A right to voice an opinion – not a swap
I am grateful and privileged to live in a democracy and acknowledge the sacrifices made by long-gone generations to give me this right.
My vote is my personal right to voice a genuine opinion and to contribute to the choice of MP in my local area – maybe not to the chosen government in the event but to the choice of a local representative hopefully.
I am seriously concerned to have learned that there is a new organisation operating online where contacts are made across, I believe, the whole country.
People can discuss and decide between themselves to ‘swap their vote strategically’ and vote differently from their first choice to affect the overall result, worryingly not in their own area.
Your vote is personal, it matters both nationally and to your local area.
You cannot decide to walk into a voting booth in a completely different area and vote to influence choices in that area.
You are recorded, numbered and checked at your local office.
There is more than enough lack of transparency and this attempt to distort political outcomes should be banned.
It is yet another unacceptable development in the world of social media where attempts to manipulate and influence people should be better monitored and prevented.
Be honest, vote in line with your convictions to influence developments nationally and locally but not to distort outcomes.
They will not divide us
The cowardly attack on
innocent children and their families at the Manchester Arena has left us all in shock, directly affecting us here in the Ribble Valley through the loss of one of our own.
In particular, those of us with children and grandchildren of our own can only attempt to empathise with the bereaved families as we continue to go about our lives.
We can only imagine what it must be like to see that empty bed or place at the dinner table knowing that it will never be occupied again.
The hate-filled individuals and groups that inflict this suffering may be relatively few compared with the decent majority, but their impact on our communities and in shaping the national dialogue can be overpowering, with the challenge then falling back on us as communities that are already hurting to try and counter the divisive narrative that these extremists want us to engage in.
It’s been said many times, but I will say it again, they will not divide us.
I’ve lived in Clitheroe for nearly 50 years, and, as a Muslim, I’m proud to have Christians, Jews, Buddhists and people of no faith at all as my close friends.
These relationships enrich the lives of me,
my family and my community.
We are united in our belief that the values this country’s finest gave their lives for must be treasured and upheld, against those that inflict their terror but also against those that seek to exploit the fear and anger that ensues.
My thoughts remain with those families affected by the events last week.
May God grant them the patience to stay strong and get through the painful process of grieving, and I pray sincerely that we can all continue to be resilient in society to show those that seek to divide us they will never win.
Mohammed Sarfraz (Saf)
Don’t ignore these children
Recent letters published (LP March 22 and April 4) highlighted the ongoing refugee crisis, which is the worst since the Second World War, and the withdrawal by the Home Secretary of the agreement of Parliament last year to set up a special scheme (the Dubs Amendment). This scheme aimed to resettle 3,000 unaccompanied children, lost and alone in Europe, when only 350 children had been given refuge.
As election day approaches, as a member of Fylde Coast Amnesty International Group, I urge the candidates of all political parties not to turn their backs on these vulnerable human beings.
I ask that they ensure that the UK Government reinstates the scheme in the new Parliament and recalls the UK’s proud history of welcoming vulnerable children displaced by war and terror.
Leaving these children at huge risk of deprivation and abuse is a callous and inhumane act and not to be tolerated. We have a duty to do better than this and ensure their human rights are protected.
Whilst the news has moved on, many young refugees have not. According to Help Refugees: “When the rain doesn’t ruin sleeping bags, police pepper spray bedding so children in Calais have no sheets to sleep in”.
At Fylde Coast Amnesty Group’s open meeting on Monday, June 7, at 7.30pm at United Reformed Church Hall, St George’s Road, St Annes, we will be welcoming Dawn Judd, a volunteer for the charity Care4Calais. Please come along to hear her speak of her experience.
Lytham St Annes
Fun on the safety float
Today’s Looking Back photo has been published in more than one pictorial book about Preston. Each time it has been attributed to Preston Guild 1952. In fact, it relates to Preston Safety Week which took place at the end of June and the start of July in 1947. I know, because I was there!
The float was part of a procession which ended on Avenham Park. There was a lot going on at the park that day. I remember a re-enactment of a road accident, demonstrating the abilities of the emergency services, and a similar event later showing the wrong way to behave when boating on the river.
I can recall being made ready to make my appearance by swapping my own clothes (helped by my mother) for a checked shirt and shorts and then being lifted onto the wagon which held the float. That’s me, aged six, peeping over from behind the centrepiece. I do remember the lady who took the part of Miss Muffet but I’m afraid I can’t recall any of the other children.
Avoid alliance of leftist parties
On June 8, we must make sure there will be no Labour/Liberal Democrat/SNP alliance, aided by Tony Blair and his millionaire pals, who will do all they can to dilute the Brexit revolution. Long Live Free Britain.