Gazette letters: Seward Street playground, community spirit, remembering the Holocaust and poetic council tax rise

Leo Chapman at playground's opening (Picture: Steve Bainbridge)

Leo Chapman at playground's opening (Picture: Steve Bainbridge) - Credit: Archant

I was pleased to see you developed the Seward Street playground news item into a full feature (Gazette, January 5, p12-13), writes Leo Chapman, Alleyn House, Dufferin Street.

There also used be a windmill diagonally opposite. Civil War battlements were on the other side of the road.

A small point in your article: “In 2005 locals began a campaign.” I was the only local – no one else was involved except officials. It was a matter of getting hold of the Dallington School contract, determining the number of people now living in Seward Street (almost 1,000), and pointing out how much money there was in the section 106 account [money from developers] for local spending. The council officials could see the undeniable logic.

The break clause had to be exercised in a window and luckily I’d got the contract in time – otherwise the school could have had the playground to itself until 2018. It always pays to peruse basic documents.

I had a car crash the other Friday (January 6, 2017). Luckily, no one was hurt, writes Pauline Graham.

What was amazing was the kindness of people. I was OK, in my seat, wondering what to do.

Suddenly, there appeared people around me. They got me out of the car; the lady next to me started telephoning the police; a man brought a chair from I don’t know where for me to sit on; a woman doctor who had seen the accident came to make sure I was OK; the police team brought me home.

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I’ll never forget this outpouring of attention and kindness.

And I want everyone in Islington to know that the community spirit is alive, kicking and flourishing around the Nag’s Head in Holloway Road.

Friday next week is Holocaust Memorial Day, writes Ken Muller, joint secretary, Islington NUT.

In light of the recent rise in anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and hostility to migrants and refugees – disgracefully encouraged by sections of the press and some prominent politicians – it is especially important this year that we remember lessons of the Holocaust perpetrated by the Nazis and their supporters not so long ago.

For this reason Islington National Union of Teachers and its members are supporting the important public meeting taking place from 6pm to 8pm the night before – January 26 – at Islington Town Hall, called by Islington Stand Up to Racism.

Speakers at the meeting (Remembering the Holocaust: Lessons for Today) – which will be chaired by Islington Cllr Rakhia Ismail – will include Jewish socialist teacher and author, Dave Rosenberg, local UNISON member and black activist, Dean Ryan, and Dani Singer of LGBT Against Islamophobia.

As local teachers, we look forward to being joined at the meeting by other members of the Islington community determined that never again will we witness anything like the Holocaust that was brought to an end in 1945.

It was a shock to read council tax will rise by 5 per cent (see p5), writes Michael McElligott, Amwell Street, Islington.

This will generate massive misery for people on a fixed income as they are already struggling to survive.

Great business for loan sharks and people who live off people’s debts. The dictatorship of Islington’s labour has sunk to new debts.

The council tax rise

Observe, observe –

They have some cold nerve

5 per cent council tax rise they serve

This the poor cannot swerve

I think it is absurd

5 per cent rise

is like onion juice in your eyes.

With waves of debt already rising,

many boats on the verge of capsising,

why are they not realising?

How will the poor pay?

On a fixed income, a drowning day,

as you cannot sail away


The council like to bark:

Stay away from the loan shark

Here is a spark:

That argument you can also park

As we sail deeper into debt

here’s what they might regret:

Paying a fortune for a chief

Is that a necessary economic grief?

One million of PR –

what is that for?

Free away days and jollies?

Are they off their financial trollies?

How much could they save

to help the poor from this economic wave?

Front line services they will protect

Do they fear we won’t re-elect?

Islington politicians in a bubble

are always the poor man’s trouble.

Is the cost of this authority

the source of its poverty?

Why not could charge the snobs,

not those with fixed bobs?