Reader’s letters - Wednesday 09 April 2014

Maria Miller MP.  A correspondent says apologising and paying back �3,000 is not enough
Maria Miller MP. A correspondent says apologising and paying back �3,000 is not enough
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We’re grateful for kindness

We want to say a massive thank you to the writer of the letter ‘Patient was so cared for’ (LEP March 21).

It was my step-father, Gerry (77), who was the gentleman who collapsed on the number 35 bus on the March 12. His death was a shock to us, more so because of where he was and the idea he was alone in his last moments.

We are so grateful to those who helped him and tried to save his life. We knew about the young man from the police’s account and we have sent him a thank you card, however we did not know about the woman that helped him and we want to take the opportunity to thank her and others that were present.

Words cannot express the gratitude that we have for you in caring for Gerry at this time.

We also thought about the passengers on the bus and how upsetting this must have been for them , particularly if there had been children present.

We do not know why Gerry was on the number 35 bus, as this is not on his route. The only reason for this, we think, is that he may have been in pain and was confused. It is reassuring to know there are still people out there in today’s society who are more than willing to help someone in distress. It is also very reassuring for us to know that Gerry was not left alone to suffer. Thank you.

Sally and Bryan Pilkington via email

Threat to our democracy

Politicians wonder why there is public disillusionment with Westminster and politicians in general. They need look no further than the recent lack of justice apparent in the present Government’s ruling in finding Maria Miller, the Culture Secretary, guilty of making illegitimate expenses claims, but stating that she would merely be required to apologise and pay back some £3,000 (no mention was made about the remaining sum which she has also pocketed).

In view of the not too distant memory in the public’s mind, where politicians were making wholesale illegal Parliamentary cash claims believing it to be their right, this treatment of these claims is an utter disgrace.

Added to which we now learn that the newspaper responsible for originally uncovering this scandal has since been threatened by at least two members of the Government.

Cameron’s all consuming desire to retain his dwindling amount of Tory women in his Government, prior to the looming election, at all costs, cannot be allowed to overrule the tenets of democracy, decency and law.

This case should be carefully examined by the police and an independent judgement reached. Politicians should not be allowed to be their own judge and jury, thus making our already cynical electorate even more determined never to vote for them again. Again seriously threatening our already teetering democracy.

E J Tilley, Chorley

Plain packaging will hurt firms

I read Cig plan is welcomed (LEP April 6) with interest. Members of the Petrol Retailers Association (PRA), which represents 5,500 independent forecourts, are increasingly concerned about the amount of illicit tobacco on our streets and the direct impact it has on their businesses.

A survey carried out of PRA members has shown 73 per cent believe illicit trade hurts their business and decreases their annual sales revenue, with almost two thirds believing the problem is getting worse. Retailers are also opposed to Government proposals to introduce plain packaging of tobacco products and think it will harm honest retailers because it will fuel illicit trade and people will buy their cigarettes from the black market.

Our contemporaries in Australia, the only country to have introduced plain packaging, show these concerns are well founded. The Australasian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS) says 70 per cent of retailers have been negatively affected, with 67 per cent saying the growth of the black market has had an impact on their business. The sale of illegal branded cigarettes has increased by 154 per cent. Tobacco consumption has been constant.

Retailers believe the Government should fully evaluate the Australian experiment before implementing plain packaging here.

Brian Madderson, chairman of the Petrol Retailers Association

Group helps those with AS

I am chairman of the Preston National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society (NASS) Preston Branch.

Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) is a rheumatic disease which can lead to fusion of joints, resulting in severe restriction of movement.

We are a small group that has only been going for six months, and our main activity at present is a twice monthly exercise class, running on the first and third Thursdays of each month.

The classes start at 6.30pm and last approximately an hour.

These exercises are a crucial element in the treatment of AS as they help maintain flexibility and core stability. The sessions take place at The Minerva Centre. There is currently no charge for theses classes and, in the future, we hope to add hydrotherapy exercises as well. New members can be assured of a warm welcome. Anybody interested can email me at NASS

preston@gmail.com.

I would also like to take this opportunity to express my thanks on behalf of the NASS Preston Branch to the Rheumatology team at the Minerva Centre. Their dedication and support to patients with AS has been exemplary and, without them, it would not have been possible to get to where we are today.

R Hall, NASS Preston Branch chairman

Another fight for the remote

It’s true, I know I get very little pleasure from TV. When we had only three channels, an American friend said we were lucky, because all three produced quality television, unlike his 50 trashy channels. Well, I reckon we’ve got there.

I’ve said before, I find ITV1 fairly unwatchable, soaps, soaps, soaps and utter trash at weekend.

I’m glad I’m old, because there are some good shows, especially late afternoon. I like Countdown and I like Pointless. Both give your brain a tweak.

But you have to be careful. My wife and I have bounced off each other reaching for the remote before Noel Edmonds appears!

But the good news I did hear via the TV is that the wonderful 15-1 is returning. I doubt it’ll be William G Stewart this time, but it always was a good watch.

Also I have to thank the Post, via our friend Darryl (LEP letters March 28) for the warning. They are bringing the odious Jim Davidson back. That’s another bruising fight for the remote!

Allan Fazackerley, Penwortham