Readers’ letters - February 25

Its time for the people of Preston to tell their council and MP how important libraries are, says a reader. See letter

Its time for the people of Preston to tell their council and MP how important libraries are, says a reader. See letter

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Your libraries are at stake

With the relish of Reformation zealots, Lancashire libraries all over the county are being closed down or threatened with closure, crippled financially, and demoralised, by the ruinous ‘austerity’ policies forced upon the council by the present Government.

You may not notice that your local library has gone or is going – until it has gone!

Euthanasia by stealth is seldom publicly performed.

But make no mistake, Prestonians, your libraries are at stake!

For all this talk of ‘consultation’ and ‘down-sizing,’ these are merely the words and codes used by politicians and councils when preparing the public for a culling of some sector of their local services.

In the case of The Harris Library, a symbol of artistic and intellectual excellence in this town since 1893, the future is uncertain.

It seems to me, as someone who uses the library most days of the week, that the current staff are over-worked, under-staffed, and are no doubt fearful for their futures – in the current climate of uncertainty – but are still providing an excellent standard of service and care.

If, for example, the Harris is so reduced by budget cuts and staff reductions as to be a shell of a building, all in the name of ‘downsizing’ and ‘austerity’, then what does that say about our city?

The Harris has always been a building for every member of society to use, rich or poor.

It’s a place where knowledge is free and no-one is excluded.

Where the etched names of those who fell in defence of those freedoms, that proudly etch her walls and the Cenotaph adjacent, are testimonies to the fact that these gifts are not to be surrendered without exclamation.

But perhaps the Harris is safe after all and I’m just scaremongering?

Perhaps...

But surely now, with the threat of such cuts and closures hanging over our local county libraries like a Damoclean Sword, now is the time for the people of Preston to tell their local council and their MP how important their library services are to them.

If not now, when?

Stephen Canavan, Preston

EU is the best we have got

Will we have stronger security, greater prosperity, and enhanced opportunities if we vote to pull out of the European Union?

Russia’s president Putin will rub his hands with glee if the EU is weakened, and I don’t see that improving our security.

The EU single market, which Britain created, is important to our prosperity, and if we vote to leave, we will lose the right to shape the decisions that control it. Leaving the EU can only diminish the opportunities for our young people in the future.

The 28 countries in the EU face problems that none of us know with certainty how to resolve, but together we champion the values of freedom and democracy.

When there is a dispute between us, we no longer send millions of our people to be slaughtered, fighting each other on battlefields. Instead we set up a sub-committee in Brussels and talk our way to compromise, peace and agreement.

The EU is far from perfect and always will be, but nowhere in the world is there anything better.

Chris Davies, North West Liberal Democrats

It will be spent on social care

Re: It’s reserves not revenues (LEP Letters February 10), they are spending the reserves on social care. This will be until 2018, where they will have been exhausted. Then, it will be statutory services only by the looks of it.

You cannot lose up to 80 per cent of your income and expect there to be no changes. You can thank Central Government.

cllrKeith via lep.co.uk

Singing praises of slippery elm

I smiled when I read the letter, Anyone heard of slippery elm? (LEP Letters February 22).

My father Richard Banks, who is 93 years old, never ceases to sing its praises. He used it in the 1950s for a stomach ulcer and has never looked back!

When anyone complains to him of digestive problems, he tells them to go and buy slippery elm (health food shops stock it).

The label on a 1950s tin says it was produced from the bark of the slippery elm tree from the forest glades of America. It is stone ground and then blended with malted wheaten flour. The drink is prepared by mixing this powder with milk to produce a drink that looks like Horlicks.

Hope this is useful.

Anne Wilson via email

Well done to volunteer Stella

Many congratulations to Stella Hayes of the Preston Samaritans Team, who has just received the British Citizen Award for 25 years of highly admirable and sterling work as a prison visitor at HM Prison, Preston.

Nothing could be more rewarding in terms of voluntary work than to support prisoners during very difficult times in their lives, although the work can be very emotionally challenging and distressing at times.

It is absolutely vital to be non- judgemental as a prison visitor and demonstrate great empathy.

Comparing the British Citizen Award (The People’s Honours), whereby a person is nominated by a fellow citizen for their exceptional endeavour, to the Honours System which I regard as hierarchical, political and populist, I believe the egalitarian British Citizen Award recognises not only the quality of Mrs Hayes’ work, but also the value of prison visiting as a form of voluntary work.

Susan Fox via email

What do we do with waste now?

As was reported in your newspaper, Lancashire’s two new recycling plants are to cease operation because they cost too much to operate (LEP February 20).

Are we to assume that the people of Lancashire do not need to separate their waste into separate coloured bins as they do at present, as it will all go to landfill?

Paul Helmn, Chorley