Your letters on train strikes, a new hospital, politics, transport and rewilding

Here are the Lynn News letters from Friday, June 16, 2023…

Those taking industrial action need our support

We would be foolish to accept the nonsense that David Fleming writes concerning rail workers striking for ‘political reasons’.

Neither rail workers (or anybody else) ever strikes for any other reason that they want justice.

I can only surmise that Mr Fleming himself has never been in a situation where he has not had a pay rise for four years, where inflation and a cost of living crisis has eaten into the real value of his wages, and only by accepting a trashing of his working conditions would a miserable pay offer be improved upon.

It is far, far safer to travel by rail than by road, and this is largely due to the immense skill and dedication of the rail staff: the complex cab equipment nowadays makes driving a train entirely comparable to piloting a commercial airplane.

A guard must make thorough safety checks before anyone can board and then is responsible for the safety and welfare of all the passengers; signalling is a vital safety task; there are skilled mechanical and civil engineers; I could go on.

Why is this Tory Government deliberately prolonging the dispute. In the normal way of things, it is in the interest of a private employer to solve a strike as soon as possible, for this has serious implications for income and profits.

Not so with the rail companies: the Government covers their losses with £20- £25million a day during strikes.

It is estimated that the Government has paid the privateers £340million of tax payers’ money during the rail dispute – more than enough to build several new hospitals!

As for Mr Fleming’s comments about Keir Starmer supporting the strikes, was it not Starmer that disciplined Labour MPs for joining rail workers’ picket lines? As a supporter of Liz Trust, who wanted the country to borrow money to fund tax cuts for the rich, it is risible that Mr Fleming makes allegations concerning the integrity of a future Labour Government in the use of taxpayers’ money.

Periods of heightened class awareness do bring home about who exactly is useful to us.

If the landed gentry, from the monarch downwards, or the industrial capitalist class were to miraculously disappear overnight, it is difficult to see in what way our health, welfare or everyday life would be changed one iota.

But when our nurses, junior doctors, ambulance workers, posties or rail workers are not there, even for a short time during strike days, we immediately see how indispensible they really are.

There are ongoing disputes with health workers as well as those on the railway: they all deserve our support.

Kevin Waddington

South Lynn

Jo Rust pictured during a protest for a new QEH, with former hospital chief executive Caroline Shaw
Jo Rust pictured during a protest for a new QEH, with former hospital chief executive Caroline Shaw

Campaigning may have only just began

I’m struggling to recall a time when I’ve agreed with one of Steve Mackinder’s missives he contributes to the Lynn News, but his letter regarding the QEH was spot on.

Hospital 2.0 will not meet our growing health care needs. It’s planned to be built with the same number of beds as our current hospital with 100% single room occupancy.

We struggle to staff our current open plan wards, so how we’ll manage with single rooms is beyond me.

This government is deliberately setting up hospitals to fail. It is not the fault of those who work within the NHS, they have to try and sell us this as a great option.

But those who work in Parliament, like James Wild, Steve Barclay and Liz Truss, will be aware of how disastrous this will be.

They’re predicating their plans on the fact that new therapies, AI, genomics and more will deliver services in our communities in places like cottage hospitals, primary care, walk-in centres etc.

But that’s only possible if the government funds it, and they’re not. Community care has been slashed. Elderly people are left to languish in hospital because there’s no where else they can go. Mental health has been slashed and don’t get me started on NHS dentistry, the lack of which is also meaning people are turning up and our hospital.

The new modular building is most certainly not going to be the answer to our prayers, despite Sheridan Payne believing God granted them. We know our campaigning for the QEH hasn’t ended, more likely, just begun.

Jo Rust

Lynn Trades Council secretary

We haven’t had a functioning Government for years really

I thought the issues raised by my fellow West Norfolk residents, along with the common sense views of Lord Sumption and the journalist Ayisha Hazarika, made for the best Question Time I’ve seen in years! But its an unfortunate truth that the man that said he thought both the Conservatives and Labour parties were a shower, and he wouldn’t vote for either of them, must surely now represent the view of the majority of people in the UK. The truth is that we haven’t really had a functioning government for years – arguably since the financial crisis began in 2008.

The writing is on the wall. A two party system is not working. Our parliamentary system, the electoral system and most every part of way we make decisions in Britain needs radical reform.

Anyone who still thinks issues can be solved by alternating between the blue ones and the red ones every few years, is sadly deluded.

I would start by flogging off the Palace of Westminster to the highest bidder. That would save the public purse several billion and kick-start the process of modernisation.

R Morrish

via email

Heartening reading for the disabled

The Lynn News report last Friday made heartening reading under the heading, ‘Better Accessibility Launched At Stations’. It was heartening information for the disabled.

Gio Strawbridge, a wheelchair user, spoke for many, including myself, by urging people with such afflictions to enjoy the independence of travelling by train.

I would also like to testify for Lynx Buses being disability -friendly, enabling me to get around West Norfolk.

Lower kerbs also are a big asset once having been transported comfortably.

With these amenities there is no need to feel disadvantaged nor isolated and I would back up 100% everything Gio says. For the record I compose some of my letters to Viewpoint from my wheelchair.

David Fleming


Is Packham effect just adding to the problem?

As climate change and rocketing environmental pollution takes centre stage in every aspect of our future plans, I’m surprised to see the much-trumpeted rewilding of the Ken Hill Estate at Heacham is now turning to the ‘dark side’ and being turned into another huge commercial enterprise.

The scheme looks like it’s massively car dependent with a soon-to-be-constructed road junction adjustments to serve the new visitors centre with retail outlets, caravan hook ups and camping sites and all the noise, traffic and pollution associated with a heavily promoted theme park.

While tourism and traffic are the only two growing features of West Norfolk life it seems ironic that the Spring Watch ‘Chris Packham effect’ is inevitably going to add to the noise, smells and general hubbub while boosting the carbon footprint of our region.

I thought rewilding was about nature and a return to a gentler, more natural environment. It seems I was wrong.

It turns out it’s ended up being merely another revenue stream.

Steve Mackinder