The main talking points ...

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This week’s letters discuss: dangerous cyclists, demise of Labour Party, planning democracy, power of strikes, environmental benefits

Put upon pedestrians

Recently, as I waited to cross at the Scotforth Road pedestrian crossing, as the green man appeared, I had one foot on the crossing when a cyclist whizzed through the red light.

I shouted “Hey” but he ignored me, but the drivers waiting in line on either side shouted their disgust.

I recently had a knee operation and especially using a walking aid I was taken aback at this selfish attitude.

But as I managed to get to the other side another cyclist, riding on the pavement behind me also speeding, just missed me.

All I can say is come on, fair dues, don’t we all count? It appears not.

Every day we hear of cyclists complaining about cars, etc, and near misses, and sadly some serious accidents, but doesn’t everyone deserve some respect? And a decent chance in life?

Some time ago I visited all the cycle shops in the area and found out from the owners it was “not street cred to have a bell on board”. Obviously the patrons must remove them when purchased, if already fitted?

It seems vehicles also speed through red lights here. Many residents have also mentioned this to me about this serious situation. My next step will be a Police Checkwatch which I believe is due now.

Coun Sheila E Denwood, Scotforth West City Councillor

Politics: Labour MP’s plea too late

In response to Cat Smith’s article (Abstinence might not make Labour hearts grow fonder), who asks why we are not having a debate about community obligations to one another.

Also that we must ensure individuals and corporations with the broadest shoulders contribute enough to support those of need in our society.

It all sounds wonderful, a utopian society, however I don’t think the penny has dropped yet, it’s not utopia, unfortunately we are now living in a virtual ‘one party state’.

The Tory party to ask those with the broadest shoulders to support those who need help, this is a joke isn’t it?

In reality the Labour party is now of no consequence and the Tories can now legislate as they please and still go on to win elections.

Unfortunately the Labour party crossed the rubicon when it elected Ed Miliband as leader instead of his brother, and I’m afraid there is no way back for at least a generation and most probably longer.

Labour stood on the edge of a precipice during the Scottish referendum. If Scotland had broken away then, Labour would have been confined to the wilderness. Little did we know the Scottish electorate would emulate this in the general election.

Analysis of the figures now tell us without Scotland and including the electoral boundary commission changes that the Tories are going to introduce, Labour would have to gain 106 seats for a majority of one.

To make matters worse, most of the extra seats would have to come from English marginals and from people who voted Tory in the election. This isn’t going to happen.

I shed no tears for the Labour Party. They have made a complete mess of it, they have failed the vulnerable, the poor, and yes the working people up and down this country who will feel the pain to come.

The awful truth is we can do nothing to change matters, we have virtually become a one party state.

P Hill, Lancaster,

Full address supplied.

New housing: Travesty of democracy

I attended a planning committee meeting on July 27. My reason for attending was the 60 house outline application on the Forgewood site in Halton.

It was shocking to witness such a shabby representation of a so-called democratic process. I thought it was meant to be an informed debate and consultation with a fair and considered outcome.

Also for the concerned residents of Halton that spent considerable time working on presentations to put to the committee and see their work ignored must be the most distasteful part of these meetings.

I know the political parties meet beforehand for a lot of these committees, they use the time to discuss each case and it appears to me they already decided the outcome of the above application before the meeting began.

How do I suspect this? When it came to the vote every Labour member voted to allow the application’s approval. All but one of the Conservatives voted to stop the application along with the Greens and the Independent.

With one abstention from a lone Conservative it came to an equal outcome ... seven for and seven against.

Now for some reason the Labour chair was then able to vote again and pushed it through – his reasoning behind this was for fear of an appeal which might cost city council money.

A question was then asked which brought about another opportunity to vote on the application.

Same again, seven Labour for, seven against and amazingly, knowing what the chair’s intention was, the lone Conservative abstained again. This is no way to make decisions that have such a massive impact on people’s lives.

A group of us are looking into how we can appeal against this outcome, and to highlight the outrageous decision making process that allows political point scoring to be the decisive factor on these committees.

Bob Bauld, Halton and Aughton Parish Council.

Strikes: Mr Tapp’s wrong lesson

How privileged is Blaise Tapp to have a regular column. Shame when this column is used, on this occasion, for some biased and ill informed comments.

His headline states ‘Strikes belong in the past.’ Blaise complains many people were inconvenienced by the teachers’ strike way back in 2008 which, he says, gave parents a headache.

My goodness, Blaise a headache five long years ago, now that’s a mega inconvenience.

I’ll bet parents think this few days on strike, in 2008, was far worse than their children’s absences, every year by several days thro’ authorised teacher’s inset days, children’s sick days and school holidays inconveniences every year since 2008 and before.

Mr Tapp does not mention what the strike was about, perhaps he doesn’t care, as long as he isn’t inconvenience. Nor does he remark about the great job most teachers do, inside and out of school, for the good of our children.

Also, how their pay and working conditions have fallen and class sizes are on the increase.

He might suggest how, instead of trying for many months to negotiate, a turn round in their declining fortunes, teachers could achieve their reasonable objectives without the need to strike

In his column he asserts that surely there are plenty of opportunities to make a strong case in other ways. Unfortunately, he can’t think of one to put forward. Perhaps he has a view that all bosses are fair & reasonable.

Is he not aware that leading advanced nation surveys show UK management performance is well below average.

Many highly profitable British business including, for example, the world’s highest charging hotels, based in the UK, reward most of their staff with low pay for ever increasing workload; meaning many need two, or three jobs to help their families survive.

Can Blaise suggest how best these poor and exploited workers can put a strong case for a fair deal?

The cost of taking a strong case of bullying, racial or sex discrimination to court has increased significantly with long delays to achieve justice. Frequently in unionised businesses just the collective concern and support of union colleagues only threatening to strike is enough to obtain justice within a few days.

As a senior trade unionist, in a large company when large redundancies and site closures were implemented it was usually the businesses with weak union membership which were the first to close.

Is it just a co-incidence that employees with the lowest pay, long hours, no sick or holiday pay are usually non union businesses.

As a lay trade union representative frequently I got as great deal of satisfaction when backed by the union and, most important, our staff members, I defended individuals and groups suffering unjust discrimination and obtained for them justice in the form of adequate redress or re-instatement.

In occasional cases it was the members threat, to walk out of work in protest that ensured justice.

Peter Ward, Former lay union rep, pension trustee and chair aerospace unions, Full address supplied

Speed limits: Fast and furious

I am a fan of environmental living but wish they would raise the 20mph speed limits so my dad doesn’t get run off the road by delivery vans doing 45mph.

Also, it would make life much harder for cyclists and pedestrians to use the road, or cross it, or live near one and we all know they don’t pay for the roads, don’t we?

Also can somebody please get rid of the new wind farm as it is in the way of my view of two huge concrete nuclear power stations which are simply magnificent to the eye.

Name and address supplied