Letters to the Mercury - 18th March 2011

Have your say

Coping when oil prices soar

The days of cheap oil/energy are clearly a thing of the past.

With a spread of forecasts for the “peaking” of oil varying from 2008 to 2012, we are now in the era of oil that will be more and more difficult ie expensive to extract.

To believe that a temporary halt to the world’s oil supply from a country which supplies less than two per cent of the total is pushing up pump prices by 10p or more is a little surprising.

And even if this government does not implement the previous government’s tax increase of 3p per litre there will be no returning to yesterday’s prices.

For bigger cars already it is taking £100 to fill their tanks. Soon this will be commonplace with an end of year forecast of $200/ barrel of crude (present figure just short of $120).

What then will the average motorist do, travel less, buy a bike, walk, share a car or drive more economically?

This last option is quite interesting. In the US, in past years, they enforced a speed limit on many roads, of 55mph. Now, the most economical speed range for the average car is between 55 and 60mph. I am not suggesting that we legislate for that in the UK but it must have kept their tanks fuller for longer. Although, no doubt the size of most American car engines would ensure that gas would still be guzzled at a galloping rate.

Of course many car manufacturers, despite appearing to be having a lean time at the moment, pay mere lip service to the rising fuel costs.

They produce token electric cars that no one can afford, despite the new government grant, while still maintaining a steady stream of new models, albeit with some having an improved economy, often with top speeds in excess of 100mph, that still rely on burning a fuel that is on its way out.

I can but see a motoring future of wealthy car owners who think nothing of spending several hundreds of pounds filling their tanks, weaving their way through thousands of cyclist, walkers and buses to travel a few miles to work. Now that will be entertaining!

John Polkinghorne

Denshire Court,


Penalising poor students

Following the body blow of the trebling of tuition charges and the scrapping of the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA), by the coalition government Lincoln-shire County Council is proposing further measures to discourage students from poorer backgrounds from continuing education beyond the age of 16.

As from this September the contribution required towards transport to their place of learning by post 16 students is to be almost doubled from £202 to £390 per annum.

Furthermore, if the course the student wishes to follow is not available at their nearest college or school they will receive no transport allowance to attend a nearby seat of learning that does provide that course.

The crisis in funding for university places which the government has cut by 80 per cent is therefore solved. The logic is clear, prevent students from poorer backgrounds from obtaining the qualifications required to gain a place at university and the pressure is off!

I find inexplicable the position of the Liberal Democrat leadership in these matters. Less than a year ago they where against tuition fees! Now they fully support the Tories in their inequitable policy on further and higher education.

The turnaround in their policies in order to share power at any price must sicken many of those that supported them in the past.

Bill Turner

Stamford town councillor (Lab),

Falkirk Close, Stamford

They didn’t ask me!

It is with interest that I read about the planning application for a boutique hotel in St Mary’s Place, Stamford.

The letter in your paper from Mr Campbell last week suggested that “no-one in Stamford wants it” and “Agellus should take the hint and go elsewhere.” Did Mr Campbell ask everyone then? I must have been out when he knocked at my door.

For the record, I would support another hotel in town.

A boutique hotel would bring in a number of wealthy weekend visitors, increasing prosperity and creating jobs.

So there will be a few more cars in town? What’s the problem with that? I’d be delighted if they opened a hotel there.

Dean Cornish

St Leonard’s Street,


Questions remain

I refer to the question from A Smith (Ask Nick column, Mercury last week) asking Nick Boles why he chose to vote for the proposed sell-off of Forestry Commission Woodlands when his constituents were clearly opposed to the idea.

In his answer Nick says he made sure that ministers were aware of the strength of feeling on the subject, and also says; “What matters is showing that we listen and learn”.

This appears very hypocritical and arrogant considering he voted for the proposal. His reply does not answer the original question. Why did he vote against the views of his constituents? Can we have that answer please?

Andrew Bowell

Burchnall Close, Deeping St James

Don’t bet on horse racing

Last year four horses were killed at Cheltenham and four at Aintree. Please don’t bet on horseracing.

It may seem like harmless fun on Gold Cup and Grand National day but this is animal cruelty sponsored by very big business – with television compounding the damage.

Death and injury of horses is not widely reported, but if you bet then you are responsible.

Jennifer Green


Fat cat bankers

I see that the RBS chief is to receive a £7.7m bonus. The Barclays chief doesn’t do so well, though. He’s getting a mere £6.5m.

If these fat cats accept these bonuses they should be declared as enemies of the state.

Come on, Mr Cameron – do something about it instead of reducing this once great nation to the level of a Third World country.

Mind you, I suppose I shouldn’t complain – I’m getting an extra £6.23 weekly increase in my state pension.

Wow! What will I do with all that extra cash?

Len Loullis

Hillary Close, Stamford

Follies show was a treat

MAY I through your letters’ page say a very big thank you to all the members of the Rotary Club of Stamford Burghley, with the Inner Wheel Club of Stamford Burghley, for the Mad March Follies show put on for the senior citizens and disabled of Stamford.

It was the best yet, and I’m sure everyone enjoyed it.

The drivers who got us there were brilliant, and the new people who participated in the show were excellent ‘welcome’.

We are all looking forward to next year.


St Martin’s Close, Stamford