struggling to survive on a low income, you may prefer to buy into the false hopes than the harsh warnings. The very politicians responsible for the rise in foodbanks, the mental health crisis, and various benefit cuts, dragging our country backwards in terms of human rights, have conveniently blamed it all on immigration and many have believed them! However these facts don’t add up and the government knows this. The facts are clear - EU migrants give back more to our economy than the take in benefits.
I cannot accept the result of a referendum that has campaigned to mislead the most vulnerable groups in our society.
Anne Main, as a leave voter, is of course not an example of this demographic. She voted leave from a position of power and affluence. She campaigned hard for this result and is of course delighted. She, along with 24 per cent of MPs (yes a fairly small minority) thought it was a good idea to leave the EU. There are valid reasons for and against and I do not begrudge any individual the right to vote as they chose. Her vote was, predictably out of line with the majority of her constituents. (I already knew that Anne Main’s views on many subjects are at odds with my own and I will be doing everything I can to prevent her from representing us again). However my point here is not to berate her for how she voted.
She may be a Leave voter, but she is also my MP. I want her to take on board my points regarding the nature of the leave campaign, the social context in which voters made their choice, and the subsequent lies that have come to light, not to mention the lack of plan and management of this situation since results day. Anne Main has sent replies to my letters. They are mostly comprised of stock paragraphs, largely unrelated to the points and questions I have raised. The tone of these letters is dismissive. She is refusing to meet with me to discuss the matter in person as she reserves her surgery appointments for ‘problems that she can bring about change with, for example pensions, benefits, housing and other related matters’. Surely it is her job to bring about change in government policy and to debate the bigger issues on behalf of her constituency? I have been left feeling utterly unrepresented.
If you are thinking ‘What’s the point? Brexit means Brexit’ then I must challenge that view. This referendum result is not legally binding. We do not have to blindly lead ourselves out of the EU as a result of a narrow margin, won through fraudulent campaigning. These factors, along with any evidence or knowledge from our best economists and academics should be pored over and debated with fresh eyes. Yes we should take account of the hopes and fears of our people, as demonstrated by their protest vote. We should take steps to ensure that the infrastructure for immigration is sustainable and the that gaps are narrowed between rich and poor. We should provide proper jobs for our people and fund real solutions for our mental health crisis. We do not have to leave the EU to make these changes.
We now have a Prime Minister who is keen to charge ahead. She has rounded up her party and convinced them that this is the only way forward, but it is not. We have a duty to the unrepresented youth of our great nation to fight Brexit. We must learn from our mistakes, as outlined in the Chilcott report - Listen to the facts rather than blindly following opinions or misplaced alliances. Be realistic, measured and strategic. It feels as though we are plunging head first into another disaster, for which in years to come, today’s politicians will be accountable. My fear is that it will be too late. Before the referendum we were facing massive challenges in our NHS and some of the worst child poverty in recent times. What will post EU Britain really look like? The experts predict job loss and severe damage to the economy. This will affect us all but as usual the most vulnerable will bear the brunt. Will the government continue to stick its head in the sand and use Brexit as its latest excuse for failing its nation?
All over the country groups like ours are forming and gathering momentum and ideas. Its not being covered on the BBC news but i’ts happening and its real. Its up to all of us to stand up against Brexit.
Therfield Road, St Albans
I am utterly weary of the petulant carping of some Remainers over the EU referendum result, and their unfair, unjustified and largely ignorant attacks on our excellent local MPs. I write as one who opposed joining the Common Market 40 years ago, and events since have only served to strengthen my convictions. I voted for Brexit, not just in my own interest, but in that of my children and grandchildren, and out of deep-felt love for my country. If the vote had been to remain, I would have had to accept it, and so should they. The most vocal opposers of a democratic process here would be the emitters of the loudest wails of anguish over democratic failings in some distant country, and many of those screaming racism at opponents of unfettered immigration would be among the leading NIMBYs when housing needed for the incomers was proposed close to them. I have never doubted that Brexit would cause some short term difficulties, but believe that, with wise government, in the longer term it can only be beneficial. And as for the chaos resulting from the vote, where is it?
PHILIP SKELTON Beechwood Avenue, St Albans
So there are complaints that Anne Main’s moral position does not reflect the St Albans referendum results. Have the complainants looked at the results throughout the country? I think that they will find that the majority of MPs’ positions do not reflect the referendum results of their constituents. Furthermore the previous referendums were advisory to Parliament and Parliament voted to implement the necessary legislation. I will be very interested to hear the results, when a vote is taken in Parliament on Brexit, and if all the MPs respect the national referendum result, or go with their moral opinion pre the referendum.
Willow Way, Chiswell Green
A belated response to Andrew Robley (June 30) who asked for “concerted action” by all those in the area affected by aircraft noise from Luton, in particular so that one community doesn’t blame another when the real culprit is Luton itself. LADACAN, when set up in 1968 to counter the introduction of jets for package tours, did cover the whole area for that reason but the replacement of particularly noisy planes in the late ‘90s led to a drop in interest, only revived by the second runway threat (defeated after sterling effort 2003/5).
Despite that, numbers of commercial and (small but noisy) executive jets have continued upwards having near-tripled in the 20 years I’ve been involved. As the problem grew and spread, new groups arose, to at least six now, and Mr Robley’s call for coordination is well made, especially with Luton Borough Council. having recently given itself/the airport permission to near double from 2014 figures.
LADACAN’s last big battle was to prevent the latter, with its obvious vested interest, by asking for an independent inquiry, but this was denied. Three of our key committee members have since escaped to more peaceful areas so maybe the Herts Ad could help to coordinate activity, ideally with some younger blood involved.
Meanwhile, continue making your concern known to 01582 395382 or firstname.lastname@example.org giving the direction of flight as well as date/time, even if Mr Pryor (July 14) thinks you’re a NIMBY: he should realise that, especially those who don’t use the airport, have every right to be irritated by the noise nuisance it causes, just as he would be if his neighbours had a noisy garden party half the night!
Fairmead Avenue, Harpenden
Your cinema reviewer Michael Joyce is the business. So refreshing: a wicked understanding of the film industry: money first and last: a mindless pile of lowest common denominator balls.
Please allow him to shine his cold light on local theatre and arts scene. I hope his views on arts subsidies are deliciously iconoclastic.
Yours in anticipation.
Ramsbury Road, St Albans
I was saddened to read Mr Pryor’s ‘NIMBY’ letter. May I suggest he Googles ‘climate change’ and/or ‘global warming’ ?
The scenario that he seems to think is ‘preferable’ will result in the demise of our ecosystem(s) and, in turn, the extinction of Homo Sapiens.
To quote Mr Pryor: ‘Look at the big picture’.
De Tany Court, St Albans
As I sit here the pavement weeds grow taller and the potholes get deeper. Welcome to the Third World.
Falconers Field, Harpenden
A note attached to my bin this week gives me the exciting news that I am to be issued with a brown bin and kerbside caddy. These will be lovely additions to my collection of green and black bins and various other boxes. The council seems to expect me to be bowled over by the good news as no-one has bothered to ask me if I want all this extra stuff or, indeed, check if I have room to accommodate it all.
The reality is that this plethora of waste containers represents the biggest source of visual pollution in a city which is allegedly trying to make itself a tourist attraction. Very many residents have simply no way to store these container out of sight so they lie at the front of properties, day and night, degrading the appearance of our streets.
Some people have constructed something at the front of their houses in an attempt to hide the bins. These people are to be congratulated but their efforts are about to be set at nought by the arrival of yet another wheelie bin.
When it was first proposed to issue bins, I seem to recall that they would not be issued to people in houses where they could not possibly store them out of sight. This common sense approach seems to have been long forgotten.
What is needed if for some balance to be struck between the needs to recycle and the needs to keep our streets attractive. If this requires more centralised sorting of waste, so be it. As it stands, the authorities are dictating an approach quite contrary to creating an attractive living environment.
I have observed purple wheelie bins in some towns. They probably have some special purpose. I am sure one is coming to me next year to grace the front of my home!
Marshal’s Drive, St Albans