No going back

Dear Editor,
With reference to the letter by Jennifer Godschall Johnson wanting us to rejoin the EU without delay.  

Well I disagree, I believe in a democracy where the people vote for their leaders based on their future plans for the country i.e .their manifesto.  

The leaders of the EU are not directly elected and the people get no say in the process. 

How many even know  the current EU leaders, what their plans are, or felt consulted on their plans?

In fact, they are more akin to our civil servants than true representatives of the people.  

True politicians have a direct connection to the people through the voting system and when tough decisions have to be made they are fully aware of public opinion.  

Recent history shows us that the EU cannot take tough decisions and the resulting vacuum has led to nation-states having to take action on their own.

I am not anti-European and would certainly not have wanted to leave had we remained a Common Market. 

However, the change to a political union that took decision making away from Westminster and gave it to unelected bureaucrats in Brussels, is not democratic. 

So, despite all the current problems, I would still vote leave.

Ed Treadwell, Chilbolton

Golden days...

Dear Editor,

During this time in our lives, being a shutdown with the virus, it’s enjoyable to hear folk’s stories and memories of our past. We look back to those times of deliveries, that may be reviving now or bring in a raise of our spirits.

Roy Hartley was the grocer who arrived at our home precisely 4 p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays. His van was shelved in wood with a quick step up to walk the aisle, selecting mostly sweeties for me! He would sit and have a chat with Mum and I hear other Mums too!

Our front door was opened every day, despite even a cold frost, to bend over and pick up the delivered pints of milk in glass bottles. Sometimes the blue-tits had popped their beaks through the silver, foiled lids to pinch the creamy surface!

Our loaves of bread, white bread, had been dropped off even earlier by Mr Bray, the baker. A sweet aroma called for Mum’s silver, shining bread knife to slice our breakfast toast with creamy, yellow butter sitting waiting to be spread.

Friday’s well, fish on a Friday remains in our lives I see. The fishy smell and possible bones catching our tongues didn’t appeal to me, yet Mum would buy the fish cakes too. Perhaps the word cakes and rusty colour took away the feelings of possible sharp white bones.

Butchers well always it seemed then and on our local markets now, their pride reflects their happy days of work. Pride in their preparation of meat reflected in welcoming smiles and a call out such as ‘buy one, get one free!’ Our butcher wore the white styled coat, and a straw boater hat and a white striped, navy blue apron too. He also had his own shop, which was lost through the development of large supermarkets. Yet nowadays discovering the Ludgershall butchers shop was a great find.

How have these memories returned, I ask myself? Well, yesterday I woke early to hear a possible van outside our cottage. So peeping out of the window, it was a pleasure to see the council van had arrived, with two ‘workmen’ quietly collecting our large amount of waste, which I had booked to be removed.

Those were the days!

Lynda Price, Fyfield

MPs are not alone

Dear Editor,

We were all shocked and saddened by the brutal murder of Sir David Amess, the Conservative MP for Southend. 

Our condolences go out to his family, friends and constituents who lost a good and accessible constituency MP. 

As one commentator pointed out, his accessibility and dependability became his vulnerabilities. 

Unfortunately, MPs are not alone in being targeted.

Both their staffs and also local councillors are subject to harassment, abuse and worse whether online or often in person. 

This approach is often stoked up by those who cannot win their arguments democratically either by evidence or appeal to our strong British liberal values.

If we want to prevent more of these attacks, as in last five years we have also lost the Labour MP Jo Cox, we need to do more to call out and combat those who wish to do our democracy harm by attacking our elected representatives. 

We need to do more to encourage diversity and inclusivity in our representatives and this will not happen if their working conditions are so fraught with risk. 

I do hope that decency and competence win over, and those that want to go out and make the world a better place by non-violent and democratic means, whatever their political persuasions, triumph over those who peddle abuse and hate.

Cllr Luigi Gregori, Lib Dem Parliamentary Spokesperson, North West Hampshire

Time to switch

Dear Editor,

After the petrol crisis caused the panic buying hysteria that led to record breaking queues at gas stations resulting in garages running dry and forced to close, I am in agreement with the Environment Minister, Lord Zac Goldsmith’s statement that the shortages highlight the need to end our dependency on fossil fuels.

It’s not just petrol but the gas price rises that everyone is struggling to pay including businesses.

In recent weeks the gas price crisis has also shown us how vulnerable our dependency on fossil fuels is making us. 

The solution to petrol crisis, gas price crisis and climate crisis are the same - a just transition to sustainable renewable energy. Granting new oil and gas projects won’t do anything to ease these crises in the short term and will only lead to more climate devastation. 

We will have to wait and see what plans Boris Johnson and the UK Government come up with at UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) and how many of those plans will be fulfilled.

Jeannette Schael, Tadley

Response all wrong

Dear Editor,

It is something of an understatement to say things are going in the ‘wrong direction’ in terms of the government’s strategy to tackle Covid-19, as set out by the Secretary of State for Health at Wednesday’s Downing Street briefing.

Despite the evidence that schools and colleges are one of the main drivers of virus transmission, no additional support or guidance to schools and colleges has been given to ensure students, staff and their families remain as safe as possible.

Sajid Javid advises the population to wear masks, but he and the Department for Education are ignoring our request that they should be following the control measures in place in Scotland’s schools, such as face coverings in secondary schools and asking pupils who are a very close contact of someone with coronavirus to take a PCR test before they return to school. 

It’s not right to put responsibility on the people but to refuse simple actions themselves. 

Yet again, the government is failing to take control of a situation which the health secretary himself predicts could get a good deal worse with case rates rising to 100,000 a day. 

It is irresponsible not to address the growing concerns. 

Kevin Courtney,  Joint General Secretary, National Education Union