Reader’s letters - Monday September 29, 2014

X Factor judges at work but one reader believes there are better shows on television
X Factor judges at work but one reader believes there are better shows on television
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Ban is just a load of hot air

Regarding the proposed ban on smoking in play areas (LEP September 23), the signs have no legal standing as no legislation exists to ban smoking in open spaces – but they will likely be worded to frighten members of the public into thinking they will be breaking the law if they light up. Signs at a similar scheme in Blackpool say parks are ‘designated smoke free sites’ and feature a red line through a graphic cigarette.

Preston Council has to refuse to take part in this ridiculous scheme. Smoking in the open air is not an offence and the local authority surely has better uses for its money than misleading signs.

Smokers have the same rights as every other citizen and rights must be equally applied at all times. Usually when you are in a park you are tens or hundreds of yards from other members of the public, so there is no way that smoke can affect anyone else.

Yet, if Preston City Council takes part, anyone lighting up will have some council warden pestering them and asking them to stop. It is a matter of the most basic individual freedom and sensible use of taxpayers’ money.

These signs will have no legal authority, meaning that the council will be purporting to have legal powers that it does not have in an attempt to frighten people going about their lawful business.

It is an entirely unhealthy and bullying relationship between local government and the people. Members of the city council are surely aware of the authority’s financial predicament and I hope they are sensible enough to refuse to spend taxpayers’ money in this foolish way.

James Barker, Preston UKIP chairman

No place for the Royal family

It’s time to downgrade the royal family. In a modern, fair, meritocratic and democratic society, where success is rewarded according to ability, inherited titles, privilege and blue-blooded heredity simply have no place.

It’s akin to medieval feudalism, where serfs had to unquestioningly bow down to their all-powerful land owning masters. It’s time people opened their eyes to the royals’ ridiculous pomp and circumstance, vast drain on our resources and interference in our politics.

At the very most, we need a royal family along the Swedish line, not living in ivory towers, not given millions every year by the taxpayer to fund their lavish lifestyles, private educations, million-pound house renovations and whimsical dabblings in our ordinary lives.

Andrew Watkins, via e-mail

Seek out the off button on TV

I noticed a letter in the LEP complained about The X Factor (letters September 23).

The writer suggests the show should be given ‘a decent burial’. Why not simply switch it off instead of watching it and then moaning? This household has banned the three main ‘serial dramas’ and The X Factor has gone the same way.

I personally got sick of ignorant people saying things like ‘I’m going to sing Feeling Good by Michael Buble’ as if he wrote it.

Also these same lazy people obviously not even being bothered to check a song’s history or credentials. I also got fed-up with the supposedly spontaneous outbursts of ‘emotion’ which are carefully scripted and clearly intended to manipulate an audience that Cowell et al have nothing but contempt for.

The whole process is utterly cliched from every utterance (‘You’re amazing’, ‘This is my dream’, ‘It’s so close I can almost touch it’ etc) to every dance move. Try the True Entertainment channel instead. The Waltons, Highway To Heaven, Little House On The Prairie, what more could you want? And all that morality as well. It does the soul and spirit good.

Terry Maunder, address supplied

Time is right to look at voting

I am absolutely delighted that the people of Scotland have decisively rejected the breaking up of the United Kingdom and rejected independence.

I am Welsh and British in equal measure, and am proud to be both, and it is clear that this is also the case for the Scots.

I have always believed that the strength of the United Kingdom is in its constituent parts working closely together to allow the country to continue to punch above its weight on the world stage and share in a sense of national identity and purpose.

In the Ribble Valley we have Dunsop Bridge, the very centre of the United Kingdom, and following the referendum it remains very much at its heart.

I also welcome comments made by the Prime Minister to address the great unanswered constitutional problem, the West Lothian question, which must be a priority.

It cannot be right for Scottish MPs to be able to vote on devolved issues and I am confident that English votes for English laws will soon be enacted.

Nigel Evans MP, Ribble Valley

Fairer deal for elderly drivers

By the amount of their adverts on television one would be inclined to believe that in spite of insurance being obligatory, these companies still seem to have trouble attracting clients.

Some of the offers they make are without foundation – as a phone call or two will quickly substantiate. Some time ago there was a deal of discussion on the subject of ‘ageism’, in terms of the discrimination shown against old and young drivers in the matter of the outlandish sums being demanded for insurance. But as yet nothing has been done and many insurers refuse to insure drivers above a certain age or rip them off with premiums so high that many are unable to afford them.

This after what could well be a lifetime of paying in while obtaining few, if any, returns as a result of driving accident free.

So come on you MPs, do something to earn your money and take up the subject of ‘ageism’ in all its forms, and stop these insurance moguls from taking drivers ‘for a ride’ – if they can afford it.

J Smith, address supplied