This week’s letters - 08/08/13

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Police can add muscle: I was shocked to hear of some drivers’ behaviour towards children crossing roads (Pupils’ anger at ‘shocking’ road rage drivers, July 25).

However, I would have thought that teachers taking children across busy roads would have contacted the police community officers for help in crossing the roads.

It was the first think I always did when we used to take groups of children across roads.

They were only too pleased to help and escort us to our destination and back.

Ms M Waters

Address supplied

Bad start to Games

Even a leading city councillor described advance publicity for the Lancaster International Youth Games as “shambolic”. I wholeheartedly agree.

Members of the public – and even councillors themselves – were stranded in Market Square, unaware that the opening ceremony had been forced indoors to the Ashton Hall because of the weather.

We should have been directed to the Ashton Hall, either by a member of staff or by signs.

Why did professional acts from London and Scotland – a juggler and break dancers – take part in the opening ceremony rather than locals?

The Dukes Theatre, Ludus Dance and More Music in 
Morecambe were among venues for the games.

Why couldn’t these much-respected organisations and other local performing arts groups have been involved in the opening ceremony?

It would have been a good way of showcasing talent from our area to delegations from our 
European twin towns.

It is just as well the opening ceremony wasn’t in Market Square because litter bins were overflowing, which gives Lancaster a bad image for our foreign visitors.

Name and address supplied

Potential of rail ignored

As an officer of the RMT Railworkers and Public Transport Workers’ Union, I naturally follow and contribute to the debates on the transport related issues involved, as indeed I must.

I have, with others, noticed that the issue of the Northern Link Road from the M6 has been prominent of later.

What I have noticed also is that all correspondents seem to have been studiously (or not) avoiding the obvious alternative to the link road being built, ie: the presence of a perfectly viable rail link from Lancaster to Heysham, via Morecambe.

This rail route is almost criminally under used and under publicised by virtually all parties and individuals for obvious reasons by the pro-road and pro-oil industry, pro-car manufacturers, Tories and most Lib Dems, but also by the Labour and Green Party spokespersons, which is more surprising.

I know there is a lot of money involved in the new road in terms of construction, land sales, compensation to property owners affected, and not least votes as well from these people.

There is also a lot of anti-trades union sentiment against public transport workers (RMT, ASLEF, TSSA, Unite, etc) who represent dock workers, bus drivers, parcel delivery workers, as well as rail workers in their hundreds locally, and have a potentially devastating power should we ever have to withdraw our labour.

So, I have now aired our grievances over the M6 road link plan, putting forward an upgraded rail link for freight and passengers as an alternative.

I particularly address the 
Labour and Green Parties on this issue and especially our own Dr John Whitelegg who seems to have gone more quiet on railways’ efficacy, especially since he has become a leading opponent, alongside the 4x4 driving NIMBYs of Cheshire and the Chilterns of the HS2 (high speed trains) plans now in national progress.

This is despite the fact that, along with specialised freight routes like the Settle-Carlisle line, such plans are entirely in line with the environmentally friendly principles which the Greens claim to champion.

Steve Metcalfe

Branch secretary

Lancaster District RMT

(personal capacity)

Labour picks an outsider

Why on earth has Morecambe and Lunesdale got a Prospective Parliamentary Labour Candidate from Manchester when there were two perfectly good candidates to choose from on our own doorstep?

Manchester City Councillor Amina Lone has been planted on us with the influence of the Unite union, which is sponsoring her.

I admit that when she was selected the decision was taken in a democratic manner – one Labour Party member, one vote.

However, before the 1997 General Election, the party selected two members of Lancaster City Council, Geraldine Smith for Morecambe and Lunesdale and Hilton Dawson for Lancaster, who became excellent MPs.

Two present city councillors were in the same position this time, Karen Leytham and Margaret Pattison, who have lived here all their lives.

Either of them would have made a good candidate and, after the 2015 election, an equally good MP.

Non-political residents will want to know why a local candidate, who they could call one of their own, was not chosen instead of an outsider.

Still, that’s democracy.

Name and address supplied

Staff at RLI there for me

I would like to express my gratitude to all the nurses and clinical support workers on Acute Surgical Unit at Royal Lancaster Infirmary.

In recent press reports we have seen lots of issues and basic errors, which could have potentially resulted in unnecessary fatality numbers increasing in other trusts.

What I experienced while in hospital with a serious condition was nothing but pure professionalism, commitment and dedication from the front line staff. The nurses and other floor staff went above and beyond their duty to make sure I was comfortable, and cared for me so well it helped speed up my recovery.

What I witnessed was that unfortunately it’s the front line staff that receive the abuse and general rudeness from a certain percentage of patients, of which I found absolutely disgusting.

But one thing I noticed the nurses never once rose to such behaviour, they just calmly defused the situations and aggression towards them professionally and tactfully.

Although it’s the consultants that deal with the serious conditions, it’s the nurses that deal with the day-to-day running around the wards.

I have to say that no matter what pain I was in day or night they helped take away the pain by just genuinely being there for me, it really did feel that they care for you.

I hope the chief executive reads this letter and gets a real understanding from a patient’s view about what these shop floor workers do, and how they go the extra mile.

Nurses and clinical support workers do NOT get the credit and recognition they truly deserve.

To all the staff on ASU. I cannot express my thanks enough; you all did a wonderful job.

Christopher Dickson

South Road


EU too often misjudged

I was amused by the letter (Libs want to leave EU too, Lancaster Guardian, July 25) from Dane Clouston of the Liberal Party, competing with UKIP to lead anti-European sentiment.

There were few anti-Europeans in the old Liberal Party before the foundation of the Liberal Democrats.

Indeed, I recall Oliver Letwin leaving the Liberal Party and joining the Conservatives specifically because he was opposed to Liberal support for Europe.

To oppose Europe on the grounds of bureaucracy is also pretty odd.

In terms of staff, the European Commission (the ‘civil service’ of the European Union) employs about the same number of staff as Lancashire County Council, although the population of the EU is 500 million throughout the 28 member states.

It takes time to get democratic institutions up and running smoothly: the first direct elections to the European Parliament were only in 1979. Before that, the government of each member state nominated its MEPs.

Most of the policy development is by committees of MEPs. (UKIP MEPs rarely turn up.)

The European Parliament appoints the Commission, and has the power to dismiss the Commission (it has actually done so).

While the European Parliament votes on directives, these need to be accepted by the national governments of each member state before they come into force in that state.

As for the UK leaving Europe, that would be total disaster.

Michael Mumford


Address supplied