It was interesting to hear in the news that the Government is reviewing “workers’ rights”, this only a few weeks after the level playing field discussions that were part of Brexit.

In these discussions the EU wanted to maintain common standards on workers’ rights, but our government did not. This could be because the government want to improve workers’ rights, or they want to weaken them – I wonder which!

I believe that they are looking at three issues to start with:

1) Abolish the 48-hour working week – This basically gives individuals the legal right not to work more than 48 hours if they choose. However, they can opt out of this if they choose and work more than 48 hours, the choice is theirs. Removal of this protection would mean the removal of choice. Employers could then force people to work in excess of 48hrs.

2) Review legal entitlement to breaks – if this is removed, employers could decide when workers should get breaks.

3) Review of overtime being included in calculation of holiday pay – this could result in a reduction of pay when on holiday.

If the government do not intend to dilute workers’ rights, as they tell us. I hope our MP can give a commitment to us, that he will vote against any of these measures, if they are raised in parliament.

Mr Jenkinson, show your support for workers in your constituency and make that commitment. Silence will speak volumes.



Credit where credit due

I DID not enter politics to say negative things about others who hold elected office, so I have been profoundly uncomfortable fulfilling the need to write my recent letters to the Times & Star. I am therefore very relieved to be able to offer balance by complimenting a Conservative MP this week.

Last Friday David Davis MP made an excellent speech in the Commons about the need to promote the use of vitamin D to combat Covid-19. His YouTube interview with Dr John Campbell on Monday was even more impressive.

It was wonderful to see someone else wrestling endlessly with the kind of issues I faced when I was trying to explain to senior people that the fact that you can’t do a double-blind random study on how far women travel to hospital in labour doesn’t mean that you can claim that it’s safe for them to travel up to four hours to hospital in labour and that you can therefore close maternity services in Whitehaven.

David Davis has repeatedly held his own government to account for its failure to fund any studies that could have developed the phenomenally encouraging initial research about the impact of taking vitamin D on the severity of Covid-19 to the standard it says it needs to tell people to take vitamin D. He has, however, managed to persuade most Tory MPs to take vitamin D.

I am taking vitamin D every day (as well as a multivitamin and mineral) and I would strongly urge readers to do the same.

I sincerely hope that now Brexit is done, it will be possible to replace members of the cabinet who disregard evidence with MPs like David Davis.


County Councillor (Cockermouth North)

Waste not

I READ with some surprise your report (January 14) on the setting up of an independent working group, by Gener8 North Ltd, to look at siting an underground Nuclear Waste repository in Allerdale. Surprised because in August 2012 a report was published, about 300 pages, authored by the West Cumbria Managing Radioactive Waste Safely Partnership.

The Partnership spent well over 12 months, at no small cost, investigating the feasibility of setting up such a site in West Cumbria, including Allerdale. The group was made up of representatives of local councils, including parish councils, trade unions, the nuclear industry, farmers’ representatives, tourism and churches and others.

The report covered geology, environmental impact, community benefits plus design and engineering.

In terms of the suitable geology of Allerdale it precluded the majority of the land in the borough, except for a small strip in North Allerdale which impinges on the designated Area of Natural Beauty and Special Scientific Interest. The scientific evidence related to the suitability of the geology is inconclusive.

On January 30 2013 the report came to the Executive of Allerdale Council, of which I was a member, asking whether the council wished to proceed to the next stage, and the Executive voted in favour of doing so, but the rejection of the report by Cumbria County Council, negated that decision.

Certainly, at the time, the local communities in North Allerdale were very strongly against such a facility, resulting in campaigns being set up. Hopefully, this is where an “independent” group will concentrate its efforts.



Thanks to God – and the NHS

As hospital wards continue to empty our streets, the fragility of life has become an unwelcome guest in conversations everywhere. Corona chatter and lockdown-lament is wearying.

Immunity against traffic wardens has always been on my wish list, but immunity against the coronavirus is not only desirable, it’s on everyone’s mind, and it’s in sight. The arrival of Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines are confidence-restoring steps nobody wants to miss.

We are wonderfully and marvellously made. The biggest player of all is the immune system we were born with which is programmed to destroys every microbe it recognises as foreign before it enters the body.

How amazing is that? Is it an accident of evolution, or did God put it there in his Creative design to help us reach our three score years and ten!

Everyone who ‘gets the jab’ are asked afterwards to sit quietly for 15 minutes to make sure there are no side effects, a rare ‘collective moment’ for all of us to contemplate the meaning of life, or just to give thanks to God and the NHS that we are still here.



A hard rain fell

In reply to the ‘anti-brigade’ letter from Mr Taylor (Times & Star, December 31), first of all it was clear he was answering my letter about the nuclear repository.

The first thing Mr Taylor needs to remember is not only am I not a brigade, I do not need a brigade to hammer home a point. I was brought up on the maxim “if you can’t stand alone, don’t stand at all”.

Secondly he accuses me of scaremongering over a hole the height of Scafell Pike and the size of Cumbria. Obviously he did not read my letter properly – I actually wrote Carlisle.

As for representatives and sensible people, if it’s politics at a national and a local level the state we are in confirms there aren’t any.

In another letter, Roy Ivinson of Silloth does concede that living next to a nuclear dump nobody else would touch with a bargepole isn’t ideal but comforts himself with the belief that worse things could happen. Congratulations, Roy, on the first massive understatement of 2021!

As for carbon clean, the air wasn’t clean in 1957 when Tom Tuohy saved the west coast (and further afield) from nuclear meltdown, or in 1986, when a hard rain did fall at Chernobyl.

Shamefully there’s hardly a mention of Tom on the coast – just a change of name to Sellafield and a licence to create social vandalism for over half a century ignoring the nuclear waste problem.

Sensible people? Give over.



Lord Farage

If Baroness Sue Hayman can be given a peerage for being a politically rejected failure, why hasn’t Nigel Farage been given a peerage for playing a major part in bringing to fruition successfully the democratic will of the British people?