Letters to the Fenland Citizen editor – January 13, 2021
Be tougher with those not wearing masks
We are never going to beat COVID-19 while we have arrogant people who feel that the laws and rules just don’t apply to them.
I was in my local supermarket in Wisbech on the day the latest lockdown was announced, when a man and his partner, probably in their early thirties, had completed a substantial shop without wearing face coverings.
When they arrived at the checkout, the cashier on the till asked them: “Would you put your face mask on, please?”
The man declined, saying he wasn’t aware that a face mask was needed (despite the fact that it is well-advertised at the shop entrance as mandatory).
He refused to go and purchase masks for them, with the result that the cashier said: “I’m not going to be able to serve you unless you wear a mask.”
This is by no means the first time I have been in a supermarket when selfish shoppers have refused to wear face masks.
It is unsettling and potentially life-threatening for the rest of us.
Can I please ask shop managers to take a much tougher line with such people?
If they do not have a legitimate exemption, they should be refused service and barred from the shop.
Grateful for their selfless dedication
Last Friday I went to the North Brink Practice in Wisbech to receive my COVID-19 vaccination. After waiting outside for a time, I was agreeably surprised on entering the building to be met by a well organised team, greeting, identifying and shepherding patients from entrance to exit.
I understand that, as North Brink is acting as the local hub at present, staff from other practices are augmenting the resident team.
I learnt that they anticipated vaccinating about 400 patients that day and even more on the Saturday.
If this is the case, they will have dealt with well over 2,000 patients from various local practices in a week. I consider that this is an amazing achievement, no doubt being replicated throughout the country, and all those involved with organising and carrying out this Herculean task deserve our heartfelt thanks.
I, for one, am grateful for their selfless dedication.
The right beliefs will win the day
I have just heard on a radio report that the ‘mob’ who stormed the US Capitol Building are defining themselves as following in the footsteps of the ‘Revolutionaries of the American War of Independence’.
Having been so shocked for the past few days, this felt like a slap in my face.
I have ancestors who were at Valley Forge and Bunker Hill during that war.
For these people to even think they have anything in common with those who believed in freedom and liberty is just outrageous.
When I saw the first news footage on Wednesday, I turned to my husband and said:”I am so glad my dad is not here to see this’.
He had been in the Battle of the Bulge in WW2 fighting the same twisted beliefs that these people demonstrate with disregard to democracy and their belief they are superior to others.
I do not know how Trump has brainwashed so many Americans, but be assured the beliefs of my long dead dad and now so long dead relatives will win out in the end.
Shoppers helped to raise £590
Through the medium of your newspaper can I please record the thanks of March Lions Club to the management and staff of Tesco, Hostmoor, for allowing March Lions Club to bring their Santa Sleigh to the store on Saturday, December 19.
The customers responded in a very generous way, donating nearly £590, which will be used to benefit local good causes.
2020 has been a very difficult year for everyone, and we have tried to make the best use of our limited funds to benefit as many people as possible. Thank you for your response, which means we will be able to help more people in 2021.
President, March Lions Club
The pay gap is getting bigger all the time
Bosses of Britain’s biggest companies will earn more in the first three days of this week than the average worker’s annual wage, research claims.
The pay of FTSE 100 chiefs will have overtaken the £31,461 annual median wage for full time workers, the High Pay Centre says.
Bosses’ pay was flat last year, while average wages generally rose slightly. That meant that FTSE chief executives had to work 34 hours to beat median annual pay, not the 33 hours in 2020.
The High Pay Centre think-tank based its annual calculations on analysis of disclosures in companies’ annual reports, combined with government statistics.
High Pay Centre said chief executive pay is about 120 times that of the typical UK worker, up significantly from two decades ago.
“Estimates suggest it was around 50 times at the turn of the millennium or 20 times in the early 1980s.
“Factors such as the increasing role played by the finance industry in the economy, the outsourcing of low-paid work and the decline of trade union membership have widened the gaps between those at the top and everybody else over recent decades.”
“The figures should raise concern about the governance of Britain’s biggest companies.
“They should also prompt debate about the effects that high levels of inequality can have on social cohesion, crime, and public health and wellbeing.”
Median FTSE 100 chief executive pay was £3.61m in 2019, the last year for which a full set of data is available, the High Pay Centre said.
Its analysis was based on chief executives’ average working day being 12 hours. However, critics said such analysis just fuels the politics of envy without looking at why chief executives matter and the contribution they make.
The head of programmes at the Adam Smith Institute said: “Good management is more important than ever in a globalised world and small differences in top talent make a big impact on a business’ bottom line.
“Bottom line makes a big difference to workers across the UK, anyone with a private pension, and shareholders.”
He pointed out that there is strong, if morbid, evidence about chief executive deaths that shows why the corporate and investment world believe leadership makes a huge difference to the fortunes of their companies.
“In the past 60 years, unexpected CEO deaths have consistently affected stock price, profitability, investment and sales growth - for better or worse.”
They have helped non-charities before
Regarding the row about the homeless between Simon Crowson of 50 Backpacks and Sam Hoy of Fenland District Council, I must complain about her official response on behalf of FDC.
The council does support and fund voluntary groups which are not charities.
Even under its own Street Pride banner, such as ‘In Bloom’ and ‘Christmas Lights’ groups.
As regards DBS, I assume the council will now start DBS checking all its litter pick and In Bloom volunteers?
As regards dealing with vulnerable individuals, you are always supervised or, in Mr Crowson’s case, if he packs boxes and does not come into personal contact when they are delivered and stays in his office, he is not a risk to vulnerable people.
I totally agree the council must use it’s funds effectively, and as a Conservative council, supporting the Conservative Government who has created this mass increase in homelessness over the last 20 years, I would have thought, if you want to win the next local elections, you would be happy to do something to help the homeless and vulnerable people of Fenland?
Also, an allegation is not a conviction. If Mr Crowson had committed such a crime, the CPS would have taken over the case and prosecuted him.
He exposed US war crimes
A court decision last week blocked Wikileaks founder Julian Assange’s extradition to the United States.
US authorities want him flown over to stand trial over the publication of hundreds of thousands of leaked documents and diplomatic communications in 2010 and 2011.
The documents had revealed some of the crimes of Western imperialism. District judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled that he couldn’t be extradited because Assange would face a serious risk of suicide and self-harm.
She rejected arguments from Assange’s legal team and accepted that his activities were beyond the scope of journalism. But Baraitser then ruled his mental health condition meant “it would be oppressive to extradite him”.
It’s right that Assange isn’t extradited – but the ruling sets a dangerous precedent for anyone wanting to challenge governments’ crimes.
Baraitser made it clear that, were it not for his health considerations, Assange would be shipped to the US to face trial – and a possible 175-year sentence.
It’s likely he would face a similar fate to US intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, who has faced years of imprisonment and harassment by the US military and legal system.
The hounding of Assange over the exposure of US war crimes has to end.
He should be freed now, and the US’s charges against him dropped.