Readers' letters - May 26
I agree with correspondent, Mick Mulcahy of the Lancashire People’s Assembly Against Austerity (LEP May 17), concerning the Tories Trade Union Act 2016. This grossly unjust legislation is yet another decisive boot in the groin of the trade unions, driven by an ideological hatred by the Conservative Party against a movement dedicated to pursuing and upholding the cherished values of fairness, justice and compassion within the workplace.
Since the dark days when trade unionists were persecuted 200 years ago, through the evil transportation, incarceration and much, much worse, activists have faced generations of systematic attacks designed to crush the belief in collective solidarity, of which the current legislation is another disgraceful example.
It beggars belief that here we have the most blatant contradiction. It was deemed acceptable to elect the former Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, by the use of electronic voting but which now is perceived as illegal in workplace balloting for a strike, simply because a high vote turnout could well reinforce a strike decision.
It would appear the only form of collective solidarity in the workplace acceptable to the Tories is the return to the ‘hire and fire’ and ‘plenty more willing to do your job’ days.
Trade unionists have paid a heavy toll over the years in helping secure conditions all of us, trade union members and non trade union members, take for granted today. These are the right to belong to a union, the abolition of child labour, the right to vote, the right to paid holidays, the right to a safe workplace, equality for women, the right to not be discriminated against, and much more.
Securing these rights has not come easily. From the Tolpuddle Martyrs, the ‘blacklisting’ of activists, the alleged injustice against the Orgreave miners and many more issues, legions of unsung heroes, whose stories often remain untold, have stepped up to the plate and took up the fight.
For no matter how many times the Tories kick us down, we get up again, just as our forefathers did. We get off our knees because justice, fairness and equality are worth fighting for and this despicable anti-Trade Union legislation will never quash those ideals.
Jim Leigh, Unite Union, Fulwood
Either selfish or gullible
I agree very strongly with the letter, Don’t repeat the same mistake (LEP May 19). How right the writer was to call voting to remain cowardly. This is negative voting by the naive and those who are trying to con us into voting remain but are only doing this for their own selfish reasons, such as using the EU as a gravy train later in their political careers, or for the purpose of helping big business by driving down wages, by encouraging mass immigration.
The fact that Prime Minister Edward Heath took Britain into the EEC, later the EU, in 1970, and it has been all downhill in Britain since then, is the writing on the wall that it is time for a change by way of Britain voting leave.
Another reason is that membership of the EU costs Britain too much money which could be better spent on the NHS. Another reason is that the EU open door immigration policies make it an open invitation even for terrorists to sneak into the country.
Also, the EU gets greedier and more dictatorial the longer it clings to power in Britain, neglecting even our own Government to a second-in-command and Britain to a mere colony.
If we blow this last chance of independence by re-electing the EU by voting remain, we will always be stuck with it, allowing it to abuse its power over us.
Therefore, remaining, rather than leaving, makes it much more of a foregone conclusion that things will only get worse in Britain. Hitler and Napoleon will be having the last laugh on Britain from their graves if this happens. It would also mean that David Cameron has brainwashed his own nation with lies.
R.N Coupe, Lostock Hall
Mix-up of the two Florries
Regarding the photo in Looking Back (LEP Friday, May 13). Paul Baron says he has a photo of Miss Florrie Heaps, May Queen 1916.
The photo had nothing to do with St Walburge’s Parish Festival 1916. I am confident the photo was taken in May 1916 as I have in my possession two postcards of photos taken at Preston’s Band of Hope Festival, the junior section of the Temperance Society, held in May each year.
One of the photos shows the retiring May Queen and is entitled Miss May Storey, May Festival 1916. The second card shows the new May Queen, Miss Florrie Heaps, according to the Preston Guardian, on May 27, 1916.
However this May Queen, supposedly Miss Florrie Heaps, is not the same girl that is in the LEP on May 13, 2016. The girl who is in the LEP on May 13, 2016 is on the photo sitting down at Miss Florrie Heaps’ right hand side.
There is obviously a mix-up somewhere. The new May Queen is wearing on her head the same type of headgear worn by May Storey while she was still Queen.
The new May Queen, supposedly Miss Florrie Heaps, has five girls in attendance. The girl on her left is Miss May Storey – look at her style of dress and her shoes.
May has nothing on her head as she supposedly took it off and it was put on the head of new May Queen, Florrie Heaps.
There seems to have been several queens. There was also the Queen of the Fairies, Miss May Southworth, and a Flower Queen, Miss May Taylor.
There was a photo in Looking Back of six girls on Tuesday, August 25, 2015. I am sure that undated photo, titled Flower Queen, was connected with the two cards that I have, but maybe not in the same year. The lettering on my two cards matched the lettering on that particular photo, and there were some similarities.
Both queens were carrying a basket of flowers, one girl in each picture carried a cross of flowers and one girl on each carried a heart-shaped arrangement. One girl on the photo from the LEP is carrying an anchor of flowers but not on my cards.
A report in the Preston Guardian 1916 states: “The annual May Festival of Preston Band of Hope Union, which has been held regularly since 1889, with last year being the only break in the series….”
I wonder if the girl in the LEP photo submitted by Paul Baron was identified as Miss Florrie Heaps on this photo, or whether it was taken on the occasion of Miss Florrie Heaps being May Queen.
Brenda M Fox, Garstang