Letters to the editor

A selection of letters from this week’s paper

Stop the drivel and get on with your job

“The police will do their very best”. Really? Is that opinion or fact? (Courier letters, March 11)

I don’t know what provoked “police spokesman” to respond, but the letter last week was pathetic and sick making. What a load of cliché ridden garbage to put before the public as a sort of anonymous apologia for just being there and costing a lot of money. Let me remind the police that they face no “budget challenges”. The public faces those challenges alone through large council and general taxes.

“All members of the police are determined to deliver maximum levels of protection from the resources made available”. If this is so I suggest they get on with doing their duty and cut down on excessive overtime and waste. Let police try patrolling singly, not in twos and threes. Taxpayers pick up all police bills and get little in return.

The insolently couched letter from that anonymous spokesman was cringe-making and pathetic coming from a body (force) that once had respect from the public.

To go on about “safer neighbourhood teams” is a sly distraction from the fact that safer neighbourhoods are an individual police responsibility. How did ordinary neighbourhoods become unsafe in the first place? Let police spokespersons tell us of their omissions and failures and how they propose to rectify them.

“We will continue to prioritise police activity that tackles the most serious harms”. Continue? What were they doing before and what of not-so-serious harms? If the UK is crime-ridden, it is a direct function of police inadequacy at all levels.

Police talk of “protecting people” when we read regularly how they fail to do this and leave victims to fend for themselves or suffer in silence. What does the “Police Authority” propose to do on behalf of taxpayers who are forced to listen to constant drivel, suffer inaction and read letters from an anonymous spokesman?

If every member of the Warwickshire Police “will do their very best” then I urge their chiefs to deliver some very stern warnings to their workforce and remind them individually of their responsibilities to the people who must go short and strive to exist in order to help pay for the large resources the police consume. To do “their best” is no longer enough. More is required!

I advise the Police Authority that they had better be a little more humble and very circumspect in dealings with the public in future and simply get on with their jobs. No more anonymous drivel contained in whining letters to this paper please. - Greville Warwick, Station Road, Kenilworth.

No alternative but to say yes on May 5

It seems that a lot of people in Leamington and Warwick are still unaware of the forthcoming referendum on May 5, when we will all have a chance to vote for, or against, a new voting system for general elections.

The proposed system, ‘The Alternative Vote’, is simple and will be familiar to many readers as it is commonly used for trades union and professional association elections. It allows voters to rank candidates in order of preference, (1,2,3 etc.) as many or as few as you like.

This system is also used by the Labour Party, the House of Commons and the House of Lords for their own internal elections. Perversely some local MPs don’t want voters to have the system which they have already chosen for themselves.

Could this be because The Alternative Vote gives a little more power to voters and a little less to the manipulative political parties and their spin doctors? I would urge all readers to vote yes to The Alternative Vote on May 5. - Rod Dorling, Radford Road, Leamington.

No need for lucky heather at the races

On the car park on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival last week, there was a group of Gypsy women selling “lucky white heather”

I was approached by one of them with arms open, sympathetic expression on her face, holding the so-called “lucky white heather” in her hand, she said: “ ‘ere y’are love, buy a lucky ‘eather, it’ll bring you lots of luck”. I just smiled and replied, “I see, in that case why are you out here trying to sell it to everyone - can’t be that lucky”.

Further on there was a tout selling tickets and I bought two (one for my wife) for a tenner cheaper than the entrance fee.

We had a great afternoon. I backed four winners for a total profit of £777.50. My wife also showed a tidy profit.

The last time I bought “lucky white heather” was at Goodwood races. After buying it I couldn’t get a racecard - they were sold out. Not knowing the jockeys colours, I put fifty quid on number one at 9/1. It looked beautiful cantering down to the start and duly won, but it turned out it was number 11. The jockey had covered the other digit with his leg. It cost me £50 plus £450 winnings.

Does ‘lucky white heather’ work for anyone? - George Sullivan, Pinehurst, Cubbington.

A disgrace to British justice system

I am writing to voice my opinion, horror and absolute disgust at the recent Crown Prosecution Service’s decision to prosecute three Warwickshire Fire Service managers in relation to the 2007 Atherstone warehouse fire.

As a member of the public, I have always been under the impression firefighters are there to “protect” our families, our communities, our homes and our possesions.

How on earth is this possible if they are not even allowed to enter a burning building?

I assume this will be the case from now on in light of the charges being brought against these officers? How is it therefore in the public interest to prosecute these men? Surely it will only be to the detriment of the public, as in the future, officers will not be sending their men into any situation deemed risky or dangerous (despite this being the very nature of the job they signed up to!) for fear of prosecution?!

To suggest any officer would willingly send their men to such a devastating fate is nothing short of an outrage!

If that is the case, do we now hold Blair accountable for sending our troops to Iraq? Do we also then hold each and every troop commander accountable for decisions they may have made to send a soldier out on patrol, only for them to have been caught up in gunfire or struck by a roadside bomb?

An utterly ridiculous suggestion, I am sure you will agree. Yet these firefighters were in an equally dangerous situation doing a job they loved, lived for and were so justly proud of.

The officers in charge of them that night have themselves risked their own lives week in and week out to save the lives, homes and possessions of complete strangers. The four firefighters who so tragically lost their lives in that fire were not only colleagues of these officers, but friends, who they had worked with, trained with, and no doubt carried each other through many a horrific “job”, the trauma of which the majority of us cannot even begin to comprehend.

To suggest these officers are guilty of any form of misconduct, let alone manslaughter, is an absolute disgrace and is sure to bring nothing but shame on the “so-called” British justice system if this should be allowed to continue and proceed to court. - Mrs. A. N. Oliver-Barr, Beauchamp Road, Warwick,

Aid must start with the needy at home

In his Westminster Briefing of last week local MP Jeremy Wright extolled the virtues of Britain showering developing countries with foreign aid, paid for by the British taxpayer.

Claiming that it is both right and beneficial, he further stated that we are one of the wealthiest countries in the world. What a pity that this wealth is not shared out amongst home-grown recipients before being doled out like soap coupons all over the globe.

This began over 60 years ago and looks like being eternal. Our children yet unborn will have this albatross to bear.

India, for example, has been receiving aid from us since 1947 and currently receives £280 million a year from the British taxpayer.

How’s that for a country with a booming economy, or nuclear power status and rich enough to buy major British companies, including that British icon Jaguar cars. Did all this come out of our foreign aid?

Mr Wright’s colleague, aid minister Andrew Mitchell, stated recently that it is part of the British DNA to be there for those in desperate straits.

This being the case, I suggest that he and Jeremy Wright travel down to Okehampton in Devon and tell this to the unemployed of that area, 200 of who are in direct recepit of charity food parcels since three local factories closed down this year.

These once proud people are now dependent on food handouts from a charity called Food Bank in order to put food on the table for their children.

This is Britain in the 21st century and I urge both Mr Wright and Andrew Mitchell to go and tell them of the benefits and moral rights of foreign aid. - Mick Cole, The Square, Kenilworth.

Performance was joy to behold

ON Friday night we were lucky enough to watch a performance of Turn It Up by the Mirage Dance Company at North Leamington School. The dancing and singing was excellent, made so much more enjoyable because all the girls and boys smiled at the audience.

Well done all of you and thank you very much. - Helen Vallis, Weston Close, Sydenham.

Banking bonus beggars belief

How Barclays and other bank directors can even consider accepting their obscenely high bonuses when most people are having to make cutbacks and experiencing job losses, beggars belief.

The argument that these bankers would jump ship and join foreign banks if they were not rewarded on this scale is nonsensical.

Let them go. They are surely replaceable by managers of equal – or superior – calibre and competence.

Let us hope that they put their ill-gotten gains to good use and give donations to worthy causes.

If only bankers and others in this bonus culture could follow the maxim that ‘good work is its own reward’.

The only way I can protest is to move my account from Barclays to an ethical bank -though I realise that the loss of a long-standing customer will not be of the slightest concern to Bob Diamond. - Gillian Ingham, via email.

Are we all ‘in it together’?

It is a difficult time for everyone, with many people experiencing wage and pension freezes and many others fearing for their employment in the long term.

None of us will escape the consequences of VAT rises. We are told by the Prime Minister, the Chancellor and our MP that ‘we are all in this together’ and that everyone will have to cut their expenses but many costs are rising, or certainly not falling.

I have just paid for my TV licence, £135. I’ve been looking at our MPs’ expenses and see that Chris White has claimed his licence on expenses.

Can he explain why taxpayers, many of whom have experienced a fall in income, should pay his licence for him? - Ann Morrison, Leam Terrace, Leamington.