Readers’ letters - March 4

Reports - just a waste of money?

To deflect fury from the Lib Dems’ national position Cllr Bowers (‘Let’s keep our views rational’, Feb 25) argues that the forthcoming May elections should be about local issues. On this point I agree.

So in that spirit, perhaps he could explain how the Lib Dems have bequeathed his Ringmer constituents a massive industrial turbine as well as a possible industrial site (talk of which alone can blight local property prices), both within the new National Park and on the edge of Ringmer?

As if that weren’t enough, Cllr Gardiner, his Ringmer Lib Dem colleague, has been forced to admit that there were a number of errors in each of the associated reports commissioned by LDC.

Cllr Bowers’ central point was that the district council’s main task is to ensure proper and effective use of our resources. He argues that we will be voting on ‘an assessment of local competence’ – well amen to that.

Since 2004, our Lib Dem controlled council has commissioned no less than 11 consultancy reports on this issue, costing taxpayers £243,685 – Lib Dems have since admitted that two were flawed, how many others were just a waste of our money?

Nick Robinson,

Conservative District Council Candidate, Ouse Valley and Ringmer

Cyclists steer clear of new path

IT IS quite – ha ha – revealing that the LibDems now appear so embarrassed by their dodgy half-a-cycle-path that they are endeavouring to hide it from view by planting a lovely new hedge in front of it.

What a shame that the whole budget couldn’t have been spent on repairing, replanting and relaying hedges all around Ringmer – that would have been a much “greener” use of the money and of more benefit to both wildlife and residents.

No doubt there are any number of tetchy, pedantic weaselly reasons why this couldn’t be done.

It does seem odd that some people can only demonstrate their green credentials by laying yet more tarmac. Ee, I can remember when this were all field!

I have yet to see any cyclists using it. Last week, I walked – very slowly – the length of it and didn’t see anyone else until I reached Paygate Corner.

A cyclist then approached along the main road from Ringmer, looked disdainfully at the cycle path – and very pointedly stayed on the road! Perhaps he was just a very grown-up cyclist who doesn’t need namby-pamby cycle paths or perhaps – God forbid – he was a cyclist who happens not to be a LibDem voter!

Meanwhile, I’d be intrigued to know how the route can be safely continued into Lewes.

It can’t follow the main road – unless cyclists are to be asked to cross the road yet again, (perhaps at the next dangerous corner?) to use the footpath down to Earwig Corner. Or is the route to go uphill following the track through the reserve to the top of Mill Road?

Now that would be clever – let’s all cycle uphill into Lewes. It’s bad enough cycling home uphill out of Lewes – the only good reason for cyling into Lewes is to enjoy freewheeling downhill to Earwig!

Clive Hobden,


What’s the point of the LibDems?

The letters in support and against the role of Norman Baker in the coalition government totally miss the point.

Let’s be quite clear about this, we are not discussing some massive ideological battle about the role of the state and public spending. Despite the rhetoric, Conservatives are as much in favour of telling you what to do and spending your money as any other party.

No, I believe the issues are what democratic mandate does the Coalition Government have for its policies and what is the point of the LibDems. In my view the answer to both questions is virtually none.

Yes, the Conservatives were the biggest party after the election but David Cameron should have won by a landslide.

The fact that he didn’t suggests that outside his core vote the electorate as a whole were unconvinced by him despite a deeply unpopular Labour Government that had run out of steam, which was led by a uncharistmatic leader and had alienated its core voters by policies that had included cutting public spending and privatising public services (yes, really). Furthermore, the LidDems put themselves forward as a clear alternative to the two bigger parties.

“Ah,” say the LibDems, “when we made these committments we didn’t know that there would be a coalition and how bad a state the economy was really in.” If this is true it rather questions their competence since a first year politics student would have been able to predict both those things. It also questions their integrity if they made these committments and never expected to be in a position to implement them.

OK when there is a coalition, you can’t expect manifestos to be implemented in full. There have to be compromises. Indeed in such comprises you would expect policies to be from one of the two parties of the other or some way in between the two. We appear to have policies being implemented now that even the Conservatives thought were too electorally unpopular to put in their manifesto prior to the election but now the LibDems sign up to with gusto.

Even accepting all those points there is no need for any individual to go along with this. At least two senior LibDems have resigned from the government and on the student fees debate, for example, all the LibDems not in the Government voted against. On this issue, Norman Baker apparently thought about voting against. So that makes it alright then.

All that said, maybe I’m being too idealistic. Everyone has their price. Given Norman’s previous track record I didn’t expect him to come quite so cheaply.

To Nigel Jones I say why vote LibDem if you get undiluted Conservative policies anyway. Why not cut out the middleman and just vote Conservative? As I say, what is the point of the LibDems?

Michael Holford,


Sick of sight and sound of turbines

As an ‘expat’ Lewesian I return each year to assist with ‘Rocket FM’ – and to sample the Harveys! I also read your letters page, somewhat belatedly.

I have read Tessa George’s letter (‘Global warming: here are the facts’, February 4). She painted Brian Beck as an isolated global warming sceptic. Well – he now has a significant number of influential supporters.

By an amazing coincidence, just as I caught up with Ms George’s letter, the news broke that the United States House of representatives had voted 244-179 to kill US funding to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

This is largely a result of the infamous ‘Climategate’ exposures which resulted in allegations of serious data manipulation by a group of discredited climate scientists.

Incidentally, I do not believe Mr. Beck’s view to be an isolated one. “Global warming” is seen as alarmist here in frozen Ontario.

We too are becoming sick of the sight (and sound) of pointless, heavily-subsidised industrial wind turbines.

Our provincial government recently announced that it is abandoning plans to build offshore wind projects in the Great Lakes, as they spoil the view.

Rupert Lloyd Thomas,

Toronto, Canada