Readers' letters - May 8

Why I'm taking the no plastic pledge

Thursday, 11th May 2017, 11:43 am
Updated Thursday, 11th May 2017, 4:56 pm

I have heard that TV presenter Simon Reeve has taken a ‘no single-use plastic’ pledge in June.

Reading about this has made me realise just how much plastic has taken over our lives and how often I buy a plastic bottle, drink the contents and discard it.

True, I am not a litter bug and will always throw the plastic item in a bin, and in ideal circumstances, a specific recycling bin.

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But what if there was less plastic in the first place?

When the charge for plastic carrier bags came into effect, I couldn’t believe the negative reaction from some scrooges who were upset at having to pay 5p.

We have become so indoctrinated into our convenient, cheap, throwaway ideology that we forget about the wider world.

Fewer carrier bags has resulted in less litter and pollution – win win for humans and animals alike.

And Simon Reeve is taking up the pledge for a good reason – he’s backing the Marine Conservation Society (MCS), which is asking people to give up single-use plastics for up to a month.

Could I join Simon and give up conveniences like ready meals, pre-packed sandwiches, and plastic-bottled drinks for a day, week or month?

I don’t know.

But it would be interesting to try.

According to the conservation society, the amount of plastic litter on our beaches has risen by 180 per cent in 20 years.

Plastic is often found in the stomachs of wildlife which lives in the seas, and can even kill them. Turtles are one example.

There are predictions that there could be more plastic than fish in our seas by 2050.

Is that really the type of world we want to leave our children and grandchildren?


via email


The sooner we leave, the better

Regardless of the future outcome of the General Election, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the EU is now growing ever more uncompromising in its attitude to us leaving its clutches.

Since we have submitted Article 50 in recognition of the UK Referendum Vote, they obviously want to deal with us severely, in order to prevent any of their present members preparing to quit and the consequent loss of their membership fees.

If one reads the recommendations of the former Greek finance minister, Mr Varoufakis, who has previously been through all these ‘negotiations’ with the EU when attempting to save his country, he states that the EU is a ‘bully’, although Greece was desperate to stay in the EU rather than leave.

Much of what he states regarding their negotiating methods, has already been confirmed in the last few days.

The EU’s insistence on the initial cost of a ‘divorce settlement’ of 100,000 euros and the unification of Ireland before any realistic trading negotiations can commence, is both illegal and unethical.

All of this confirms why we wished to leave this undemocratic, unelected organisation in the first place and the long-term folly of us now attempting to negotiate with them fairly as a future trading partner on advantageous terms to both of us seems increasingly unrealistic.

So the likelihood of a ‘no deal’ outcome, previously mentioned by Theresa May, now seems ever more likely.

At what point do we acknowledge this, wasting ever more of our time trying to negotiate with them and the continuing payment of our crippling membership dues?

Britain, unlike Greece, is not a debt-ridden country desperate to remain in the EU, and the sooner we emphasise this to the EU the better. Russia, USA and China trade with the EU in much greater volumes than we do but of course they have to pay the WTO fees.

We, on the other hand, allow much greater imports into our country from the EU than we export to them.

So they will now have to pay us these same WTO fees, or face the ire of their exporting companies, if they refuse.

We would, of course, have to pay WTO fees to other global customers likewise.

However, we are told that many global companies’ offices have moved into London, anxious to encourage our trade with them since the referendum. The sooner we acknowledge this probable ‘outcome’ as the new reality and walk away from the EU, the better. The Government should be encouraging firms that their future prosperity and our existence will depend upon them finding other global markets. The sooner the better it will be for UK’s future growth and survival.

E J Tilley



Free movement part of deal

Theresa May’s public tantrum over revelations of a not-so-secret dinner meeting with Jean-Claude Juncker that went badly was disturbing for two reasons.

First point, the accusations of EU electoral interference doesn’t seem to hold much water.

Considering that the Conservatives are unlikely to lose the forthcoming General Election unless there is a massive change in public attitudes towards the perceived weak leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, the EU gains nothing in presenting a stubborn stance on Brexit that could not hope to gain any political advantage for the Labour Party.

Any such interference could only ever work in the Tory’s favour.

Second point, both Mrs May and Boris Johnson have intimated in the past that the UK wants a ‘bespoke’ Brexit deal that is much more favourable than the one currently enjoyed by EEA members. That is probably where Mrs May’s rather visible anger was motivated.

A no-deal is clearly a bad idea for both the UK and the EU as it will do the business world within the UK and across Europe no favours.

However, the only deal that could ever be put upon the table is the same deal as Norway, the Swiss and Iceland enjoy. A deal that includes the free movement of people. Anything better than that would arguably destroy both the EU and the EEA.

Mrs May has already indicated that the free movement of people will continue within the UK for many years after Brexit. But that is something that indeed might upset the British electorate if bandied about too much by its media or by the EU itself?

Paul Dodenhoff

Address supplied


‘Rat’ is actually a water vole

In the Lancashire Post, there is an article and photo of a ‘rat’ at a pond near Cottam Primary School (LP April


Although sometimes erroneously called a water-rat, the creature depicted is undoubtedly a water vole (pictured above left).

This is a quiet vegetarian, posing no risk to man or duck, quietly munching on the pond vegetation.

The vole differs from a brown rat in that it has a blunt snout, smaller ears, a long-furred brown coat and a hair-covered tail.

It should be encouraged and certainly not harassed as ‘vermin’.

Enjoy seeing a fairly rare little creature.

Roderick H