Letters: 11/03/14

David Morris, Morecambe and Lunesdale MP.
David Morris, Morecambe and Lunesdale MP.

Letters in this week’s Visitor.

MP’s SAUDI VISIT

I read The Visitor article entitled MP touts for Saudi business (February 25) with both shock, horror and disgust.

I am unaware of Mr Morris’ knowledge of the country, its oppressive regime and its international crimes of human rights abuses against its citizens, or its documented support of international terror.

I would like to alert Mr Morris, and readers of The Visitor, to the following. According to Hillary Clinton, Saudi Arabia is said to be the world’s largest source of funds for terrorist groups, such as al-Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban, and donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide.

The Saudi regime is considered by many international human rights groups, to be one of the most brutal and oppressive in the region, and if not the world. Its ‘judicial corporate punishment’ has been documented to sentence its citizens for ‘crimes’ such as the amputation of hands and feet for robbery, and flogging for lesser ‘crimes’ such as “sexual deviance”.

In the 2000s it was reported that women were sentenced to lashes for adultery; the women were actually victims of rape, but because they could not prove who the perpetrators were they were deemed guilty of committing adultery.

I for one do not want to see any UK politician, whether local or national, regardless of party, ‘tout’ for business with members of such a vile, dangerous regime, and abuser of international human rights.

I find it hypocritical that those in Government can state they stand against such crimes against humanity, and the ‘war on terror’, yet continue to help prop up and support such Governments.

D Hurley

Heysham

lReply from David Morris MP: “The purpose of my visit was to promote trade for businesses in Morecambe and Lunesdale. What I am trying to achieve is for Saudi businesses to buy goods and services from businesses based in Morecambe and Lunesdale which will be positive news for our local economy.”

Lessons of Ukraine

The recent crisis in the Ukraine that last week saw Russian soldiers and sailors take control of large sections the Crimean peninsula is none of our business and we would do best to steer clear of inflaming what is already a delicate, yet volatile situation.

However, we cannot ignore the fact that Russia is one of the biggest exporters of gas in the world and activity in Southern Ukraine has pushed wholesale prices up in the past week. Whilst the UK and much of Western Europe do not buy gas from Russia, a reduction of global supply brought about by the threat of sanctions will sooner or later affect energy bills back home.

The US are in a position to threaten sanctions of Russia simply because in the last 10 years or so they have invested heavily in shale gas and therefore no longer need Russian gas. The US are a net exporter of gas so chances are, they may even benefit from a tightening of global gas supplies.

Sadly, here in the UK, the green lobby would rather plunge more pensioners and low income households into fuel poverty by objecting to the development of shale gas sites that would also provide a much needed financial boost to cash strapped councils.

I hope that when the next gas crisis hits, be it in Eastern Europe or the Middle East, the UK will, thanks to shale, be insulated from global energy price hikes.

Paul Nuttall

UKIP North West MEP

Town needs support

Carnforth Town Council has recently been attempting to generate more visitor numbers to the town through tourism.

It is of the belief that, in the current economic climate and, despite what the Government may attempt to convince us, investment from fresh industry is unlikely to be forthcoming.

The council have thus combined its efforts with the volunteers of the previous local information centre in an attempt to improve the town’s general economy through tourism.

The proposed information centre would not attract any subsidy from Lancaster City Council even though it bankrolls fully staffed information centres in both Lancaster and Morecambe – another instance in a discouragingly long line of instances where Carnforth misses out in favour of its larger neighbours that are perceived to be more vital.

The tourism infrastructure of Lancaster City Council has been anything but supportive at councillor level, while the very willing and enthusiastic staff of the Tourism Department offer help there is a negative attitude towards the promotion of our town to the potential visitor and there is little assistance available to assist those visitors once they are drawn to visit the town and its satellite communities.

The council has sought assistance from the town’s chamber of trade and that organisation has offered to help. It is only right, those who would be beneficiaries to any elevation of visitor numbers, the shopkeepers and business based in the town.

Their offer of £4,000 over a three year period is quite simply an insult to those who are working hard for the good of the town.

Such a contribution amounts to just over £25 per week, from the lot of them. Anybody who shops in the town will have long since realised that better value and service are to be had in other places but this takes the meanness and greed of the town’s business people to a fresh level.

It seems that the only people who have any genuine intent to combat the extreme near sightedness prevalent in the town are the town’s opticians. With increased visitor numbers comes trade, with increased trade comes profitability, with profitability comes employment opportunity and our community needs these things. Oh for goodness sake open your tills, delve into your deep and buttoned pockets and cease your blindness to what to any true business person would be common sense.

Coun Ian Dent

Carnforth Town Council

People are powerless

Both Labour and Conservative parties promise us that we will have more open government, with major decisions taken locally.

Mrs Thatcher actually gave power to local government, until left-wing councils in Liverpool and London started selling off museums and other buildings to Swiss banks and renting them back at extortionate rates; then she took all the power back, and took even more on top.

Tony Blair promised the same thing and simply ignored the promise when in power. Cameron even gave us a Localism Act, but council planning departments ignored the wishes of local people and the parish councils, stating that the regulations overrode the Localism Act.

The perverse decision of the planning inspector (at Bolont-le-Sands) confirms the planning department’s view that the Localism Act has no teeth, and can be simply ignored.

Time and again, local people have objected, mostly against the proposed installation of massive wind turbines close to their homes, and their views have been ignored.

Coun Keith Sowden

(Free Independent, Overton Ward,Lancaster CC), 
Stephens Grove, Overton

How far must we go?

In January 30 edition of the Lancaster Guardian it was reported that a large ‘super hospital’ is to be built to serve the whole of Morecambe Bay (‘Super hospital’ plan revealed). Sounds good doesn’t it?

But where would such a hospital be located? Well, Kendal is the mid-point (sort of) between Lancaster and Barrow so it could be argued that’s where it should go. Perhaps that’s why Tim Farron, the Lib Dem MP for Kendal, is supportive of the idea.

I hope that our two Tory MPs, Eric Ollerenshaw and David Morris, are equally supportive of NHS services in Lancaster.

I believe we need good quality hospitals in Lancaster, Barrow and Kendal that are able to provide a comprehensive range of services. Yes, some specialisms can be better delivered when centralised, as Blackpool does for heart surgery. But most people want to go to their local hospital for routine treatments/surgery. They don’t want to be bundled into an ambulance for a lengthy journey to a distant A&E if they have an accident.

Also, we need to ask that once patients are in this ‘super hospital’ will relations be easily able to make a long trek on a reducing public transport system to visit them?

I don’t think the residents of Lancaster, Morecambe and district would want to lose the services currently provided by our RLI.

I wonder if this scheme will be used as an excuse to downgrade our hospital services, for our A&E to become a minor injuries clinic, to close our intensive care facility and to lose our maternity unit?

Last March I and others presented a petition containing nearly 6,000 signatures to the chair of the Morecambe Bay NHS Trust calling on our RLI services to be maintained. The petition demonstrated the strength of feeling in the area. I hope that the Trust won’t ignore this when decisions are made. If we end up losing our local services this ‘super hospital’ won’t sound so super to me.

Colin Hartley

Scotforth West

Lancaster