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Wisbech readers on Ukraine and cost of living, Chatteris reader on refugees

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Here are the letters from the Fenland Citizen of Wednesday, March 23, 2022...

Government wants us all to forget

Russian aggression is real, but so is NATO duplicity in Ukraine.

Our governments want us to forget. They fear historical memory because it shows that Putin is not the only invader of small countries, not alone in waging brutal wars, nor the only killer of civilians, or the sole user of barbaric weapons.

Anything that Putin has done or will do in Ukraine, the NATO powers have done in Afghanistan, Iraq, or Libya.

The NATO establishment would have us believe that Ukraine was just patiently waiting to join NATO, intimidated from doing so by Putin.

The reality is very different. NATO had in fact recruited Ukraine in all but name. Here’s the list of foreign wars the West dragged Ukraine into as it used it in a great power game:

Kosovo Force, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan, the Iraq War, the Ivory Coast, Ocean Shield (the Enduring Freedom naval operation), the Congo, the 1999 East Timorese crisis, and Operation Atalanta in Somalia.

Indeed, what we are hearing in the ferocious jingoism is the long hurt caused by US economic decline, the rise of China, the defeats in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Libya.

Plus the fear that momentarily seized the UK establishment during the rise of Corbynism.

The deep hypocrisy of the propaganda and its virulence is ultimately a product of the fact that each and every unacceptable act that Putin has committed has also been committed by the West in recent memory... and failed.

The answer to this is not more military deployment to Ukraine, which would only inflame, lengthen, and possibly widen the conflict.

The answer is that Ukraine should be extracted from the vice of Russian aggression and NATO expansion.

Withdrawing Russian troops and neutrality for Ukraine are the only immediate hope of an end to the killing.

John Smithee


Traffic spirals out of Sutton Bridge on Thursday while works are carried out on Cross Keys Bridge. Drone photo: Adam Fairbrother
Traffic spirals out of Sutton Bridge on Thursday while works are carried out on Cross Keys Bridge. Drone photo: Adam Fairbrother

We have our own crisis to sort out

I’m now going to upset everyone, but it has to said: “There are legal implications in taking in refugees and homeless people etc that you need to consider.”

It’s our Government’s legal obligation under 1951 Convention to take refuge, house and pay for these Ukrainian refugees.

It is not an optional permitted dereliction, derogation or abrogation of duty for government to pass on this responsibility to the civilian population. So they still have international face and credibility.

It totally opitimises our Government’s lack of control and policy for building affordable social housing.

So £350 per month is around £10-a-day to live on? Clearly not the same offered to Afghan refugees, so it’s refugees on the cheap for six months then you keep them financially yourself after six months, then you try to evict your new squatters.

Or have you paid for a legal tenancy agreement for them to sign ?

Will your private landlord grant permission for basically sub-letting for £350 per month, or will they demand the £350 or even evict you for breach of tenancy agreement?

Hotels would charge £300 per week but you get only £350 per month. No wonder Rishi Sunak is grinning like a Cheshire Cat.

There is also nothing in writing or legislation to protect welfare benefit claimants from losing their entitlements by taking in refugees.

Just like last time, the Secretary of State said ‘flexibility’. So is Government proposing to pay private landlords handsomely to ‘non-fault evict’ existing British tenants into homelessness to create valuable ‘priority’ long-term accommodation for these Ukrainian refugees ?

And what the makes you think Government and the Home Office are so competent they will successfully check their criminal history, record, track and trace them like they do with all the illegal migrants from the English Channel?

They can sign on UK benefits, despite the “£20 uplift” being unaffordable, use our NHS and GP services free of charge despite the existing NHS backlog and ‘extra burden on exhausted resources, and priority for school placements etc’.

Next the supermarkets will let them come in 10 minutes earlier as a priority over regular customers.

I have no objection to Ukranian refugees or others but we have our own housing and cost of living crisis to sort out first for British citizens because of our Government’s incompetence.

Mark Burton


John Elson's Fenland Citizen cartoon (55599352)
John Elson's Fenland Citizen cartoon (55599352)

Will the chancellor take action?

Conservative MPs have been breaking ranks with the Government to demand action on the rising cost of living as the global economy reels from shocks including the war in Ukraine.

They have been appealing to Chancellor Rishi Sunak ahead of his spring economic statement on March 23.

The BBC understands Mr Sunak is considering options to ease the squeeze on budgets before a rise in energy bills and a tax hike from April.

As MPs pressure him to act, we assess some of their proposals, and their likelihood of being adopted.

Relief from green taxes, a record rise in global gas prices, driven by high demand and tight supplies, has sent energy costs sky-rocketing.

One consequence is a new UK price cap, which will increase energy bills by about £700 a year from April 1.

Energy regulator Ofgem estimates about eight per cent of those bills will go towards environmental taxes, which fund home insulation and renewable power.

A campaign to scrap these so-called green levies is being led by Craig Mackinlay, the chairman of the Net Zero Scrutiny Group, which is urging the government to rethink its climate policies.Government insiders have suggested this was “not a go-er”.

The money raised from green levies is tied up in contracts to curb carbon emissions in partnership with the private sector.

One government source argued that the tax payer would have to cover the costs of these contracts if they were cancelled.

While sceptics have pointed to Germany, whose coalition of Greens, Social Democrats and Liberals has moved to scrap a renewables levy, government sources stress they are still committed to the UK’s net-zero target.

John White


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