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READERS LETTERS: From the February 7 issue of The Wokingham Paper

David v Goliath

SO, after a number of years of costly squabbling and court room drama, David have finally defeated Goliath in the matter of Hare Hatch Sheeplands v The Shute End Bully Boys.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of the dispute, it will, of course, be business as usual: the council tax payers will be expected to foot

the bill, the total of which, as is their practise, councillors will do their best to keep securely tucked away from public view under secretive municipal hats.

All his following hard on the heels of the £11,825 worth of legal fees incurred and paid to the mother whose daughter’s personal details they (Wokingham Borough Council) handed over to her convicted sex attacker.

Yet another in a string of council indiscretions.

As for the green belt, Wokingham Borough Council’s claims of wishing to protect it are, light of their feverish annihilation of trees and open spaces by means of what appears to be an insatiable programme of urbanisation, not only rings hollow but are hypocritical, disingenuous and, bearing in mind a number of previous, somewhat dubious undertakings, laughable.

J W Blaney,

Wokingham

 

Why I’ve got those Backstop blues

As an Irishman living in the Wokingham area I felt I should respond to Mr Reg Clifton’s letter on the Irish backstop and the whole Brexit affair (letters, January 31).

His comments are typical of an uninformed public who view Britain’s withdrawal from the EU from the inside looking out rather than taking a step-back and looking at the bigger picture.

I back up this statement up by referring to the latest news that Nissan is to greatly reduce its production at its Sunderland plant, citing uncertainty about Brexit, in a constituency that voted leave.  These people failed to see the big picture too and voted for Nissan’s exit.

He cites EU leaders like Macron and Merkel has having an anti-UK attitude. He failed to grasp that Britain chose to leave and the EU’s real attitude is hurry-up and go so we can get on with what we are supposed to be doing and not clearing up this mess. Britain left the party but the party can’t continue as the door is blocked by the people that say they want to leave.

Mr Clifton’s idea that Ireland is responsible for creating a border is too far off the mark. The Irish did not vote to leave, Britain did, so the financial and logistical repercussions and costs fall to the those who wish the change the status quo.

If you jacked your job, you would not expect your current employer to find you a new job, would you?

The EU does not want a border with Northern and the Republic of Ireland either as stated by Mr Clifton.

In reality neither the EU nor Britain has any say in this matter as this is governed by an international treaty that is above Ireland, Britain and the EU and can only be renegotiated as a new international treaty.

The Good Friday (or Belfast) agreement is a compromise, and like all compromises, it required a lot of give and take on both sides. The net result was an end to the violence and terrorism in Northern Ireland and an overall better life for everyone.

Earlier in the new year, a dissident terrorist organisation detonated a car-bomb in Derry city centre on a Saturday night. This went widely unreported in this part of the world but thankfully there was no civilian casualties and limited infrastructure damage. But the message from the paramilitaries was clear – we are still here and still active and capable of doing this in a city centre.

The placing of any sort of a controlled border in Ireland will over-write the above treaty, the dissidents will justify  a return to violence by saying Britain changed the parameters of the above compromise.  The day we see British officials manning a checkpoint in any part of Ireland, north or south, will be the very day the guns and bombs return to the region.

It gets further complicated by the fact the Northern Ireland voted remain yet the current government,  propped up by the Democratic Unionist Party which want out, is being led by Theresa May, a staunch remainer, who is now trying to deliver something she does not believe in.

As far as united Ireland is concerned (as also suggested by Mr Clinton), that too is governed by the Good Friday agreement and can only happen if there is a referendum to decide the same – an unlikely case given DUP’s status as the government prop, Sinn Fein MPs who won’t take their seats in Westminster as a form of protest vote and the fact that the autonomous government of Northern Ireland has not sat in session in Stormont for over two years as a result of a separate dispute that should have been dealt with a long time ago except this thing called Brexit got in the way.

To solve any of this May and her Government are faced with the most unprecedented dilemma that no one seems to have cottoned on to yet.

She can place a border in Ireland but she will be forever known as the Prime Minister who was responsible for the return of violence to the area.

Or she can solve the border issue by calling for a 32-county united Ireland referendum but she will always be remembered as the Prime Minister who broke up the Union.

The most horrifying part of all of this is that she arrived at the above dilemma trying, as a vote remain campaigner, to deliver something she does not believe in.

Sean Moriarty, Wokingham

Keep the pressure up

After the ‘debatable debate’ where a Shinfield residents petition of over 1,600 signatures about overdevelopment, was so poorly managed by Wokingham Borough Council (WBC) that residents walked out, WBC has recommended planning approval [for Cutbush Lane] just a few days later.

Given how WBC treat its residents it is hardly a surprise.

They have ignored multiple residents’ petitions with over 10,000 signatures, frustrating residents of Barkham, Shinfield, Twyford, Finchampstead, Arborfield to name but a few.

Add to this the supporters of Lollipop Ladies, ‘regeneration victims’ and those trying to save Wokingham Post Office – all ignored or frustrated by ‘policy’ gobbledygook. So much for the promises to listen.

If you think Wokingham is getting bad just think what it will be like with over 20,000 more houses being developed in the next few years.

Given how these figures keep rising this could be over 30,000 houses making Wokingham the proud owners of some of the biggest housing estates in the whole of Europe.

If you feel that enough is enough and that we need to get some level of common sense into development and not simply say yes to almost everything developers and the University of Reading ask for, then come along to the planning meeting Wednesday, February 13, starting at 7pm at the Shute End offices.

It is time residents made a stand to say enough is enough across the whole of Wokingham.

We all suffer from the traffic congestion and the already full to capacity M4 junctions.

Commutes are being extended beyond any level of being reasonable.

Our hospitals, Doctors and maternity units are already stressed to near breaking point.

Getting local school places in some areas impossible.  Green fields and green spaces lost for ever. Wildlife habitat gone for ever.

All driven by political dogma and with no sense of responsibility for residents or communities.

It is time to make them listen! Come along 13 Feb and let WBC know ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

Jim Frewin, Shinfield

I was wrong!

After my misjudgements in last week’s letter re Brexit, I undertook one of my infrequent studies in Law – to re-assess the 1957 treaty and afterwards. It is hard to believe the concepts and intentions were to establish an ‘ideal world’ as the EU.

I cannot find any ‘get out’ clauses, but then who would want to leave given the commitment and equity to ALL members, (i.e their populations).

The primary error in the philosophy was the urgency to have a common currency without political integration, something they are now intending to force on members.

With the example of Italian history, within the EU borders, it is pathetic

that the need for integration was ignored as a prerequisite for monetary union.

Mention of Italy reminds us of today’s imbalances, social and financially, between the Germans with the French, and certainly some southern Mediterranean countries such as Greece.

It is hard to believe that the ‘caring for all’ intent has been forgotten in favour of centralising industries such as cars, because good EU management should have considered the effects of that process – natural in most countries to achieve the benefits of lower product costs.

There is no easy answer to ‘what should be done’ to deal with job losses! Keep in mind we are suffering ‘slowly’ in the UK as we sell off companies, or international companies take work out of the UK.

We have heard about policies, ‘being for all’ – inferring equity.  Yes – from the PM; but I predict the social upheaval we are going through regarding the rapidly changing work scene and serious loss of jobs, retailers and their staff, will not be addressed by politicians.

These notes were written before the BBC programme on Monday – Inside Europe: 10 Years of Turmoil, which I recommend all Readers to see.

It is an excellent aid to deciding In or OUT!

Reg Clifton, Wokingham

Beat this…

Not wanting to be outdone by his sister reading it on a riceboat a couple of weeks ago…

Six-year-old Benjamin read the Wokingham Paper with his snowman in the garden, while his sister enjoys a civilised cup of tea!

Rebecca Cyriac, Wokingham

 

Positively dangerous

I cannot agree with Pam Jenkinson (Your Letters, January 24) that “all welfare, including mental health care, should be provided by volunteers. I believe that could be positively dangerous.

I do agree that volunteer groups and individuals, peer support and charities are vital and do build on professional input, as well as often providing what the latter cannot provide – or at least on a more regular/individual needs basis.

I also agree wholeheartedly that mental health services and the provision for the homeless are woefully deficient and money needs to be put into better facilities and staffing for both.

The recent Government injection of extra funding into West Berkshire’s NHS Child and Adolescent mental health (CAMH) services and the recent opening of five brand new and purpose-built flats, providing affordable housing for those with housing needs and to prevent homelessness – built by Reading’s homeless prevention and support charity Launchpad – will begin to address this woeful deficiency across West Berkshire, but these inadequacies still remain acute sadly.

Finally, I fully support Pam Jenkinson and the Crisis Centre and hope she and it continue to provide what local folk so urgently need and for many more years to come.

Even if I do not agree with Pam on every issue or detail: As she wrote herself, “It is good to have differences of opinion”. At least our letters help to keep debate on welfare issues going.

Paul Farmer, Reading

Putting a stamp on the loo

PERISH THE THOUGHT that the WHSmith move goes ahead, but how about converting the Post Office into much-needed public toilets ?!

Which adds a new meaning to the choice of 1st or 2nd Class delivery !?

Nick Crowson- Towers

Vandalism at its worst

Last month’s vandalism at the Bomber Command Memorial highlighted the very worst and the very best of our communities.

I cannot thank your readers enough for their incredible support in the wake of this shocking paint attack.

To date we have received more than £25,000 in donations to help the RAF Benevolent Fund meet the repair bill. Repair works have now been completed on the Memorial and it is now returned to its former glory.

As well as the donations received, the RAF Benevolent Fund had thousands of messages of support from around the world. It was heart-warming to see how well the Memorial, the veterans and the 55,573 men it stands to represent are thought of.

We must never forget their sacrifices and the RAF Benevolent Fund is proud to be the guardian of this tribute to their legacy, for generations to come.

As the Fund enters its 100th year of support for the RAF Family, we must not forget those veterans who are still with us. Our aim this year is to ask for the public’s help in reaching more of these veterans and their families, while we still can.

Our support could help pay for the care costs of an RAF widow, or provide for mobility aids to keep an elderly veteran at home, or simply allow a veteran to enjoy his retirement in dignity and comfort, through a regular financial grant. Put simply, the RAF Benevolent Fund looks after the RAF Family.

If you know someone in need of support, contact our free support line 0800 169 2942 or email mail@rafbf.org.uk

Air Vice-Marshal David Murray

Chief Executive, RAF Benevolent Fund

Just another day?

This Valentine’s Day, many parents will be looking forward to a romantic night out, leaving their children in the safe hands of a babysitter.

However, for a family caring for a seriously ill child this is not always possible due to the complexity or severity of their child’s condition, and Valentine’s Day becomes ‘just another day’.

This year to raise funds for these families, Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity is asking members of the public to create a personalised Valentine e-card where they can donate, create and download a gorgeous e-card which can be sent to their loved ones via email or shared on social media.

Every donation received will help Rainbow Trust’s Family Support Workers provide vital practical and emotional support to families when they need it most.

To create a card visit https://rainbowtrust.org.uk/valentine-ecard-pr and help ensure that 14 February is more than ‘just another day’.

Oonagh Goodman, Director of Fundraising and Marketing

Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity

Cassini Court, Randalls Way, Leatherhead, Surrey KT22 7TW

 

Think you can do better? Send your comments to letters@wokinghampaper.co.uk, comment on our Facebook posts or leave a reply under this article and we will print a selection in a forthcoming issue.

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