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Gazette letters: Smelly summer, campaigners aren’t for all, Rashan Charles inquest, thanks NHS

PUBLISHED: 08:30 21 July 2018

The Dalston Eastern Curve Garden

The Dalston Eastern Curve Garden

Archant

Hackney’s streets are not used to being scorched two weeks running and the aromas being revealed make for an intense running experience, writes Will McCallum, Newington Green.

From the squashed cherries dropping off the wilting branches of my neighbour’s tree as I leave the house, the heavy smells of summer accompany me as I plod across the borough in the evening heat.

Honeysuckle, unbearable sweetness, sticks in my nostrils as I go down the steps onto the canals, soon overpowered by the whiff of sewage heading under the bridge – either from an un-emptied, near overflowing canal boat toilet, or perhaps the remnants of the night’s revellers choosing these shadows into which to empty their bowels.

I grab the closest sprig of lavender to rub into my fingers and bring them to my nose inhaling purple; rosemary too from the next trough and my hands now smell like a Sunday roast.

All trace of the towpath herbs evaporates as a runner passes by me, by his pong clearly wearing the same kit he has run in several times this week – I sniff myself for respite and reassurance.

As I weave back past the front gardens of Homerton the buddleias, jasmine and wisterias each threaten to overpower my senses with their heady perfumes.

Arriving home, filled to the brim with the fragrances of hot weather, I slam the door on this unexpected experience, grateful to have survived the humid stench of summer.

“We Love Hackney” are very keen on quoting the results of the statutory consultation questionnaire associated with this licensing proposal (“Midnight curfews for new pubs and clubs”) , writes Andrew Clark, full address supplied.

On the face of it the “overwhelming majority” were against extension of the SPA. The proposal is in front of the council for approval.

That “overwhelming majority” comes, in the main, from Dalston post codes, and is white, male and 80 per cent under the age of 44. The comparative demographic for London for this age group, unqualified by anything else is 40pc. So the response is heavily skewed to the point that it is statistically meaningless.

Of course, it could be argued that as this is a democracy, those that didn’t take the time to respond are either unconcerned or tacit in their agreement.

This ignores the fact that, as the council could not afford to contact all residents, as they did in the 2015 consultation, swaths of the borough had no idea that the consultation was taking place.

A few of us in south Shoreditch, long term residents, have addressed this and achieved some recognition from the council that we have a point.

“We Love Hackney” are entitled to their view but they are not representative of the borough.

The inquest into Rashan Charles’ death was beset by theatricality, write Mary Pimm and Nik Wood, Gore Road, Hackney.

Anonymity granted to both police and other witnesses, supposedly justified by carefully publicised social media stupidities. Screens to hide witnesses and jury, supposedly justified by unspecified threats. And salacious details of Rashan’s life masquerading as evidence presented by the police’s QC, John Beggs, who had done the same about the victims at the Hillsborough inquiry.

The police routinely use inquests as an opportunity to blacken the character of people they have killed. This is partly to prejudice the jury and public opinion. In Rashan’s case it was also to build up a picture of feral black men terrorising the gentry of Hackney and thus justifying the most aggressive policing. As your editorial says, this can not go unchallenged.

After Harry Stanley was shot dead by the police a 2002 inquest heard of his criminal record, despite the fact that no officer involved knew of his identity before they shot him, and the coroner restricted the verdicts open to the jury. That inquest was successfully challenged by his family on these two grounds. Hopefully Rashan’s family and their legal team will be looking at this precedent.

I am in total agreement with Julia Lafferty about the Old School House, writes Linda Noble, Springfield, Upper Clapton.

I was born in 1953 but I am lucky to be alive because I was born three months early, at 29 weeks.

I was put in an incubator; I weighed only 2lb 2oz and went down to 1lb 11oz. I survived only because of the care that I received from the NHS! The skill and the technology was not as advanced as it is today!

Then I caught pneumonia and was back in hospital and I still survived!

I also worked in the NHS as a dental nurse receptionist but to me it was not a job, it was a vocation. Like the doctors and nurses of today, they do it because of the love of the job.

I’m celebrating my life. Because of the NHS I’m still here today!

In August I will be 65 years young!

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