Letters to the editor: 27/04/17

(27 April, 2017)

More Southwark News readers write to us about Brexit before the general election


Brexit: Against enforced conformity

The Brexit vote marked a revolt against the ‘enforced conformity’ preached by the elite.

That it came as such a shock to them was a sign of how little contact they had with the real world. And many, including a couple of Southwark MPs still don’t get it.

Now it’s Michael Heseltine’s turn, who’s latest ego-trip is to use his position as a peer to try to delay Brexit, has angered many.

Incidentally, his Lordship has a shockingly poor record in the Lords. He’s taken part in fewer than three per cent of the votes in the upper house and hasn’t spoken there for almost eighteen months.

Next in turn is Sir John Major, still moaning and still in denial over Brexit.

If anyone should know about historic mistakes it’s him. This is the man who led us into the disastrous Exchange Rate Mechanism and whose term as prime minister was so abject and incompetent that it paved the way for thirteen years of unbroken Labour government.

He should have accepted the magnitude of such failings and retired gracefully from the political stage, instead of launching into a sanctimonous diatribe about supposed evils of Brexit.

And then we had that leading evolutionary biologist professor Richard Dawkins stating “that the large slice of humanity who voted leave were stupid, ignorant people’ and that it was unfair to thrust onto unqualified simpletons the responsbility to take historic decisions of great complexity and sophistication.”

He seems to think the rest of us should have blind faith in people like him!

Philosophy professor A. C. Grayling wrote to every MP demanding that they vote to ignore the result, which he said was driven by mere demagoguery and sentiment, and remain in the EU.

Author Hilary Mantel (Wolfhall) observed how “as soon as the result was in, millions signed a petition to rub it out and do it again.”

In similar vein, was the letter signed by a thousand top lawyers, demanding that Parliament must decide (i.e. vote to remain). The QC behind this initiative explained; “in times of crisis people often turn to lawyers to ask them how we should behave in society.”

With this lot, no wonder 17.4 million voted to leave. The Brexit referendum vote opened up the opportunity for a new kind of political debate about the future of our society who had previously felt excluded from public life.

Reg O’Donoghue, Walworth  


Why we won’t wait

Thanks to research and modern technology, we live in an era when medical breakthroughs are producing results that truly transform people’s lives.

But it’s shocking that the foremost drug that people with Parkinson’s rely on, those like my brother in law Gordon Scarfe, has not changed in over 50 years.

This is not because it’s so effective that no new medication is needed – far from it.

Parkinson’s is a relentless, cruel condition that causes immense suffering, from deep depression and pain to complete immobility. The lack of new treatments, and no cure, means that there is nothing to stop the relentless progression and worsening of symptoms over time for the 127,000 people living with it.

It has been extremely painful and distressing to witness this at first hand, knowing there is currently nothing on the horizon that can offer Gordon the prospect of any improvement.

According to new findings from Parkinson’s UK, released to highlight this month’s Parkinson’s Awareness Week, misunderstanding about Parkinson’s is still widespread, and it’s time to create greater awareness that it causes so much more than just a tremor. We need to drive forward ground-breaking research: the science is ready and we have the knowhow to make this happen.

This year is the 200th anniversary of the condition being described by Dr James Parkinson, and Parkinson’s UK have launched their first ever public fundraising appeal, We Won’t Wait, to raise the funds urgently needed to tackle the condition head on.

It will be too late for my beloved brother-in-law, but I would love to see a medical breakthrough for Parkinson’s during my lifetime, and I hope that your readers will join me in donating to We Won’t Wait. Every penny brings us closer to new and better treatments and to the day when no one fears a diagnosis of Parkinson’s.

To find out more about the We Won’t Wait campaign and to donate, please visit  wewontwait.parkinsons.org.uk

Jane Asher, President of Parkinson’s UK


Polls say Brexit

Some have been claiming that the majority no longer want to leave the EU. But the evidence seems to point the other way.

The recent YouGov poll of 26-27 March found that 44 per cent of those polled agreed with the statement, “I support Britain leaving the EU, and the British government should ensure that Britain does leave the EU.”

25 per cent agreed with the statement, “I did not support Britain leaving the EU, but now the British people have voted to leave, the government has a duty to carry out their wishes and leave.”

21 per cent agreed with the statement, “I do not support Britain leaving the EU and the government should ignore the result of the referendum or seek to overturn it in a second referendum.” Ten per cent said they didn’t know.

So 69 per cent agreed that we should leave the EU.

Only 21 per cent still wanted to stay in the EU.

Will Podmore, via email


Get in gear for cycle challenge

It’s not too late for Southwark residents to join this year’s RideLondon cycling event.

Join over 30,000 cyclists in the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 on Sunday 30th July 2017 and ride 100 miles through the closed streets of London and stunning Surrey. With the roaring crowds cheering you on, you’ll feel like an Olympian.

Gear up for Muscular Dystrophy UK, and help beat muscle-wasting conditions.

By signing up with #TeamOrange, you’ll get: a unique #TeamOrange cycling jersey, access to our training zo­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­ne, a welcome pack full of tips, advice and fundraising materials, free photos of you en route and a hero’s welcome and a picnic at the finish.

Didn’t get a place in the ballot? Get your place now – just £35 to register. We ask you to pledge a minimum sponsorship target of £550.

The charity funds research into muscular dystrophy which cause muscles to weaken and waste over time, leading to increasingly severe disability. Muscle-wasting conditions currently affect 70,000 people in the UK.

Lorna Poultney, Muscular Dystrophy UK


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