Recorder letters: MSG Sphere and second EU referendum

Plans for the MSG Sphere have provoked both approval and disapproval. Picture: MSG Sphere

Plans for the MSG Sphere have provoked both approval and disapproval. Picture: MSG Sphere - Credit: MSG

Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Recorder readers this week.

New venue is a good thing for the local economy

Lloyd Johnson, chairman, Newham Chamber of Commerce, writes:

A letter in last week's Recorder claimed that there would be pressure put on Stratford station if MSG Sphere is built in Newham. But it didn't take in the bigger picture on what's happening in the area.

Stratford Station is already congested, and needs major improvements to accommodate East Bank, new housing, and other important projects in Newham. Private sector investment is crucial to helping make those improvements, as well as bringing jobs and new visitors to the area.

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We all have to choose if we're on the side of a positive vision for Stratford or if we want to see our borough stand still.

Newham Chamber and our local businesses share a very positive vision for the future, and we look forward to seeing plans for a station that supports it.

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People should be concerned

Ian Sinclair, McGrath Road, Stratford, writes:

David Donoghue (Post letters) is right to be concerned about the "devastating effect on local transport and health" that the MSG Sphere will have on Stratford.

Indeed Network Rail object to the planning application for the Sphere because they have "concluded that there would be significant impact on" Stratford Station "that is unacceptable and would severely effect the safe and efficient operation of the station."

They estimate that between 4pm and 7pm the number of people using the northern ticket hall next to Westfield Shopping Centre will increase by 89 per cent, while there will be an 81pc increase in people using the station's central and eastern subway and a 42pc increase in people using the station's western subway.

Moreover, passenger numbers on the eastbound Central Line will increase by 31pc.

People who regularly use Stratford station, which often has dangerous levels of overcrowding already, will be rightly worried by the mayhem and distress the MSG Sphere is set to bring to Stratford,

No to second referendum

Derek James, Wards Wharf Approach, writes:

There are at least three good reasons for opposing Stephen Timms' call for a second EU referendum (Newham Recorder).

1. The economic damage forecast is of the same order - and from the same people - as that threatened if the UK did not adopt the Euro and if we voted 'Leave' in 2016. In each case the opposite proved to be the case. The exaggerations, rather than frightening us, probably were counter-productive.

2. While Stephen Timms is doubtless sincere in wanting to stop a No Deal Brexit, many arguing for a second referendum want to stop any sort of Brexit. They have wanted to reverse the result of the 2016 referendum from the moment it was declared. What ought to repel everyone, remainers as well as leavers, is the sight of John Major, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown calling for a 'people's vote'. None of them consulted the people in any way when they took big steps to integrate more closely with the EU and to surrender more sovereignty. John Major took us from the EEC into the EU, Tony Blair signed three more treaties and Gordon Brown signed up to a new constitution in spite of a manifesto promise not to do so without a referendum. The man who had drawn up the new constitution, Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, said that he was quite happy with the treaty as it did all the important things the constitution said. It is the most blatant hypocrisy for the three ex-prime ministers to advocate a second referendum now.

3. A second referendum will have an appalling effect on respect for our MPs and our democracy itself. For probably most years since we entered the EEC in 1973 the electorate has been split roughly 50:50 for staying in or coming out.

In most constituencies people had a choice between a pro-EEC/EU Conservative, a pro-EEC/EU Labour candidate and a pro-EEC/EU Liberal Democrat. There was no way of voting for a serious candidate who wanted to withdraw. It cannot be good for democracy if Parliament is so out of step with the electorate.

Then in 2016 we had a referendum, and were promised that the result would be honoured. David Cameron even promised that if the result was to leave, he would invoke Article 50 the very next morning. Surely Stephen Timms can see that it is not just wrong to break promises, but highly damaging to our trust in our MPs and thus to democracy itself. We waited four decades for the right to say 'Leave'; we won; now our representatives want to cheat us out of our victory.

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