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downsmail.co.uk


opposition screamed corruption but at great cost to the famous inventor. Thank goodness it was not them in


government at this juncture. The SNP, of course, joined in in their usual crude, childlike way, obviously still hurting by the fact that, much to their discomfort, Boris had led Tories that had provided the essential vaccine to them which has made such a signicant difference . Then there was the tittle-tattle about


the at that belongs to the state and peaching about what he may have said but didn't do with regard to another lockdown. Of course, the BBC on the cusp of the


elections put in its usual opinion instead of the facts. Sir James has since made the real facts extremely clear. Alan Wallace, via email


Tories ignoring education


ONE of Kent County Council’s major responsibilities is the provision of education, so I surveyed the local political parties' literature to nd out their priorities before May 6. Of particular interest to me, are the


catch-up arrangements for children disadvantaged by COVID-19, the failed Kent special educational needs and disability (SEND) department. As described in the 2019 Ofsted Report, the shortage of non-selective places in various parts of the county, the awed grammar school selection process penalising disadvantaged Kent children, and policy with regard to the fresh government academisation drive. The Conservatives, in their eight-page


election leaet, consider that “when development does happen, our infrastructure rst policy means that schools, GP surgeries, open spaces and transport links are planned before housing”. Otherwise silence, although I have


tried several times without response for more information such as a manifesto. In other words, sadly, Kent Conservatives do not appear to think education important enough to ask voters to pass an opinion on their past record, nor on plans for the future. Peter Read, Kent Independent Education Advice


A ock of greennches


MY sister drew my attention to an article about the absence of greennches in local gardens and the possible (well, probable, really) link to an avian parasite. Apart from being informative, it was


also a very thought-provoking piece. I asked my husband: "When was the last time you saw a greennch at the feeders?" There was a pause for about three


seconds before he replied: "Years". I felt quite sad. The day after that short conversation, I was driving along Pilgrims Way between


46


Hollingbourne and Thurnham when half a dozen of the little blighters scattered from a hedge and ew in front of the car for about 20 feet and darted into a bush. That made my day. It made my week,


in fact. Penny Jones, via email


Ratrun the only option


AS SOMEONE who ‘ratruns’ through the villages of Leeds and Langley every day, I can only agree with the sentiments expressed in your most recent edition. I wouldn't ratrun through those


communities if there was an alternative route. I get the residents' pain. I live in another borough but work the other side of the A274, and know that the traffic along the B2163 has become horrendous. As your columnist pointed out, every third vehicle is delivering bricks, cement or timber.


This journey was horrible ve years


ago and now, with lockdown easing and the full force of the new housing being spilt onto the roads, these journeys are just torturous. But if the local borough council will not


talk seriously to the county council about roads and Kent Police can't be bothered to enforce the lorry ban on the B2163, we're up the creek without a paddle. Robert Leach, via email


Judging police inaction


"I’VE learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." This quote has been used by Gandhi


and Maya Angelou. My experience of Kent Police and


action to oversize and speeding vehicles using B and unclassied roads is not a good one. I really do not know what has to happen for them to act? What will make them actually do something? The roads around the Low Weald and


generally any roads that are not trunk or A roads are not geared up for the sort of traffic they are now taking. I have spoken to a number of parishes


and we need to unite to get Kent Police and Kent County Council to act and quickly. We pay our council tax for them to act in our interest, not just their own. I will accept any offers in good faith


but I will ultimately judge Kent Police by its actions, not words. Sean Randell, Collier Street


Help for new parents


ONE in ve mums and one in 10 fathers experience mental health concerns during pregnancy and after birth. In some areas, they are able to access


the support they need while in others, they can’t. This could be due to a lack of services, funding, training or staff. Between July and September 2020, 805 women in Kent and Medway accessed


specialist community perinatal mental services. This is likely to be the tip of the iceberg as many more women do not reach the threshold for specialist support, or feel unable to seek help due to stigma. To ensure new parents receive the help


they need, the NSPCC is urging people to sign up to its Fight for a Fair Start campaign. Pledge your support by signing up at www.nspcc.org.uk/support- us/campaigns/ght-for-a-fair-start. The pandemic has put even more


pressure on families due to the anxiety and social isolation it has created. It is vital no parent or baby is left behind, and the services they need are there to support them – regardless of where they live.


Margaret Gallagher, NSPCC Head of Local Campaigns


Stop cruel puppy trade


FOR more than six years, Dogs Trust has been working to expose the cruel puppy smuggling trade. As members of Dogs Trust’s


parliamentary Puppy Smuggling Taskforce, we have written to the Government calling for urgent action to stop the illegal importation of dogs into the UK. Almost 50 MPs have signed this letter, including Roger Gale (North Thanet). Through their rst four undercover


investigations, Dogs Trust has found evidence of: l Puppies bred in horric conditions; l Pregnant females being illegally brought into the UK to allow dealers to dupe buyers into buying “UK bred” puppies; l Long journeys from Central and Eastern Europe; l No food, insufficient water, no exercise and no toilet breaks; l Ineffective border controls and enforcement of Pet Travel Scheme at UK ports; l Lack of sufficient penalties to deter the illegal trade. The ndings in their fth report, Puppy


Smuggling: Puppies still paying as Government delays, are a reminder that action is needed to end the suffering of puppies and protect unsuspecting buyers. Since the launch of the Puppy Pilot


scheme in December 2015, over 1,500 illegally imported puppies have been rescued and rehabilitated by Dogs Trust, with a street value of over £3million (if sold by dealers at today’s inated prices). Until the Government acts, many more


puppies and adult dogs will suffer at the hands of the criminals involved in this trade. We urge the Government to take action


and introduce legislation to put a stop to the illegal importation of dogs into Great Britain. Go to www.dogstrust.org.uk for more information. Dr Neil Hudson MP FRCVS, Dogs Trust


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