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Recorder letters: Response to Paul Kaufman, parking, waste, council magazine and dementia

PUBLISHED: 08:00 16 August 2017

PA Wire/PA Images

Charlie Gard’s parents pictured outside court last month. Picture: PA IMAGES

Listen to both sides of tragic case

Derek James, Wards Wharf Approach, Silvertown, writes:

Few people would disagree with most of what Paul Kaufman writes about the tragic story of Charlie Gard (Recorder, August).

Decisions about the ending of life support are enormously difficult and both sides, surely, need to talk to, and listen to, each other. However, I do not think Paul Kaufman helps by bringing in his anti-religious prejudices.

He groups together the Pope, Pastor Patrick Mahoney and Donald Trump. I have no respect for Donald Trump but, though not a Roman Catholic, I have great respect for the Pope.

To suggest that he lacks compassion or that he does not make his decisions in a reasoned and calm way is ludicrous.

Clearly there are plenty of religious people, just as there are plenty of atheists and agnostics, who are irrational, doctrinaire and fanatical. They are an embarrassment to us all.

But the great majority of us do not just sit back and leave everything to ‘miracles and divine intervention’.

We listen to doctors and other experts, we listen to the parents, we take past experience into account – and the absolutely terrible Thalidomide tragedy should warn us that doctors and experts are not infallible – and, like Paul Kaufman, we believe that ‘compassion is also central’. We may actually leave out the word ‘also’.

As it happens, in the case of Charlie Gard, I was coming round to Paul Kaufman’s view, as deciding not to prolong life indefinitely is not the same as killing.

Yet I am reluctant to accept that anyone can decide that someone else’s life is not worth living. We mustn’t refuse to listen to both sides.

Paul Kaufman sneers at the ‘so-called pro-life agenda’. Abortion is another serious issue about which there could be a serious debate, but it is a different issue. I don’t think it helps to confuse the two.

School run traffic needs watching

A Romford resident, full address supplied, writes:

Just like to say a big well done to Newham Council for making my prediction of a few years ago come true, that every law abiding car owner working or travelling in Newham will be too scared to move, due to their over-zealous parking and traffic policies.

I have lost count of the people I have spoken to who no longer drive in or through Newham because of not being able to park or stop anywhere.

Unfortunately, we don’t all have that option.

Who would think it was acceptable to have a manual operated CCTV camera firmly fixed on a bus stop and a little lay-by for the use of people shopping at the little parade of shops in Boundary Road, purely for the use of catching people stopping for the briefest of time to either drop a passenger off or to pop in and get the milk and papers.

Let’s hope they don’t force the shop owners out of business.

I just hope they will keep up the good work when the schools reopen and they will train a camera towards the entrance of Brampton Manor Academy School where they will make a fortune, oops I mean keep it clear for the buses and ambulances to pass through unobstructed.

Every morning on the school run you have numerous cars stopping right by the entrance and then all the way down the hill completely blocking the road for buses and ambulances even though the whole area is double yellow lined with a bus stop and school markings, all higher category offences under the Road Traffic Management Law.

The law has to apply to us all so I will be watching you Newham Council camera operators.

You never know, it could even lead to the improved fitness of the students in Newham from both the reduction of exhaust fumes from less cars and from them actually walking to school helping reduce the obesity epidemic amongst our youngsters.

No help for costly removal of waste

Mrs Mann, Upton Park, full address supplied, writes:

I wrote three weeks ago about fly-tipping near my house. I wish to shame Newham Council.

I phoned and wrote to the council for four months because there was a ton of industrial waste near my house blocking a fire route. The council did nothing.

I also wrote to Sir Robin Wales with photos, I’ve had no answer.

I’m a widow on a low pension, no private pension. I paid £90 to have the rubbish removed which I know I won’t get back.

What’s going on with the Mag?

Kevin Mansell, Capel Road, Forest Gate, writes:

What on earth is going on at the Newham Mag? Had always thought it was the mayor’s personal publicity freebie, distributed fortnightly to the adoring masses, and a snip at £20,000 per issue.

But in the current edition there are only seven photos of our mayor (compared to 20 in the previous edition) and of those, in only four is he wearing the mayor’s ceremonial chain of office.

And what’s worse there are more photos of the deputy mayor (statutory) and cabinet member for Community Neighbourhoods, Ken Clarke – he has eight.

Has there been a midnight coup? Has Clarke seized the Mag as part of his own drive to succeed a man who has created his deputy (statutory)’s political career out of nothing?

I think the people deserve an explanation before disillusion and consternation start to take a grip as election year approaches.

Recognise work for dementia

Angela Rippon, Alzheimer’s Society ambassador, writes:

I am delighted to be hosting Alzheimer’s Society’s fourth annual Dementia Friendly Awards this year.

I feel certain that there will be many individuals in London who should have their work within the dementia community recognised and would be worthy nominees for one of our awards.

Further information about the whole list of categories and how to enter. The closing date for entries is midnight on August 21 and I hope to see a diverse array of nominations from the area.


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