Most of us question whether protesting makes a difference and does it influence decision-making on a wide range of important and sometimes controversial issues?
I was once told by a government minister that public opinion does count as newspaper editors, politicians, government and council officials are all aware that every individual protest represents thousands of people who may not actually come forward to voice their concerns but nonetheless share the same view.
Changing established and often out-dated practices is not easy and history has taught us that just causes and righting wrongs are invariably fought over a period of many years and only achieved after a long and hard struggle.
There are many examples such as the campaign to abolish slavery, civil rights, the Suffragette movement – for which we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the day women won the right to vote – and, in more recent times, the Poll Tax revolt.
Many protests often seem to end in failure.
However, viewing them in the long-term, one hopes that lessons will be learned which will prevent similar mistakes from happening in the future. It is a sad fact that, over the years, people have been forced to use extreme measures such as taking to the streets in protest, or facing imprisonment.
Protesters have made the world a better place over the years and without their determination we would still be living with things that are unfair, unjust and detrimental to our whole way of life.
No longer a rural gateway
“Enjoy walking in a rural township - before it’s gone.”
If Longridge residents needed depressing even further about the disappearance of their town’s rural environment, that headline to the Lancashire Post’s Walks and Trips (February 3) would have done the deed.
Most of the rural areas and green spaces in and around this old township have already gone under the developers’ knife...making the headline more than ironic.
And it is also ironic that the author of last Saturday’s Walks and Trips around Longridge – Bob Clare (lancashire walks.com) – takes readers on a six-mile route through almost every former greenfield site and open space which is now covered by housing.
Not one of these sites does he mark in his directions for the walk as being now developed for properties or industry, or being in part of the ongoing planning process.
The sites include Blackburn Road, Lower Road, Tanyard, Higher Road, Chaigley Road, John Smith’s Playing Fields, Halfpenny Lane, Whittingham Lane, Green Nook Lane, Chapel Hill, Lower Lane.
Mr Clare’s route begs the question – when did he actually map it all out for readers to ‘enjoy’... through an area which the borough council gave the once-encouraging and sign-posted title ‘The Gateway to the Ribble Valley’?
We may still be that gateway but it is one now barred from any possibility of being seen or walked through as rural.
J and G Whalley
Lancashire Post’s walks editor Bob Clare writes: “Firstly, can I thank you for taking the time to express your feelings on the subject of housing development in Preston and the Ribble Valley (and just about everywhere else!)
“Part of my motivation in writing the piece was to make the readership aware of ‘new political and social realities’ in relation to planning. In some respects, events have overtaken my description since David Johnstone (a Longridge resident) first showed it to me in December last year, in that quite a few locations the route passes through are now building sites as you pointed out so it is no longer possible to ‘enjoy’ them.
“While the headline was not my own, please do not think I was being flippant about the disappearance of rural Longridge (and Preston). There needs to be a proper debate on how best to meet our housing shortage without despoiling our countryside.”
After hearing the glowing reports about Preston’s new market, we decided to jump in the car and give it a try.
If I said that we were “absolutely underwhelmed” by it, I would be exaggerating!
It is awful.
I never saw anyone complimenting it – just a lot of complaints.
This, accompanied by the fact that we parked at the top of the car park, paid the fee, headed for the lift, only to find a sign saying “Lift not in service”.
I’m not too bad on stairs but mums with prams and young children were really struggling.
Come on Preston Council – “Pull your fingers out”.
Maybe (and it pains me to say this) go and have a look
at how they do it in Blackburn!
Oh, and my parched
peas had gone up by 20 per cent.