Letters May 5 2016

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

Have your say and write to hertsad@archant.co.uk - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Intimidated by Trust over spring bluebells

SIR – For many years, I like many others in the locality, have made an annual pilgrimage to Langley Wood outside Sandridge to view the spring bluebells. It’s therefore very disappointing to see that this year the Woodland Trust, which now manages (over-manages!) the wood, has festooned it with endless posts carrying intimidating notices, lengthy rope ‘barriers’ and other posts carrying lengthy texts. There’s also a ‘Welcome’ board which seemingly depicts the paler ‘Spanish Bluebell’ - which is in danger of hybridising with, and ultimately ousting, the native English bluebell. Perhaps they don’t know the difference. Yes, some gentle guidance about keeping to the main tracks may be advisable but this is way over the top; and if you want to take a classic photograph of a broad sweep of deep purple, you’ll be lucky not to get some of the paraphernalia in the picture! One must just hope they don’t urbanise the other nearby bluebell wood in the same way. Meanwhile if the Trust wants to do something constructive, they could get to work clearing some of the bramble which is gradually overwhelming much of the bluebell area.

JOHN DAVIS Fairmead Avenue, Harpenden

And you thought it was over...

SIR - For personal reasons I’ve not had time to join in the letters-page debate about Christianity especially in connection with the Tredinnicks’ letters but have followed with interest and would like to belatedly add my two-penn’orth. As a former evangelical myself I understand better than some of your correspondents why John Tredinnick feels that a faith without a reliable Bible is too woolly. Unfortunately long years of reading and reflecting on it left me unable to continue to defend it, even if the traditional interpretations were correct and there were no alternatives. So I eventually felt the church was not teaching me anything new and I got involved in other weekend pastimes, including helping a late neighbour for several years. Anyway the main thrust of JT’s letters was, as highlighted in January, that gay relationships are wrong in God’s sight and people should not argue with Bible teaching particularly when employed by the Church. I understand what he is saying but there are some reservations. Firstly I think gay relations were frowned on in the Bible because not only did they fail to extend the Jewish population but there were doubtless associated STDs. Certainly I think the practical argument along these lines is better than an insistence on the Bible (Which one? The RC Jerusalem Bible? The OT?) being from a good God. The population issue is of course still divisive, as the Pope still opposes family planning whereas most of the RCs only agree with him in this area about abortion. And not a few non-religious people are at best uncomfortable with abortion as a form of family planning although it is difficult to make a big issue of this because so many people have had them. The other main thing I wanted to raise was that again the RC church is slower to change than the evangelicals, which is a tad surprising, in the area of marriage. JT’s letter insists that heterosexual relations are not sin. His church more generally would stress the sanctity of marriage as opposed to cohabitation (demonstrably a weaker basis for family, as commitment is often though not always lacking here) but is weaker than the RCs in its views of what Jesus would call adultery if you treat marriage as commitment for life. In other words Jesus implies in one gospel (Matt) that divorcees should not remarry while the ex is alive although he gives exceptions (for adultery!) in another gospel. There is logic to this, although it is hard for “innocent parties”, and overall I think that is the price to pay to make marriage more reliable although I think society has allowed marriage breakdown to become normal. I wonder whether JT and his like-minded evangelicals would happily attend the wedding of a divorcee. I admit you have to choose the lesser of two evils here, as rejecting a family member’s wedding invitation can have a lasting negative effect.

S BEAVER London Road, St Albans

Easter holidays inconsistencies

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SIR - When I first realised that the Easter holidays this year for some schools in Hertfordshire were different from most of the country, I was bemused that there was such inconsistency around something so fundamental as school term dates. However, having just come back from a week’s holiday in Dorset with my wife and two school-age children, I find myself wishing for more inconsistency throughout the year. We booked a holiday cottage at the last minute for the week of April 11-15, and enjoyed fantastic weather in such places as Monkey World and Brownsea Island. More importantly, these places were enjoyably peaceful, with low visitor numbers. And we knew that the week previously these places had been over-run with families making the most of the Easter holiday. In all likelihood, we would have gone to these attractions during the peak holidays anyway, if we have not had this quieter option. But I wonder if the wider community would benefit from a coordinated splitting of the school holidays among the county councils. For instance, having one core week of Easter holiday, when all schools are off, and a 50/50 split of schools (at a county level) either side of that core week.

N HAWKINS Runcie Close, St Albans

Our streets are saturated by bins

SIR - On very few occasions do I take to these pages with a political slant as I like to stay apolitical. However, after your advisory in this week’s Herts Advertiser regarding the new brown landfill waste bins soon to be imposed on us, I have to nail my colours to the mast. In theory, recycling is a good thing, but like all good things such as sugar, too much can be a very bad thing. St Albans has many narrow Victorian streets and equally narrow back gardens. With the addition of this third large bin, each garden and street will now resemble a council tip taking away the character and amenity of said road/garden, leaving the air around each brim-filled receptacle redolent of a rat’s nest; a filthy, stinking council tip, made much worse during summer. Not only that, the downgrade in size of the main bin is an act of crass stupidity. The current black waste bins are just about large enough for a two person household. What is a family of four or more to do when the smaller brown wheelie bins are “introduced?” Surely it would be better to administer the size of bin to the size of household? The council has this information and it would pose little or no cost. Now to the politics. This stupid over-recycling is not an effort to save the planet but to meet ever more stringent EU targets under the EU Waste Framework Directive. In every facet of our lives the EU has and continues to interfere to standardise and introduce rules which may work for some countries but for a sovereign nation state like ours, just do not work. From dictating the curvature of bananas to insisting on our club membership fee of £350 million per week (enough to build one NHS hospital) the EU machine has far exceeded its original trade remit, the one which made sense 45 years ago. Now, it has become an all powerful leviathan insisting on inappropriate regulation, dictat without negotiation and sees the UK as a cash cow to bail out other nations whose membership should never have been allowed simply because their economies are not in sync. Take Greece for example. Worst of all, they, not us, control our borders. Being part of Europe should not mean being ruled by them. Come June 23rd if we vote to leave, which we should, life will go on, jobs will still be safe and trade markets will still be open. The one thing that will have changed, however, is that we will have our destiny, direction and security in our own hands, something we had for millennia before the trade deal struck in 1971 became the power crazy madness of bureaucracy it is today. Remain in Europe? I’d rather have four recycling boxes littering my drive. I thank you!

BARRY CASHIN Green Lane, St Albans

MP rejected refugee children reunion

SIR - I read with sadness that local MP Anne Main was one of 294 MPs who voted against a new law that would have fast-tracked reuniting 3,000 unaccompanied refugee children with their families in the UK. I really thought Anne Main liked children - after all, didn’t she generously provide her own daughter with a rent-and-bills-free flat in St Albans some years ago, claimed on her expenses and paid for by the taxpayer?


Protest vote better than spoilt ballot

SIR - To the many voters who see no point in Police Commissioners, I suggest voting “NONE” in the forthcoming election might be an option. By writing “NONE” vertically across the portion of the ballot paper with candidates names on it, and drawing a single line through all of the boxes on the right hand, your vote is registered as a protest, not as a spoilt ballot. Visit www.votenone.org.uk for more details on how to do this correctly. Most countries, even as far as India now have a specific box for voters who are unhappy, but not here in the UK. So our only options are not to vote, or to vote for someone we don’t want. How democratic is that? Whether you intend to vote NONE or not, do spread the word, particularly to the many younger voters who do not vote in General Elections, in the hope that we might one day get politicians who we feel represent us.

IAN VANLINT Antonine Gate, St Albans

Local trio were all at the North Pole

SIR - Thanks again for your superb support of my North Pole endeavours. Last week’s edition was brilliant coverage and helps me lever even more donations for charity. St Albans resident Catherine Spitzer recently completed a 1 degree North Pole trek and was the first woman to reach the Pole this year. We met up recently with Harpenden’s Robert Smith who was on my expedition. It’s incredible really but I estimated that there were about 100 people on the Arctic sea ice (roughly half heading to the Pole and half running Camp Barneo) and of those 100 that come from all over the world three were from St Albans district! We’re tinking of starting the Herts Polar Adventurers Club!

ED SUTTIE Verulam Road, St Albans