reader’s letters: Thursday 10 April 2014

Traditional end of season mascots parade at Preston North End (see letter)

Traditional end of season mascots parade at Preston North End (see letter)

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Why new inquest needed

Fred Hodson’s letter about the Hillsborough tragedy (letters April 7) once again underlines exactly why the new inquest and IPCC investigation into the disaster are so necessary.

In seeking to shift the emphasis of the blame on to the design of the stadium Mr Hodson, who is a retired police officer, seeks to employ the very same tactic South Yorkshire Police used on the day of the disaster, West Midlands Police repeated investigating it and police have done for 25 years since, that is to deflect the blame from their own elsewhere.

Mr Hodson uses the phrase ‘vilified’ to describe criticism of the police’s role in this awful tragedy. They are not half as vilified as the innocent people whose lives were taken on that terrible day and had their names besmirched in such a calculated and wicked way by those charged with protecting them.

Hillsborough survivor, name and address supplied

Mascot treat is a great day out

I had to respond to Joan Higginson’s ill advised comments re North End exploiting young supporters who pay to be club match day mascots (letters April 8).

My eight-year-old daughter had the honour to be club mascot earlier this season at which in total 10 family members and friends were guests.

It was our treat to her as a super little football fan. She absolutely loved the experience from start to finish.

As did we all, she was treated so well I wrote to thank the club for the friendly and professional manner in which the night had gone. They simply could not do enough for her.

A full kit was provided, a buffet pre-match, a ground tour, a pitch practice, leading the team out, meeting the players manager and staff. Photographs were delivered days after the game, photos in matchday programmes, a medal, a certificate and just yesterday a letter with three free tickets to the last home game where she is involved with all the season’s mascots in a half time parade.

May I suggest Joan you too attend Deepdale and see the level of exploitation and see the pleasure and value the matchday mascots get. We are not Liverpool or Manchester City/United, football is not about Sky TV or simply the Premiership. Preston ‘Our Team’ deserves our support.

Why not support the club at this time, you may even begin to feel proud again. Up The Whites.

John Billington, via e-mail

Green belt is under threat

Having attended this week’s meeting by concerned residents living with the threat of encroachment by developers in Charnock Richard, I cannot help feeling there are some parallels to be drawn by the proposals to build a new Rehabilitation Centre , by Stocks Hall, and Sue Ryder’s Plans to build a New hospital in Cuerden Woods.

Both applications are on Green Belt. Both applications will generate revenue thereby becoming a commercial enterprise.

Both applications will devastate an existing area of green space rich in wildlife and irreplaceable species of flora and fauna.

The fact one is being proposed under the guise of a charitable institution and the other under the guise of a health care provider must not be seen to deter the public from seeing the bigger picture.

In the case of the ancient woodland of Cuerden we must look closely at the bigger plans Sue Ryder have for the site and we know that they plan to destroy these woods.

Anyway you look at both applications Stocks Health Care and Sue Ryder - it is the thin edge of a very big wedge.

If it wasn’t a charity proposing the Cuerden Woods development I doubt if it would get a second hearing.

Sarah Elsy, savecuerden.org.uk

Pay workers a living wage

David Cameron’s recent speech calling for “jobs, jobs and more jobs” plays well as a soundbite, but it’s really not as simple as that. Given most of the 13m Brits living below the poverty line are in work, it has never been more important to offer work that pays a wage people can live off.

For every minimum wage job David Cameron calls for, what he’s actually doing is asking for jobs that earn £1.15 less than the average person needs to get by for every single hour worked, which means living with earning £45 less every week than most people need to make ends meet.

This brings a cruel irony to his government’s claimed mission to “make work pay”, especially in light of the Culture Secretary, Maria Miller, over-claiming on her expenses. A Living Wage should be the expectation of everyone who gets up with the alarm, contributes to society and pays their way; a hard day’s work deserves a decent day’s pay.

Ben Whittingham, Wyre and District Labour Campaign Forum

Euro debate disappointed

The two debates on Europe between Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage have been a complete disappointment. Neither party leader offered a positive vision of Europe and the benefits our membership brings. And neither talked about the need for radical reform of the EU.

Saying, as Nick Clegg did, that the European Union will be pretty much the same in 10 years’ time as it is now is simply not acceptable. The EU hasn’t had a set of accounts signed off, the merry go round between Brussels and Strasbourg costs millions and the EU Commission can negotiate secret trade deals with the United States (supported by Clegg’s own MEPs) that puts our NHS at risk.

Farage blames immigrants for most problems and the EU for everything else. This is wrong, simplistic, nationalistic and not grounded in fact. For those of us who do see a role for the European Union in Britain’s future, seeing Nick Clegg fail to represent a positive vision was a huge disappointment. The EU desperately needs reform and Greens will push for that reform and champion Britain’s role in the EU.

We also believe the people should be trusted to decide on our future – in or out.

Peter Cranie, North West Green Party European election candidate