Letters to the editor: 15/02/17

(16 February, 2017)

Brexit, air pollution, and a tribute to the late Mr Arif

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It was an honour to host Mr Arif’s wake

I have always felt lucky to have grown up in the 1950s / 60s in Dockhead, Bermondsey – great times, so many wonderful people and families.

And that was marked last week with the funeral of Yusuf (Yos) Arif.

The Arifs were one of these families that have great respect in the area.  It was therefore an honour for us to be told that Yos’s wish was for us to hold his wake in the Ship Aground pub.

He was one of the most loved and respected men you could ever meet and I have great pride that the Ship Aground was his local pub.

We will never have a busier day and appreciate all the praise we received.  It was a great relief that his lovely girls had the faith in us to hold their great dad’s wake.

Finally we must thank the following, as whilst we received the praise without the following people it could not be done.  A big thank you to John, Kellie, Emma, Katie, Charlotte, Theresa, Light Ale Pete, Roy, Paul Sawyer, John Sutton, John Donovan and Ferrett.

Mickey Jarman Senior, Ship Aground, Bermondsey

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Hughes on whose to blame for Brexit

I respect the EU referendum result even though I, like a large majority in Southwark, voted for the UK to stay in the European Union.

But the new MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark has now this month suggested in parliament that -of all least likely explanations – it is Liberal Democrats who are partly responsible for the Brexit referendum victory. My successor suggested that immigration became a proxy for issues like pressure on the NHS, and the inability to see a doctor and get the right class sizes, owing to policies which Liberal Democrats supported which squeezed public services and meant that people looked for someone else to blame. This MP seems to be desperate to forget some recent history.

First our new MP successfully nominated Mr Corbyn in 2015 to be Labour leader. But while Mr Farron and Liberal Democrats campaigned enthusiastically for ‘remain’ Mr Corbyn was so often absent from the ‘remain’ campaign or so low profile as to be almost invisible. If Labour had been enthusiastic or effective, the result could and almost certainly would have been different.

Second, one of the policies which put most pressure on the UK in the last decade was Labour’s government decision not to phase in freedom of movement of citizens from Poland and the other nine new EU countries in 2004 – which led quickly to many times more immigrants from Poland than predicted.

And third, in spite of the dreadful national economic circumstances when Labour lost office in 2010, independent figures show £4 billion extra in real terms for our NHS from 2010 to 2014 after Liberal Democrats joined government (and with extra money for carers and child and adolescent mental health), and almost £2.5 billion more for pupil premiums for each disadvantaged pupil as well as real term increased school spending – and redistributed to more deprived schools. And I could also remind people of Labour’s national record on building council and social housing.

Of course Liberal Democrats got far from everything we wanted in coalition with the Conservatives. But we always were and are committed enthusiastic Europeans as well as committed campaigners for our communities.

Labour have just voted with the Conservatives to start UK withdrawal from the EU. If Mr C wants to ‘blame’ someone for the Brexit vote, he and Labour should take their big share of the blame – not try to rewrite history.

Simon Hughes, Liberal Democrat prospective parliamentary candidate, Bermondsey and Old Southwark.

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Reducing exposure to air pollution

Thank you for highlighting the air pollution health emergency (Southwark News editorial and front page,  2 February).

We are now enduring yet another episode of high air pollution. Eyes and throats are sore. Hacking coughs linger. Asthma attacks are more frequent. Schools keep children indoors to protect them. Older people and those with heart and lung problems are advised to cut down on everyday activities.

We now know air pollution is linked to heart attacks, stroke, diabetes and dementia. Are we saying nothing can be done?

Southwark Council’s Air Quality plan is weak and lacks detail. Southwark Green Party has called on the council to take immediate action, giving many concrete suggestions. For example, the council could: stop buying diesel vehicles for its own fleet, educate all its drivers on turning off engines when stopped, and create protected routes and traffic-free zones outside schools so parents and children feel safe to walk, cycle and scoot.

Many residents also took the time to respond to the council with their own heartfelt calls for action and thoughtful comments. Some of these can be found on www.southwarkgreenparty.org.uk/news, along with five tips on how to reduce your personal exposure to air pollution.

It is time for action at all levels.

Eleanor Margolies and Phil Vabulas, Co-chairs, Southwark Green Party

 

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