Readers' letters - January 24
I find myself in disagreement with deputy editor Nicola Adam as she rejoices in the proposed introduction of average speed cameras at eight locations (LEP January 9). I and many other road users have an alternative, more cynical view and perceive them as a stealth tax and more about raising money than keeping our roads safe.
The £1.3m raised since October from 23,000 motorists on the new Fishergate road rules project is a prime example.
Whilst no one in their right mind would condone speeding, there has never been any conclusive evidence that cameras save lives.
On the contrary, following recent Freedom of Information requests, the Department of Transport statistics reveal at some sites the reverse has occurred and RTAs have actually increased.
Independent research – not, I might add, those local safety partnerships which are self-perpetuating, self-financing job creation schemes with a vested interest in fining as many motorists as possible – attributes just seven per cent of accidents to excessive speed.
Since their introduction 25 years ago, they have earned the Treasury an estimated £200m in fines.
Cameras have evolved into a low cost but lucrative substitute to proper policing, giving the new breed of senior police officers any excuse to reduce patrols. Traffic police numbers have dropped 37 per cent in recent years.
Most importantly, cameras have no impact on those motorists with bad habits, those driving under the influence of drink or drugs, or using a mobile. Nor those disqualified or the 1.5m estimated to be without insurance.
A hotel in my neighbourhood runs Speed Awareness Courses and I am led to believe three separate classes are held six days a week. At £90 a shout for each offending motorist, one doesn’t need to be a mathematician to realise the amounts involved.
With bus lanes now being monitored, how long will it be before we are fined for entering those ridiculous cycle lanes that are cropping up and causing congestion in our busiest urban areas? It is high time to rethink road safety so it has a more broadened focus not solely based on speed.
Happy motoring in 2017....
Install CCTV in UK slaughterhouses
I am writing to you as I am gravely concerned about the pain and fear millions of animals in the UK are experiencing at the time of slaughter.
I am calling on you to take action to combat this immense, unnecessary suffering.
Firstly, I would urge you to support a call for new legislation that will require all slaughterhouses to have CCTV.
Monitored CCTV is an important deterrent against abusing animals – be that in any kind of slaughterhouse.
It allows officials to observe slaughter without being observed themselves.
The hard evidence provided also makes it easier to punish those who abuse animals.
Ultimately, CCTV protects animals.
This should be a minimum legal requirement in the UK.
The huge benefits of such a scheme far out-strip any cost.
The UK should not scrimp on something as basic as protecting animals at the time of slaughter.
Secondly, I would urge you to support an end to the slaughter of animals without effective pre-stunning.
While I appreciate this can be a sensitive issue, I would stress that this is an issue of animal welfare - not one of religious freedoms.
Animals should not be allowed to suffer such extreme pain and fear, as they do when slaughtered without effective pre-stunning, be it because of religious beliefs, inadequate stunning equipment or incompetence of staff.
The Government must take action to tackle this huge problem by strengthening the laws around the welfare of animals at the time of killing.
All animals, whether slaughtered by halal, kosher or ‘standard’ method, should be rendered totally unconscious before the throat is cut.
This means the legislation must
1. Prevent all slaughter without stunning and
2. Ensure stunning renders animals insensible to pain until death.
And finally, whilst slaughter without pre-stunning is allowed to continue, I urge you to call for mandatory method of slaughter labelling on all meat products.
Consumers should be given the choice to decide for themselves whether or not they consume meat from animals that have been pre-stunned.
While these products are not adequately labelled, consumers may inadvertently buy meat from animals that have not been pre-stunned.
This skews perception of demand for these products.
Warwick unsuited to midwifery role
It was satisfying to learn that Professor Cathy Warwick has at long last relinquished her position as President of the Royal College of Midwives, presumably due to the pressures at her total unsuitability for this position due to her chairmanship of BPAS (Britain’s largest Abortion provider), which was total anathema to her midwife members’ aims.
Adding insult to injury, she then endorsed members of the RCM as being in favour of her BPAS aims of the future decriminalisation of anyone performing abortions, without seeking the permission of her members – which she must have known she would never actually receive.
I am not aware of who her replacement will be, but if it is the gift of the Department of Health, as seems most likely, it is to be hoped it will be someone who represents the true purposes of a RCM midwife and will provide the leadership necessary to support them in their training which is continuing to provide assistance in the safe birth of children and handing them over to their grateful mothers.
Unfortunately the Department of Health has a dubious record with the administration of the 1967 Abortion Act, which is winking at the practise of the widening abuse by many doctors in miscertifying their patients as being suitable candidates for abortion on the grounds of mental health problems.
The ultimate tragic result is the increase in rising suicides among potential mothers subsequent to the abortion which demonstrates that their true mental health was never really identified and perhaps their opportunity to receive prior alternative counselling was also probably denied.
E J Tilley
NHS and trade deal with USA
Trump is a businessman and the fact he is now President of the US is not going to change that.
As the US economy is three times larger than that of the UK, but the same size as the EU economy, the UK will not get a better deal than the US would be willing to give the EU.
So to get that “extra special” deal with the Trump administration, the UK is going to have to give something special, something the EU could not offer – perhaps privatisation of parts of the NHS?
Maybe “special relationship” means giving opportunities to US businesses to exploit our NHS.