Your Views - here are the letters published in the Harborough Mail on January 30, 2014.
As usual, there are lots of views and opinions on a host of subjects in this week’s Mail.
IMMIGRATION: Three issues that we must consider
Judging by the letters in the Mail and the extensive radio and television coverage, migration seems to be one of the big topics and is likely to feature in the electioneering of all parties in the run-up to the European Elections in May.
There appear to be three thrusts to the migration debate. They are the extent of migration, the social impact of migration and the economic impact.
Clearly these are related but I would like to comment on each.
Extent of migration. The Office of National Statistics, the UK’s largest independent producer of national statistics, provides a mass of data.
For the period June 2012 to June 2013, the latest figures available, some 425,000 non- British people immigrated to the UK while 179,000 left the UK. This leaves a net immigration of non-British people for this 12 month period of 246,000.
This approximates to the combined population of Corby, Kettering, Loughborough and Nuneaton.
Each year for the past ten years shows similar figures.
Social impact. Immigration makes a significant impact on all aspects of life – housing, education, crime, social services, health and so on. The more people in the country, the greater the strain.
A quarter of babies born in the UK have a foreign born parent; one in nine of the population is now born overseas so the demographic makeup of the country is changing rapidly.
To house immigrants, a new home needs to be built every six minutes. The ONS has a mass of other data should you care to delve into it.
Economic impact. Good or bad?
Depending upon who you ask, you get different answers.
The three pro-European Union parties – Conservative, Labour and Lib-Dems – obviously stress economic benefits.
UKIP, with their well publicised policy of leaving the EU and regaining control of our borders, stress the economic costs.
The issue was studied in depth by the Economic Affairs Committee of the House of Lords. They concluded: “We found no systematic empirical evidence to suggest that net immigration creates significant dynamic benefits for the resident population of the UK.”
So why does big business and business organisations such as the Confederation of British Industry – repeatedly talk about the benefits?
The House of Lords report goes on to say: “Although clearly benefiting employers, immigration that is in the best interest of individual employers is not always in the best interest of the economy as a whole.”
What is good for business is not necessarily good for the common man or the country.
Each voter will have their own views. The results of the May elections will be a useful yardstick by which to gauge public opinion.
Dr Robert Davison, Market Harborough
LOST: Please help find precious ring
On Friday, December 20, I lost a ring in Market Harborough, somewhere in the vicinity of The Three Swans Hotel, off High Street, or the registry office in Coventry Road.
It is very precious to me and I really want to find it.
It is a 1920s gold ring with a pearl flanked by two small diamonds, so quite irreplaceable.
I hope someone has found it.
SE Swales, Welford
Editor’s Note: If you have found the ring, please drop it into our offices in Northampton Road or to Harborough Police Station
HUNTING: Desperation and fear of the fox
Last Saturday afternoon, at about 4 pm, I was feeding my eight-month-old daughter Florence in our sitting room.
I thought I glimpsed something flash past the front window. I knew my husband Chris was outside and so assumed it was he.
I continued to feed Florence when something caught my eye again. I stopped and stared at the window. Suddenly a terrified fox started jumping up and scrabbling at the glass!
Four or times it leaped, clearly desperate and apparently riddled with fear. My first thought was that it was after our two rescued foster rabbits who were in the back garden. I ran outside and shouted for Chris to get them in their hutch.
We then shooed the fox away and it jumped over our front fence, looked back at me, and then darted down the side of my neighbour’s house and into her back garden.
After about 10 minutes, by which time I was back in the house with Florence, and Chris was cleaning his van outside, a car stopped outside our house, and one of the male occupants, who we believe were “hunt followers”, asked if we had seen the hounds. I know people use that line to try to justify entering a residential area illegally, while pursuing foxes.
I told him I had not seen the hounds and that the actions of the hunt had just caused a terrified and traumatised fox to try to enter my house.
I made it very clear that I was also not in favour of hunting.
He told me he was “an animal lover” and that “most people are happy with what we do”.
Had I not been so enraged I might have laughed.
A few minutes later a red coat huntsman on horseback came trotting down our road followed by five or so of the “lost” hounds. Funny how close they were to him though, and how they came up from the same direction as he did and towards the fox.
The redcoat also received a piece of my mind, after which he offered an apology, saying the dogs had “gone off the trail”.
I informed the huntsfolk that in the 13 years living at my present address, I have never had issues or concerns regarding foxes, never even seen one in the village but today, this one was so terrified for its own life it actually tried to get inside my house.
If, after all of my previous encounters earlier in my life, I wasn’t already anti-blood sports, I would certainly be so after the events.
The hunt had put animals under my care at risk and, had any of my doors or windows been open, it is conceivable their actions might have endangered the life of my baby daughter.
Have you ever had a face suddenly appear at a window and frighten the life out of you?
Does the very thought of it make you shudder? Well, that’s what happened to me, only it wasn’t a human face but one of a fox; and the look of fear, desperation and helplessness in its eyes will forever haunt me.
Just how terrified must it have been to have jumped and clawed at a window like that?
I had to make a snap decision to protect the animals in my care and of course my daughter, and so I shooed it away.
It turned and looked at me once more before scrambling over the five foot front garden fence and disappearing next door.
Had I been alone I would have offered it a save haven in the back garden or garage. I feel awful that I wasn’t able to do this.
I feel incredibly guilty and upset about the whole thing and can’t get that image of the poor fox at the window out of my mind.
I just hope he/she got away and outran the beasts on horses.
From my own experience, before I knew better, I know what I’m talking about.
I have ridden with a Leicestershire hunt. I have seen what goes on at first-hand.
Since then and over the years – 25 of which I owned horses of my own – I have endured inconvenience, upset and stress as the result of activities of hunts.
Jenny Begley, Husbands Bosworth
THANK YOU: Band is grateful for all your help
On behalf of Lutterworth Town Band, I would like to thank the people of Lutterworth and Rugby for their generosity over the festive season. We enjoyed sharing Christmas carols with you as part of our fundraising, and appreciate your kind comments and continued support.
As a self-funding organisation we rely on fundraising.
Susan Bailey, by email
THANK YOU: Over and above the call of duty
Having spent a pleasant evening at Mercardo Cafe and Bar, the rain came down as we prepared to leave. A charming young man grabbed an umbrella and said he would walk us to our car.
We told him we were walking, so he insisted we took the umbrella – what service!
A Roberts, by email
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