Politically naive on migration
Dear Editor, As one of the constituents of Halesowen and Rowley Regis, which Nigel Hastilow was seeking to represent, I am pleased he has had the decency to resign after invoking the words and spirit of Enoch Powell.
Mr Hastilow was obviously politically naive in seeking to make capital out of the current debate on migration, and it has very much blown up in his face, but his greatest crime was blowing the gaffe on the real Tory Party, desperately trying to camouflage the gut instincts of many party members. It has always been a reactionary party and has lost three elections on the bounce because its membership has been spectacularly shown to be stuck in the past.
As an arch Thatcherite, Mr Hastilow was very much in this mould. His candidate's literature put out in Halesowen and Rowley Regis was laughable in many ways. Soft focus with green leaves as the background, all the fluffy bunny Cameron-style nonsense was up-front. It was only when you got to the last lines, you came up against the same old "Nasty Party" agenda railing against "illegal immigration and bogus asylum seeking".
And, of course, Mr Hastilow was selected by the local Conservative Association in the constituency. They knew his views and knew what he was like. Indeed, senior local grandees backed what he was saying about Enoch Powell when it went public. The message therefore is don't believe the Cameron hype. It's the same old Tories lining up to take this country back to the three million unemployed and pandering to the demands of big business.
CHRIS MORLEY, Halesowen
Dear Editor, Nigel Hastilow had every right and obligation to express his views. He is simply voicing many people's fears about the subject and should be supported for this. Everyone is getting a bit tired of spineless, politically correct politicians who are afraid to speak their minds.
Well done Mr Hastilow for not apologising.
STEPHEN TITLEY, By email
Dear Editor, Nigel Hastilow - eminent journalist, natural leader and common-sense politician - was completely vindicated in this weekend's BBC Radio Five phone-in when 88 per cent agreed with his views on immigration.
I wonder just what the fall-out will be at the news of Nigel Hastilow's departure from Halesowen and Stourbridge as prospective Parliamentary candidate?
TOM WAREING, Redditch
Gigbeth was more than a little embarrassing
Dear Editor, I went along to the Gigbeth opening ceremony, taking three men from a care home I work in. The whole experience was a shambles.
Firstly we stood outside the entrance, along with many others, for over 45 mins because everything was running late.
Then, when doors opened, stewards announced the entrance had moved and so we had to climb over a 3ft-high fence or go to the back of the queue. Most people, including a young man using two walking sticks, jumped the fence.
Once inside the venue it was apparent the sound was not set up yet, so we had to stand for a further 35 mins listening to engineers attempting to get this right.
At this point I'd like to mention Nizlopi, a very talented musical duo from Leamington Spa. They were on the stage looking as fed up as the crowd. Some people from the audience engaged them in some banter.
The result of this was they climbed off the stage and gave a short performance unplugged in the crowd. This went down a storm, engaging the crowd in singing and lifting the mood while the engineers sorted out the problems.
However, a lot of people were fed up by now and, once fixed, the sound wasn't brilliant. We left well before the end, as I know others did.
It wasn't a proud night to be a Brummie and I felt a little embarrassed by the event.
NAME AND ADDRESS SUPPLIED
Improving public transport
Dear Editor, It seems very much as if the Government might decide not to waste billions of pounds on the unnecessary widening of the M6 motorway between Birmingham and Manchester, but instead go for active traffic management combined with hard shoulder running.
If this Government is serious about reducing the CO2 output of the nation, then it should plough the very many hundreds of millions of pounds saved into providing the West Midlands with better public transport systems.
JOHN GALE, Stafford
Station is a solution to congestion
Dear Editor, As a frequent traveller into Birmingham from the North, I cannot help feeling that the solution to M6 congestion lies just outside the West Midlands PTE area.
Why not build a Parkway Station where the railway line crosses the M6, near junction 13 at Acton Gate, just south of Stafford?
If a station were built there, with plenty of parking, drivers from Stoke, Crewe, Stafford etc heading for Birmingham or Wolverhampton would be very tempted to use the train.
Most of us are trying to get to the centre of the city where there is good public transport for the final leg of the journey whilst we actually live in areas remote from a good rail connection to their destination. Driving from home to the nearest intercity station is usually a congested journey, and parking is expensive, and that is why we use cars for the whole journey.
My solution would cut car mileage without causing too much inconvenience. There are already many trains travelling on this line and it should be easy for many of them to stop briefly.
Providing parking charges were modest, it would also enable car sharing for that final leg of the journey into work.
COLIN PEARSON, By email
A barrier between the two libraries
Dear Editor, Brian Gambles criticises Birmingham Central Library for the somewhat intimidating link between the lending library, the reference library and the archives. The central reference library houses many rare and valuable books and other material. Most archival material is unique.
In contrast nothing in a lending library is unique and most material in it is easily replaceable. It is, and should be, accessible to anyone - including bored teenagers and even the mentally ill.
Therefore, there must be a definite barrier between the central lending and reference libraries. One is a leisure facility where security can only be reactive; the other a place for research where security must be proactive.
J P LETHBRIDGE, Ward End
Fast lane to an early grave
Dear Editor, Growing up with Top Gear as one of his "favourite shows", and sharing the same passion as Jeremy Clarkson for "fast cars and their speed and grace", racing driver Louis Hamilton should be grateful that he's lived to tell the tale.
In growing up the same way, and sharing the same passion, around 1,000 other young men are killed each year on Britain's race-track roads.
ALLAN RAMSAY, Radcliffe
Thoughtful view of EU Reform Treaty
Dear Editor, Well said, Neena Gill, for a thoughtful review of the EU Reform Treaty (Reforms less significant than previous EU treaties, Post Agenda, Oct 29).
To try to argue - as do the Europhobes - that a six-monthly rotating presidency constitutes consistency or leadership of 490 million people is nonsense.
Having a five-year presidency establishes stability and continuity, rather than Britain clinging to the chance of holding the post for six months every 13.5 years or burdening EU colleagues, like Malta, with the temporary but expensive task.
STEVE KIRKHAM, Kings Heath