Letters to the Editor, July 7, 2016
PUBLISHED: 14:19 08 July 2016 | UPDATED: 14:19 08 July 2016
In my opinion a great achievement was reached when three out of four councils decided to accept devolution and a metro mayor.
I think we should take our hats off to Bristol City, South Gloucestershire, and Bath and North East Somerset councils. The only concern, North Somerset Council (NSC) rejected devolution unanimously but this was expected.
To the best of my knowledge, consideration could be given to letting North Somerset back into the devolution process. I would question this, as usually leopards never change their spots and NSC were adamant they did not want devolution, so why consider letting them back in? I feel we can do without them.
I feel NSC were living in the dark ages, were protectionists and felt they knew best. I feel they have an old guard that needs changing and need forward-thinking people to lead them.
Greenwood Road, Knowle Park, Bristol
We don’t need North Somerset
It has been announced that three of the four councils of the West of England Partnership are supporting Government plans for a £1billion devolution deal to give new powers to the Avon area – and a metro mayor.
This will see the councils of Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, and South Gloucestershire coming together as a combined authority. Funding will be provided for major projects for transport, encourage investment and create employment. North Somerset Council (NSC) has ruled itself out of the deal.
With leaving in the air, Winterstoke District, covering the Weston parliamentary constituency, should break with North Somerset and go its own way. We do not need NSC. As an independent district, Winterstoke could make its own deals with other councils.
Priory Road, Weston
Time to invest in our ‘boom-town’
I was interested in two items on your Food and Drink page in the Mercury of June 30.
I was fascinated to read about Cadbury House’s new Italian restaurant as I love Italian food and would be pleased to have a restaurant within walking distance.
However, when I read that ‘the most important aspect of any restaurant is the environment’ I was surprised; this comment not from an interior designer, but a chef! He went on to say, ‘the lighting, the music, the staff all play their part. Food is almost fourth on the list.’ Thanks, but no thanks, Marco Pierre White; I’ll stick to restaurants, and chefs, who make food their priority.
The second item was about Wrington’s Butcombe Brewery and its investment plans to buy 20 pubs a year. Please, please, Butcombe, can’t you buy the Prince of Orange in Yatton? It is a wonderful historic building currently on the market.
Our village is about to expand by 25 per cent and whenever pubs are mentioned among people of my acquaintance I hear a chorus of despairing moans that Yatton doesn’t have a decent quality middle-range pub/restaurant.
The Prince of Orange has been allowed to run down to a devastating degree but surely in a place the size of Yatton, heading towards the 10,000 mark, it could be made to turn a profit?
Part of the garden has already been sold for housing. Please don’t let Enterprise Inns sell the pub itself for more. That isn’t what Yatton needs.
Lots of us love your beer. Please, Butcombe, come and invest in boom-town Yatton.
Court Avenue, Yatton
There is never a moment’s peace
Why are there so many sirens around Weston?
There is never a moment’s peace from the menace that is the siren of the emergency service.
I didn’t fight the war so I could be deafened in my old age by people who are supposed to help me!
Mead Vale, Weston
There’s a sting in the tail of EU exit
As last week’s Mercury gave us Ernie Warrender and John Carter’s empty reassurances that ‘we can heal our United Kingdom’ and ‘we can now get on with what we do best invent, make and trade world-wide’, one crucial question remained unanswered – how?
While all the prominent Brexiters have rushed to distance themselves from their earlier lies and spin or just retired before the full truth of their duplicity is exposed, the rest of us are left reeling at the prospect of economic, social and political instability for years to come.
We already know the alleged £350million saving of our weekly European Union (EU) contributions is nothing like that amount and will certainly not pay for all the things (like the NHS) we were promised. And we also now know that, in order to eventually trade with individual EU countries, the free movement of people across borders will be an un-negotiable requirement.
Regarding the economy, we have already seen the value of many industrial and bank shares fall by over 30 per cent and the UK has lost its prized AAA international credit rating. I don’t remember the Brexiters mentioning that.
And look at issues that directly affect us in this area – agriculture, for example. The South West is the most profitable region in the UK for farming, turning over £2.7billion a year with £550million coming from Somerset. Nearly 75 per cent of land is used for the 5,100 commercial farms and infrastructure that employ 12,300. In a recent article, prominent local farmer Derek Mead told the Mercury leaving the EU would be disastrous as it would forfeit the current subsidies that ensure farmers’ incomes under the Common Agricultural Policy. He said ‘if the policy was done away with, then 80 to 90 per cent of farmers would be in the red. If the subsidy was dropped the price of food would have to go up otherwise farmers will not survive.’ I don’t remember the Brexiters mentioning that either.
There will be environmental consequences too. Weston and the surrounding Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) have flourished from the clean water, clean air and wildlife protection measures introduced and regulated by the EU. Will they still be observed in future? Hardly, if business has its way, so say hello again to swimming in sewage at the seaside.
But there’s a final sting in the tail. We’ve surrendered direct commercial access to a market of 530 million potential EU customers, we’ll lose our seat at most international negotiating tables and we’re ‘at the back of the queue’ with future trade dealings with the USA. And yet, irony of ironies, our future Prime Minister given the Herculean task of overseeing our European exit will not be decided by the EU, or even us voters but by just 150,000 Tory party members.
The much-vaunted Brexit argument that we were ‘getting our country back’ looks rather hollow now, doesn’t it?
Church Lane, Winscombe
Is he advocating Little England?
I read with great interest in these pages last week Ernie Warrender’s call to ‘heal our United Kingdom’.
Mr Warrender failed to mention he is UKIP’s South West spokesman and stood for parliament last year as the UKIP candidate in this constituency.
Despite the UK in its title, UKIP’s activities have done more than any other party, including the SNP, to break the United Kingdom. Mr Warrender seems now to be advocating a Little England nationalism. Mr Temlett’s concern last week about the correct way to fly the Union Flag will be of merely historical interest if the UKIP line prevails.
Personally, I know where the Great is in Britain, but I cannot see it in an England standing alone.
Wood Lane, Weston
Weston leading the way again...
Driving home on Monday, I noticed the UKIP referendum advice shop featured a discreet TO LET advertisement, and thought ‘Oh! So all the fuss is over now about the referendum’.
Indeed, when I reached home, there was Nigel Farage on the TV telling the world’s press he was retiring in triumph from the leadership of UKIP.
So it seems Weston was once more leading the way; first Dismaland, now Brexit, and what next?
Monday was Independence Day in the United States. Now there’s a thought.
Leewood Road, Weston
A ‘bit rich’ after leader’s stunt
Was the Ernie Warrender who wrote ‘time to heal a reunited kingdom’ last week the same Ernie Warrender who was defeated as a UKIP candidate at the last General Election?
If so, it’s a bit rich for him to now urge us all to ‘act in measured but assured manner to heal our United Kingdom’. Presumably he thought his former leader, Nigel Farage was doing that with his cynical ‘Breaking Point’ poster? But it’s hard to think of a more overtly racist and xenophobic stunt in the history of modern politics in this country, deliberately calculated to appeal to the lowest common denominator of ignorance and prejudice.
No wonder politicians are so reviled.
Moorland Road, Weston
More expected of a resting place
I am in contact with you regarding the sorry state of the memorial rose garden at the Dignity Crematorium.
My aunt was left very distressed following a recent visit to commemorate the death of her husband of 60 years whose ashes were scattered there last November. It was her first visit following his death and she had only just got the courage to go, but far from giving comfort, the visit only added to her sadness.
The rose garden consisted of two very sad neglected specimens and, regarding the very high cost of their services, I feel the area should be much better taken care of for visitors and relatives whom leave their loved ones in the care of the crematorium.
Uncle Arthur served his country and worked tirelessly all of his life for the British Legion and St John Ambulance. He deserves better in his resting place. My aunt feels she cannot go to visit again until this is rectified.
Austcliffe Park, Worcester
Don’t they want to talk to us?
On June 28 I called North Somerset Council to report and discuss a problem I had.
Much to my amazement and consternation I was advised I could not talk to anyone in authority directly but had to either give details to the call centre staff or send details via the council website. Call centre staff told me someone would get back to me with in 10 days.
This is just not good enough. Are our elected councillors and paid officials just trying to avoid talking to those who elect them and pay their salaries?
Pendlesham Gardens, Weston
Is he advocating Little England?
When councils say they need to make cuts to expenditure, it seems they often fall on those that can least afford them.
The charging of 20p to use a public toilet is a case in point. The result was an escalation in vandalism and graffiti causing greatly increased costs, and a paltry collection of £6,648 in 20p pieces.
Free public toilets should be the norm throughout the country; it helps public hygiene and shows a society is civilised. Surely council tax-payers in Weston would be happy to pay the extra £6,648 a year to stop this misuse of austerity as a reason to introduce the 20p charge?
Edinburgh Place, Weston
Is he advocating Little England?
History has a habit of repeating itself; just consider the actions of two Prime Ministers with the surname beginning with ‘C’.
Before World War Two Neville Chamberlain returned from Europe waving a piece of paper proclaiming that peace was assured. What followed was Germany invaded Poland and we suffered six years of war – Chamberlain resigned.
David Cameron returns from Europe with concessions and as a result of the referendum we face another six years of turmoil. In 1939 we had a statesman in Winston Churchill to galvanise our nation and eventually we were victorious. Now David Cameron has called it a day we have no statesman to stand up to the other European states.
There is talk of another referendum but what difference would that make? If it was still a close result we could have repeat after repeat and this would only signify to Europe and the world that we are a mixed up nation.
Yes history can repeat itself, fortunately not a war with arms but a lengthy war of words. Where is the modern Churchill who will steer our ship through troubled waters and ensure the good ship Great Britain stays afloat?
On a happier note, congratulations to the Mercury on its excellent new monthly magazine, full of interest and great advert for our town. We certainly needed something to lift our spirits.
Clarence Grove Road, Weston
Clarification: We have been asked by last week’s correspondent Terry Temlett to point out that the Union Flag picture used alongside his letter was an illustrative picture added by the Mercury, which did not show the correct way to fly the flag.
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