Accusers guilty of being prejudiced

PUBLISHED: 11:34 01 November 2007 | UPDATED: 13:01 04 May 2010

IN light of last week s heartfelt responses to my letter about Mereham, what can I do but apologise for my comments? I ll tell you what I can do: Firstly, I can note that the authors of these letters displayed the very prejudice they attribute to me: Accu

IN light of last week's heartfelt responses to my letter about Mereham, what can I do but apologise for my comments?

I'll tell you what I can do:

Firstly, I can note that the authors of these letters displayed the very prejudice they attribute to me: Accusations that I am stereo-typing, making assumptions and displaying ignorance, were made, whilst simultaneously stereotyping my profession, making wild assumptions about my lifestyle, and blatantly ignoring the substance of my letter!

If you want me to "learn humility", then you must demonstrate not only that you are furious, but that I am wrong.

Secondly, I can - as requested - confess my denomination! I am a Baptist, for whom believers' baptism is an act of radical political subversion that entails a disavowal of the baby-boomer spirit. Hence, at the Christian Aid march for climate justice in London last month, there were many more baby boomers than at the climate camp in Heathrow a month earlier. More locally, at the sex-trafficking march just recently, organised by Churches Together in Ely, there were more baby boomers than are usually present at secular campaigns.

For such people, 'loving thy neighbour' goes far beyond a thinly veiled tribal selfism, that fears offending my closest neighbours, whilst doing nothing about those in distant lands who suffer because of systems that benefit my immediate neighbours. Real love (not only "cares" about, but) speaks out on behalf of those in our world who suffer and die, horrendously and unheard, on the far side of our television screens, beyond the reach of news headlines.

If I represent anyone, I hope it is them. There is an urgent need for political action on their behalf today. And where are the most powerful generation at this crucial junction of human history? At a time when this generation could literally rise up and save the world, they are busy building fences around their own little comfortable world.

Thirdly, I can respect all those writing letters about Mereham, who are also writing to our MP to demand trade justice. I can admire everyone who attended the public inquiry into Mereham who also campaigned in Ely against Sex-trafficking. I can salute everyone who has displayed an anti-Mereham poster alongside a 'Cut the Carbon' poster.

But how many of you are there, honestly? Enough to refute my claims?

Prove me wrong or face reality.

THE REV SIMON PERRY

HADDENHAM

By e-mail

ANY lingering unpleasantness of the letter from the Rev Perry has been obliterated by the astonishing events of last week at the Mereham Inquiry. I wish your readers could have been there.

From Milton and Cottenham in the south to Little Downham in the north; from Earith to Soham; up and down and across The Isle, and from the Fens, the parish councillors came. It took all day on Tuesday for them to speak. And speak they did: each voicing the view of their parish, their particular concerns whether they were about flooding, traffic, health and education, safety, farming, or the high-handed plans to change their streets and their landscape. On Wednesday and Thursday the voices continued, perhaps more than have ever spoken at an inquiry of this sort.

Ordinary people had made extraordinary efforts to study the thousands of pages of documentation; people had spent hours researching from a desk or hours on their feet counting cars and checking times. There were those with specialist expertise and those with years of local knowledge. There were speakers who made us laugh - at Multiplex - and those who could have made you cry; there were people comfortable with public speaking and those who were clearly terrified.

And what did we discover? Apart from the wealth of generosity, ability and dedication of local people, we discovered that Multiplex Stannifer cannot get basic measurements right, that their figures are inaccurate, that their road traffic studies bear no relation to reality, that their local geography was clearly researched in Australia, that their understanding of our drains and dykes and drainage is flawed. We learnt that they have consulted no one about changing the face of existing communities and know nothing of their history. We learnt how little they have bothered with any of it. Why? Is it possible that they assume central government will be so eager to knock a few thousand houses of their national target that they will right rough-shod over regional needs? Are they relying on one MP, Hazel Blears, neither knowing nor caring about this particular region; its infrastructure, geography, history and people? 'Yes, I think they are'. Our democracy has said 'no' time and again, don't let central government think they can say 'yes' - regardless. Sign the petitions, write letters - make some noise.

MK ROWBERRY

Haddenham

THE Rev Dr Simon Perry berates we Baby Boomers in his letter and to a large extent I agree with his views.

We are indeed a privileged generation enjoying most of the wealth in this country, largely due to striking it lucky on the housing market.

And, being the generation that actually bothers to vote at election time, we seem to be quite good at keeping Government policy stacked in our favour, whoever is in power.

But, Rev Perry's support of the proposed Mereham Development puzzles me. A more blatant example of the unacceptable face of capitalism would be hard to find. Multiplex makes its billions not from building homes, an incidental expense to them, but by using its vast wealth to gamble with land values.

We need more houses and East Cambs is building more and more. It is well on track to meet Government targets. More are required throughout Cambridgeshire and a new town with local employment opportunities may well be a solution. However, where it is sited surely deserves at least a bit of thought and is not something to be left to marauding land speculators.

JACKIE PETTS

District councillor (Ely East Ward)

Prickwillow

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