READERS' LETTERS: As seen in The Wokingham Paper of March 12, 2020

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Chinese meal
Picture: RitaE from Pixabay

Support your local Chinese restaurant today

It is troubling to read reports of incidents of racism and prejudicial treatment toward people of Chinese heritage because of the coronavirus outbreak.

It is important that we recognise these attitudes for what they are, challenge them and continue to treat people equally politely, welcomingly and courteously.

It is also troubling to read articles in the news about downturn in trade that Chinese restaurants across the country are suffering – this being blamed on ignorant prejudice regarding coronavirus.

It is important for us to remember that many livelihoods depend on income from these businesses and they are a valuable part of our community.

In Wokingham, we’re lucky enough to have excellent quality Chinese restaurants and takeaways and I feel it is important to be mindful of the prejudice that some of these businesses are currently facing and continue to support these local businesses through this difficult time.

Fred Sardo, Wokingham

Shocked by tone

I read the recent letter printed regarding “flyer tipping” and was quite shocked by its tone.

I also received this flyer and was relieved that I wasn’t the only person impacted by the loud and intrusive crashing.

I applaud that individual’s conviction of trying to rally support for something that they found difficult to live with.

This country would be a far weaker place if we all just “ignored the problem” as the letter suggests.

From women’s suffrage to workers’ rights – positive change was fuelled by those who took a stand.

I find the lack of empathy in the letter quite sad. The idea that if something doesn’t affect you personally then it’s okay to admonish those who try to fix it is an embarrassing indictment of how we treat each other.

Part of me hopes the letter was written as a parody, as after it scolds others for “hiding behind anonymity” they opted to do the same and chose not to have their name published.

Lastly, the flyer suggest that those bothered by noise pollution should just ignore it.

Perhaps they should follow their own advice and do the same about any flyers that get posted through their letterbox in the future.

Indy, Woosehill

Response to Flyer Tipping letter

I am replying to last week’s letter titled Flyer Tipping.

I was a recipient of the flyer and was relieved as it confirmed there are others that find the frequent heavy industrial noise highly intrusive.

I thank the flyer poster for informing me how to constructively complain about a source of continuous noise disturbance. If I had a ‘no flyer’ sign on my door, it would the one flyer I would be really appreciative to receive. 

The drone and whine of heavy industrial machinery interspersed 
with sonic crashes was not present when I moved to this quiet estate some years ago.

People who’ve lived here for 30-plus years said it was once a quiet suburb, but now the atmosphere is often dominated by loud  industrial  machinery embedded in woodland only 300 metres away from a widely populated residential zone ! 

 Last summer I became aware of how intensely loud the noise was and like the author I chose to consciously ignore it but after fellow residents raised the issue it dawned on me that it’s an unacceptable noise for a residential zone. 

It is something forced upon people and unlike the author, people can’t quietly place it in the recycling bin.

It dominates the home – it’s in the garden, in the living room .

Depending on the wind it is even audible from Morrison’s car park which is just over a kilometre away from the source.

Admittedly some people won’t notice, some won’t care, some will have got used to it, yet some haven’t got used to it and won’t and nor should they have to.

 The author of the letter is luckily unaffected by the noise pollution and can ignore this obtrusive level of heavy industrial noise yet gets hot and bothered over a piece of A4 paper trying to affect positive change. 

The author felt so strongly that they went to the effort of righteously voicing their condemnation in the local newspaper! I’d say to the author to take some of your own ‘advice’ and if it doesn’t affect you, ignore it. 

Lastly, the author was scathing in the flyer poster’s omission of a name , yet didn’t have theirs published.

 Ally, Woosehill

Memory supply

I read with interest all the complaints about Wokingham Council in your previous issue, most of which are fully justified.

However, every cloud has a silver lining, so they say, as it is now obvious that a loss of medium and short-term memory (a classic Alzheimer’s condition) must be caused by
a virus which probably narrows down the research needed to affect a cure.

How else could such a massive erasure of memory affect so many people and in such a short time, that they have forgotten both the incompetence of the previous local Conservative council with their bullying tactics and complete failure to listen to the people who voted for them, and also nationally when after years of the most savage cuts on necessary services inflicted by Westminster probably since the Second World War.

Miraculously, on calling a general election, unlimited amounts of money were suddenly available.

Only a virus can spread this fast, as we now know only too well, due to recent events with their beginnings in China.

If we can now find a cure for the Alzheimer “virus” maybe people might again remember enough not to vote Tory again!

Tony Peters, Wokingham

Gone to the birds

Last week’s Wokingham Paper front page reported a Closure date revealed for Carnival Pool site.

Welcome news which quite rightly has been overshadowed by the dreadful coronavirus epidemic.

The Carnival Pool article states that preparatory work saw trees around the site chopped down ahead of the nesting season.

Had a developer taken such brutal action we would all be shouting foul but the Council by its actions has shown itself to be no different to these nasty developers we all hate when they are the developers.

Trees help with clean air and the reduction of pollution.

As this road junction is one of the worst  road junctions for vehicles and traffic queues in Wokingham that will now get worse. 

Not very nice for the residents living or working locally.

I wonder also what will happen when all the migrating birds return to find their habitat gone?

So much for Climate Emergency when once again trees play second fiddle to Planning permissions involving bricks and mortar and so the destruction of trees goes on which sadly is now the norm.  

Shame on you Wokingham Borough Council. 

Cllr Gary Cowan Independent Borough Councillor for Arborfield at Wokingham Borough Council.

The cause of a week’s uncertainty

Cartoon wokingham

‘The cause of a week’s uncertainty’ The Wokingham Paper, March 5.

Those who come across my rambling will have correctly suspected that I have little sympathy for those claiming political authority.

However, for those charged with the responsibility for preparing to combat the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19), they most certainly do.

Overreact, spend too much time and money on a threat that does not escalate as predicted they will be accused of wasting public resources, scaremongering, unnecessarily disrupting society and damaging the national economy.

Do nothing and they will, if matters deteriorate, be charged with complacency.

They will indeed, be damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

For all our sakes, it must be hoped decisions made and actions taken prove to be the right ones.

We, for our part, must heed the advice given and accept our share of a collective responsibility.

J W Blaney, Wokingham

International Women’s Day responses

On Sunday, March 8, Wokingham.Today published an opinion piece to mark Internataional Women’s Day. By Cllr Sarah Kerr, it looked at some of the things she had experienced. Here, Bernadatte Mitra responds, and Cllr Kerr replies to her views

International Women’s Day – apparently the goose has been cooked.

I have many European friends, and I know just too well that my female European friends make a special occasion of International Women’s Day.

In countries such as Moldova it’s a public holiday where women get spoilt with an abundance of flowers and gifts.

To me International Women’s Day is not so much about flowers and gifts, but about genuinely supporting other woman, relentlessly championing them and building them up.

The world of local politics can be exhilarating and at the same time challenging.

I recently joined a community forum with the aim of connecting with residents to engage with them about the local issues and concerns.

Almost immediately I’ve been told (by another women) that I’ve already ‘cooked my goose’ in response to a few sincere photographs of the Conservatives reporting potholes in Winnersh.

This was followed by an onslaught of tainted comments.

More recently someone else commented that I’ll get ‘short shrift in Winnersh’ where I’m standing as a candidate councillor representing the Conservatives.

I entered the world of local politics with gusto and zeal, always eager to serve societies in my adopted home country, that I grew to love devotedly.

Why would someone, without knowing me personally, be so insistent on seeing me fail?

Why would another woman, who doesn’t know me either, tell me that I’ve cooked my goose (which means that I’ve burnt myself, all hope is gone and there is no possibility of success).

These comments came from your very own Liberal Democrat supporters.

My question to Cllr Sarah Kerr is; what have you done to call out your own Party’s supporters who unhesitatingly try to despirit and quash other females with comments like this?

How will you help forge a gender equal world – what is the action plan?

How have you raised awareness against bias other than a Wokingham.Today article?

In the past, how have you taken action for equality?

As it turns out, there is no goose to cook (I’m pescatarian) and comments like this make me even more determined than before to set the world to rights.

Woman to woman, how do you suggest we work together – Liberal Democrat’s, Conservatives and Labour – to tackle intimidating online behaviour and what have you done to stamp out comments like these to females in other political parties?

Bernadette Mitra is the prospective Conservative candidate for Winnersh in the forthcoming local elections

Dear Bernadette,

Thank you for taking the time to write about this and to engage on such an important issue. 

Firstly, if the person that made these comments to you is a party member, then I suggest you make a formal complaint to the party where they will properly investigate. 

I do not know who it is and whether they are a member as I’ve not seen what you’re referring to. 

However, are you saying that these comments were made to you because you’re a woman? 

Or is it because of your political allegiance? 

I’ve tried very hard to make the gender equality article non-partisan. 

This is about women standing shoulder to shoulder irrespective of their political believes and I’ve kept the party politics out of it. 

As to what I’ve done in my short time (as a borough councillor) so far, I’ve pushed through an equalities motion that was approved by council which takes into account all protected characteristics including gender.

I have spoken passionately in full council twice now about the inequalities we face both in and outside of the council chamber to raise awareness.

The second of these speeches actually changed how many of our colleagues were going to vote on an issue that disproportionately affects women in our favour. 

I’ve also started discussions with senior officers about measures that can be taken to make our council more equal in regards to gender. 

The Local Government Association (LGA) have published some really useful ways in which some of the barriers can be taken down. 

This is in the early stages, but something I feel quite passionately about and will continue to champion. 

Added to that, any decision I get to make, I will always make sure that I consider all protected characteristics as per the Equalities Act 2010, and add that into any arguments that need to be made where appropriate.

Should you be elected, will you work with me to do the same?

 Have you got other ideas that you would champion? 

With regards to online bullying and harassment, if they’re members of the public, currently there is very little we can do. 

There needs to be a change in the law so maybe we should be lobbying governments on this, although I hold out little hope with the old boys network running everything at the moment, but I’m open to suggestions. 

May I ask, what would you do? 

Thanks so much

Cllr Sarah Kerr, is Lib Dem councillor for Evendons Ward

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