Readers’ Letters December 16

Readers’ letters from the December 16 issue of the Observer.

WHAT A disgrace – no Christmas lights in our beautiful cathedral city!

Why is it that other large cities, and lots of smaller villages can manage excellent displays of lights for Christmas but Chichester cannot?

Surely money for this project should be put aside by the council ahead of other less important projects?

Or, perhaps, it should graciously accept whatever offers are made from businesses, as this lack of lights will have a large effect on people who would normally visit our lovely city for their Christmas shopping – which subsequently will impinge on retailers’ profits (or lack of)!

As for the feeble excuse that it is now too late to put up the lights, would it not have been possible to utilise some council workers and really get the Christmas spirit going by making our city a ‘real-glow’ instead of a ‘no-glow’.

Happy Christmas!

Linda Howick, Sidlesham Common

DO OUR residents not find it embarrassing, like myself, not to have festive lights and be unfavourably compared with cities such as Salisbury and Winchester?

We all know Chichester is a great place to shop and so, if the multiples who dominate our streets are only willing to contribute modest amounts of cash, surely the necessary funds should be paid from the business rates collected by the district council and levied on the principal beneficiaries in the four main streets?

The snag here seems to be that it is the city council which has traditionally arranged the lights.

Can someone please explain in simple terms what is the purpose of the city council?

I accept the need for a mayor as ‘figurehead’, but cannot the rest of the organisation be merged into the district council?

What is the city council’s total budget and how are its officers elected and deselected?

Surely a modest sum such as, say £50,000, could be set aside from the joint resources and are there not employees capable of checking a few light bulbs and putting them up in the streets?

John Procter, Broyle Road, Chichester

I HAVE just read Peter Homer’s article on page five where the council’s planning and conservation committee are criticising some shops for their dark and drab colours.

They would like to see more brightness in the city but obviously Christmas lights don’t meet this criteria.

Chichester was criticised on television for being among the top five councils for holding ratepayers’ money on deposit,

Myles Cullen, the leader, said he thought £5m was an appropriate figure.

Many people come to shop in Chichester because they like to see the Christmas lights, I’m sure the cost of £30,000 will be lost in trade going elsewhere.

I think the decision is very shortsighted and another nail in the coffin for traders struggling to pay the high rent and rates already charged by the local authority.

RS Smithers, Chichester

I WAS saddened last week when national news reporters from the BBC were doing a special report on the lack of festive illuminations in the city and the image being created.

Over the years Chichester District and City Councils together with the Chamber of Trade and businesses have been pivotal in bringing together these lights.

However, through the offices of the City Centre Partnership organisation I wonder what was done to help facilitate this project this year and moreover what steps do they propose to put in place for the 2011 festivities?

Michael Hayward, Chichester

WHAT A pathetic piece of public relations by Chichester City Council.

There they were in summer, boasting about how many millions had been spent by tourists – and now it’s one of the most unfestive places around.

Surely it could have seen that by putting on a really good show, and lifting everyone’s spirits at a difficult economic time, it might attract more shoppers from outside the city?

It seems to me that the council’s PR people could have done more much earlier to persuade traders (and developers) to cough up. Running a city isn’t just about saving money, it’s about caring for those who live in it.

In that regard I expect councillors to shine a bit brighter. The second home owners who get ten per cent council tax discount WILL be so disappointed at the city’s unilluminating efforts – to say nothing of the rest of us.

David Tindall. Chichester

IN YEARS gone by, the farmers were organised to clear the minor roads around their farms when there were freezing temperatures and/or heavy snow falls.

The farmers were provided with a snowplough, which could be attached to their tractors, as well as grit/sand.

As soon as there were signs of bad weather, the farmers went into action.

Thus roads, other than the main ones, could be kept clear for local traffic.

I believe the farmers were paid some sort of honorarium for this service and were on the spot to go into operation as soon as a phone call came though.

Why is this arrangement still not in operation?

It would be far cheaper and easier than using heavy vehicles through the narrow lanes and help prevent the country coming to a standstill as soon as freezing weather and heavy snow blows in from Siberia.

A Bromley-Martin (Mrs), Bosham Hoe

I AM tired of Emsworth dog owners!!

We have just come back from a walk round the millpond, and there was scarcely an inch of clean pavement.

We could not look up and enjoy the view. This is not a one-off but all the time. Constantly looking down and dodging the dog poo.

I am really very angry and tired of the excreta everywhere in Emsworth.

Clean up, please. I am disgusted.

Don’t come into my house wearing shoes!

Annie Cluley, Emsworth

I WAS sorely tempted to write a letter in response to the article (Chichester Observer, November 18) concerning traffic in White Chimney Row in Westbourne in which Jake Carey-Rand complained about cars speeding in excess of 60mph in that road.

However, I thought that as the claim was so exaggerated it was not necessary – particularly as at the junction of Old Farm Lane and White Chimney Row there is a right angle bend with an adverse camber.

It is not easy to get round that bend at over 30mph to get a ‘flying start’ although over the years several drivers have tried and failed as the flint walls and garden walls bear witness.

However, recently there was a follow-up article in the same vein in which he now claims there are double-yellow lines outside the houses.

As of 4pm, on Saturday, December 4, there are no yellow lines in White Chimney Row, single or double!

There is a single white line outside most of the houses.

An exaggeration for the sake of effect is one thing but there is no justification whatsoever in being ‘economical with the truth’.

We have lived in Westbourne for more than 43 years and have always been aware of the problems.

I have driven along that road several thousand times on my way to and from work and to collect and deliver an assortment of grandchildren but I doubt if Jensen Button or Lewis Hamilton driving their Formula 1 Mclarens could achieve 60mph in that road and probably would have more sense than to try.

Roads and cars are not inherently dangerous unless they are defective.

Drivers are dangerous and dangerous drivers will ignore traffic warning signs if they feel so inclined and there is no doubt they do ignore them in that road regardless of the fact there is no pavement and all of it is within a 30mph zone and most of us who live in the village will have had a ‘close encounter’ or worse with another vehicle there at some time or other.

There is no simple answer to Mr Carey-Rand’s perceived problem.

Installing ‘sleeping policemen’ (an awake one being a great rarity in this village) or chicanes giving priority to traffic coming from one direction or another are likely to be ignored as would vehicle-activated traffic lights, but by parking in such a manner as to make drivers cross to the right side of the road to avoid his car he will only exacerbate the situation and could easily be the cause of a very nasty head-on collision.

I worked in the finance and insurance industries all my working life and think his insurers may take a very dim view of his deliberate and admitted actions to the extent of reducing or even repudiating any claim should his car get damaged.

He should also bear in mind that there are, at a conservative estimate, as many as a million uninsured drivers in this country many of whom have never passed a test and have no thoughts for the safety of others and although the Motor Insurers Bureau will meet personal injury claims it does not meet damage claims.

I understand Mr Carey-Rand has lived in White Chimney Row for just a few months and I think that he should have checked the road and the traffic before taking up residence or perhaps he should join that unhappy band of pilgrims who move to the countryside and then complain about sheep bleating, cattle lowing, cockerels crowing (try that in France!) or church bells ringing.

They also tend to move to areas near airports and motor race circuits and then complain about the noise.

Or maybe he should just take heed of the quotation by the American president Harry S Truman, ‘If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen’.

L E Dean, Westbourne

IN RESPONSE to your article Road crusader hails the success of road measure there are a few points I would like your readers and Mr Jake Carey-Rand to consider.

Firstly, my son used to cycle from Westbourne to Bourne Community College but I feel with these irresponsible residents parking their cars in the already narrow road making it even more dangerous for children cycling to school.

It is an accident waiting to happen, so with regret I have now stopped him cycling to school and my wife takes him to school by car through the same narrow road, making more traffic and more pollution through White Chimney Row.

Secondly, by parking their cars in the road, how would they feel if there was an accident caused by their vehicles?

I’m sure with their irresponsible attitude towards other motorists that if the situation was reversed they would moan about it and complain to the police.

Thirdly, if there was an accident caused by their vehicles, would they be prosecuted? I hope so, by trying to stop people carrying out their legal rights all these vigilantes are doing is putting innocent motorists, cyclists and pedestrians in danger.

They have no consideration for anyone except themselves.

I hope Mr Jake Carey-Rand and his band of vigilantes read this letter and reconsider, at least when children are being taken to and from school.

In my opinion, all they are doing is making White Chimney Row a more dangerous road.

M P Smith, Westbourne

THE EAST Wittering branch of Boots was not open one day recently because ‘they are not allowed to do so without the presence of the pharmacist’.

So – no buying of toilet paper, toothbrushes, and other off-the-shelf stuff and what about people with prescriptions to collect?

C M Lewis, East Wittering

WE ALL know ex-service organisations such as the RBL and the RNA do a fine job, and long may it continue, but following a tri-service discussion between ex-members of the three UK armed services who had served with the RN, Army and RAF it was suggested maybe we should have an internet group that encompassed all military personnel who live around the Selsey and the Manhood peninsular area.

This is an open Yahoo message group for all servicemen and women who live around the Selsey area who have either served, are currently serving, or wish to serve in the UK Armed Services.

All are welcome to join us at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/JointServiceSelsey/

We look forward to meeting you all online soon to chat about old and new times and maybe even give advice to anyone who is thinking of joining the finest armed forces in the world (even if they are somewhat diminished in this day and age).

Eddie Clamp MBE, Selsey

THE EUROPEAN Commission is currently discussing complex trade agreements that will decide whether hundreds of thousands of people throughout the world will have access to affordable medicines.

UK MEPs will be asked to vote on whether to accept or reject these agreements.

The discussion may sound dull, but a few short clauses in one agreement with India and another with mainly developed countries seek to impose stricter restrictions on manufacturers and suppliers of generic drugs.

If MEPs agree to these measures the future supply of millions of cheap medicines for patients in poor countries will be limited and many could die for want of affordable drugs.

As part of its ‘EU Hands Off Our Medicines’ campaign, the medical organisation Médecins Sans Frontières has written to MEPs asking them to reject these clauses.

Just 10 of the 72 MEPs in the UK have responded.

Observer readers may wish to contact their MEPs Marta Andreasen, Richard James Ashworth, Sharon Bowles, Nirj Deva, James Elles, Nigel Farage, Daniel Hannan, Peter Skinner and Keith Taylor, reminding them that a Yes to the clauses will restrict the supply of affordable life-saving medicines to poor people in poor countries.

The generic medicines that these changes threaten will affect availability to antiretroviral treatment in developing countries that can be life-saving.

With more than 33 million people around the world living with HIV/AIDs; World Aids Day on Wednesday, December 1, was the perfect reminder of the need to maintain access to these affordable medicines.

Please visit www.msf.org.uk to find out more about the campaign and to sign the campaign letter we are asking your MEPs to sign.

Marc DuBois, General director, Médecins Sans Frontières UK, 67-74 Saffron Hill, London EC1N 8QX

I WAS obliged to leave school at 16 years of age.

I wasn’t considered bright enough to warrant any further education.

By the time I married at 24 years of age, I was earning rather more than a member of Parliament.

I have had the opportunity since then and now, as an OAP, to pay a lot of tax and therefore to subsidise university students, who I am led to believe should benefit from increased earnings as a result of the taxpayers’ generosity.

Is it not about time that these fortunate and talented individuals learnt one of life’s lessons, as a part of their further education? ... ‘There’s no such thing as a free lunch’.

Someone has to pay for it, and in my view the time has come for the student to pay a much bigger share of the bill.

In common with many people in my position, I am heartily sick of seeing and hearing the selfish and self-righteous angry protesters on my television.

Yes, we all benefit from the well- trained doctors, nurses, lawyers and teachers, but so do they benefit from their education in terms of their earnings. And who pays those wages? We do. The taxpayer pays and as things stand, we pay twice.

I believe the time has come for those lucky enough to be given the option of a university education to pay their fair share and not to rely on the rest of us to pick up the tab.

These people should perhaps remember that it is an option.

If they think that what our government propose is so unfair; they may do what I did – leave school and go to work.

Bob Moore, Jones Square, Selsey

I ATTENDED the Observer Community Awards ceremony on Sunday and wanted to write and congratulate you on running this excellent scheme which highlights the wonderful work done in our communities by volunteers.

I appreciate the weather was not favourable to drawing in the crowds last Sunday and that you experienced some technical hitches, but in spite of that the evening was most enjoyable and worthwhile, well done to you and your staff at the Observer.

Keep up the good work!

Josef Ransley, Kirdford

IF ANY of your readers drive out to Harting Downs car park, hoping for a brisk winter walk westwards along the South Downs Way, perhaps to the Queen Elizabeth Country Park, they may well be disappointed.

West Sussex County Council has closed the South Downs Way for, it says, necessary works.

The order provides for up to 21 days in the first instance, but the fine print allows possible future renewals.

A few years ago, a similar Order at South Stoke was repeatedly extended until several months had passed.

A call to the council obtained the information that someone had reported unsafe trees.

However, there appeared to be absolutely no sense of urgency to get anything done, even after the order had been in force (and the snow melted!) for over a week.

It is shameful that walkers and riders have to put up with this casual attitude when motorists, for instance, were only incommoded for the day when tree work was actually being done on the nearby A285 at Duncton.

Worse still, the only conceivable alternative route would be to go down the steep, winding and busy road that is Harting Hill.

This is bad enough for walkers, but must be lethal for horse riders who would like to use the bridle path.

The council’s legal department was also quite content to distance themselves from the problem, simply saying that anyone who needed to use the path should find their own alternative.

This is the sort of attitude that gives health and safety a bad name.

In fact, there are no trees along this stretch of path which are even one-tenth as dangerous as trying to use the road to get around.

WSCC appears to be oblivious to its responsibility to carry out necessary work on a national long-distance footpath promptly, to keep it open, and to provide the service which countryside users, both local and national, have a right to expect.

Dr David Wilson, North Walls, Chichester

FOOD INEVITABLY occupies our minds more than usual at this time of year.

The countryside provides more than just an attractive backdrop to the festivities – it also puts the food on our table.

But is it the Hampshire countryside which is putting the food on your table?

With a bit of effort, we can all direct more of our grocery budget towards local businesses which keep the county’s rural economy alive and manage the countryside which we all enjoy.

The benefit to those who buy locally is not only great-tasting, healthy food, but the knowledge that we are supporting the local economy and reducing food miles.

Of course attempts to buy locally can be frustrating.

Some shops make a token gesture – the procurement of a few local items in order to justify a marketing slogan.

So helping encourage good intentions to become reality will require some pester power.

Ask where the food you are buying comes from.

Please also support farmers’ markets – a great source of local food – and investigate your local farm shop.

In the run-up to Christmas and beyond, please use your buying power to make a difference.

Hallam Mills, Chairman, Hampshire branch, Country Land & Business Association

DO YOU get your broadband through the Bosham exchange?

Do you need a faster, more reliable broadband service?

Do you want to do something about it?

BT is running a competition to identify the areas most interested in getting an early upgrade to superfast broadband.

If you want superfast broadband then please go to www.racetoinfinity.com and register your vote by December 31 (anyone can register, it does not matter whether or not you’re a BT customer).

We need to register at least 1,000 votes, currently only 340 households and businesses have registered.

As residents of a rural community we can see the significant benefits of superfast broadband.

We are looking at ways of achieving superfast broadband, so please help us by going to www.racetoinfinity.com and registering your vote.

Please pass on this message to your neighbours, and anyone else using the Bosham exchange, and encourage them to vote.

B Blaydes, Funtington, G Boys, East Ashling, Dr R Brownfield, East Ashling, T Grindrod, West Ashling, R Hammond, Funtington, J Peart, Funtington

I HAVE a few comments in response to your correspondents re Selsey buses.

The Stagecoach bus is oversized for navigating the Albion Road bend, around which cars can pass each other with care, but around which nothing can pass a bus, resulting in traffic reversing round a blind bend.

Several accidents have ensued, this year, both to cars, buses and to drivers, and it is not surprising that many of the bus drivers do not like having to drive on the small footpath or have the frequent risk of a driver coming round the blind bend too fast.

Buses pass within two metres of bedroom windows, every seven or eight minutes, between 6.40am and 11.40pm, their passage shaking the buildings, some dating from the 17th century, and covering the paintwork with diesel soot; the buses, often empty, use a gallon of fuel every six to eight miles.

There is no ‘vendetta’ (blood feud) as stated by Mr Dyer from Stagecoach.

This is an attempt to rectify a dangerous, antisocial and environmentally-damaging situation with commonsense.

The major problem is that there is no incentive for Stagecoach to improve the situation. Several suggestions have been made by Albion Road and lower East Street residents, but strange as it may seem we have been informed that Stagecoach is unaccountable to the public authorities, as our MP, our county council, the Transport Commissioners – even the Department of Transport – have no control over where they run their ‘routes’.

In fact it would be interesting to run a competition for the most incongruous bus route in the country.

I’m sure there are others like ourselves who find they have no recourse as the law is heavily biased in favour of the bus operators.

Justifiable alarm is caused by the statement made by Stagecoach (Observer November 25) that East Beach will lose its service if the route is changed to avoid Albion Road and lower East Street.

Nigel Welburn’s response (Observer December 2) to this statement demonstrates this fear.

Let me be quite clear, other suggestions have been made to Stagecoach, none of which omits East Beach, some including even more coverage of Selsey.

Some options do include Albion Road, requesting less frequency and use of smaller, newer buses.

Derek Allchurch, (Albion Road resident for more than 35 years) Selsey

WE HAVE visited Chichester on many occasions, and have always enjoyed our stay.

I was so surprised when I heard on the news that Chichester was not having any Christmas decorations this year to save money – and even more surprised and shocked to hear that the businesses in Chichester did not want to contribute to Christmas lights.

One of the most enjoyable reasons to come to Chichester is to almost taste the palpable atmosphere of affluence in the area.

We come to the theatre, we stay at the Ship Hotel and have a wonderful time all round, so I am amazed at the meanness of Chichester – shame on you.

We live in an area of Kent collectively called Swale, part of which is officially classed as ‘deprived’.

Yet the towns that make up Swale – Sittingbourne, Sheppey, and Faversham – all have lovely displays of Christmas lights.

Not over the top, but pleasantly seasonal.

Surely in these times of recession depression – some Christmas lights in Chichester would literally brighten your lives and those of your visitors?

Elaine Wadhams (Mrs), Teynham, Sittingbourne, Kent

RE THE Ship hotel – many readers will know this fine North Street hotel.

I once spent a sailing weekend there with a lord and his communist young sister.

But the lord banged on my door during the night beseeching me to marry him.

But I did not like him very much and the hotel manager liked us even less.

However, although barred, they have since welcomed me and when running a city business I was able to send them more acceptable clientele.

Daphne Byrne, White Ladies Close, Havant

MAY I thank all the passers-by on Wednesday, December 1, who were in Cawley Road at midday who came to my assistance when I fell over?

There was one little boy who was quite concerned and he didn’t want me to cry.

I had coats piled on top of me then Father Keiron who came from St Richard’s Church stopped by – he knew me.

I was on my way home and slipped on the icy path. One lady very kindly called the ambulance. Thank you to Ben and Hilary who checked me out; sorry to have interrupted your lunch.

I have a couple of cracked ribs and some bruising, but no hospital treatment needed.

Thank you to all the Samaritans.

Ricky Johnson, Cawley Road, Chichester

I GUESS, as a taxpayer. I am going to have fork out to repair the damage these poor, deprived, misunderstood students have carried out.

It would be a nice touch if repairs were paid for out of the students’ existing grants thus saving my pocket and perhaps making them realise that everything has to be paid for whether they like it or not!

It might even make them value the grant they already have.

Responsibility where it lies – you break it, you mend it.

Throwing fireworks, paint balls, metal railings etc at a police horse to try and make a policeman fall off seems to me a little over the top.

Has anyone heard how the policeman with serious neck injuries is?

I did appreciate their point and was concerned.

However, like many others it went out of the window when I saw them pulling the flag down, urinating on a monument and once more blaming the police for their own intentions.

Quote: “It wasn’t us – the police made us do it because they changed the route.”

(Sounds like one of my grandchildren when they do something wrong and want to wriggle out of the inevitable punishment).

Well said Cameron – at least you put the blame where it was due and stood up for the police.

Get rid of the anarchists among students and maybe the rest might be worth a few extra bob.

Give me strength...

Liz Smith, Colworth

ON BEHALF of Arun District Council and the resilient people attending the carol concert in Hotham Park on Saturday, December 4, I would like to say a big thank you to Hotham Park Heritage Trust for organising this free event.

It was organised with hard work and professionalism.

It was another event the trust can be proud of.

Despite the torrential rain there was a good turn-out from the public, and although comfort was lacking there was plenty of joy in the singing.

This annual event is clearly loved by the public as demonstrated by the fact they will turn out in all weathers.

The Hotham Park Heritage Trust, with the help of Bognor Regis Town Council staff, decorated the bandstand with lights, and members of the public brought torches and lanterns to help create a seasonal atmosphere.

This year, Community Arts Bognor Regis ran a lantern-making workshop earlier in the day, at the request of The Hotham Park Heritage Trust, so the occasion was graced by some very spectacular snowman lanterns!

The Bognor Regis Concert Band and the Glenwood Choir battled valiantly to make themselves heard above the rain.

Despite the weather, the music and singing lifted the spirits and was clearly enjoyed by all.

It was a wonderful and traditional way to get into the Christmas spirit.

Well done Hotham Park Heritage Trust.

Merry Christmas and happy new year to all.

Michael Rowland, Hotham Park Manager, Arun District Council

MAY I through your columns thank Jan Cosgrove for his letter published in your letters’ columns dated December 2?

At last the truth is out – the Tories cry of having inherited the worse financial situation ever is a lie, as the official figures quoted prove.

It will be noted that in 1950 the country’s debt was 193.39 per cent of GDP, in spite of this I do not recall the prime minister of the day calling for the sudden mass unemployment as is about to be brought in by the present government.

In fact at that time jobs were two a penny.

According to Jan Cosgrove’s letter it took more than 30 years to reduce this figure to the more manageable figure of 26.7 per cent.

That is about the same length of time it takes the average family to pay off an average mortgage, so what is all the panic about, Mr Cameron?

Remember, it was the greedy banks that got us (and by us, I include most of the western world) into this mess.

In my opinion it should be the banks’ moral responsibility to get us out.

Before closing this letter I would also like to praise the editor of letters page for having the courage to print Jan Cosgrove’s letter.

ML Lee, Blakes Road, Bognor Regis

AN OPEN letter to Nick Gibb, our MP and a government minister.

Dear Nick;

For months we have heard the Coalition Government tell us that it was not an international crisis that caused them to propose – and now carry out – deep and damaging cuts, but a profligate previous Labour government.

You still have refused to answer, by the way, whether the new Regis School should have been built if that was the case?

And your next-door neighbour MP seems to be singing a rather different tune.

But if things were as bad as you claim, how come, if the coffers are truly so bare, you and your colleagues can offer the Irish government a direct loan to help bale them out?

Your cuts haven’t had time to work so can you explain our sudden apparent economic ability to do this?

At the same time, we are told that, even if it means a man with a family has to lose benefit FOR THREE YEARS, this will be the sanction for ‘the workshy’.

The ‘Quiet Man’ has told us so.

Oh, how come ‘we’ve never had it so good’ from Lord Young?

Isn’t he just saying what your blue-rinse brigade wanted him to say?

Now we learn that it will be means-tested council housing – ‘no hope of a home’ except for the rich, just a dwelling unit at the grace and favour of your rotten system.

Or university/college. And just accept any low-paid job. Or else.

You didn’t win a majority, the people of Britain didn’t vote for this, it is a scoundrel’s feast.

Joined at the table by the Lib Dems who seem rather silent in these columns – maybe they hope people won’t notice their role in Back to the Poor Law.

But remember they will; lame excuses won’t save their hides next May.

Last week a member of my family, one year from retirement, worked hard all her life, was told at DWP she ought to be able to do a 40-hour a week shop job when she has pins in her hips and a plate in her arm and can’t stand for long periods.

Social justice? Fair? No, a travesty, and you and your government colleagues want to drag more and more people into misery based on a rotten lie and a spent, backwoods ideology.

New Tory? No such thing. Give you a chance, even if you didn’t win the election, cobble together any satanic pact that will allow your blue-rinse ranks to see their nastiest wishes fulfilled, and off you go.

Britain is not broke, or how can you offer Ireland a loan? You haven’t had time enough yet to earn it, so who has made it possible?

Gordon Brown, of course. Dour, awkward, naff old Gordon – who baled out your city friends to save people’s savings, homes and jobs – and there they are, so glad you’re able to grind people down so they can go on just as before.

Oh, forgot, Sure Start, some folk will now have to pay.

‘Targeting@ you will call it, a prelude to carve up and privatisation, I suspect.

Not one nation but two, as ever with your party.

I have heard Tories talk about class envy. I so agree.

Your party is, at its roots, based on wanting to ensure those on the bottom stay there, and every measure you have proposed and started to introduce, underlines that outlook.

Jan Cosgrove, Longford Road, Bognor Regis

REGARDING the letter of Tony Dixon, December 9, I am quite surprised at his attack on the local Lib Dems at ADC, believing him to have a positive dislike for the local Tories.

Perhaps he has changed his allegiance to Labour?

I’ve known Tony as an Arun District councillor in the Tory Group; he later became Independent and I fully understand his reasoning.

Tony brought a colour to council meetings.

When I brought a cost-saving item to council some years ago, which the cabinet rejected, it was Tony who supported me and changed the minds of the indifferent Tory backbenchers, who then voted the item through.

He did not stand at the last council elections and I was truly sorry, because we need strong characters like him, and if he had stood and won he would be a part of the opposition.

Had he been at the council meeting on December 8 he would have seen the Lib Dems attacking the Tories over an issue relating to the Bognor Regis Regeneration Board – an issue we have been pursuing for a while.

You can tell when people in power are feeling vulnerable – they lose their temper and one cabinet member did just that, to such an extent even some of the Tories felt embarrassed.

During this the Labour members said nothing.

As regards scrutiny at Arun, the Lib Dems have refused to co-operate, not because we disagree with scrutiny, but because at Arun it is not effective.

It is held in private, the Lib Dems are not allowed to chair any committees, some Tory members take little interest in the proceedings and most items are submitted by officers and then endorsed.

If a member comes with a new initiative it is rarely pursued.

Tony mentions allowances for opposition leaders, that was heavily reduced last year in order to give the cabinet members a four per cent increase in their allowances.

Tony was member for Barnham.

Recently, another Tory member for Barnham turned Independent and has now resigned.

It’s a shame they couldn’t stand and fight.

David Biss, Arun District Councillor for Orchard Ward

SO WE have the red-tinted spectacles of Bognor’s Labour apologist turned on the financial disaster bequeathed to the British electorate by Gordon Brown, Ed Miliband etc?

He quotes statistics rambling through the 1950s (when we had rationing and really shocking housing) to the 60s, 80s and 90s.

He readily admits that the debt run up by Gordon Brown shot up from 36 per cent of GDP (gross domestic product or income) in 2008 to a truly staggering 52 per cent of our GDP this year.

By any European or western standards, this is unsustainable in terms of interest payments alone, and would cripple investment in schools, hospitals, railways, roads and social support.

Let us not forget this was as much a result of Labour throwing public money (in the form of ever-increasing borrowing), at every public service regardless of the value of the outcomes, as well as its complete failure to regulate properly the activities of the banking sector, and especially the speculative ‘casino’ activities, which helped fuel the unsustainable housing market boom and then bust.

As to his parting lie that locally Liberal Democrats have been silent, let me just remind him that Lib Dem councillors at both Arun and county level have been pressing continuously for more affordable homes to be built for our local young people, are pressing for an expansion in the youth service locally instead of cuts proposed by the Tory county council, and are supporting the Lib Dem-introduced coalition policies of the pupil premium for schools in deprived areas, the linking of the old age pension to average earnings, the taking out of the income tax system of those earning £10,000 or less, and a less-expensive system for students than that proposed by the Labour Party.

The sooner the coalition gets us out of this dreadful Labour inheritance, the better will be all our public services, and most individuals who use them.

Meanwhile, Labour has no policies at all on these major issues save to say that it wouldn’t do it this way!

Labour was going to raise VAT and cut public expenditure straight after the election in any case; it is now just pretending that it would not have done so!

Cllr Dr James Walsh , Liberal Democrat County, District and Town Councillor, Littlehampton

IT’S NEARLY Christmas ... that can mean only one thing, very shortly, all the newspapers and TV news will be full of photos of gorgeous cuddly newborn lambs, with stories of how old ladies are knitting them jumpers to keep them warm in the cold weather.

But why don’t the press print the true stories of why these lambs are born so early?

It is so the farmers can get them to market early, so they get a higher price for these fluffy, innocent creatures, and so that posh restaurants can boast ‘new season’s lamb’ on their menus.

Why is it new baby lambs are usually associated with the joys of spring and are shown on TV having fun running round the fields with their mums?

But the harsh reality is, that at just nine weeks old these beautiful panic-stricken babies will be dragged away from their distraught mothers, loaded into a van, and taken away to an abattoir where they will be killed, because some people want to eat their dead bodies.

Not much to ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ over now.

And, sadly, some of the mummy sheep will meet the same fate as their babies, as farmers want sheep that will produce two or three lambs at a time so many sheep who only produce one lamb at a time, will also be killed.

Why is what goes on in an abattoir so taboo?

No-one wants to talk about it.

If there is nothing to hide, why don’t abattoirs have open days and why do you never see people on TV quiz shows, when asked what they do for a living, reply: “I work in a slaughterhouse, and on a good day I can kill 100 lambs single-handedly.”

The worst hypocrites are some of my (animal-loving?) friends who lavish everything on their pets, and when I ask them don’t they care about where the meat they are having for dinner came from, they reply: “I try not to think about it.”

Well shame on them.

So please, when Christmas is over, and we see these darling little lambs, who are specially bred to live for just nine weeks, remember most of them won’t even be around, to see spring, and feel the warmth of the sun on their backs. Someone has to speak up for these so abused babies and I’m very grateful to the Observer for allowing me to do so.

I don’t know anyone who would want to eat a kitten, or a labrador puppy or a blackbird, so why as a nation do we accept its the norm to kill and eat certain animals, and others we keep as pets. So next time you are planning a meal, please give a thought to what you are eating and how it may have suffered.

Patricia West, St Peters Close, Bognor Regis

THE TRADITION based at St Nicholas Church, Middleton of children receiving the nativity scene into their homes is an ideal way to prepare them during this Advent season for the coming of the Christ Child at Christmas.

As the ‘Not Ashamed’ movement, supported by Lord Carey the former Archbishop of Canterbury, has said in a message to leading figures in our public life: “We believe that Jesus Christ is good news for our nation. He is the only true hope and solid foundation for our society”.

As God’s gift to mankind at Christmas, his Son is the source of true happiness and wellbeing that politicians wish to measure and promote throughout society, who told his disciples: “Happiness lies more in giving than in receiving”.

Rev John Brown, Manor Way, Middleton-on-Sea

WINTER IS upon us so here we go again – snow and ice has once again brought this country to a virtual standstill.

It is ironic that parts of northern Europe get this every year far worse than us and they cope without the chaos we get.

Patches breaking out in the roads again – and still some from last winter not repaired through lack of maintenance – so very shortly we shall hear the annual excuses from the local authorities.

Because Europe copes why not this country?

For the past 15 years or more the powers-that-be keep telling us that there is climate change affecting us all and one does not have to be a scientist to work that out.

The best bit? Once again we can all look forward to service and insurance costs going up to pay for the damage this has done.

PG McGovern, Church Lane, South Bersted

THROUGH YOUR publication I should like to convey my gratitude and thanks to the kind ladies who rallied to help my husband who fell in Aldwick Street recently and one lady called an ambulance, a blanket was provided and then I was contacted.

Their kindness will remain with me for a long time.

JM Hunt (Mrs), Aldbourne Drive, Aldwick

I AM appalled to learn that Arun District Council is staying out of the West Sussex Total Access Demand scheme which means developers contribute funds to keep roads in repair in all other parts of the county.

This adds to the general impression that Arun takes more note of developers’ interests than to its taxpayers.

Ted Bell, Marine Drive West, Bognor Regis