A selection of letters from the Gazette this week.
Freedom of speech
A lot of talk but the fact is terrorists are winning
In response to Victoria Bull’s Voice of the Paper online: Personally I think there has been a lot of talk of standing by the writers and creators of Charlie Hebdo but little real action.
The fact is the terrorists are winning, freedom of speech is being eroded, journalists, writers and broadcasters and even normal people are becoming frightened of talking about Islam for fear of repercussions from those fanatics who get offended easily and have been mislead in their interpretation of their faith.
When people become scared to say or print something that they should not be scared to say or print, we have lost.
I heard today an interview with the creator of the Daily Mash and he was scared to show unity with Charlie Hebdo by printing what they did for fear of reprisals, and would need to consult his whole team before making such a move.
My answer to this horrific act would be for everybody to say or (print) what Charlie Hebdo did whether you agree with it or not to show unity.
The only way to stop people being scared of using the freedom of speech is for everybody to join with them and say “yes we will stand by you and say it too” until it becomes accepted that it is ok to say it.
If every newspaper, print media, website, social network, showed the same “offensive” cartoon, then who would the extremists attack? Everyone?
By leaving the use of free speech to those brave enough to do it, we are actually leaving them to fight for free speech on their own. Simply saying I support their right to say it doesn’t really support them... and frankly the terrorists will win.
Freedom of speech
Islam must tackle radical factions
In response to Victoria Bull’s Voice of the Paper online: Islam, like other religions, has to confront the intolerant and militant factions among its followers.
Denying the connection risks the religion’s leaders being complacent and taking little or ineffective action.
Perpetrators of these crimes are claiming a direct connection to their faith.
If governments are seen to be absolving religions of any blame in crimes so clearly committed in the name of those religions (whether deluded or not), they risk the rise of more right-wing groups becoming the voice of an angry populace.
Yet more flats to paper over cracks
Excellent, more flats... that’ll paper over the cracks of the housing shortages.
At least, right up until the young professionals that move in to these flats (along with the developments in recent years of hundreds of flats at Kodak, Cotterells, Selden Hill, Waterhouse Street and Marlowes) start families and find that there’s not enough bigger properties in town to accommodate them.
Blocks of post-war flats have been torn down in London after overcrowding turned areas in to ghettos, as no housing estates were built for decades and growing families had nowhere to move on to.
While that particular problem is now being addressed, up here in Hemel there seems to be no worries about the impact of all these flats being built will have on the town as future generations grow.
Or maybe there’ll be an instruction for the flat dwellers to not have kids in order to ease housing shortages, just like the residents of the Kodak tower weren’t supposed to have cars to ease parking congestion.
We must attract the higher earners
In response to Marc_’s comment on this week’s front page story online: Absolutely right. This town needs houses, and not two-bed terraces.
We should be looking to attract higher-income families into the town, people who will regenerate the shopping centre with their spending power.
It’s no good building Soviet-style blocks of flats which are depressing to look at and equally depressing to live in and then expecting to have a thriving economy in the town.
Mind you most of these social housing blocks do seem to have a lot of night-workers in them as their curtains are closed for most of the day!
Madness and a false economy
I have just come back from Berkhamsted Dump (January 8). I had a couple of bags of rubbish left over from Christmas that won’t fit in my black bin, so I thought I would get rid of them before the Monday collection. We have all been made aware that they won’t take extra general waste if your bin is full.
There is a man outside the dump informing everyone (I wasn’t the only one trying to use it) that they no longer open on a Thursday or Friday.
With all the money they spend on clearing flytipping surely this is madness.
I see bags of household waste dumped in the town litter bins every morning on the way to work. It will surely now get worse.
Why were we not told. They have a lovely printed leaflet that the man is handing out.
Couldn’t the bin men have delivered them on their rounds as the do with the new collection dates.
I’m not alone in thinking this is madness and a false economy. I mentioned it on Facebook and other people are as dismayed as I am.
Food for thought over bin caddies
I am considering seriously forming a new manufacturing company in the area to produce bio-degradable bags which are large enough, of an appropriate shape and have sufficient strength to fit into the indoor food caddy provided by the council.
Before production can commence, I shall need a Research and Development Team to solve the problem of fitting such a bag onto a container that was not designed to receive a bin liner of any shape or form, making the collection of food for recycling well nigh impossible.
When will council get things right?
The high winds the last few days led to the inevitable did’t they? Rubbish everywhere because of our silly new bin system. Our shared car port was covered in a blanket of cardboard and food junk but nothing tops what awaited me on my garden fence. A lovely opened and full child’s nappy and all the delights that brings dripping out down my fence... DISGUSTING. When will we have a council that looks at the design of such a major things to get it right!
Rex Allen Tring
New theatre? No thank you!
Of late many passionate submissions have been made to this paper regarding the prospect of not having a new theatre in Hemel Hempstead. Honestly I think that the best thing we can do is keep all of these venues out of the area.
It is known that almost all public entertainment venues of this type lose money, and that any shortfall is always made up by the local taxpayer.
I would ask how many proponents of a new theatre would be equally as keen to have one knowing their taxes would be raised to pay for it?
Like many contributors, I remember the Pavilion. As Hemel is not the West End, quality entertainers were hard to attract to the area.
When I was at school, I was unfortunately dragged there more than once to waste hours of my life watching somebody no-one had heard of prance around on stage and I can honestly say it is not an experience I would be keen to repeat, nor would I want to see my taxes spent to maintain this albino elephantidae.
Living next to the town centre I am glad that there is little activity at night.
We already see too many drunks pouring out of the pubs and clubs being rowdy and causing havoc on Friday and Saturday nights.
Last week a friend of mine who lives right in the town had his car keyed by louts. Is this really what we want to stimulate by adding more?
For this reason I don’t support the plans for a new cinema complex either.
Let’s leave the town as it is, preferably without the drinking establishments.
Steven White Cemmaes Meadow