Readers' letters - December 21

Charity should begin at home

Every one of us in this great country of ours should be hanging our heads in shame at the way we have allowed our old people and the vulnerable to be treated so appallingly when in care.

And yet we continue to send billions of pounds overseas in foreign aid to allow many country’s to waste our money on ‘hare-brained’ projects without a whimper from our past and present governments.

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For instance only this week came news of the complete waste of £285m of British taxpayers’ cash used to build an airport in the South Atlantic Territory of St Helena, which can’t be used by the commercial aircraft it was intended for because of the dangerously windy conditions.

Other examples include a £4m grant to launch an Ethiopian version of the Spice Girls pop group, £15m on a scheme to reduce flatulence in Colombian cattle in order to combat global warming and £3m to increase awareness of British football in China.

This is what happens when you calculate spending according to some arbitrary target of 0.7 per cent of total GDP instead of carefully scrutinised needs.

‘Posh’ Dave, remember him?, set this target for overseas aid, almost double the European average and stubbornly stuck with it even as spending cuts began to bite here at home. As a result, the foreign aid budget ballooned from £7bn in 2010 and will reach £15bn in 2020.

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Yet we cannot, or will not look after our own who are in need most.

Absolutely disgusting.

Terry Palmer

Address supplied


Don’t tell, just listen to us

It is with some dismay that I read and watch politicians and commentators from both sides of the Brexit debate making statements as to what the British people did or did not vote for on June 23.

It seems clear that neither side were expecting or are prepared to accept the actual result of what is a clear vote, even those on the leave side, some of whom now argue for “soft” rather than “hard” Brexit.

In particular, when politicians say that voters did not understand this or that nuance of an aspect of the argument, I feel they miss the fundamental point of democracy.

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A vote from a politician or professor of law has no more value than a vote from a labourer or part time worker and, given most issues are a matter of opinion or speculation, not fact, both should be given equal respect.

The referendum was called by the Conservatives and David Cameron who supported remain and took every opportunity to explain that a vote to leave meant leaving the “single market” with all the problems that would potentially mean.

To be told now that people did not understand what they voted for is both disingenuous and irrelevant and demonstrates yet again the arrogance of the political elite. Why a person votes one way or another is their business alone and not for others to tell them they only voted that way through ignorance or because they were lied to.

The right to vote does not come with a minimum educational requirement nor a need for a certificate to prove you understand the question.

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Voters are perfectly entitled to decide on their own view of the situation, be that based on “gut feel” or one aspect of the broad argument.

Both sides of this argument spent a lot of time and money trying to manipulate the “facts” as they believe them to suit their argument and convince people to vote one way or another with equal spin. The reality is this is a highly complex subject which I suspect the majority of politicians and experts on both sides do not understand either but the result is the result and further attempts to bend the outcome one way or the other will surely only bring more division.

Having campaigned in local and general elections, I have spoken to many voters who say they will vote Labour or Tory just because they always have or their parents did or they simply identify with that party. I do not see politicians rejecting the votes of, or results riven by, such voters so the current state of affairs is more than puzzling from a logical perspective.

The current legal and parliamentary attempts to bend or shape the instruction from the people’s will, in my opinion (and that’s all it is), merely reinforces the views expressed to me so often by voters that the political elite do not care what the ordinary voter thinks or wants but only care about what they decide in their wisdom is best for us.

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They say you can fool some of the people some of the time but perhaps the voters of the established democracies are finally sick of being fooled all of the time.

Brexit, Trump and Italy may all be symptoms of the same malaise. Stop telling us what to do and listen instead.

Mark Smith


Chorley Parliamentary candidate 2015

animal welfare

Treat with kindness

I heard of a woman who felt guilt after rehoming her dog to a man who, later on, neglected the dog so much, the animal died. To be fair to the lady in question, she said she made extensive checks to make sure this man would be able to look after her pet.

However, I see my dogs as part of the family and it saddens me when I hear of people who, to my eyes, seem to want to rehome their dog far too quickly.

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There are genuine reasons to rehome pets, and for these people and animals I have great sympathy. But too many people buy and then give up their animals on a whim.

Often common sense

and a good dog trainer

can help with any issues.

If you’re the type of person who thinks getting ‘rid’ of a family member is the only thing to do because you’re going to have a baby or can’t be bothered to train your dog, please, please, don’t get one in the first place.

How do you know the dog will go to a good home? Even if he/she goes to an animal shelter, how do you know they won’t be miserable in a kennel there? What if their next owner decides they’re going to have a baby and decide to give your ‘beloved’ dog up?

I recognise we live in a ‘must-have’ society, but maybe it’s time to wake up and realise that if we aren’t prepared to treat animals with kindness, we are better off without. We shouldn’t always get what we want.

Animal lover



Book or tow cars away

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I could not believe the article headed Police tackle parking issue (LEP December 16). Motorists were ASKED to move by the police for parking on school zig zags. These motorists should have been booked or, if they were not with the car, have it towed away. People who put their children at risk should not be on the road.

Ex-traffic warden

via email