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Opinion: ‘War on drivers’, Rishi’s D-Day debacle, people smuggling and benefits among topics tackled letters to the KentOnline editor

Our readers from across the county give their weekly take on the biggest issues impacting Kent and beyond.

Some letters refer to past correspondence which can be found by clicking here. Join the debate by emailing letters@thekmgroup.co.uk

Will any of the parties tackle the war on the driver? Stock picture
Will any of the parties tackle the war on the driver? Stock picture

Motorists being ignored in election campaign

Over the next few weeks, the news is going to be dominated by politicians promising to ‘conjure-up’ thousands of new doctors, nurses, teachers, houses, etc, to cure our numerous ‘crisis’ problems.

But no mention of the ‘War on the Driver’. Is that to continue?

No major political party is talking about changing the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) mandate, despite the fact it is going to affect millions of families that cannot home-charge! Plus the cost of electric vehicles.

What political party is going to admit that our neglected, dirty, potholed roads are of no interest to them and we must be made to feel ‘guilty’ for even wanting to drive.

Walking, cycling or public transport (if it exists?) MUST be the only form of transport ‘on offer’ to meet our families’ needs and of course the only way to Save-the-Planet, despite the fact that the aircraft/marine industries and the military can carry on using fossil fuel as usual and we have to rely on their ‘goodwill’ for any emission reductions!

Also, not withstanding over 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered in water, hence no cars.

With the promised threat of more major vehicle restrictions taking priority on most manifestos, or car ownership being ignored altogether as if it did not exist, who is going to support the UK’s 37 million driving licence holders/voters and their families?

Terry Hudson

Politics of envy bankrupted the country before

Reading the letters from Ray Duff and John Cooper last week, one cannot help but wonder where they think all the money is coming from to pay for their wish list, as each failed to mention it.

The former wants a universal basic income (presumably higher than the minimum levels already in place) and the rebuilding of our NHS and other public services. Who is he expecting to pay for all of it? Non-doms perhaps? They might be extremely wealthy, but their contribution would still not come anywhere near what is required.

Or perhaps he believes we should return to Labour’s method that it tried back in the 1970s of taxing the rich to such a punitive extent our highest earners, including high-profile figures in the film and entertainment industry, left the country for the USA and elsewhere, taking their potential earnings with them.

The consequence of that politics of envy policy was that the smart money moved out, investment dried up and the late Denis Healey, Chancellor at the time, was forced to go to the IMF asking for a loan, which was granted, but only in return for him signing a letter of intent to cut public spending. As the country was effectively broke, to get its hands on the money, the Labour government had no choice but to comply.

Public service workers who had been denied a meaningful pay rise for years began striking. That led to the winter of discontent and the eventual downfall of the Labour government.

That also brought about the beginning of the tenure of the late Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister, so all those life-long Labour supporters who have always hated Mrs Thatcher and everything she stood for should lay the blame where it truly belongs – with the Labour government of the 1970s that bankrupted this country and brought about international humiliation.

John Cooper asserts that he agrees with the Archbishop of Canterbury that the child benefit cap should be lifted beyond the first two, but doesn’t say where it should be reset. Should it be four? Or six? Or perhaps no cap at all so that irresponsible people can have more children than they can afford and become totally reliant on state handouts, paid for by hard-working taxpayers.

If the Conservative Party’s claim that under a future Labour government every working family will be paying at least £2,000 more in taxes is a lie, how does that government plan to fund any of its proposed policies if it does not intend to raise income tax, National Insurance or VAT?

Labour must surely have hidden plans to introduce all manner of funding streams but by methods that are not commonly referred to as taxes. Otherwise, how is it as a government going to increase funding on anything without breaking the promises it has made?

C. Aichgy

Margaret Thatcher in Kent in 1973: “Those who have always hated Mrs Thatcher should lay the blame where it truly belongs – with the Labour government of the 1970s that bankrupted this country”
Margaret Thatcher in Kent in 1973: “Those who have always hated Mrs Thatcher should lay the blame where it truly belongs – with the Labour government of the 1970s that bankrupted this country”

PM’s dereliction of duty at D-Day event

During the course of the 80th D-Day anniversary commemoration in Normandy, Rishi Sunak, the Prime Minister, met the British veterans in attendance as did President Biden meet American veterans.

In the evening the President met with President Macron of France and the German Chancellor Schultz, standing together in unity and representing their countries.

Britain, by contrast, in the absence of the Prime Minister was represented by Foreign Secretary, Lord Cameron, standing in for the PM who was back in Britain attending a general election-based interview.

After the storm of criticism for his absence, Mr Sunak publicly apologised but the fact is that he is guilty of a dereliction of duty and let us all down.

I have a feeling that this general election will be remembered as the one in which the leader of the governing party scuppered any chance of being returned to power because he paid only lip service to honouring those servicemen who did their duty.

It is sobering to remember that 1,760 British soldiers died on D-Day and many more were injured. The significance of what they did, in starting the beginning of the end of the German tyranny of Europe which led to Allied victory and the end of the Second World War, is beyond compare.

John Cooper

Government made people-smuggling problem worse

This website has lots of letters about the small boats problem but few seem to ask why it is a problem?

The answer is that it is a problem, one of many, that has been made massively worse by the Conservative government. They had already made it impossible to apply for asylum from most other countries, say Sudan or Gaza, and then with Brexit we lost the EU Treaty of Dublin power to return migrants to France and their first country of entry to the EU.

This created an enormous vacuum which sucked in the people-smuggling gangs, as previously what was the point of paying thousands of pounds to cross the channel if you could just be returned?

Before Brexit small boat crossings were tiny, about 200 people a year. Since Brexit they have grown massively and this puts an enormous strain on Kent, which we are all paying for.

So a very difficult problem has been created, but I can’t see that the Rwanda policy, which reportedly treats 1% of the problem at a cost of £2 million per person removed, is ever going to be a proper solution.

J. Hughes

Voters will decide if Reform party is credible

In a surprise U-turn, Nigel Farage announced his intention to stand as a candidate for his Reform UK party in the Conservative-held seat of Clacton.

This will be his eighth attempt at becoming an MP. His appearance on I'm a Celebrity obviously helped to raise his profile and probably won over a proportion of the public who found his views resonated with their own.

They will be pleased to have an opportunity to express their approval at the ballot box.

His party has become a thorn in the flesh of the Tories who are expecting them to steal some of their traditional supporters.

How well Reform UK does in the general election will be a deciding factor as to whether it can sustain its popularity amongst disaffected voters and become a credible force to the mainstream parties.

If it fails to take off and attracts a minimal response from the electorate, then it will be anything but a serious challenger in British politics.

However, the fortunes of Reform UK have now been given an uplift from its leading figure whose presence as a runner in the campaign rather than an observer will, undoubtedly, generate more votes for his party.

Michael Smith

Don’t expect others to provide for you

John Cooper is of the view that if you don’t scrap two-child benefit limit, it will cause poverty (letters last week).

All child benefit does, in my view, is to encourage people to have more kids at the rest of society’s expense. This is not fair, as I strongly believe that if you bring children into the world, you should pay for them.

When I first got married, we only got child benefit for the first one and not for any other children.

To me, it’s about responsibility to yourself and all of society that you do not not expect others to provide for you. Unfortunately this is all too prevalent in society today who want something for nothing and not prepared to work for it.

Sid Anning

A protest over live animal exports outside Dover’s Eastern Docks Library picture
A protest over live animal exports outside Dover’s Eastern Docks Library picture

Brexit brought an end to live exports

As a protester against live exports for many years at Ramsgate and Dover, I am, along with my fellow protesters, delighted that we have, after decades of campaigning, a total ban on this extremely cruel trade, with the King's assent being received.

Brexit made this humane action possible, for the European Union prevented the banning of live exports as it was not legal to stop the free movement of farm animals which, under EU ruling, are considered "goods."

When an assignment of sheep arrived in such a poor state at Ramsgate Port in 2012, the RSPCA had to humanely euthanise them on the spot, Thanet District Council then imposed a temporary ban for five weeks in the hope this would end this dreadful trade. Instead, they were fined millions of pounds for contravening the EU "free movement of goods" ruling.

Kent Action Against Live Exports (KAALE) spearheaded the campaign from 1995 after Jill Phipps, a live exports protester was killed under the wheels of an exporter's lorry at Coventry Airport.

Grateful thanks should be given to KAALE who campaigned relentlessly and with great determination and to all those who gave support by attending demonstrations, resulting in much future animal suffering being prevented.

Vivien Clifford

Councils ignoring their basic responsibilities

We are already well aware of the utter failure of local authorities to deal with the numerous potholes rendering our roads unsafe, but this is not the only fiasco inflicted upon those attempting to travel.

Recently I drove from Tonbridge to Whitstable and it was very clear that no effort was being made to remove vegetation obstructing road signs, making things very difficult for those unfamiliar with the journey. Quite apart from direction indicators, even hazard warnings and speed limit signs are frequently concealed, often only becoming visible at the last moment, if that.

Councils are not performing the fundamental tasks for which they exist, but are often prepared to waste vast amounts on matters which only appeal to the political prejudices of the elected representatives, who find the mundane business for which they are responsible too boring.

They prioritise the demands of vociferous lobbies, rather than the needs of the vast majority of ratepayers.

Colin Bullen

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