In the first paragraph of her letter in the Newton News of 10th August 2018, Miss Cathy Beetham praises the Editor for upholding free speech. I too applaud the Newton News and its editorial policy.  Only once has the Editor e-mailed me and asked if he could not publish one of my letters: his reason for not publishing being that he thought the matter had been fully debated and he wanted to encourage debate on other current local matters. I of course agreed.
I therefore find it abhorrent that Miss Beetham (on behalf of local Labour /Momentum?) then goes on to censure the Editor for not censoring letters! Indeed, she considers that he has a duty to do so! The Editor is not a member of the Local Labour/Momentum Party ‘Thought Police’.
Miss Beetham accuses me of “thinly veiled bigotry and cultural prejudice”, “blatant hate Speech”, “extremist rantings”, “abhorrent opinions” and suggests that my previous letters entitle readers to reach the conclusion that I am a racist (which I most certainly am not). Obviously, I don’t agree with any of this and challenge Miss Beetham to either, detail where in the context of any previous letter I have indulged in, “thinly veiled bigotry”, and/or “blatant hate speech” or, withdraw these accusations. You made them! The Editor is not responsible for what you write. You have to demonstrate that you are not abusing the Free Speech that we all must uphold.
I objected to Cllr Clare’s vilification of the duly elected President of the USA. I have previously commented that Phil Wilson, in a letter about Brexit, played the man (Jacob Rees-Mogg) rather than the subject under discussion.  It now seems that I cannot express any opinion without being personally attacked as being, “scum” (verbally attacked in the street), “bigoted”, “a hate speaker”, or, “an extremist”.
Another contributor has asked why we do not debate local issues.  There has been a healthy debate about ‘Livin’ and their since withdrawn, ‘Option 3’. Our Editor gave local Independent Councillors and ‘Livin’ full coverage.  I intentionally did not partake in the debate for two reasons:
1. The Independent Councillors were doing well WITHOUT any support from me.  More tellingly, without support from  the majority Labour Councillors, who presumably were told not to get involved by the Labour Politburo, as they were unwilling to demonstrate their political impotence. Perhaps, come the next Council Elections voters will have learnt that Independent Councillors can oppose council decisions when Labour Councillors have to stick to the Party Line!
2. Unlike the majority of those opposing ‘Livin’ I did not believe that the matter was only between ‘Livin’ and the affected residents.  The houses proposed for demolition were built with taxpayer’s money and the local taxpayer’s were not being consulted.  Had ‘Livin’ won, I would have raised the matter with the Government Department and the Local Authority Ombudsman. We would soon have found out the truth as to whether our Labour County Council had agreed that Compulsory Purchase Orders would be available to allow the implementation of Option 3.
I applaud the success of the local Independent Councillor’s campaign and hope that Miss Beetham does not consider this to be, “blatant hate speech” or an “abhorrent opinion”.
Yours sincerely,
Alastair P. G. Welsh