Letters, January 13, 2011, part three

Conspiracy goes right to the core

SIR - Dr John Butcher wrote on withdrawing from the EU in the Herts Advertiser of January 6.

We need to eradicate the EU disciples from our present and previous governments before doing so.

The conspirators have long been in office, spreading like mycelium throughout every civil service department. The NHS, the police, schools, town hall and civic centre have the smell of it, just as those uncollected bins around our streets.

On top of this William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, writes in a Sunday paper: “I would have dearly loved to hold a referendum on that treaty after a change of government: sadly the ratification of Lisbon by all 27 EU states last autumn made that impossible.

“But I have always been determined that this flagrant denial of democratic choice to the people of Britain would never happen again.”

Democratic choice? When was that? I must have blinked.

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We have been denied all along, and it has been intended so since before Edward Heath! Voting must not interfere with ‘the plan’.

To cap it all, this diktat has no ‘comment’ facility.

The ‘Mekon’ has spoken - you will listen only.

Who listens any more to their constituents? Not our own Mrs Main - isn’t that right Mrs Main? Five letters written since February of last year. NO reply for any.

This is government today - they wish nothing to do with the people, but take their money and spend how they wish.

We are spied on every step we take, told what rubbish goes where, and charged for the ‘privilege’.

The entire system is rotten to the core. Remove the lot.

Is it any wonder they ride in bullet proof cars, and hide behind gated streets and gun-toting police?

I sense a Ceausescu moment approaching. Who will they blame for that? You and I.


Woodland Drive, St Albans

Live venues are in short supply

SIR - In the Herts Advertiser report on the demise of the Maltings Arts Theatre (January 6) Cllr Donald is quoted as saying “We are not short of live performance venues”.

I should be grateful if he could tell me which ones he had in mind since I cannot think of a single comparable venue.

Please don’t say ‘pubs’ - I am 60 years old and it’s not my idea of a fun night out to struggle through a beer-drinking crowd and stand up all evening to see music I want to see (not all of which is suitable for pubs anyway).

Nor is the Arena comparable since few if any of the acts I’ve seen at the Maltings could hope to fill the Arena.

Yet I’ve been to the Maltings many times on a Saturday night when it’s been a sell-out.

This was especially the case with the events put on by the short-lived ‘Little Walters Blues Club’ showing that there is a large potential audience for this kind of music in St Albans.

Why can’t the Maltings capitalise on this and make a financial success out of live gigs?

OK, maybe it needs to be a cinema during the week but surely it’s not too much to ask to be able to listen to live music where you can sit down in comfort and see the band at least once a week?


Gurney Court Road, St Albans

Praise for our refuse champions

SIR - I think our local binmen should be congratulated, along with the council, on the excellent service we are currently receiving.

After the debacle of last year’s winter service when the bins were left uncollected for weeks, the council has taken a completely different approach this year and it is working very well.

I have just had both my green and black bins emptied, along with all the recycling boxes.

The refuse website has been kept updated over the Christmas period with good information and it is easy to find out what will be happening with regard to collections.

The binmen are working really hard, working through weekends and bank holidays to clear the backlog.

It is nice that when refuse collection is a major feature in the national news that St Albans Council can hold its head high as it seems to have the system sorted this year.


Springwood Walk, St Albans

Ryder memorial not in council’s remit

SIR - Whilst agreeing with Mr Webster on the subject of a memorial to Sam Ryder, why do tributes need to come from the council?

Is this not a good example of a task for the ‘Big Society’’? A real opportunity for the voluntary sector.

I would regard it as financially remiss of the council to be spending ratepayers money on memorials when faced with budget cuts of 28 per cent.

Finally councillors are elected to represent residents not council workers. The numbers are worked out on a strict formule. Or does Mr Webster have certain councillors in mind?


Dickens Close, St Albans

Some musings on council’s actions

SIR - It was pleasing to read the supportive, well-informed letters of Philip Webster, David Gilroy in last week’s Herts Advertiser.

David Gilroy often makes penetrating comments on the “rail-roaded” Burton Blunderbus/Westminster Lodge.

It must be fun for Mr Rowlands to hand over a �26.7m contract to a number 2 contractor with a Christmas card wishing them all the best in 2011!

How come they weren’t good enough in 2010 or are they discounting the project to make it more attractive, rather than recognising the anguish of the St Albans public and insisting on a total requirement reappraisal?

We surely do not have to accept the decisions of Sheila Burton now she has been replaced by Anthony Rowlands?

Come on Mr Rowlands, how about doing the just thing and going back to the drawing board?

After all, those already spent “consultancy fees” we could save them at least by trimming down the “sexy items” (eg SPA, up and down swimming pool base and climbing wall) and returning to the pooltoosmall.com rational idea of a 50m pool with diving area etc.

I must say Vanessa Gregory’s highly detailed and convincing financial investigative information must intrigue every reader as to whether any plausible audit-worthy council officers exist in the planing department.

In the same vein the article by your Madeleine Burton pronounces yet again on Beaumont School’s appeal against Chris Brazier’s political decision.

Such is the power of one man in a planning committee split vote scenario, when even some Lib Dems were in favour of Beaumont School’s proposal. What must they have been felt on being kicked in the face by their chairman?

I suppose the fact that Beaumont School’s appeal is going to public inquiry at our St Albans council offices could be regarded by some as a “home advantage”.

The only true advantage I see in this, rather than getting the Minister of Education Mr Gove to wade in and decide the issue, is that the four day inquiry means that SADC might be able to recoup some of the purported �500,000 consultancy fees for looking at Beaumont’s case in the way of room hire fees.

Turning dramatically to the subject of the Sam Ryder statue it was great to read that Verulam Golf Club are honoured by the PGA to maintain this great St Albans benefactor’s grave, tucked away in the cemetary opposite St Paul’s church in Hatfield Road.

Oh how great it would be if the Samuel Ryder Foundation, the PGA, Verulam Golf Club and the St Albans business circle could combine with the SADC and the two local statue designers to really commemorate our world-renowned golf visionary.

It does seem somewhat ironic that Sam Ryder lies opposite St Paul’s, who have miraculously in this day and age raised �3.4m to totally change and refurbish their place of worship and environs to the benefit of the community.

Yet our SADC, plus to a certain extent the golf governing body of this country, languishes to raise sufficient enthusiasm and money to pay tribute to the founder of one of the greatest tournaments in the world.

Mind you perhaps the business acumen of St Paul’s project committee are the people who should be running the show?

And just as a final though, whatever actually happened within the council’s management about the “stolen” laptop with the lost 14,000 names and addresses of voters?

Were people sacked or made redundant for their lack of duty and care?

Certain aspects of the very lengthy investigation were held “in camera”, a shame there weren’t sufficiently adequate CCTV cameras trained in the room - mind you the offending laptop should have been surely securely locked away?

What was the real outcome? Another expensive taxpayer whitewash?

What do those 14,000 voters think of their Lib Dem-dominated council?

Perhaps some of them will automatically change their voting allegiance and put our taxpayers’ money in the hands of more responsible political party members, come the May council elections?


Green Lane, St Albans