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Fenland Citizen letters, October 16, 2019

A hypocritical suggestion

Re Mr Smithee and Labour’s hypocritical plans to abolish private schools (Citizen, October 2).

I say hypocritical because a number of Labour politicians send their children to private schools. Did anyone at the conference ask Diane Abbott about why she sent her child to a private school? NO.

Wisbech Grammar School (18977112)
Wisbech Grammar School (18977112)

You describe Wisbech Grammar School as being for ‘a privileged wealthy minority’. It’s not Eton or Harrow, it’s a school that is open to anyone who passes the entrance exam. It is obvious that you have no idea of the background of a number of pupils who attend the school.

There are some wealthy families, but also a large number of average families who just want the best for their children. Some will be receiving a bursary from the school to help with the fees.

We are neither wealthy nor privileged – we just work hard, we do not have foreign holidays, we do not have expensive mobile phones or the latest gadgets, we visit charity shops, buy reduced price foods in the supermarket, we are frugal with our money.

All we want is a decent and proper education for our son, something which the current education system is unable to do due to its lack of funding over many years and across all political parties.

We pay the school fees out of our hard-earned taxed income, we still pay tax even though our son is not in the state system. By taking him out of state education we are relieving the state of an additional burden – surely a ‘win win’ for the state?

I would be happy not to have to educate him in a private school, but it is our choice how to spend our money!

What’s the difference between private education and private health? If anything, private health is worse when it comes to ‘privilege and wealth’.

In the health system you see the same consultant because many work for both NHS and private hospitals. If you need to see a consultant on the NHS you wait weeks, at a private hospital you wait days to see the SAME person.

NHS waiting lists are huge, private hospitals’ are not. Why doesn’t Labour propose taking back all private hospitals too and ease all the stress on the NHS? Because that would be unpopular with voters.

If Labour would increase funding to build more schools, reduce class sizes, giving children a better education, including more exercise, our children would be happier and healthier.

If the state could provide the same level of education children get at a private school, that would be a vote winner.

Wisbech area reader,

full details supplied.

Impact is glossed over

In calling for private schools to be abolishedand seizing their assets John Smithee has glossed over the consequences.

Does abolishing private schools mean just existing private schools, or does it mean no one in the UK can ever start a non-state school, criminalised if they do? What about private tutors and holiday tuition schools – will these be banned? Will I be prosecuted if I offer private lessons for a fee?

The cost to the taxpayer of adding well over 500,000 children to the state system is not factored in; nor is the cost of legal battles when appropriation of private property is challenged in the court; nor the fact wealthy and not so wealthy people can put money they would have spent on fees into a pot for their children, giving them a huge leg-up of perhaps £100,000 (in some cases much more) when they leave full-time education.

These children will have enough funds not to need a Student Loan and will leave university debt free or have the funds to buy a house or start a business. How will that advantage be prevented?

Can a Corbynite explain?

David Silver,

via email.

How can he tell if a car is not taxed?

In ‘Language was unacceptable’ (Citizen, October 9) Coun Daniel Divine says: “I’ve noticed a good number of cars that have not even been taxed!”

I am intrigued how Coun Divine can determine whether a car is taxed or not?The mandatory display of a valid tax disc was discontinued from October 1, 2014, so it is now not possible for a member of the public to determine the taxation status of a vehicle “at a glance”.

Or has he made a note of each and checked them via the DVLA website?If so, I trust he has reported the genuinely untaxed ones to the DVLA.

Allan Sibley,


Divine inspiration?

Coun Divine says “I notice a good number of cars have not even been taxed”.How does he know? Divine inspiration?

Barrie Hotson,


Rail-lorry plan the answer?

I am very concerned about the number of lorries on our roads, the effect on our environment and the cost of damage to road surfaces.

I would like to make a suggestion which, while being an extremely costly, very long-term plan, could have tremendous benefits for everyone in the UK.

It is simply this – that major railway stations be adapted to enable a lorry to drive onto a ‘low-loader’ bogey and be carried to the major station nearest its destination.

There would be benefits for everyone using rail in this way:

A - the driver would not lose his job

B - The driver would be able to rest while on board and therefore return immediately, probably with a new load, and arrive back at his depot sooner and fresher

C - The haulier would pay for the rail ‘carriage’ but would save considerably on diesel and on the driver’s wage per load because of time saved

D - The driver wouldn’t lose because they would be able to deliver more in a shorter time-frame, with much less stress

E - Wear and tear on lorries would be far less and upkeep cheaper

F - Our roads would need far less upkeep

G - Other drivers would have faster journeys, especially on single and dual carriageways where lorries tend to travel slower and are slow to overtake

H - The pollution caused by one locomotive would be less than that from say 40 or 50 lorries

I - There might well be less road accidents.

I realise the above might sound to be no more than a dream, but surely the big question is: Can we afford (and do we want) to keep building more and wider roads ad infinitum?

Motorways were a huge dream and a mega-investment after the war.

The Channel Tunnel was thought by many to be an impossibility – yet both have repaid their costs many times over.

My view is that the money spent on a project such as this would prove itself very quickly after completion of the first ‘link’.

I imagine the way forward would be to choose two major railway stations, as far apart as possible, in two areas which ‘exchange’ a large volume of freight lorries – e.g. an industrial area and a port.

Once the haulage industry has seen and enjoyed the benefits of the scheme, I believe it will clamour for more.

After all, if well set up, everyone’s a winner, including the government and local councils.

I would be very interested to know your response.

Roger Taylor,

Friday Bridge.

Phoenix on the rise

I am writing in response to two items in the Citizen of October 2 – the photo and words of Cam Sight about their enjoyable days with us on the Braza bowling green and the excellent letter written under the heading ‘Disappointed by green plan’.

We recently had the unpleasant task of telling the visitors from Cam Sight that our green was going to be lost so that access to an as yet unlaid car park could be built.

This news was received with a sense of shock and upset by the Cam Sight folk, but we had to explain that the bowls club committee had been given short notice of this and no consultation during the discussions about it.

However, the good news is that, thanks to the fantastic bowling fraternity in March and the lovely people of the GER bowls club, we will be continuing as a club and will be based at GER’s ground.

Our new name will be Phoenix Bowls Club and we intend to continue our days with Cam Sight and all our other friends in the lawn bowls world.

John Chivers,


Blue Badge abuse

Why is it you don’t need a Blue Badge in Wisbech?

You can park where you like; you can park in the one hour space and go to bingo, leave your car four fours and on double yellow lines with no badge.

I’ve got one but have to walk to bingo on Thursday afternoon and Saturday.

Most of us are over 70 and I’m well over 80, but no one seems to care for Blue Badge people.

You could make a lot of money if you sorted this problem out. You wouldn’t get away with it in King’s Lynn, Downham or Ely, so why in Wisbech?

P. Bishop,

full details supplied.

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