Letters and emails on February 15, 2012

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The Lancashire Evening Post’s letters’ pages online

There seems nothing more calculated to raise people’s blood pressure than to hear and read the latest news on Britain’s apparent inability to deal with the avowed terrorist, Abu Qatada. If a recent newspaper article is to be believed, he has cost the British taxpayer more than £500,000 in benefits over the intervening years. And, of course, his sermons have remained required reading for potential Islamist terrorists. Now he is free from prison and being allowed to live under virtual house arrest at home, at the taxpayer’s continuing expense. His return to Jordan could apparently be a denial of his Human Rights. The French and Italian method of usually ignoring such EU judgments has a good deal to commend it. We are now being offered the prospect of the Government being required to obtain a promise from Jordan that Qatada will not be tortured, if he is returned, How much credence could be attached to such a promise is dubious. But at least it would provide the necessary excuse for us to rid us of this interminable problem Indeed, his immediate dispatch on the next plane to Jordan - or perhaps Brussels - is necessary to protect OUR Human Rights. E J Tilley, The Oaks, Chorley, via email

OK, now hound the humans

I write with regard to your story revealing that scores of dog owners have been fined for failing to clean up after their pets. As a considerate dog owner, I think that this is the right and proper course of action and have no problem with it. However, the waste dumped by members of the human species far outstrips anything produced by our pets. When are we going to see a serious blitz on those anti social people throw down their cigarette butts, chewing gum, sweet wrappers and fast food cartons? Or those who indulge in that most disgusting of habits - spitting in the street? Mawem, via LEP website

Still no hungering after education...

I am writing after reading the recent letters by Mr Siddall and Mr Walker regarding their memories of Alston Hall. They were day continuation students in the 1950s. It is always interesting to hear stories of how we used to be. In fact the food provision has not changed much from the days Mr Walker enjoyed the home cooking. We pride ourselves that all our food is still prepared on site whether it’s a sandwich for a LCC corporate client or a three-course meal for a special event. The evening meals are still served ‘family style’ so no one needs to go to bed hungry. Although we no longer have dancing on the front lawn, football on the upper floors or discos in the cellar, we do have a wide variety of courses and events running throughout the year in conjunction with Lancashire Adult Learning. If anyone else has memories or photos that they are willing to share with us please do not hesitate to contact the college. They can do so either by telephone on 01772 784661 or by email on alstonhall.general2@lancashire.gov.uk. And, who knows, if we get enough material together we may be able to mount a display here at the college in the future. Anne Russell, Programme Coordinator, Lancashire Adult Learning, Alston Hall, Longridge

Rubbing saltire in the wounds?

I recently found a Manual of Heraldry published in 1937. In a section about the Union Jack, the editor, Sir Francis J Grant, Lord Lyon King of Arms, tells us: “It was first composed in 1601 by conjoining the flag of England with that of Scotland, the red cross of St George being superimposed on the Scottish ensign. As the Scottish people resented this placing of the English cross on the top of their flag, it was generally flown in Scotland with the Scottish saltire above the St George’s Cross until 1707, when the Jack was declared to be the flag of Great Britain.” Subsequently, of course, the red saltire of St Patrick was added in 1801 to produce the flag we know today. I wonder how Sir Francis would have felt about the prospect of the Jack being amended yet again to allow for the departure of Scotland from the UK? JT, via email

Unaccompanied company appeal

The A Cappella Singers have some rare vacancies in their group as a result of members leaving the area. We are a highly acclaimed group of singers who perform in the Blackburn, Hyndburn, Ribble Valley and surrounding areas including the Fylde. We work mainly with churches which are anxious to gain extra income, as well as local charities, and perform to audiences of 100 or more. Our rehearsals are on Wednesday evenings in the Wilpshire area, with performances being given usually on a Saturday. We follow the school terms, meaning that we break up in early July and return again at the start of September. Anyone interested must be able to read music and be confident in working within a group of established singers. This does not mean that you must be perfect - far from it - but you must be aware of choral singing. Further details can be gained from David Cockett on 01254 885949, or visit our website on www.acappellasingers.co.uk Martin Sales, via email

Old boys renew their invitation

I should like to congratulate the LEP, and in particular Helen Lindsay, for the well-balanced feature on Preston Grammar School and its Association, which appeared in the Retro section of February 8. I am sure that many people will have enjoyed reading it. Right on cue, as I opened my paper, a membership application dropped through my letterbox. The Association is always keen to encourage new members, whether they be former teachers, old boys, or anyone with an interest in the old school. We would particularly welcome those who were there in the 1960s, as this group is under-represented. Please feel free to contact me via our website, www.pgsassociation.org.uk, or at captainvolvo@blueyonder.co.uk Alternatively, you can use the address below or ring me on 01772 497047 or 07950 142907. David (Charlie) Billington, Secretary, PGSA, 12 Coniston Avenue, Ashton-on-Ribble, Preston PR2 2HS.

Jet fight on the home front

While MP Mark Hendrick has every right to question the Prime Minister in the House of Commons about India awarding a substantial jet fighter contract to France rather than Britain, he should also be looking much closer to home by publicly asking for support from the Indian community in Lancashire and getting them to lobby the Indian government in the hope of persuading its ministers to change their mind. DJ, via email