Post letters: Antisemitism, Santa’s letters, save stamps and TfL funding

Barking MP DameMargaret Hodge, was the target of antisemitic abuse.

Barking MP DameMargaret Hodge, was the target of antisemitic abuse. - Credit: Archant

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

Antisemitic statements shameful

Dr Leonard Restall B Ed, M Ed (Hons), New Zealand, formerly from Barking, writes:

The deplorable and abusive phone calls made to a most honourable MP, Dame Margaret Hodge, is not only a criminal offence but also an indignity upon local society and harmful to the person at the receiving end.

Dame Margaret Hodge has worked tirelessly for the local district and has gained a good reputation for fairness and sensitive dealing with the facts for political advantage and not consorting to religious or racial abuse, and needs to be commended rather than condemned.

Attacks upon religious backgrounds are unfair and distasteful and usually untrue, and people resorting to such need to be ashamed of themselves.

Words can be very harmful especially when there is very little truth attached to them or cognisance of what they are meaning. Most antisemitic and caustic remarks are shameful and do not give any credit to the person using them, but could hurt the recipient.

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Bad and derogatory remarks reveal more on the nature of the person using them, than on the recipient of them. Similarly by using good words honouring someone’s brings good results to the user. They need to be fair, true and uplifting.

This writer, not Jewish, has high regard for the Jewish religion and the nation of Israel, for it is from such a source we have the Bible that has been the world’s best selling book of the year, which contains many aspects of life that make s difference to those believing and acting upon them.

May the perpetrators of verbal abuse be courageous enough to offer an apology and regret what they have done and gain the rewards of their verbal retraction.

Santa will write letters this year

Sarah Lambley, NSPCC supporter fundraising manager for London, writes:

It’s been a difficult year for Santa and the elves. Social distancing in the workshop has meant production has been tricky at times but they are still on target to have everything ready for Christmas Eve.

Amazingly, Santa has still found time to team up with us at the NSPCC, to send personalised letters all the way from Lapland.

Each ‘Letter from Santa’ is printed and posted directly to your child in a festive envelope. You can choose the background design and fill in your child’s personal information such as age, best friend’s name or particular achievements throughout the year.

All we ask in return is a donation to help us be there for children, whatever their worries.

£5 could buy art materials to help a child who has been abused to express their feelings when they can’t find the words. £4 could pay for one of our trained volunteer counsellors to answer a child’s call to Childline. In 2019/20 our volunteers handled an estimated 34,100 counselling sessions with children in London.

Without the support of people in London we simply wouldn’t be able to deliver our vital services which offer a lifeline to many children and young people.

Everything we do protects children today and prevents abuse tomorrow, to transform society for every childhood. That’s why we’re here and that’s what drives all of our work. But it’s only possible with your support.

To find out more about the NSPCC’s Letter from Santa visit nspcc.org.uk/Santa

Letters for visually impaired children

David Clarke, director of services at RNIB, writes:

With the festive season almost upon us, I’m writing to let your readers know that Santa and his elves are getting ready to give children with vision impairment a Christmas treat in the run up to the big day.

Each year, Santa receives millions of letters from children all over the world. To make sure that every child can read his reply, he has teamed up once again with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) to make sure his letters are available in accessible formats including braille, audio and large print.

RNIB’s elves have been spreading festive cheer for over 20 years and last year sent 1,345 of Santa’s letters to blind and partially sighted children across the UK.

If you know a child with a vision impairment who would love to receive a letter from Santa, please send their Christmas letter to Santa Claus, RNIB, Midgate House, Midgate, Peterborough PE1 1TN by Tuesday 1 December.

Alternatively, you can email santa@rnib.org.uk by Monday 21 December for an email with a large-print attachment.

Make sure to include the child’s name age, postal address, contact number and which format they need.

Stamps for charity

Myrna Chave, PO Box 91, Virginia Water, Surrey GU25 9AR, writes:

I am appealing for used postage stamps which help me raise funds which I then donate to the Guide Dogs for the Blind.

Recycling used postage stamps is such an easy way to raise money for the charity and I am always in need of all types of postage stamps, including British, foreign and Christmas stamps.

If you are able to help I would be grateful if you could cut the stamps from their envelopes (leaving approx 1cm margin around the stamp) and send them to the address above.

Sort TfL funding

Caroline Russell, Green Party London Assembly member and spokesperson for Transport, writes:

After weeks of worrying speculation about congestion zone expansion and the removal of free travel for younger and older people, this new funding deal for Transport for London removes the immediate threat. But, the government and the mayor must now work urgently to put TfL’s funding on a resilient footing

If the mayor had listened to my suggestions four years ago, a Smart, Fair, Privacy Friendly Road Pricing scheme would be up and running. Those that drive all over London would be covering the cost of road maintenance. It is not fair that people travelling by bus and tube are paying to fix potholes in London.

There needs to be new, fairer ways of funding TfL, instead of ever-increasing bus and tube fares and council tax or congestion charge hikes, we need an honest conversation with Londoners

about who pays for transport in London.

London faces a further £160m of cuts to Transport for London, and investment in walking and cycling has already more than halved.

We have seen how even small budgets like the £60m spent on Streetspace since May has been transformative, but it seems there’s no further money coming.

With public transport continuing to be at reduced capacity and a further national lockdown, Londoners need more safe places to walk and cycle.