Gazette letters: Remembrance Sunday, climate change, Steve Hitchins and general election

Remembrance Day at Islington Green last year. Picture: ISLINGTON COUNCIL

Remembrance Day at Islington Green last year. Picture: ISLINGTON COUNCIL - Credit: Archant

In Islington, Remembrance Sunday is an outstanding civic event in which we pay tribute to those who died in the service of this country in two World Wars and in other conflicts of the last hundred years, writes Barbara Smith (mayor of Islington 2007 -2008).

We are finally and very belatedly acknowledging that many of those in the armed services came from Commonwealth countries.

What few people know is that the 4,700 Commonwealth citizens currently serving in our armed forces face injustice on leaving the service. If, having served for four or more years, they wish to remain in this country, they face a fee of £2,389 per person. For a family of four this is over £9,500.

The Royal British Legion is campaigning for the government to remove "indefinite leave to remain" fees from Commonwealth citizens who have served in the armed forces for at least four years.

Click here for details on the campaign.

Congratulations to the Gazette and the team for the outstanding Climate Crisis edition, writes Meg Howarth, Ellington Street, Islington.

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Local journalism has an important part to play in informing and encouraging debate amongst readers on the vital issues of the day.

Along with its three sister papers, the Gazette performed this role brilliantly. A fitting swan-song for departing editor, Ramzy Alwakeel and an opportunity for residents to press the council even further on its current draft transport strategy.

Transport and environment boss, Claudia Webbe, speaks of the "bold vision [which] will help make transport in Islington healthy, fair, accessible and enjoyable" (Halve car-ownership or risk missing 2030 carbon-neutral target, Islington Council told) so a couple of questions follow. Why does the strategy document fail to commit to:

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i) a 50 per cent reduction of parking on our local roads, for which the council, not TfL, is responsible?

Two-thirds of the borough's households do not own or have access to a private vehicle yet our residential streets are packed with obstructive metal boxes. Parking is an income stream for the council but the damage caused to public health by private vehicular use is a financial burden on the NHS because of lung conditions, obesity, heart problems.

The council needs to be honest about why it refuses to lead on on-street parking-reduction.

ii) Reversing the ludicrous borough-wide "roamer parking" scheme? Introduced by then-council leader Catherine West, to encourage trips to, for example, local cafes in Upper Street - yes, really; I attended the executive meeting which rubber-stamped the idea.

Justifications for this policy which encourages short polluting journeys that could easily be made on foot have included giving car-owning residents "something" in return for their parking fee, to the recent assertion by Cllr Webbe herself that this a "family-friendly" policy for those with caring responsibilities. Given that pollution is higher inside a vehicle than outside, it's hard to fathom the family-friendly link.

It's not only car-ownership that needs halving but parking also.

Thankyou for reporting the recent sudden death of my beloved husband Steve Hitchins (Gazette), writes Sarah Ludford, St Peter's Street, Islington.

Obviously this is a source of huge sadness to me, our families and friends.

But we also want to mark his life and achievements, as ward councillor for St Peter's for 16 years from 1990-2006, leader of Islington Council from 1999-2006 and then chairman of Whittington Health Trust from 2013-2019.

I am extremely grateful for all the wonderful kind messages of condolence I have received, including from political opponents who respected him while disagreeing with him!

There will therefore be a celebration of his life at St Mary's Church Islington, Upper Street N1 2TX on Thursday, November 21 at 2pm, with hopefully a lot of humour as well as tributes to his public service.

Everyone who knew and appreciated or admired Steve is very welcome; there is no need to RSVP.

I look forward to welcoming many Islington Gazette readers on the day.

It is pretty obvious that some MPs felt the idea of an election was like turkeys voting for Christmas and they know their goose is truly cooked so they will not be standing to embarrass or roast themselves , writes Michael McElligott, Amwell Street, Islington.

We also observe that the leaders of all three parties are expressing total confidence in an outright victory. Hence here's an idea for them to inspire public confidence in the politically sunken ship of democracy, why not publicly state on TV they will resign from politics, on the night of the count if they fail to deliver what they claim. At least then the idea of a coalition is designed out as coalitions produce manifestos that the public never voted for.

Lest we forget, after a general election the public are powerless to stop such political actions by our beloved political class, they seem to be pretty good at looking after themselves.

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