Vote plea

ON April 20 the residents of Idmiston, Gomeldon and Porton will cast their votes at Porton Memorial Hall to decide the acceptance of their Neighbourhood Plan. If accepted, this will provide real control over future developments in those villages and represents a huge step forward in the democratic process. The plan itself has been produced by a dedicated team who are resident within the parish and they have taken into account the wishes of the parishioners through surveys, presentations and feedback to give parishioners ownership of the plan. Given this opportunity it would be a great shame if parishioners failed to vote either because they assumed the vote would go in their favour or simply through apathy. Without this plan those villages will be threatened by large scale or inappropriate development by those that haven’t got the welfare of the parish at heart. So I would urge all parishioners to get out there and vote for the Neighbourhood Plan, you may never have a chance as good as this again.

Name and address supplied

Poor service

ANYONE who has not read Animal Farm by George Orwell should do so and compare the rising power of local council leaders to the attitude of the pigs in this cautionary tale.

Councils are able to defy/ignore central government strategies, especially in the area of rubbish collection/clearance.

People behaving responsibly should NOT be charged extra. The onus of responsibility for clearing up after illegal fly tipping should NOT be on the unfortunate landowner.

The Council Tax is to provide services.

Before cutting these vital services, council leaders should not be allowed to award themselves inflated salaries (akin to that of the Prime Minister or massive expenses (Ms Scott’s expenses are almost 10 times the State Pension) or increase their gold-plated pension funds which private business can no longer afford to offer.

Wiltshire Council motto is “Everybody Matters”, perhaps it should continue “but not to us”.

Jane Martin


Saudi horror

MR GLEN devoted the whole of his last column to the appalling events in Syria where, allegedly, President Assad has used Sarin gas on his own people.

Mr Glen was however, silent on the Prime Minister Theresa May’s recent trip to Saudi Arabia.

The human rights situation in that country is dire with floggings, stonings, amputations, the routine use of torture and an increasing number of executions, often carried out in public, using confessions obtained under torture. Women’s rights are almost non-existent. Part of the purpose of the Prime Minister’s visit was to promote yet more arms sales. We have already sold £3.3 billion of arms to Saudi and these are being used to wreak devastation in Yemen. An estimated ten thousand have died with schools, hospitals, mosques and other civilian targets being regularly bombed.

There are credible reports of British supplied BL - 755 cluster munitions still being used despite the fact they are now illegal. The economy is in a dreadful state and the blockade has created famine conditions. In contrast to Syria where little can be done while Russia continues its support for President Assad, Mr Glen could do a lot in parliament to limit or stop the slaughter in Yemen and press for better human rights in Saudi Arabia. This, so far, he has signally failed to do and indeed voted on 26 October 2016 against a motion in the Commons to end military support to Saudi Arabia.

Peter Curbishley

Great Durnford

Good call

I THINK it is very sensible for Theresa May to call a General Election for June 8. Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party is a shambles, and the other parties no better. The government needs a strong hand to get on with the Brexit negotiations. With a decent majority in an election she will be able to face down opposition to Brexit in the House of Lords, and from the Europhiles (including Michael Heseltine).

My own view is that political conditions in the EU are going to deteriorate badly. The French face chaotic political conditions whoever wins their Presidential election; Italy faces a huge migration crisis which Italians are doing their very best to avoid confronting; Greece and Ukraine are both bust; and Turkey is turning into a dictatorship. The EU is going nowhere, and the UK is best off out of it.

Timothy Stroud


Benefit cuts

WE all understand that, with elections coming up, some councillors will stop at nothing to get themselves in the papers. However, Cllr Hoque is scraping the bottom of the barrel (‘Stop giving cash to city beggars’ plea, Journal, April 6).

Rather than suggesting that it is the over-generous nature of the people of Salisbury which is to blame for people begging in the city, he would do well to look at the facts, and to consider the policies of his Conservative Party colleagues in government.

Charities including Salisbury’s own Trussell Trust have distributed over a million food parcels in the past year to people who could not otherwise feed themselves or their families: this fact is not unrelated to the harsh benefits cuts and cruel and vindictive sanctions regime operated by his government in the cause of austerity.

According to Wiltshire Council’s own figures (which are certainly an underestimate), street homelessness in Wiltshire has increased fivefold between 2013 and 2015, and we can all see that it is still increasing: this fact is not unrelated to the same austerity policies, coupled with unaffordable uncontrolled rents and the Tories’ “bedroom tax” driving people out of council properties. Rather than blaming the generosity of the people of Salisbury, Cllr Hoque should be blaming, and protesting against, the policies of his colleagues in Westminster.

Brig Oubridge

Green Party

Dying wish

I TOTALLY agree with the deputy leader of Wiltshire Council John Thomson who would like politicians to be braver about decision making on the subject of assisted suicide or voluntary euthanasia, ‘especially in a county with a very large older-aged population’ to quote from his letter of April 6. He mentions how difficult it was for him to watch his father die over three days and nights when presumably this could have been avoided. I think he is right when he points out that it should surely be the decision of the person involved to be assured that when he is beyond wishing to live, he can be helped to die in this country with his family at hand.

Angela Hillman


Step too far!

NICE to know that they have opened a new drinking area in Salisbury, ie. the library steps. At 11am, there must have been about eight people drinking there. When is the no drinking law going to be enforced?

G Jones


Vote approach

FOLLOWING our own Brexit referendum the language used was ‘the people have spoken – they want Brexit’. The results of the Turkey referendum were precisely the same in terms of percentage votes. The language used in reporting on the Turkish result by John Simpson and others was that the yes vote had won ‘by a whisker’. How can two similar results be reported in such different language?

Steve Hannath


Park appeal

IT was lovely to see so many people at the official opening of Victoria Park following the recent refurbishment and a reflection of how our open spaces are valued by the community and the council. Thanks must go to all those who worked hard to deliver the improvements. A new Friends of Victoria Park is being set up and anyone wishing to get involved is welcome. There are already a number of volunteers who litter pick but we are hoping to help with maintenance and further improvements. Please contact Mark Annetts at Salisbury City Council for more information ( 01722 342860).

Janet Mitchell


Fred forgotten

I WAS disappointed in the write-up in the April 13 edition, ‘New look for city’s oldest park’ that no mention was made of Frederick Griffin, who was mayor during Queen Victoria’ Jubilee in 1887. The Blue Plaque on the gate says that “Victoria Park was wholly his idea from the first”.

Alan Crooks