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Wednesday, 01 July 2015

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Racism allegation is ludicrous, say mayor’s many supporters

SIR – I write in support of John Jackson. To imply that the man is racially prejudiced is ludicrous in the extreme. SIR – Arlecdon History Group is doing research on things that used to be in Frizington, including St Paul’s School and the old St Joseph’s School.

fantastic ambassador: Mayor John Jackson

John is one of the fairest men I know, who would never say anything to upset another person’s feelings. This must be obvious to all who have met him. It may well have been one of the reasons why the Conservative party, who are in the minority in local government, put him forward as mayor.

From what I have seen of him during his year of office, both he and his wife have carried out their duties, with grace, dignity, friendliness and occasional laughter, their natural attributes, and have set the bar very high for those who will follow in this office.

It is a great pity that his accuser lacked the courage to face John at the time, and has had to resort to back-stabbing. This is no way to treat a person who has been such a great ambassador for the community.



SIR – As someone who was present at the recently held Mayor’s Charity event at which it is alleged that the mayor, Coun John Jackson supposedly made racist comments, I can only say that this was news to me.

At no time during any part of the evening did I hear the mayor or anyone else pass any racist comments.

John Jackson is not a racist, he is not a man who makes inappropriate or unkind comments about anyone.

As a fellow councillor representing the Beckermet ward, John and I work closely and I can only say that he is a man of sincerity and integrity who only ever wants to do his best to help people, not to hurt or injure in any way.

I am sure that all councillors on Copeland Council would agree that we would never condone racism in any shape, and nor should we!

John and Linda have been fantastic ambassadors for Copeland and have been extremely popular with our residents. It is a great shame that this allegation has gone to the press before Copeland Council’s correct standards procedures have properly investigated and a conclusion agreed. However since there were about 60 to 70 people present I don’t imagine there will be any shortage of witnesses.

Coun Yvonne CLARKSON


SIR – Who is the small-minded simpleton, with little to do, who hasn’t the courage to put his name to the charge? And, where is the common sense of the council official who wasn’t able to say to the complainant: “Go away and get a life”, without all this claptrap we get from them about investigating every complaint, frivolous or otherwise.

Stop worrying, your worship, the majority by a large margin is with you, and I am not a racist.


Low Moresby, Whitehaven

SIR – I read with dismay the suggestion that Tesco might be interested in Egremont.

It is hard for councils to stand up to mult-national companies that promise investment and jobs. Even David Cameron is relying bizarrely on the big supermarkets to provide thousands of jobs to take us out of the recession! Surely there’s a limit to how much we can eat?

In the news at the moment there are questions as to whether these are real jobs and suggestions of exploitation of workers’ rights. The big supermarkets have promised jobs before and only a fraction has been delivered. In fact previous studies have shown there is a net loss of jobs; on average 276 per new store opening.

Why is Tesco announcing expansion plans now? Is it anything to do with changes to the planning laws aimed at restricting the devastating effects unfettered expansion of the supermarkets have had on our communities, particularly our town centres?

Supermarkets erode local choice, and it is a fallacy that they provide “cheap” food.

Studies have shown that they exploit suppliers and farmers both in the UK and overseas, which has a long-term effect on the supply of food and the environment. Supermarkets generate waste and over-packaging – 35-40% of household waste ending up in landfill begins as a purchase from one of the big five supermarkets.

It has long been recognised that supermarkets siphon money away from local communities; one study estimating that every £1 spent with local suppliers is worth £1.76 to the local economy compared to £0.36.The impact on local businesses and the other supermarkets in Egremont is likely to be significant if not catastrophic.

Of course supermarkets can bring benefits and if Tesco supported a supermarket adjudicator as recommended by the Competition Commission then I might feel more comfortable about their interest.

Any new development in Egremont must be considered on the basis of long-term sustainability, not short-term gains.

Coun Carole WOODMAN

Springbank Farm, Egremont

SIR – In spite of the fact that most people in this country are against the proposed notorious reform of our National Health Service the government is hell bent on going ahead with it.

However the biggest complaint the majority of the people have against this health bill is the word competition. Which could mean a copycat of the United States’ health service, which is privatisation. Which means profits for the firms which get the contract and, like the United States, if you are not insured you fall by the wayside. This could be brought in eventually by the government who just won’t listen to the people.


Midtown Close, Distington

SIR – I sympathise with the plight of retailers and businesses in general and I find Mr Trembath’s article on the position of fuel dealerships very interesting.

However I wonder whether Longmile garage at Lillyhall might be able to learn from some of its competitors and help put himself on an even keel with them.

As well as buying The Whitehaven News weekly I subscribe to one of the daily national newspapers. Overall this is cheaper for me and has other benefits. I pay the retailer with a voucher which they redeem for the cover-price plus a small handling charge.

If I buy my paper at Tesco they give me a further one per cent of the cover-price back in return for me using my loyalty card and effectively selling them data about my buying habits which they can then use to entice me back.

Despite this additional benefit I usually buy my paper from one of the local independent newsagents or from one of the other licensed fuel dealerships as I like to support them and they accept my voucher with pleasure.

I do not buy my paper from Longmile because they are one of only two retailers I’ve ever come across who do not accept the vouchers. They turned a paying customer away but only after they explained the unfairness of that system too. Incidentally the other retailer I mentioned has now gone out of business.


Greenlands Close, Whitehaven

SIR – I have just returned from an appointment in Egremont to my home in Beckermet. This is the third time this week I have had to take my life in my hands when entering the village due to the Sellafield traffic who drive through our village as though it were a race track, having no consideration for other road users or residents of the village, including children.

Already this week I have had to perform an emergency stop because a van did not stop or slow down where there was a car parked on his side of the road and if I hadn’t done an emergency stop he would have driven right into me at speed!

Today, I again had to give way to streams of traffic, none of which were prepared to give way to me even though I was the only vehicle travelling in the opposite direction. Eventually I had no alternative but to set off pipping my horn so they had to give way to let me past.

Even by travelling down the 595 to the Black Beck roundabout and indicating right I have had cars pull out of the Sellafield road causing me to brake heavily as they are not prepared to give way even as they should at a roundabout.

It wouldn’t be too bad if the drivers using the village as a short cut would keep below the speed limit and also show consideration to residents travelling in the opposite direction. If there was an emergency I don’t know how an emergency vehicle (ambulance, fire engine) would be able to get to where it was required.

I would be interested to hear from those people who cut through the village to justify/explain how they see this as acceptable behaviour.



A COMPANY spokesman replies: “Sellafield Ltd is aware of the issues in Beckermet, caused by large amounts of traffic travelling through the village at certain times of the day.

“We have been in regular contact with Beckermet Parish Council representatives and recently participated in a stakeholder workshop that looked at potential transport, vehicle and site access options.

“We are committed to providing regular updates, including a further stakeholder workshop, to communicate progress on the various options being considered.”

Sir – Powering the nation? For crying out loud...

1 West Cumbria is now the Energy Coast, which means there are large clumps of wind turbines offshore and sprouting up in fields nearer to home. These, together with a new nuclear power station at Sellafield, will be expected to provide (via pylons, because they’re cheaper) power to the rest of England. It’ll be far enough away not to spoil the view for people living in London, Birmingham, Manchester etc.

2 Our A595 takes one line of traffic in each direction, we’ve all seen the cars and vans queueing from Bigrigg to Calderbridge to get to work in the morning and the same lot going home at the end of the working day. So how are all the wagons full of building materials going to get to Sellafield and how are they going to get back out again with the rubble? Come to that where are they going to dump it?

3 Then there’s the rubble from the proposed underground nuclear waste dump, where’s all that going?

4 We all know it rains in Cumbria while other parts of England suffer from drought. We already keep Manchester watered. How long will it be before some bright spark in London decides our surplus water should be pumped south-east so he can clean his four- wheel drive and fill his swimming pool?

How’s it going to feel when all we can see from our windows are pylons and wires overhead and pipes and pumps at ground level? Of course, so long as someone remembers to make the roads wider, all those out of work will find jobs but those of us who enjoy peace and quiet will be wishing we live somewhere else, over the border in Scotland maybe?

Name and address supplied

SIR – Unite are standing up for British workers – that is patriotic!

To strike during the Olympic games may be below the belt and unfair on visitors to the games, who would have their visit disrupted, but if the government won’t listen, well on their heads be it.

The government needs to take note, for example the controversial fuel tax. Hauliers etc could just shut the country down as in the summer 10-11 years ago! They could do it during the Jubilee or Olympics.

The government argues that by cutting fuel tax or not increasing it means that the money needs to be found elsewhere. How about all the aid we pay to other countries? I find that “unacceptable and unpatriotic”. We could keep that in our own country to help our own people and workers. That would be patriotic! That would be acceptable!.



SIR – I’m getting a sense of deja vu lately in regard to the proposal for a nuclear waste repository in West Cumbria. We’ve been here before.

In the 1980s, Nirex, the then nuclear safety inspectorate, was drilling test boreholes in East Anglia, a sensible choice as this is one of the most stable geological regions in Britain.What they hadn’t bargained for was the ire this would raise in the heartland of “Middle England”, the Tory Shires! This is the land of the educated, vociferous and articulate middle classes. They certainly did not expect the rumpus they would cause amongst the local population.

After a bitter fought battle Nirex was forced to withdraw with its tail between its legs!

Thinking that, having lived with nuclear power for a long time, and, as Ross Brewster says in his article in The Herald on Saturday, March 3, that perhaps the West Cumbrians were “willing patsies”, they turned up in West Cumbria a few years later.

They began a series of test bore holes in what is a very unstable geological area. As Ross indicates the debate was much more evenly balanced between supporters and the opposition. As Ross also suggests there are always those who will use jobs as kind of a trump card in their arguments. But as I understand it, once the facility was built there would be very few jobs in it. The results of the geological survey were equivocal and very worrying to say the least. Eventually, the Secretary for the Environment of the then Conservative government under Margaret Thatcher (I think it was John Gummer) “called the case in” and, after reviewing all the evidence, virtually told Nirex to shut up shop, leave West Cumbria and have a rethink. There was an almost audible collective sigh of relief from the large number of West Cumbrians of which I was one at the time.

Those boreholes are still there capped off and in mothballs. You can imagine that Nirex (or whatever the present quango is called) will be thinking . “Well it’s some time ago now, perhaps they’ve forgotten and in any case, we spent millions on those bore holes it’s a shame to waste them!”

I can almost hear a collective “Oh no! Here we go again” coming out of West Cumbria!


Long Marton


SIR – In response to Tim Knowles’ letter of last week in response to Mr Woods of January 31, Coun Knowles places emphasis on building consensus at every stage.

Would that be consensus for or against moving to stage four? How can we measure that if groups and individuals have no funding for putting their views across and we are to have no referendum?

The MRWS partnership is well funded and has produced some very professional literature, albeit very misleading, the best example being that volunteerism has occurred in Sweden and Finland. What the MRWS literature fails to say is that no communities in Sweden and Finland were asked to volunteer before their geology was known to be acceptable. You would have thought with the failed £440M Nirex investigation lessons would have been learned. We are now told that the design of the GDF could change from one of a huge cavern (as detailed on the MRWS website) to one of boreholes. By any reasoning it must now be apparent the deeply flawed geology of West Cumbria (as pointed out by Profs Smythe and Haszeldine) will be made to “fit” the problem.

Tim Knowles points out that there are “limited circumstances where a borough or county council could ultimately override the wishes of a potential host community”. Perhaps he might enlighten your readers as to what these circumstances might be and how they would square off with “volunteerism”, ie if the will of the community was not to volunteer then it makes a nonsense of democracy and forces a community to accept unwanted waste for generations to come. An inter-generational blight, albeit that voters will have their revenge come election time.

For Mr Knowles to point out that if a community wishes not to be included then it must show the whole community has been given a chance to express its views, then we should call his bluff now and have a county wide referendum. This is at real odds with the partnerships current view that it does not feel a referendum would be a good idea. Heads I win, tails you lose, and a corruption of democracy if ever there was one. What Mr Knowles should find interesting is that local parish and town councils are now voting to reject the MRWS partnership view to move to stage four, with more expected to do so. With this in mind has not Mr Knowles answered his own question?

The proposal to site a GDF in West Cumbria is a political decision already taken by DECC as they and the NDA are well aware that better and safer geological sites exist within the UK. The geology is substandard and the process of so called “volunteerism”, as outlined by Tim Knowles as it relates to a democratic process, as I understand its meaning to be, falls well short of a Russian election result. I live in the east of the county yet no one asked me if I wanted to be a volunteer and yet my county council has backed this process. Do the right thing, have a county-wide referendum now and then we will know if we have “volunteered” or not.



SIR – Just a quick thank you to the people who helped make “The Whitehouse Strikes Back” a success. To the Marchon Club for letting me have the venue, to Print Express for printing tickets and posters at cost, and to Threads, Richardson’s and The Rum Story for selling tickets.

Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team and The Great North Air Ambulance will each receive a cheque for £364, which I’m told “will help make a difference”.

Finally can I just say what a great crowd of people turned up to enjoy themselves; it was a superb atmosphere and the time simply flew by.

If you have any pictures from the night that you’d like to share “The Whitehouse Strikes Back” facebook page is still open.


(aka Big Phil)

Ribton Moorside, Whitehaven

If you were a pupil at either of these, we would love to hear from you with memories, interesting stories etc.

We meet on Tuesdays at 10am in Frizington library if you’d like to pop in to see us, or, if you prefer to jot something down, you can hand it in to the reception desks at either the library or Frizington County School.

We look forward to seeing you or hearing from you.

Arlecdon History Group

Frizington CDC & Library


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