River Wissey Lovell Fuller

Reply to Recent Soapboxes

October 2003

Soapbox is intersting but not always accurate!

Dear Ray,

The Village Soapbox raises some interesting items, but I fear that not all are based on the correct facts.

The new High School planned for Downham Market will bring (if the DFEE agrees) 15 million pounds of fresh educational money into West Norfolk, and bring much-needed, up-to-date facilities and equipment to the offspring of the rapidly growing population of the, roughly, ten-mile radius around the town. Mr. Watts welcomes and applauds this.

The initiative to investigate the possibilities came from the Churches Together Council in Downham, and has been the subject of a number of meetings across both County and Diocese.

It is likely that the Church of England and Methodist Church will be the bodies who take forward the legal framework in the application for funding, since they have wide and historical experience in setting up schools: Similarly the Roman Catholic Church, but though, unfortunately the East Anglian Diocese does not have funds to commit at the present, it is hoped that they, together with the Salvation Army and Christian Fellowship will be involved through the Governing Body.

The new High School will be open to all children from the area described above, and not only to those "whose parents believe in God". No discrimination!

I am not sure which primary schools Mr. Watts has visited before speaking so dogmatically about indoctrination he found in them, but I don't think he would find such a school in the Ely Diocese. One would expect those who lead any organization or firm to be pretty confident about their products and ethos under which they operate. One would therefore expect a church school to have the confident ethos that GOD IS (not that He might just possibly be or not), but within this ethos, children are left to make up their own minds, to find or continue to develop a relationship with God if they wish to. No child is indoctrinated (given blunt, indisputable facts). Education is about leading onwards and nurturing. Parents will have a choice of a church or state high school at Downham Market. I'm sure Mr. Watts is in favour of choice for the individual.

Power generation

I had no idea that Wind Power costs two and a half times as much as that generated from fossil fuels. No one would willingly build more nuclear power stations, and while our fossil fuels reserves are rapidly being used up it seems wrong to close any existing coalmines

The dramatic and disturbing power-cuts in the USA and UK show that we are reaching overload. Most of the energy used, either to transport goods or information, is because of our apparent inability to wait even an hour for information or so or a day or so for goods to be delivered.

Remember the old days when one horse-power could transport seventy tons safely and quietly (by canal) and arrive up to a week after dispatch: Not much energy involved there. How we fret today when our goods, ordered for next-day delivery, do not turn up. How much diesel fuel is being expended just get your catalogue item to you tomorrow, when next week would have dome just as well by the railway. Speed always takes more energy.

The interdependence of transport in this country has never been properly understood or managed, or we might have looked after and developed in to co-ordinated system the tremendous potential which we inherited from the efforts of the "navvies' of the 18th - 20th centuries. Containerised loads, large and small, could be moved in a way which uses the least energy, at a calm pace least likely to kill either the operative through accident or the recipient through frustration overload.

Perhaps we shall be forced to resume a much slower pace of physical life and operation if we are to leave enough power for our Internet overload.

Chris Young

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