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22 The Chronicle, Thursday, 19th November, 2009. www.chronicleseries.co.uk
SI T TI BI
Forget “X Factor Come Dancing In The Jungle” or whatever’s on the telly next Saturday; instead head off to Congleton Town Hall, where the Tories’ next candidate will be selected.
As is pointed out in a letter this week, you might as well turn out for the American-style primary because barring a major PR disaster or upset, like a concerted campaign not to vote Tory because of parking fees, the selected candidate will probably win the seat and then hold onto it for a long time.
As the Conservative Party has given us the chance to be involved in the selection process, we should make the most of it; if nobody turns up, it’s unlikely to be repeated — and even Labour voters might as well see which Tory they dislike the least. What is for sure is that you won’t know any of them. None of the candidates has Congleton connections, though the candidate who worked for Tory head offi ce has not made it through either.
The short list consists of a Shrewsbury bookshop owner, a Northwich solicitor, a Nantwich nurse and health expert, a farmer from Malpas, a politician (at least a former member of Cheshire County Council) and a journalist from Cheshire.
At the meeting, the candidates will be introduced to the audience before being interviewed. Audience members can pick their candidate on coloured voting slips (as long as they stay for the full meeting, 1pm prompt, to 6pm) and the fi rst person from the shortlist to receive 50% of the votes will, “after being offi cially accepted by the Conservative Party”, be the next Tory candidate.
The meeting is on Saturday, 28th November at Congleton Town Hall and anyone from the Congleton constituency aged over 18 and on the electoral roll can attend. If you want to go to the meeting, you need to register by calling 01477 533834 from 9.30am to 1.30pm or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
There’s been a lot of debate about “Call of duty: modern warfare2”, a computer game that involves killing lots of people. It’s rated 18 and while the average age of gamers is 33, it’s been bought by lots of young teenagers — video games seem to have higher sales fi gures and earn more money than either music or fi lm, and are often the “must have” for street cool.
My own son, who is 14, was aggrieved at not getting it immediately it came out, on the grounds that everyone else did, but was surprisingly interested in the moral debate. After playing the game he guessed that the row centred over a bonus scene in which players have to go to an airport and massacre innocent civilians, and indeed it did. But he dismissed the row as adults being hypocritical, because they watch equally violent fi lms.
This view was echoed in Parliament when Keith Vaz asked the Government to take steps to protect youngsters, saying the scenes of “brutality” should not fall into the hands of children. But fellow Labour MP Tom Watson, while admitting the game was “unpleasant,” accused Mr Vaz of jumping on a “Daily Mail” bandwagon “to create moral panic”.
Given that teenagers playing the game have already played many games that involve killing people, it’s hard to argue that any new game goes too far, given that the graphics and the violence are highly stylised and it’s also hard to take issue with Mr Watson: “Die Hard 4” was on television recently and has an extremely unsettling view of human life, with the baddies mowing down civilians with complete abandon. This was possibly to make the fi lm seem more adult: the fi lm makers reduced the “F” word count to get a lower age certifi cate, with only one occurrence in “DH4” as opposed to 50 in the fi rst “Die Hard” and 93 “Fs” in “Die Hard with a Vengeance”. At the end of the day, you could argue that turning terrorist atrocities into gaming entertainment is morally wrong, but then you’d have to ask why copious swearing makes a fi lm 18 but callously gunning down people in cold blood but not cussin’ as you do it makes the fi lm acceptable for 15-year-olds.
email your views to firstname.lastname@example.org
Council expected parking charge objections to have died down by now
Dear Sir, — It appears to me that the objections to the car park charging are actually increasing and I would urge anyone who has not expressed their view to the council to do so. You never know, the impossible may happen and we may yet stop it by proper democratic means. I am sure that the council expected that objections would have died down by now.
I had tabled a question to be asked at the recent Cabinet meeting asking why, particularly in view of the large number of objections, there had been no consideration given to a public enquiry.
I was advised by Mr Brickhill that my question was tabled later than the deadline and it would be down to the chairman’s discretion if this question was to be asked. Since I had no confi dence that my question would be raised at the meeting, I saw little point in spending the money, and paying the parking, to attend.
I did, however, write to Mr Brickhill as noted below: “Mr Brickhill: I acknowledge your response and accept that my question may have been tabled later than the deadline.
“It is of no particular signifi cance to me that I should raise the question and receive an answer at the Cabinet meeting. I see no reason why you, as the portfolio holder, could not answer this question directly. As a council tax payer in Cheshire East, I think that I am entitled to an answer from the person responsible for pushing through a policy which appears to have little popular support other than in the Cabinet.
“As far as I can see of the situation, you have proposed a policy which has received, by the council’s own admission, a large number of objections. I gather that a signifi cant number of the objections relate to the negative economic impact on trade. The council response to this is, essentially, that there is ‘no clear evidence that the imposition of appropriate charging is a key factor in a customer’s decision to visit a town’. You have stated that you have been unable to fi nd any evidence that charging will have a detrimental infl uence on trading but I have seen no ‘evidence’ from the council to support the council view. It appears that the view expressed in the council Response to Objections is purely that, a view, and has no more validity than that of the large number of objections.
You will be aware that the “Chronicle” has asked for evidence from traders to support the self evident fact that the imposition of charging can only have a negative effect, particularly in a time of recession. In the interim, however, and if you are serious about looking for evidence that car parking charges have a negative effect on trade, may I suggest that there is a wide body of evidence from traders in the following towns which have been subjected to car parking charges during recent times: Bedale, Northallerton, Stokesly in North Yorkshire; Beverley, Hedon, Bridlington, Hessle and Willerby in East Yorkshire; Coventry; Salisbury.
“This is only a short sample but there are also places such as Southampton where parking charges have been slashed by 50% due to drop off in trade.
There is evidence there if you are prepared to look.
It appears to me, and to many others, that the council has adopted a dubious policy, said to be based on attaining continuity across the
various towns, has received a large number of objections, has dismissed the objections without evidence for the council stance, and is not prepared to hold a public enquiry into its actions. Looking at the factors which members ought to consider when deciding if a public enquiry is needed, the complexity of the proposals, the nature of the objections received and whether members are able to take account competing arguments the logic of not allowing a public enquiry falls down on two of the three points.
“The objections received were extensive and the dismissal of the objections is not evidence based but is a view, arguably, a minority view. The members cannot realistically consider competing arguments when the council offi cers appear not to have made any efforts to research similar situations and advise the members accordingly. The whole scenario is based on a council policy decision that a harmonious approach across all towns is essential. This is, in my view, at best, debatable.
“If you read the local press, which I am sure that you do, you will be aware that there is a great deal of unease about the council’s apparent disregard for public opinion and the need for democracy and openness which you disregard at your peril.
“I would appreciate a proper response to these concerns and, indeed, I still await a proper response to my original email to you of fi ve November 2009 where I asked for the logic behind the one size fi ts all policy across all of the towns.”
PS I note that Mr Brickhill has responded to some of my points in this week’s “Chronicle” but I still consider the response to be totally inadequate. Firstly, unless my hearing was going completely at the public meeting, Mr Brickhill did clearly imply that the revenue from car parking charging would be used for the upkeep of the car parks, running of the car parks and any surplus could be used elsewhere. If I recall correctly, someone at the meeting asked if this was the same as road tax being used exclusively for road maintenance, as it was originally stated to be.
I also note what Mr Brickhill has to say about the budget provision but, again, I fi nd this diffi cult to understand. A fi nite sum of money is put into the budgets as projected income from car parking without any decision to implement charging in Congleton, Sandbach, Holmes Chapel and elsewhere. If this fi gure is, as now appears to be the case, sacrosanct, a failure to implement charging in the new towns would surely have required signifi cant increases in the charges already in existence elsewhere in the council area?
I also fi nd it interesting to hear the current situation relating to staff car parking charging. We were told at the public meeting in the summer that this had been raised and was being considered but we are now awaiting a “detailed paper in March 2010”.
Is Cheshire East proposing their own version of “Yes Minister” with Mr Brickhill taking the role of Sir. Humphrey as portfolio holder for Lost In The Long Grass?
The fundamental question that I, and others, have asked of Mr Brickhill is: why is a policy of one size fi ts all necessary when each of the towns is different for a range of reasons?
As I pointed out in my email to Mr Brickhill, Macclesfi eld, for example, offers a greater range of the larger named shops and people are prepared to pay for that facility.
Perhaps Mr Brickhill would like to address this point. —Yours faithfully,
G A GOODWIN
It’s clear car park policy’s in disarray
Dear Sir, — I attended the public meeting held at the council offi ces on Tuesday, 10th November, at Crewe council offi ces.
I am a resident in Sandbach very angry about the way the council is handling the introduction of car park charges in the borough. Following the meeting, I am also very annoyed about the arrogance of Wesley Fitzgerald running the meeting and very, very concerned about the disarray the policy is clearly in.
I believe Cheshire East Council has been given a cross borough petition of over 12,000 signatures with 3,300 signatures from Sandbach alone.
I am astounded that this has been totally ignored by the council; it did not get a mention at the meeting.
With greater resource we could have got three times as many signatures! It is very apparent that the vast majority of residents have a real problem with the council’s car park charges plans (or lack of them!).
How can you justify ignoring so many people? This kind of arrogance will not be tolerated by the people of the borough.
We also submitted a survey report, which was admittedly the day before the meeting, but it shows the effect that the council’s plans will have on the businesses in Sandbach town centre.
Given that one person gathered this information in one week while working a very long week at his day job the day before, it was the best we could do.
Given more time, I guarantee we could conduct a far bigger survey perhaps members of the media could help out with this. I suspect that Coun Brickhill has not conducted such a survey (feel free to correct me) given he avoided the question to the damage to small businesses one of my colleagues submitted.
I am afraid that I walked away from Tuesday’s meeting with the impression that our council was a bunch of people so far removed from the realities of the real world in their own ivory tower that it’s a real concern that they cannot effectively run the council anymore.
Maybe it’s complacency that has set in after so many years under Conservative rule — I am not a politically motivated person, I just want to see councillors listening to their clients, the general public just as a private sector company would.
I was particularly annoyed by the attitude of Wesley Fitzgerald who made no allowance for the members of the public who took the trouble to submit questions and were treated with contempt when they made etiquette errors.
I was so annoyed I came very close to making a scene at the meeting but instead I remained professional, despite Fitzgerald’s inexcusable attitude.
A big concern was that it was clear the car park policy is in disarray, which became apparent during the questioning from the town councillors (who did have a handle of public feeling on this matter).
Major decisions are still to be made and yet the council is ploughing ahead with the project, this will clearly waste taxpayers’ money.
It was admitted that some of the parking meters would lose money — how can this be good use of our money? I suggest that this proposal is put on hold until the council understands the effect on the community and has a full plan
in place that will not result in wasting taxpayers’ money.
I hope the council accepts that the points raised are very genuine concerns and this is the fi rst time I have felt this strongly about a subject, specifi cally how it is being handled, that I have had to take such action.
I run a software development company and I am well versed on making the most of the internet — a very powerful tool for the “little people”. I am afraid that if the council’s attitude does not change, the only way I can make a difference is by using this knowledge to organise a campaign against the council.
The campaign will affect opinion on the council at a time when an election is not far away as well as its revenues, let’s hope it does not come to this.
My previous email to three councillors was ignored bar one two-worded reply, “point noted”. This quite frankly is not good enough. — Yours faithfully,
Car parkers could input vehicle reg
Dear Sir, — I feel that something must be done about the parking in Sandbach but feel the council is out of touch and takes no notice o those who elect them and pay thei salaries.
Parking charges will affect the trade in Sandbach, even more than any effect created by a supermarket.
Cars are parked all day and every day, especially a working day, in Sandbach and, perhaps, employers should provide parking spaces fo their employees and not rely on the council to provide parking. Perhaps the best solution is to allow free parking for, say two hours, then introduce some form of charge.
The meters in Crewe request the vehicle registration number in order to produce a parking ticket (this is so they cannot be passed on) but such a system would allow the parking for a vehicle for two hours before it incurs a charge.
Surely this intermediate suggestion and the wishes of the townsfolk, should be given serious discussion before an undemocratic decision is made?
MP candidate: I am quite happy to have a candidate wished on us by a party, but NOT before all local candidates have been seriously considered.
I am totally unhappy with introducing a public fi gure or a celebrity who does not know the area and does not live in the area, at the expense of a more suitable, local candidate.
Parade: the parade went well after the council had removed the chairs blocking the routes and the roadworks had been removed. I had to warn each individual group about the very high pavement they would encounter on leaving the square. I did this in order to avoid any injury due to slipping or tripping on this pavement.
The matter was brought up before the square was completed and was totally ignored. I did consult a qualifi ed civil enginee who indicated it would be a simple job to create a neat, cobbled ramp on either side of the raised pavement on the church side of the square. This was not accepted and the project was completed despite concerns.
The ramp on the sorting offi ce side is an eyesore. Yet anothe example of the powers that be ignoring the people and, in this case, what I feel to be commonsense. Yours faithfully, GLYNN ROBINSON Wg Cdr.
(Rtd) Parade Commander. Parking charges could block disabled access
Dear Sir, — With the impending parking charges for Congleton town centre, may I draw your readers’ attention to the problems that may occur and to a lesser extent are happening know.
Please avoid parking over H-bar markings on the road. These markings denote no parking at any time as access is required and avoid parking over a dropped kerbs, as disabled people and
arents with buggies will not be able to safely cross the road.
This point is also very important as the dropped kerbs have a textured surface to alert visually impaired people that they have reached a crossing point and guide dogs are trained to recognise them as a crossing point and alert their owners to them.
We all understand that parking spaces will be at a premium, but ask the public to consider these important points when parking their vehicles even for a very short time. I thank your readers in advance of their co-operation.
SUE THORLEY Congleton Disabled Access
Raise council tax, ditch parking fees
Dear Sir — Parking charges. Surely it most be very distressing and irritating for anyone to incur a £50 fi ne for parking fi ve minutes over the time they have paid for. Six pounds seventy on the council tax would surely be a small price to pay for peace of mind.
I am sure it is very easy to inadvertently park fi ve minutes longer than intended. The council would not be losing fi nancially. They would save the cost of
arking metres and presumably extra traffi c wardens. — Yours faithfully,
When politics reared its ugly head on council
Dear Sir, — How I sympathise with Louise Beard!
I was elected to both Congleton Town Council and the old borough council in 1999 and was Town Mayor in 2001/2002.
At that time the town council was a mixture of Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Labour councillors. There was a slight majority of Conservatives but
olitics was never at the forefront. All the councillors pulled together for the good of the town regardless of political party.
There was no proportional representation on the various committees — these were made
p of the people best suited to do the jobs.
It was understood that there was a leader of the council, but nothing “offi cial” as this was held
y the senior member, Coun John Pollard.
There were two county councillors who were not elected,
ut were ex-offi cio representatives of the county council and were there to keep the town council informed at the main council meeting on what was happening at county level. However, they only attended on very few occasions.
How different things seem now! Politics had started to rear its ugly head with the election of new councillors, who wanted
roportional representation on committees from a council made
p of 20 councillors: 16 Conservatives; three Lib Dems and one Labour councillor, regardless of whether they had
any experience in these areas.
What hope had the nonConservatives when they would always be overruled by the majority?
I felt that strong-arm tactics were often used in committee when councillors did not toe the party line, and to be honest this was the main reason why I did not stand for re-election after eight years on the council.
As far as the borough council went it did not take me long to realise that the “old boys’ club” is alive and well and very much in existence, and that councillors were expected to toe the party line whether it was for the good of the borough or not.
My fi rst experience of this was on one occasion when there was a named vote (ie not a show of hands but individual spoken votes).
I voted as my conscience dictated, but the rest of the Conservative councillors conveniently “abstained” as per instructions from the Conservative leader. The question of car parking charges was introduced many years ago, and even at that time I felt that this was a done deal, although the leader of the council Coun Domleo vigorously denied it.
We now have seemingly an “offi cial” leader of the town council, and several councillors who sit on both the town and East Cheshire councils. But where do their loyalties lie? How do they vote when town and borough policies are not the same? By what is right for the town or the borough? Or is it however their political allegiance lies?
How many of them stood up for the town against car parking charges (which are likely to kill off the town completely but which will provide additional income for the borough)?
I know several town councillors that are dissatisfi ed by the way the present council is run, and have been approached to stand for re-election again as an independent councillor who will stand against the old boys’ club. Yours faithfully,
SUE APPLETON Former Town Mayor, town and borough councillor.
Getting off on the wrong footnote?
Dear Sir, — I write in response to two letters headed “Demand for transparency over council spending” and “Council must tell us how it is spending tax payers’ money” that appeared in the 29th October edition of the “Chronicle”.
Both letters refer to fi nancial information being made available and in the fi rst, a claim is made that no response was given following a request from the “Chronicle”. A response was certainly given, but unfortunately not used.
The council has always been committed to openness and transparency in all of its work. Requests for information, whether fi nancial or otherwise are perfectly valid and reasonable. Indeed, a great deal of information is readily available on the council’s website at cheshireeast.gov.uk
However, for such detailed requests people need to contact us directly, using the Freedom of Information Act. This is the proper route; it is very easy to use and protects everyone’s right to information, including commitments from the council in speed of response.
The council takes every Freedom of Information request very seriously. We have an outstanding record in providing detailed responses to each and every one of them.
Requests under Freedom of Information must be made in writing, either by letter or email. To answer it we need the full name and address of the person requesting the information and clear details of the information requested.
There are two ways of making a Freedom of Information request: either electronically by e-mailing email@example.com or by letter to Freedom of Information, Cheshire East Council, Westfi elds, Middlewich Road, Sandbach, CW11 1HZ. — Yours faithfully,
RUSS GLENNON Head of Policy and
Performance, Cheshire East Council. ● Mr Glennon is wrong to state that “a response was certainly given, but unfortunately not used”. The “Chronicle” emailed the council asking for a comment for a footnote for the letter referred to, but none was received by the time the “Chronicle” went to press. It might be that Mr Glennon has been given confusing information over what was given to us for a story and what was sent following a request from the editor. We understand the council has had problems in its press offi ce and that such problems are now behind it (we had footnotes sent in last week) so we don’t want to start a row. However, it is untrue to state that we received a footnote and did not use it. — Editor.
Clamped car that cost grandmother more than £135
Dear Sir, — I would like to tell you about the recent mugging of a Sandbach pensioner on Thursday, 22nd October.
My wife’s mother went to park in Sandbach town centre, to the right of McColls, when she noticed a couple of signs. Not having her glasses on, she parked the car, got out to read the signs and in a matter of moments, she was approached by a stranger who told her that she was to be clamped as she was not allowed to park there.
Taken aback somewhat, she did not know quite what to do as there was no clamp on the car at that time but they told her to allow them to let her go, it will cost £135 cash.
Being of a certain generation, she went to the cash point and upon her return 10 minutes later, there was a clamp on the car then. The reason for placing the clamp on was as she had left the car. The annoying thing is that she left the car at their insistence to go and get the cash. If it had been a six foot rugby player, I daresay he would of just driven off before they placed the clamp on but not a 63 year old grandmother.
She had parked there for a number of years and only got out of the car to read these new signs. Her trip into Sandbach was to buy presents for her granddaughter who was being christened on the following Sunday at St Peter’s Elworth and her grandson who was six the following Wednesday.
After taking some of her pension out to allow her to buy the presents, she then had to withdraw the rest of her pension to pay these clampers. She was very distressed about the whole saga and had to have a sit down and cup of tea with Wills the Butchers. Indeed when she came around shortly after to tell my wife, she fainted in our home.
She also witnessed a young mum with several young children being clamped for a very similar offence of just not realising that she could not park there even for a few moments.
The police have been involved and did say that there has been a number of complaints but nothing, it seems, can be done. I believe that the clampers get £100 per time and the landlords £35 — nice money if you can get it.
Can you warn your readers about these clampers as a genuine error has cost a local grandmother not only the £135 but a lot of anxiety, stress and for what? — Yours faithfully,
Children waiting to be adopted
Dear Sir, — May I thank those of your readers who responded so magnifi cently to our invitation during National Adoption Week (9th-15th November) to fi nd out more about becoming adoptive parents. Here at Adoption Matters Northwest, the area’s local adoption agency, we’re grateful for the enquiries that are coming in to our network of adoption advisers in Chester.
Adoption is all we do. We’re pleased with the opportunity to help more people separate adoption myths from the real facts, and I hope that some may decide to go on with the application process.
Many callers are surprised that in the Northwest alone, there are as many as 600 children who, because of neglect, abuse or family breakdown, can no longer live with their birth families. Most move into the care system and stay there year after year. Some older and disabled children never receive a single enquiry.
The 600 include fi ve groups of four siblings, 13 groups of three children and no less than 98 groups of two.
Cheshire individuals and families have adopted thousands of children over the last years through our specialist agency, including sibling groups of up to fi ve children. May I appeal through your columns for more Cheshire people to now consider following their example, and take that fi rst step by contacting us and fi nding out more? Telephone 01244 390938, or visit adoptionmattersnw.org — Yours faithfully,
MP may as well be an honest gorilla
Dear Sir, — May I urge as many Congleton constituency residents as possible, particularly those like myself who have no party allegiance, to pre-register to attend the US-style “primary” on Saturday, 28th November at Congleton Town Hall. Details of registration are given in last week’s “Chronicle”.
Don’t be put off by requests for details of your political leanings, just ignore that section.
Why do I urge residents to attend? Well, as sure as eggs are eggs, the candidate selected will be our next member of Parliament. As I have said many times before, this constituency would elect a gorilla if it were wearing a blue rosette. Therefore, let’s make certain we get the member of Parliament we prefer, judged on principles of honesty, sincerity, humility and genuine service to the community.
Let’s face it; he or she will be our Member of Parliament for as long as they want, subject only to health constraints and keeping their nose clean. — Yours faithfully,
Invitation to see the Scouts and Guides gang show
Dear Sir, — The Scouts and Guides of Congleton are presenting their biennial Gang Show “Our Gang” at the Daneside Theatre opening on Saturday, 28th November and continuing from Monday 30th November to Saturday, 5th December.
The show is the biggest publicity event for the Scouts and Guides of Congleton. With a cast of 120, it is the largest production to be staged at Daneside Theatre on a regular basis. As the show is only a part of the scouting and guiding programme in the town it is staged on a two-yearly cycle and not annually.
May I through your columns remind eo le that 2009 is art
The Chronicle, Thursday, 19th November, 2009. www.chronicleseries.co.uk 23
of Girlguiding UK’s centenary year and could I also dispel the unfortunate yet usual rumours, which abound, that the show is already sold out.
We actually need to sell every seat to meet the ever-increasing costs of the show, which are again approaching £20,000 for this year’s production. So do come along and see “Our Gang” and support the Scouts and Guides of Congleton.
‘Near future’ novel
Dear Sir, — Any of you readers who were involved in the great English Electric/ICL mainframe computers (recall that KDF9 and System4 were in the Atomic Energy Authority and in all UK universities but three) may be interested in a book I’ve written, just out for Christmas reading.
At the time of writing, tickets are still available for all performances by contacting the Ticket Secretary on 01260 299264 or 07896 835725. — Yours faithfully,
NEIL H DUTTON Chairman, Scouts and Guides
Be aware of those little white lines
Dear Sir, — Be aware. I wonder how many of your readers are aware of the warning notices regarding parking properly at the underground car park at Morrisons supermarket in Congleton.
Last week I received a £50 fi ne. What was the reason? I had parked over a white line in a parking bay.
This was unintentional and had I realised that there were notices on the walls, warning of this, I would have made sure that I was parked within the lines. I was in a van at the time, so maybe there wasn’t a lot of space.
It’s a “near future” novel, and a heroine is one of the KDF range mainframes. Well, a 1960s mainframe — and the near future? How can the two go together? Read it and fi nd out.
It features also the grimly sinister Harecastle tunnels, Stoke City FC, ICL West Gorton, the ship-shattering shores of North Wales and the TNPG atomic power station at Trawsfynydd. And Cambridge, Uganda and its volcanoes, the deserts of Iraq, and Chesapeake Bay in the US.
For anyone who ever wielded a Jenkins-Fidgeon unipunch tears may come to the eyes! Yachties, divers, bikers, walkers, environmentalists, it’s for them.
It can be read online free at http://pointofdivergence.org.u (contributions to Oxfam o Tearfund invited) or in paperbac from Authorhouse or Amazon.
Cover design is by one Alan Sutcliffe, once of the Egdon project and Congleton, then New Range Systems Division manager, and later vice-chairman of the British Computer Society and a leading light in compute graphics. — Yours faithfully,
It is dark when you enter the care park and the object is to fi nd a suitable space to park, not to look up at walls and risk and accident.
The letter I received also stated that failure to pay the said amount in 28 days would result in referral to a debt collector.
I have shopped at Morrisons for a long while, now needless to say, I will on principal not be shopping there anymore. — Yours faithfully,
A raw deal for young people
Dear Sir, — The news that the UK has the highest youth unemployment rate in Europe exposes the Government’s complete failure to keep young people in work. Nearly one in fi ve of them are now not in work, study or training.
They and the Conservatives are also reviewing whether to increase the cap on tuition fees that already leaves so many of our graduates with a mountain of debt. There is also news that less than 20% of Disabled Students’ Allowance applications received for 2009-10 have been fully processed. This means that many disabled students are still waiting for funding to buy special equipment so they can do their courses.
Maitreya could have stopped wars
Dear Sir, — The sad thing is that all these latest skirmishes and wars, from the Gulf War to Iraq, to Afghanistan, need not have happened if only the BBC had set up and broadcast the press conference for the Christ Maitreya in early 1986.
After about 16 interviews with the BBC’s top executives, the BBC agreed to make a statement along the lines that a man claiming to be the Christ was in London and wished to meet with the world’s media representatives.
Pressure came from the established church and the BBC reneged on that agreement. Now of course, we await Maitreya’s initial interview (low key at fi rst) on a major United States television network. If was eve thus. — Yours faithfully,
SI T TI BI
The “Chronicle” welcomes all letters on all topics.
This potential triple whammy shows the priority both the other two parties place on the life chances of young people living in the Congleton area. They are growing up in a world that faces climate change, the rise of the economies of the Pacifi c Rim and the worst recession since the thirties. The very least we should do as a nation is give them the skills they need to enter the employment market.
The Liberal Democrats would abandon the pointless VAT cut. The cash would be much better used creating hundreds of thousands of work experience and internship placements. This would help young people get access to the workplace during the recession and improve their skills for when the recovery occurs. Our young people have received a raw deal from both the other two main parties. — Yours faithfully,
DR PETER HIRST
Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesman for
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