A selection of your opinions from this week’s Gazette.
Dismayed by chain snub to Dacorum
Whilst I am very conscious of the great work that charities such as the Chilterns MS Centre do and the fact that some Dacorum residents no doubt benefit from, I was dismayed to see that the incoming Mayor of Dacorum has chosen a charity outside of Dacorum as his charity of the year.
I certainly do not want to offend any multiple sclerosis sufferers who may use the Chilterns MS Centre but I do think that the Mayor should have chosen a charity that is based in Dacorum.
He has the opportunity to raise a great deal of money during his year in office from local people and to raise the profile of a local charity and whilst I am sure there are very good reasons for raising money for this particular charity it may of been wiser to adopt a different approach and select two charities one of which is local.
May I suggest that the mayor have a re-think?
Why I did not and just will not vote
You asked for our views on the recent election.
Firstly, let me say we should all value having the right to vote, and use it; if we wake up and find we are living in a dictatorship we will only have ourselves to blame ,as your correspondent quotes South Africa, they did not get rid of apartheid by sitting on their hands.
Many countries notably in Africa have to struggle to get to the polling stations to vote and are often faced with threats and bullying to vote in certain ways.
In the time of Dickens, votes were bought and sold by those who wanted power, see Pickwick Papers.
Closer to our own days, remember the Suffragettes, the lengths they went to get the vote for women.
That said, I did not vote in this last election.
My reasons were as follows :
1) We received a polling card well in advance of the election on which it stated it was not necessary to take it when going to vote. But that card surely indicated a person’s right to vote? Otherwise anyone could go and mark their voting slip, whether they were entitled to do so or not.
2) As time went on various leaflets came through the door propounding the views of various political parties , with one exception,no individual names of candidates were mentioned; well we weren’t voting for Cameron, Milliband et al, and anyway they had all been popping up ad nauseam on TV, haranguing us as to why they were the best. Into the recycle bin with them. No more information was forthcoming.
3) Until Thursday May 22 (my Gazette is delivered on Thursdays) I discovered it was Election Day! On page 14 was an amusing column from John Francis ,encouraging us all to vote. He loves voting himself;I wanted to ask him if he votes on Strictly, and Britain’s got Talent and the rest of these types of programme. Then I reached page 21.
Here I discovered that various would be MEP candidates had visited a few chosen local spots to try to win votes for different political parties. A few names of existing MEPs were mentioned by name.
4) Then I fell in. This was a completely new system we were invited to join in; the absence of any individual candidates was a deliberate intention to deny us all the right to choose. We were expected to select a political party, not a person.
The Party would themselves make the choice. To me this is a total denial of any semblance of democracy , and can only lead directly to a dictatorship.
Now I personally disagree with the attitude “my Party right or wrong” – we should be able to judge which of the candidates on offer for election has views or opinions more close to those we hold, and who seems to have the intelligence and ability to govern well.
Surely none of us wants to be governed by a bunch of puppets on strings, although recent correspondents to your columns seem to suggest that MPs should all hold identical views on every topic that comes up, according to which party they belong to, which is rubbish .
You asked individuals to say whether they voted and why. I did not vote nor shall I vote in future, just for a “Party”. That is not democracy.
My pride as high praise for pupils
I am writing in response to the letter from Peter Taylor titled ‘Courtesy should be recognised’.
As the Headteacher of Longdean School I was delighted to hear that students from the school had conducted themselves so impeccably on the 6.50am ferry from Dover to Calais, waiting patiently for passengers to ascend the stairs and speaking politely to members of the public.
Whilst we expect nothing less than this high standard from all Longdean students it is nice to have it recognised as all too often young people get a negative press.
It also reinforces that the work we are doing at Longdean to instil a sense of responsibility, social awareness, community and pride in representing the school is paying dividends.
The students themselves were very proud to have been identified and praised by someone they had never met and I have enjoyed passing on the praise to them and the staff who gave up their time to support the trip.
Headteacher Longdean School
How do EU know we’ll keep trade?
In my view, a lot of people across the country seem to have believed Nigel Farage and UKIP at their word, that if we chose to leave the EU that we will keep free trade with the EU but where is the guarantee that we will?
Nigel Farage and UKIP’s mantra seems to be that German car makers are not going to stop selling their cars to us, I agree they won’t but they could easily be at a higher price if we don’t keep free trade and tariffs are charged once again on goods and services to and from the EU.
I think people seem to have lost sight of the fact that even when we decided we wanted to join the then European Community around the late 1950s, it took us around 15 years to be admitted to it. The United States of America also does not have a free trade deal with the EU and that is after nearly 60 years after the Treaty of Rome was first signed in 1957.
So if the richest and most powerful country in the world does not have a free trade deal with the EU and it does not have a free trade deal with Japan either, then surely that highlights that there is no way we are guaranteed to keep free trade with the EU if we leave.
I’ve also heard MP’s say that countries like Norway and Switzerland who do have free trade with the EU but are not members of the EU, have to pay a lot of money for that every year, have to agree to all of the EU’s rules too but don’t get a say on them and the main point here is that it took them a long time, around 15 years, to get those deals too.
It sounds to me that if we do end up leaving the EU and free trade goes with it, the higher prices we will all start paying for goods and services will cost us jobs which will lead to more having to be paid in benefits and there will also be demands for higher wages too which along with the higher prices could to lead to inflation rising and by how much?
I think people should really have a good think about all the major ins and outs rather than just taking the charismatic Nigel Farage at his word.
I remember a previous charismatic leader in Tony Blair telling us how we needed to go to war on Iraq on a pre-emptive basis because they had WMD. How well did that turn out?
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Thanks to all those who gave up time
The 272 people in Hertfordshire who give up their time to support The Children’s Society’s vital work to fight childhood poverty and neglect are part of a movement of almost 11,000 amazing volunteers across the country.
Last week marked the 30th anniversary of Volunteers’ Week and I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to every individual in Hertfordshire who volunteers their time, energy and skills to help us improve children’s lives.
Volunteers have been absolutely integral to the work of The Children’s Society since we started over 130 years ago and this has continued to be the case in the last 30 years.
Our thousands of dedicated local fundraising volunteers have raised more than £156m to support our work in the last three decades.
There are so many actions people can take to make a difference – whether they can spare 30 minutes, 30 days or even 30 weeks.
We will be sharing some of them every day this week on our website (www.childrenssociety.org.uk/volunteer-blogs) to help inspire even more people in Hertfordshire to get involved.
Chief executive The Children’s Society
Take note of latest change in dog laws
Editor’s note: in light of last week’s front page story ‘Family cat mauled on driveway’.
The Dangerous Dogs Act has been amended and came into effect last month.
The law applies to all dogs whatever the breed or size.
The main changes include that private land is now included as well as public places; it’s an offence for your dog to attack an assistance dog; prison sentences increased and obviously dangerously out of control dogs can be seized in both private and public places.
In order to minimise dog problems make sure your garden is dog proof particularly where delivery men etc can access and it’s suggested that you make sure any visitor can safely access your front door without encountering your dog.
Whilst on this subject (you know me!) can I remind readers that letting your dog just roam uncontrolled is still illegal (I know of one terrier that is just let out even though a public footpath runs through the property – want to know where in case it spots you, just ask but it’s not far from where I am sitting).
The other reminder is during school holidays there is an increase in ‘dog mess’ everywhere caused by dog walkers who don’t walk their dogs often.
Usually because the kids are at home, it’s not a good idea to send them out to walk the dog without instilling the responsibility of good dog ownership.