Benefits of scouting, nuclear danger on M6, cost of water, festive season blues

Young scouts prepare a meal
Young scouts prepare a meal
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Readers’ letters, October 16

Helping the young listen

No matter which way you vote or what your world view is, it’s vital that we find better ways to work together in our communities. When we don’t spend time understanding each other’s feelings, cracks begin to emerge in society.

Here in Morecambe we are developing empathy as part of some great community projects. Empathy is a vital skill in the workplace and at home – leading to better conversations, better team working and deeper friendships

New YouGov research (September 2018) reveals that over half (51%) of British adults who expressed a view say there is less empathy in UK society as a whole now, compared with 12 months ago.

That’s why it’s more important than ever that we develop our listening skills, talk with people different from ourselves and connect with them on an emotional level. An amazing 92% of British adults believe the Scouts help young people to develop empathy through volunteering and community projects. To find out more about the Scouts’ work, to volunteer and develop new skills, visit scouts.org.uk.

Bear Grylls, Chief Scout

Nuclear convoys on M6

Like Cumbria and Lancashire Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), many readers will be alarmed that a nuclear warhead convoy has once again been spotted on our local motorway.

At around 3 pm on Tuesday, October 9, a convoy with its lethal cargo was spotted on the M6 just north of Tebay, having presumably passed close to Preston, Lancaster, Kendal and other towns and villages en-route and heading for Penrith, Carlisle and beyond.

These convoys are potentially very dangerous. Indeed, we know from a 2005 Ministry of Defence report that it recognises that an accident involving one of these convoys could trigger a nuclear reaction, known as “inadvertent yield”, which could deliver lethal radiation doses to communities in the vicinity. It is time to ban nuclear convoys from our roads.

Philip Gilligan, Cumbria and Lancashire CND, 7 Rose Hill Grove. Milnthorpe

Water privatisation promises

The announcement that United Utilities forecasts a reduction in domestic water supply bills of £45 “in real terms” seems, at first sight, most welcome.

But I remember similar promises in the past. In the late 1980s, Conservative MP Michael Howard claimed that privatisation would result in lower water bills for the general populace and I well recollect his being asked at interview to confirm this claim.

Michael smiled, and gave a masterly lawyers’ response: water bills would in fact go up rather than down but not by as much as they would if the suppliers remained in public ownership, therefore “more” actually meant “less”.

Would anyone like to give me odds that the United Utilities “reduction” will or will not follow similar lines?

MT Mynott, Address supplied

Keep festivities to December

It’s that time of year again. Children are back at school, the nights are drawing in, and there is a distinct autumnal chill in the air. It follows, therefore, that our supermarkets will being stocking traditional autumn fare – pumpkins, warming soups, perhaps a few fireworks for Bonfire Night.

Oh dear me no. Now is the time for hoppers of Quality Street, for tins of shortbread illustrated with scenes of snow and the little robin redbreast, the season for Christmas puddings.

The supermarkets may think they’re helping us ‘spread the cost’ of Christmas, but by telling us all we should be stocking up for Christmas now, they are increasing the anxiety – making us feel inadequate if we don’t have those mince pies for Auntie Ethel.

Reserve Christmas until December.

Phil Laurence, Address supplied