Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Dear Editor

I have never had a letter published in a newspaper.  Of course, I realise that the fact that I have never written a letter to a newspaper is the fundamental reason for this.  Judging by the number of times I see the same correspondents' names in the letters page of my daily, some people must spend half their lives writing to editors.  There are two men in particular, one from Surrey and one from Cornwall, who seem to have letters published almost every week.  I do wonder how many of their messages fail to make to cut, or does the letter editor see their names and think, "Aha!  This is one I must include!"  Perhaps those correspondents have something over the editor?

I say that I have never written to any paper, but that doesn't mean that I have never been tempted.  The last temptation was just a couple of days ago.  The Sunday before, one of the papers (OK, I'll tell you - it was the Mail.) published a two-page article about how a town had been taken over by the loonies.  The article alleged - or at least implied - that the Council concerned had tried to introduce meat-free Mondays, sheep as a traffic-calming measure, and transgender toilets (whatever they are).  Anybody merely glancing at the large print and no reading the whole piece - and probably some who did read the whole piece - would have gained the impression that the meat-free Mondays were compulsory across the city (rather like Oliver Cromwell banning mince pies) and that sheep could be found roaming through the shopping centre.  The city concerned?  Well, Brighton of course - the only place in the country where the Green Party has a majority on the council.

But the truth is not quite as loony as it might have seemed from the newspaper article.

Yes, the Council did try to introduce meat-free Mondays, but only in Council canteens.  And they very soon dropped the idea when manual workers pointed out their need for a substantial meal.

There was also a plan to introduce free-ranging sheep - but only on part of the land within the city boundary that is also part of the South Downs National Park.  Granted, I think it's a loony idea but it was not as bad as the Mail tried to imply.

It was not entirely surprising to see that there were a number of letters in the latest issue, this last Sunday, including one from a local resident.  He was complaining bitterly about the Green Party's introduction of almost unused cycle lanes which have resulted in more traffic congestion, and the high cost of parking which has driven away shoppers.

Now, I must make it clear that I have never voted for a Green Party candidate and cannot imagine ever doing so.  They seem to me to be complete loonies, nut-cases, fruit cakes, with a raft of daft ideas.  BUT I was tempted to write in reply to that letter to point out that the cycle lanes are not the fault of the Greens - they were introduced when the Council was controlled by the Labour Party and had the support of the Tories as well.  The whole damn lot are loonies!

( I feel better now.)

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