Letters - December 21, 2017
Breaking ranks to curb UK's '˜Gas Lands'
An ex-Conservative MP has launched a blistering attack on his former party’s policies over fracking and gas storage.
Harold Elletson, who was Member of Parliament for Blackpool North, has accused the Tories of being responsible for the biggest environmental threat in his lifetime to the Over Wyre and Fylde area.
In a letter to electors in Lancashire, he stated that gas storage and fracking had been allowed against the wishes of the people of Lancashire because they were designated as critical national infrastructure and were thus able to override the normal planning processes.
‘The legislation allowing this to happen was pushed through by Conservative MPs,’ wrote Mr Elletson. ‘The truth is that the Conservatives are not interested in conserving our area. They would rather help their friends to use gas storage to speculate on energy prices.’
His withering remarks were made in an open letter published by gas storage campaigner Nic Fogg, the Labour candidate for the January 11 county and district by-election at Preesall. Mr Fogg is a well-known local man who has fought against gas storage since the plans were first proposed.
Mr Elletson has urged electors to vote for Labour’s candidate on the grounds that the Conservatives had forfeited the area’s trust and did not deserve local support.
‘Nic Fogg has campaigned against the Tories plans to turn our area into England’s new Gas Lands,’ added Mr Elletson. ‘He’s been an active supporter of the campaign to stop gas storage and he will carry on the fight at County Hall and Wyre Council.’
Mr Elletson also revealed his anger at the ‘shameful, heartless’ way the conservatives have implemented austerity, as well as ‘putting jobs and businesses at risk through its pursuit of a hard Brexit.’
Mr Elletson’s family have lived at 17th-century Parrox Hall, Preesall, for generations. He represented the area as a county councillor, as well as being its MP.
What a sad day it must have been for all those attending the Grenfell Tower memorial service at St Paul’s Cathedral.
It was comforting to see members of the Royal Family and politicians offering their support. Is it not time now to demolish this constant reminder to those involved?
Families connected must surely experience pain whenever they have to encounter it.
Is 45 years not enough?
To Anna Soubry MP and Nadine Dorries MP, I note that the Government will have to give long-term notice before increasing the state pension age (SPA). Being similar ages to we women of the 50s, I wonder if you can imagine what it feels like to suddenly see a six-year delay to our SPA.
We’ve done the right thing all our working lives, done what was expected of us for 45 years, only to find out that our ‘expected’ SPA has risen without notice.
I, along with many others, only found out a couple of years ago.
Do you think this is fair?
The Government sends out national insurance demands and self-assessment forms without quibble but when it came to letting us know about the change to our pensions, they failed.
We women worked around our husbands’ jobs and school hours the best we could. We did manual, low paid work – not worthy of a workplace pension – while our husbands pursued their own careers and secured their pensions.
We have never been treated fairly and still fight for equality to this day, yet the Government expects us to be equal to men in retirement.
Is this fair?
They say there’s been a sharp increase in life expectancy. Maybe back in the day, but this has changed and our life expectancy is decreasing.
Women are finding they are signing at job centres on a daily basis. They are going to bed at 5.30pm because they can’t afford to heat their home and they are also calling on foodbanks. Is this really the right way to treat women born in this decade who, like you, have done nothing wrong?
I ask you to support our plight to get our pensions back. We’ve earned our pensions. We paid the same rate of national insurance as men. Is 45 years not enough?
Leave behind futile arguments
The comments of Labour’s Rebecca Long-Bailey, on BBC’s Question Time must surely help to put the final pieces of the jigsaw in place for those still forlornly campaigning to defeat Brexit. The Shadow Business Secretary re-stated that Labour does not favour holding a further referendum on Brexit.
This means there will not be one, as was already obvious to those giving the matter serious consideration.
It would be nice to think that, as the old year moves to a close, we could leave behind the futile arguments over whether Brexit is going to happen and instead have a constructive debate about the best way of ensuring that our democracy is fully restored to us, without the long arm of the EU prejudicing our right to rule ourselves.