Sir, - I would like to take this opportunity to thank those who voted to re-elect me to the European Parliament.
I am delighted and you have my word that I will continue to work tirelessly to represent your views and interests.
Of course, the results overall were disappointing for my part but I am immensely proud of the campaign the Liberal Democrats fought. We stood up for what we truly believe in and made our argument unashamedly pro-European where others faltered and floundered.
However, the real losers of these elections are the British public because Britain’s voice is now weakened in the EU.
If the 24 UKIP MEPs do decide to turn up, which they do not have a track record of doing, and if they, as they say they will, only vote “no” on legislation regardless of whether it’s in Britain’s interests or not, it will be unspoken.
Those seats should have gone to hard-working MEPs who would have put forward the British argument.
Now many important decisions will be being taken by other countries’ MEPs in the interests of those countries.
The UK has the third largest number of MEPs and previously we have had huge sway in EU policy. Our new weakened status saddens me, as it will the businesses, trades, charities and those who recognise the benefits our EU membership brings.
Thankfully, the South East has six other hard-working MEPs, who will do the work they have been elected to do and I look forward to getting stuck in with them in our next term.
I wanted to say once again how grateful I am to all those who helped get me
re-elected and all those who voted for me. I will not let you down. Yours faithfully,
Catherine Bearder MEP (Lib-Dem)
Vote of confidence
Sir, - Two letters in the Standard of May 23 stood out to me.
Nicola Taylor came straight to the point and was right to say that the Gillotts School playing field should not be built on.
Amanda Horner was also quite correct in saying all pet owners should be more considerate. - Yours faithfully,
Jam today, gone tomorrow?
I was reminded of past speeches when I listened to Cameron lay out his ‘promises’ before last weeks elections. In particular 'Jam Today'.
Barbara Castle, Edward Heath and other politicians have used the term in one form or another ‘jam yesterday and jam tomorrow but never jam today’, ‘jam today and jam tomorrow’ or ‘we want jam today not jam tomorrow’.
Those early politicians were quite literally clever in the duality of the quote, they not only understood it was about the promise of future riches for present day commitment; but also it’s origin, from that treasured English literary work Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carol. The ‘jam yesterday and jam tomorrow’ offer of the White Queen to elicit Alice’s assistance mirrored a nations leaders empty promises to its populace. Suggesting we live in a fantasy land governed by cheats and liars.
How little things have changed. David Cameron has recently done the same; promising categorically a referendum (the jam) on Europe when he forms a government after winning the next election (the tomorrow).
Anyone notice the problems with that proposition? Does anyone care anymore? Surely he ought to have used ‘if’ instead of ‘when’; and a big IF at that. As the recent turnout and results have shown the next election will most likely end up returning ‘no overall majority’ for a second time in succession and produce another scramble by the parties bidding to get into bed with each other. Judging by recent percentages the Liberals are unlikely to have much to offer as a bedfellow next time, making it an impossible choice. Shake hands with the Labour enemy or create a round table of three or more minority parties just to keep some grip on power and prevent a re-run of a general election.
We could of course follow the Belgian lead and not have a government for eighteen months; after all nobody noticed over there and it didn’t do any harm not having highly paid meddlers messing up the economy in search of personal gain. Something worth considering.
Herbert Roberts, Henley on Thames
Mountain of trouble
How can it happen in Henley-on-Thames, with its Royal connection and listed as a desirable place to live in the UK? I should have taken a photo to support this letter as it was a shocking sight.
I parked in the Kings Road car park and made my way to the recycling corner. I wanted to deposit an electrical item but couldn’t get anywhere near the bin for the mountain of recyclables that had been dumped around the various bins because they were all full and there was no ignoring the stink of rancid wine. I guess the Bank Holiday’s disruption to the refuse collection schedule was to blame but could such an eyesore not have been cleared by the Saturday with all the visitors to the town? How then does such a mish mash of rubbish get sorted for recycling? Does the operative collecting the electrical goods sort through the heap to find what he can take away? I didn’t add my electrical item to the heap but took it away to deposit it hopefully at a later date. If the public are going to make an effort to recycle, the town centre bins must be emptied to meet with the demand.
On a more positive note, I must express great appreciation to the young woman who cleans Henley’s streets. I only ever see her working extremely hard and doing a very thorough job.
In aid of prosthetics
May I through your paper take the opportunity to thank the Aliquando Choir for putting on a fantastic concert in aid of the Jacaranda Trust recently. The concert took place in the Christ Church Centre on Saturday 17 May and was attended by 300 people, including Henley’s Mayor and Mayoress Councillor Martin and Mrs. Glynnis Akehurst.
We would particularly like to thank Anne Evans, Aliquando’s Musical Director and Anne McDowell, Chairman for all their help and enthusiasm for Jacaranda Trust and the RESCU/Jaipur Limb project. We’d also like to thank all those who came to the concert.
We were honoured to have Henry Olonga, Tenor and former international cricketer for Zimbabwe with us. He sang tunes from Les Miserables and also talked about his cricketing career and the events which led to his relocation to the UK after famously wearing a black arm band at an international game in mourning for democracy in Zimbabwe. Henry now lives in the UK with his family and is currently pursuing a career as a singer, photographer and speaker.
Jacaranda Trust is a UK registered charity based near Henley on Thames. It was set up in 2010 by Hilary Dowling, Annie Allport and Toby Greenwood who are the Trustees. Zimbabwe’s economic decline since 2000 has resulted in terrible poverty and suffering for many Zimbabweans. There are 1.6 million orphans in the country which is a truly shocking statistic. However there are many dedicated people who work tirelessly in local charities in Zimbabwe and it is the aim of Jacaranda Trust to provide assistance and promote awareness for these charities.
The Concert raised money specifically for the Jaipur Limb project that is being introduced to Zimbabwe by Rotary. Jacaranda Trust and Rotary are working together to produce low cost prosthetic limbs for use by people in need. These will be manufactured by disabled people in the RESCU workshop in Harare - the workshop will provide low-cost limbs to those in need and this will not only give people from RESCU meaningful employment but will also help those who need prosthetic limbs to ‘literally’ get back on their feet.
For more information about Jacaranda Trust, visit our website www.jacarandatrust.co.uk or email at email@example.com. Yours Faithfully -
New hospital is win-win for everybody
Sir, — Along with the whole community of Henley and the surrounding area, we Conservative councillors welcome the start of construction on a state-of-the-art Townlands Hospital and ancillary facilities, supported by a relocated and enlarged Chilterns End residential care home and the Sue Ryder palliative care home.
John Howell MP used his influence to press for this at the very highest level of government (as did his predecessor). Oxfordshire County Council linked up with the primary care trust when the hospital business case was being questioned to provide a much more robust scheme and the enlarged care home. A win-win situation. — Yours faithfully,
Councillor David Nimmo Smith
Henley Town Council and Oxfordshire County Council, St Andrew’s Road, Henley
Sinkhole in Henley?
Sir, — A sinkhole in Henley? Surely not. It didn’t deter the bravest of Henley walkers!
The picture was taken in the field near Highlands Lane and shows Nicola Taylor (in the hole), Sharon Cleary, Rachel Lane and Caroline Barefield. — Yours faithfully,
Third world roads?
Sir, — I am sending this photographs to your newspaper to illustrate the state of the roads in Harpsden, which are in fact dirt roads covered in Tarmac.
Gillotts Lane, the village of Harpsden and in particular Sheephouse Lane are in a grim state worthy of a Third World country.
Oxfordshire County Council recently carried out a small traffic survey in Gillotts Lane and the village.
The result revealed that in 24 hours ?,313 vehicles passed eastbound while westbound through Gillotts Lane the total was slightly higher through the village.
Residents in Gillotts Lane are concerned about the erosion of the verges of their properties as drivers eager to pass churn into their garden borders and lose wing mirrors.
There is often road rage as, when passing other cars, no one wishes to reverse or land in the many potholes.
Cyclists are in danger, as is any child walking to school.
The residents of Gillotts Hill are also affected by these problems as it is difficult to enter the lane and they have only one exit from their properties,
The draft Henley and Harpsden joint neighbourhood plan advocates four sites for development that will exit on to Greys Road — Chilterns End, Wilkins, the former Empstead works and Highlands Farm.
With traffic from these all entering the town from the same direction, I would imagine peak times would be a nightmare.
I understand that of the 190 homes that could be build at Highlands Farm, 60 would be designated for the elderly but people aged 70 still drive and continue even into their late eighties.
I suspect that at peak times the residents of Highlands Farm village would shoot down Gillotts Lane, pass through the village to reach all stations Henley and Shiplake.
To reach Reading they would use Sheephouse Lane, a deeply rutted and often flooded lane, or take the road through Mays Green.
Is this logical planning? Surely housing sites could have been allocated in smaller numbers with access to the town centre from various routes, so reducing massive congestion and damage to roads in one main area to the west of the town. — Yours faithfully,