Readers' letters - April 4
Have more respect for Harris Museum
As the controversy concerning the proposed plan to alter the main entrance to the Harris Museum continues, I would just like to add my voice to those who object to this plan on the grounds that it would deface the neo-classic architectural beauty of what is officially classed as a Grade 1 listed building.
Recently I visited the city centre and was shocked to see neon lights had been fitted on the frieze above the front portico, completely covering the gold painted inlaid words – To Literature, Arts and Science.
How on earth a so- called artist and the people who approved this could consider it a work of art to desecrate a work of art is beyond belief.
It treats the building as if it was a tacky tourist attraction you would see on the promenade at a run- down seaside town.
Perhaps these same people would consider it appropriate to festoon other works of art such as The Mona Lisa or the Venus de Milo with Christmas tree lights!
Thank goodness the lights are only temporary.
I would urge our civic leaders not to sanction any other acts of cultural vandalism on the building in the future.
Decision needs to be reversed
John Wayland’s letter (LP, March 21) made some interesting points, but I feel his mention of the plight of unaccompanied child refugees requires further elucidation.
Official figures show that around 90,000 unaccompanied children claimed asylum in Europe in 2015 alone.
As many children do not apply for asylum as apply, according to the EU – which means that many, many thousands of frightened children are now lost, hiding, living on the streets, or under the lash of vicious criminals who use them for slave labour or prostitution.
Lord Dubs, who had himself arrived in Britain as a Jewish child refugee fleeing the 1930s Nazis terror, persuaded Parliament last year to set up a special scheme to resettle some of those children here. His hope was that 3,000 would be allowed to live in the UK – and many MPs believe that was what Ministers committed themselves to.
Shabbily, the Government announced that the scheme would be wound up at the end of March after only 350 children had been given refuge.
Dubs said shutting the door on a new generation of child refugees would be a “terrible betrayal” of the legacy of Britain’s Thirties Kindertransport scheme.
The campaign is not over yet, with Dubs lending his name to a Citizens UK online petition that has so far gained 56,000 signatures.
Local Amnesty International campaigners have been pressing Lancashire MPs on the issue, and two charities have launched a legal challenge which is expected to be heard in the High Court in May.
If Britain is to maintain its reputation as a compassionate nation, it is vital that the Government decision is reversed and that more local authorities offer places for these forgotten child victims of our appalling 21st century wars.
Technology’s not available
I refer to Brian Sheridan’s letter (LP April 1) regarding Amber Rudd taking action against social media companies and, in particular, Whatsapp owned by Facebook.
If Mr Sheridan had been listening to the many coders and technology gurus, he would have learned that the technology is not yet available to de-encrypt Whatsapp messages.
As for legislating for these platforms, many are based outside the UK. In fact the complaints department for Facebook is based in Vietnam, although they do have liaison offices around the world. The UK could block these platforms altogether, similar to China.
The police already employ highly trained non-police officer computer coders and technical staff, who, if possible, could de-encrypt the code.
GCHQ also have highly trained cyber encryption staff, but if the technology is not there, it can’t be done. It’s a bit like King Harold asking for a car in 1066.
Government has a responsibility
I just wanted to respond to last week’s letter, Worst pothole I have ever seen, which blames us at Chorley Council for not “getting a grip” of the roads (LP Letters, March 31).
Firstly, highways are the responsibility of Lancashire County Council, not us, but I do know that LCC is on with repairing the roads as fast as they can with the limited resources they have.
What is perhaps more concerning is that just a few days ago the Local Government Association (LGA) called on the Government to look at funding road repairs properly after a report identified that the one-time catch-up cost to get the roads back into a reasonable condition is £85.7m per authority.
Lancashire is a large highways authority and its roads therefore potentially need hundreds of millions of pounds of investment.
Whilst I would, of course, urge residents to report any potholes they see to Lancashire County Council at Lancashire.gov.uk (if they aren’t aware, they can’t fix them), I think we all need to put pressure on the Government to fund road repairs properly.
We’ll continue to do that ourselves on behalf of residents, but it helps if the public put direct pressure on the Government too, and I believe that the Government has a responsibility to own up to drivers and other road users that its policy of reduced funding is what is resulting in our roads ending up in such a bad condition, not just in Chorley but across the country.
Coun Alistair Bradley
Leader of Chorley Council
Let’s ignore this scaremongering
Brexit the real truth: Now our country can do deals with 66 plus enterprising and powerful economies after leaving the nearly bankrupt club. It is unlikely any one company will not keep the existing deals with Europe as they need our business also. So let us ignore the scaremongering which is harming our economy and accept that we will be hugely better off with Brexit.