Letters - December 23, 2019
Surely Wilko’s can find somewhere
News of Wilko’s closing in March 2020 (Wilko’s Over and Out, The Gazette December 19) is a sure sign of losing them altogether when the quest for suitable premises in the town centre has failed.
If only the Houndshill extension had been ongoing from the offset of plans, including a cinema experience, it would perhaps be almost completed by now. But presently the tram tracks up Talbot Road continue to stop dead outside the Wilko’s store entrance.
When staff are being made redundant it’s a sign of no return, otherwise they would be re-allocated or put on hold until such a time to rejoin a new Blackpool store.
Wilko’s will be sorely missed and I plead with Wilko’s directors and the director of Blackpool’s regeneration to look again around the town centre, there must surely be somewhere suitable with the amount of vacant premises available.
Ditch the cars - save our health
I have given up my motor car to rely on, not just cycling and walking, but train and bus travel, to go shopping in particular.
I have read a report that people living within 164ft of a major road increased their chances of risking their health - due to lung cancer - by 10 per cent.
The risks are just as great for residents close to town centres and areas of extensive housing.
Forget Brexit and the election, we literally are killing one another with this universal rule that each citizen is entitled to their own motor vehicle.
One less car to a highly residential area is insignificant but the facts are abundantly clear.
Unless the number of vehicles is reduced, the health of the nation and that of the individuals grows ever more threatened, particularly for our children and grandchildren.
Who will follow my example? Very few, I guess.
Yet, if we don’t act, we will continue to see increasing levels of heart disease, strokes, heart failure, bronchitis and lung cancer caused by dangerous levels of air pollution that can only be reduced if we give up this divine right to drive everywhere.
Need for ID bad for democracy
Re: voter ID. The independent fact checker, Full Facts, found that in elections between 2010 and 2018, across the whole country, 181 people were accused of impersonating someone else at a polling station.
Most accusations resulted in no further action being taken.
The convictions for voter impersonation at the 2017 election was one. Hardly a corrupt system.
So introducing a new layer of checking and administration seems over the top.
In fact it could create a less democratic system.
A trial of a voter ID scheme took place during the May 2019 local elections, across ten pilot areas in England.
In some areas, people had to show “a specified form of photo ID” in order to vote, while in others, they had the option of showing “two pieces of specified non-photo ID” (including things like bank statements and utility bills) or a poll card.
In total, 1,968 people were turned away for not having the correct ID. Of those people, 740 did not return to vote.
The historical levels of fraud suggest that virtually none of them were fraudsters but they were either unable to vote for lack of documentation or simply couldn’t be bothered to come back!
The Electoral Commission found in 2015 that 3.5 million people in Great Britain (7.5 per cent of the electorate) didn’t have a form of photo ID which would have been acceptable for a voter ID scheme. The same report found that 11 million people did not have a passport or driving licence.
To require these people to obtain acceptable ID seems to me an over the top bureaucratic response to stop a handful of people possibly committing fraud.
Thornberry is no leader
If Jeremy Corbyn wasn’t bad enough, it’s hilarious to believe that the Labour Party could even start to consider the likes of a smug, condescending Emily Thornberry (pictured) to lead the party. She is just another example of Labour’s snowflake ‘inclusion for all’ policy that effectively stops free speech in fear of retribution, yet, like most of its policies, contradicts itself by continually failing to address the abhorrent anti-Semitism movement sweeping through the party.