Recorder letters: Mask rule, police and Brexit

PUBLISHED: 12:30 16 August 2020

Not everyone is abiding by the law to wear masks in shops. Picture: PA

Not everyone is abiding by the law to wear masks in shops. Picture: PA

PA Wire/PA Images

Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Recorder readers this week.

Not everyone is abiding by the law to wear masks in shops. Picture: PANot everyone is abiding by the law to wear masks in shops. Picture: PA

Blatent disregard for mask rule

Terry Sykes, Trinity Road, Barkingside, writes:

I agree with the view of Colin Foster (letters, July 30), when he refers to his experience of visiting Waitrose and finding that staff are not wearing any form of face covering.

I have had similar experiences in my local supermarkets and have complained. Whether or not staff wear a face covering seems to be a matter of choice, which has led to a great deal of inconsistency.

Social distancing, I found, was of rather a haphazard nature: shoppers were made to queue in a socially distanced fashion outside stores but, once inside, that uniformity and sense of abiding by the rules fell apart.

Efforts were made on occasion by staff to remind people to keep two metres apart, but that was mainly when customers entered the store or were approaching the checkout. Again, this made for an inconsistent approach with a largely ineffective result. It has been made a legal requirement that shoppers wear a face-covering when entering a store, unless there is a valid reason not to do so. Even with the prospect of paying a fine for non-compliance with law, many people are ignoring it and are making no attempt to wear a face-covering.

I understand that shop staff have been told not to challenge these people. Why have that requirement in the first place if it can be blatantly disregarded by the public without fear of being penalised or even reminded about their duty by members of staff?

It only serves to make a mockery of the law and it amounts to a disregard on the part of those non-compliant people for their own safety and the safety of others. Does the daily death toll in the UK and other parts of the world mean nothing to them? What do they think has been happening during the last five months?

The situation is not helped when Iain Duncan Smith (View from the House, July 30) makes irresponsible comments such as ‘Covid-19 fear’ and people being ‘fed a diet of fear’. Donald Trump was making similar comments a while ago; look what is happening in America now!

Root out racist minority in police

Ron Jeffries JP, Aldborough Road North, Aldborough Hatch, writes:

As a widower of 87, retired editor and lay magistrate (23 years, five as elected bench chairman, at Redbridge Magistrates’ Court), I have great admiration for the bravery, courage and commitment of the vast majority of police officers, witnessed at first hand.

As the grandfather and great grandfather of mixed race young people, I am fully aware of the institutionalised racism that stalks a small minority of police (and it has to be emphasised that it is a small minority) as they purposefully target those of different skin colour to their own — to their eternal shame.

One of mine has suffered more than a share of debilitating harassment from working hard and long hours to buy a car with family support.

Having read with horror and dismay recent interviews with young people, and heard their heart-rending stories of racist abuse by authority figures and members of the public, I am not merely deeply ashamed to be white British, but I call on every police chief, politician and opinion-former to root out, once and for all, those police officers who would blight the good name of those who seek to protect us.

No one should be subjected to the racism recorded from teachers, the public, authority figures and the police. It is shameful and disgusting. They need to be — and must be — shamed themselves.

Mere words are not enough. That time is well and truly past. Action – real, purposeful and meaningful — is required now.

You may also want to watch:

Not tomorrow or the next day, but today. Now!

Would that those in charge had

the guts and the drive to see it through! Let those who have the will to take action stand up and be counted.

Now Sir Iain sees Brexit downside

Dr Geoffrey M Seeff, St Neots, Cambridgeshire, writes:

Sir Iain Duncan Smith, one of the principal architects of Brexit, has admitted on Twitter (August 3, 2020) that he had not understood the ‘fine print’ contained in the Withdrawal Agreement (WA).

He now sees that the UK will be disadvantaged by being bound into the guarantees the UK has given on loans made by the EU to other member states and that the country could be potentially liable for considerably more than the headline £39billion ‘divorce settlement’ – in fact, payments for existing commitments.

As the Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Chingford and Woodford Green at the last election, I made the positive case for remaining in the EU.

However, whenever at hustings I drew attention to the true costs of leaving, Sir Iain, who to the best of my knowledge has no experience of commerce, invariably blustered with a barrage of well-known meaningless mantras – get Brexit done, get over it, no deal better than a bad deal, oven ready deals waiting, control over our taxes etc.

Now he is not quite so sure that we should get it done - or at least not in the haste that he demanded when voting to guillotine the debate on the WA. Of course, guaranteeing loans is not the half of it. My day job is as risk assessor to funders of property and infrastructure construction projects and, amongst other things, I have to consider the impact of a no-deal Brexit at the end of the transition period.

Delays to deliveries of directly imported materials and equipment, delays to components imported for manufacture in products used in the UK supply chain, WTO tariffs, non-compliances with standards and shortages of skilled and unskilled labour will result in long term damage and substantial cost to that sector alone .

Perhaps Sir Iain would care to speak to his friends in government with a view to persuading them to draw back from the precipice.

Met Police being short-changed

Dr Alison Moore, Londonwide Assembly member, writes:

The elephant in the room in Keith Prince AM’s latest column is that the government have cut the Metropolitan Police’s budget by almost £1billion over the last decade.

In contrast, Sadiq Khan’s interventions over the last few years have led to the recruitment of 1,000 more police officers to bolster the Met’s ranks and the fight against violent crime.

Now, the Covid-19 outbreak has driven a bulldozer through City Hall’s finances and the budgets of already cash-strapped local authorities across the country.

The Met continues to be short-changed to the tune of £159m through the National and International Capital Cities grant. Will Mr Prince now join me in asking the government to give the Met a fair funding deal?

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