Readers’ letters - May 13

A reader likens impersonal self-service check-outs to 'daleks'. See letter
A reader likens impersonal self-service check-outs to 'daleks'. See letter
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The ‘daleks’ have landed

The battle to save our high streets has suffered a significant setback with the arrival of a trio of ‘daleks’ at Booths of Longridge.

In what might be construed as a further step towards doing without human staff altogether, these monsters await the arrival of customers, who then have to feed the brutes with details of their purchases, before the machines asks them, in a voice uncannily like that of Dame Helen Mirren, if they have their Booths card.

The Booths card, as we all know, is the nightmare creation of some marketing wizard who clearly has no idea as to the stress it causes to those of us whose wallets or purses provide a perfect hiding place for this black Houdini-like escapologist.

It is an extremely intimidating experience for the more self-effacing among us to have to fumble away, looking for this elusive ‘Black Pimpernel’ as the queue of angry check-out rioters wait their turn to fill the Booths coffers.

Despite my dislike of supermarkets and their pricing gimmicks, I have always regarded Booths as a friendly place where staff go out of their way to help you.

They too must be looking at these dreadfully impersonal machines with rising apprehension.

Gordon Garment, Chipping

Election success for Labour Party

Contrary to some media reports, the 2016 local elections were an outstanding success for Labour who won 50 per cent more seats than the Tories.

In Lancashire, Labour Police Commissioner Clive Grunshaw was re-elected with an increased majority with his lead in Blackpool even greater than during the excellent 2012 result.

In opposition, Labour is having a field day inside and outside Parliament with the Tories forced into U-turns on tax credits, disability benefits, police cuts, the Trade Union Bill, forced academisation and much, much more.

While some hostile commentators continue to twist the truth, others have gone strangely quiet.

Martin Mitchell via email

Brexit is not a ‘magic wand’

Opposition to immigration appears to be the main reason why many people want to exit the European Union. If they are successful, I believe that many will be shocked by how little will change.

The wealthy backers of Brexit are making it clear that immigration is needed to help the economy to grow.

Leading anti­-Europe campaigner Michael Gove told the BBC that he did not expect lower levels of immigration.

Even Nigel Farage concedes that not a single immigrant already here will be asked to leave.

Looking at the figures for last year, 191,000 of those who came to the UK came from outside the EU.

Although Brexit may result in lower numbers from Europe, this will be balanced by greater numbers from outside the EU.

The economy needs immigration as our own population ages.

The reason why the variety of groups campaigning for Brexit cannot publish a detailed economic prospectus is because it would reveal how much growth is dependent on immigration.

Those who think that voting Brexit is a magic wand which will halt immigration are kidding themselves.

Mrs P O’ Connell, Preston

Jewels in our country’s crown

When will this Government realise that the NHS and all its staff are the jewels in our country’s crown?

M.T Davis, ­Ashton

Why is company listening now?

The CEO of fracking company Cuadrilla has written to residents to inform them that it would seek to drill four groundwater boreholes around Roseacre Wood.

He will do this because he wishes to allay residents’ fears.

The fact that Cuadrilla has been refused planning permission for the fracking site and the outcome of their appeal (which will surely uphold Lancashire’s decision) is unknown, is apparently no barrier to their plans.

However, Francis Egan cannot adopt a posture of concern for residents as he marches on.

Cuadrilla refused to listen to residents’ pleas for the company to properly assess the impact of noise from its proposed 24-hour-a-day drilling; refused to assess honestly the impact on walkers, horse riders and cyclists who use Fylde’s rural lanes; refused to use best practice to measure landscape harm; and even ignored its own industry guidance which expects Cuadrilla to assess the impact on road safety of a 200 per cent increase in 44-ton, 17.5 metre long articulated lorry traffic travelling along roads where two cars passing each other must take care. And yet, where it is required to monitor, as in groundwater, Cuadrilla adopts the pose of responsible neighbour. It is hard to choose the greater affront: the hypocrisy or the arrogance.

Elizabeth Warner, Roseacre Awareness Group

Help the world’s neediest people

As chairman of the Preston and District Christian Aid Committee, I am writing to remind your readers that next week, May 15 to 21, is Christian Aid Week.

A large number of the residences in Preston and South Ribble will be receiving a red envelope and I ask residents to consider seriously making a donation, the largest part will go to helping some of the world’s neediest people.

Christian Aid’s published accounts show that 87 per cent of their income goes directly to the projects which they support.

Last year Christian Aid Week raised £6.5m nationally and a further £1m came from gift aid, so tax payers are encouraged to fill in the gift aid declaration on the envelope. Last year local collectors raised £34,852.63, the highest amount raised in Lancashire. Please help us to equal or surpass this proud record next week.

John A Maiden, (Chairman, Preston and District Christian Aid Committee)