Readers' letters - May 29

Britain's not a great place to grow old

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 31st May 2017, 5:30 pm
Updated Sunday, 4th June 2017, 8:54 pm

In recent years, various politicians, think-tanks 
and media commentators have suggested that older people are the cause of 
many of the country’s problems – from the shortage of housing to the lack of hospital beds.

Some have also argued that the older generation has escaped austerity at the expense of the young, despite the fact that older people are very concerned about the future of their children and grandchildren.

Plans to take away benefits such as the pension triple lock, winter fuel payments or the bus pass will not help younger people – but are being used to roll back the welfare state for everyone.

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In reality, Britain is not a great place in which to grow old.

Our state pension is among one of the least adequate in the western world, our social care system is in crisis with 1.8 million people no longer getting the help they need and, in the last five years, over 141,000 pensioners have died from cold-related illnesses.

It is not just today’s pensioners that will 
suffer, it will be future pensioners that can expect a life of poverty.

Derek Barton

West Lancashire Pensioner


Disappointment turned to joy

Re: The newspaper article in today’s Looking Back. It comes from the West Lancs Gazette in 1956, and is about the Ben Hur fairground stall:

The article reports on the strong arm of the law coming down heavy against one of life’s simple pleasures of the ‘Man in the Street’.

The Ben Hur stall was dear to my heart, even as a five-year-old (1953)!

The newspaper article shows that the stallholder, Charles Hill, was fined the then hefty sum of THREE guineas, for what the court and barrister, Walter Clegg, found to be illegal gambling.

Before the end of the 1950s, bookies were legalised and the Ben Hur stall, illegal or not, rode into the sunset.

Me (age five) and my dad had a flutter on the Ben Hur fairground stall in 1953, at the Preston Whit Fair.

After a ride on the Moon Rocket, a glance at the Bearded Lady, some parched peas in the saloons, plus one last ride on The Waltzer and Greens Caterpillar, my dad found his last bob (one shilling in old money) in his pocket to play the Ben Hur sweepstake.

No joy, I was dragged away, in tears, through Starchhouse Square, back home to The Duke of York Pub in Friargate.

But wait...

What happened next?

My dad found another shilling in the lining of his suit, so we went back for one last go.

Guess what? We won! (The name of Bob Green, was on the winning ticket, I think).

I carried home a clockwork Hornby trainset.

What joy. Happy days.

Wilf Riley

via email


Tighten up security

We have all been devastated by the news of the recent Manchester IS terrorist attack, now raising the

UK’s threat limit to ‘imminent’. However, the recent announcements concerning the bomber himself and family stated that he had paid a visit to Libya and previously to Syria, which alone should have made him a number one IS terrorist suspect immediately.

It is almost impossible for our security people to keep close supervision on all of the suspected terrorists already living here, but what I have never understood is why we allow them back into our country once they have left.

A method of determining who is likely to be a future risk and whether they have been radicalised and an analysis of their visits and movements has now become essential to our future


It seems almost without doubt that due to the level of sophistication of this explosion that our suicide bomber had considerable help from others in the manufacture and method of detonation of this bomb.

He was duped as the instigator but his background does not seem to reveal sufficient technological knowledge for him to be able to act alone.

Therefore the security services are wise in casting their net nationwide in arresting all IS suspects until the extent of this ‘ terrorist cell’ in our midst is revealed.

The recent Government decision for a radical reduction in our police numbers would seem to make the resolution of this particular problem even more difficult.

E J Tilley



Why do we let them back in?

Re: Manchester bombing.

Can anyone, especially our wonderfully perceptive politicians, explain how the murderous perpetrators of this vile act came to be in

our country in the first place?

It beggars belief that they accept sanctuary and our hospitality, travel to training camps, learn how to murder our children, and then return to these shores with impunity.




Hopkins doesn’t help situation

So the reprehensible Katie Hopkins calls for a ‘final solution’ to the problem of terrorism. Even if one can overlook the inappropriate use of a term linked to the Holocaust, it should be made clear that any moves towards finding a solution to these complex issues does not lie in the kind of inflammatory approach of Ms Hopkins.

We owe it to the victims of this awful tragedy to strive for measured responses.

Ian Richardson

Address supplied


No hope of ban being obeyed

Recently, I have been visiting Royal Preston Hospital several times a day. To the right of the main entrance there is a huge No Smoking sign, frequently obscured by persons standing in front of it smoking. If the addicts cannot conform to a sign by their side, what chance is there of the ban on smoking in the grounds being obeyed?

Roger Bacon