Supporters of the Barnsbury Laycock Liveable Neighbourhood often send letters to our two magnificent local papers: The Islington Gazette and The Islington Tribune (known affectionately as the G&T).
There are lots of people who aren’t on any social media but do read the papers. The local press is a good forum to draw people’s attention to how dysfunctional our current streets are, and to promote all the benefits of LTNs and LNs.
The G&T often publish our letters so they reach a wide audience, but for those of you who don't read those papers we thought we’d post some letters here - as an occasional feature.
It would be great if more people would write to the papers (Islington.email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org). You can have the letter published in your own name or ask the paper to withhold your name - whichever you are comfortable with. Please also copy your letters to us so we can post them here.
Here are three recent letters:
Goodwill to All
Over the festive season, we’ve all thought of others less fortunate than ourselves and shared messages of “goodwill to all”. As we enter a New Year and anticipate the wonderful prospect of more of Islington becoming Liveable Neighbourhoods, let’s hope that those of us fortunate enough to live inside historic areas with no through traffic - such as Cloudesley Square, Thornhill Gardens and the many cul-de-sacs in the borough - extend our goodwill by supporting the extension of the benefits we see to others across the whole Borough.
The Hapless Driver
I was interested to see your use of the word “hapless” when referring to motorists breaking the law (“It’s 1,000 traffic penalties a day”– Friday 27 January). In my dictionary, “hapless” means “deserving of pity” / “unlucky”. This language is symptomatic of the attitude society uses for drivers, in contrast with its attitude to others who break the law. Can you imagine, for example, a shoplifter or a mugger being described as “hapless” – or indeed almost any other type of lawbreaker?
Someone who chooses to drive a vehicle weighing well over a ton is capable of seriously injuring or even killing another person and is consequently and rightly subject to many laws. If they choose to drive such a vehicle and choose to break the law, then they are neither deserving of pity nor unlucky. There is a word for them and it’s not hapless!
Flies or Lions?
People complaining about misbehaving cyclists always remind me of someone complaining about a small fly when there is a pack of hungry lions approaching. However, your anti-cyclist letter-writer from last week did have one insight that most don’t: a cyclist in a collision is likely to get hurt. People on bikes know this - that’s why they so seldom collide with anything. Self-preservation is a powerful instinct. However, people protected by tons of solid metal know that any collision would probably leave them personally unscathed, and they drive accordingly. How else to explain the thousands of injuries and deaths caused by drivers each year? What do you want to share your public space with: harmless flies or hungry lions?