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We have no-one but ourselves to blame

I wonder if Mr Goddard (Letters, Diss Express, January 22) would be prepared to give me the name of his optician, as he clearly has a prescription for the most amazing rose-tinted glasses if he sees the deal with the EU as anything but disastrous for our country.

Already British businesses are describing the deal as ‘a Brexit nightmare’ and are being pushed to breaking point.

British fishing crews are talking of betrayal as they find they are unable to sell their fresh fish into EU markets because of delays at ports. Fishermen are also discovering that the deal has not given them the 12-mile exclusion zone for foreign vessels that they were promised.

Musicians and other performers from the UK now have to have visas to tour in Europe, increasing their costs. Then, of course, there is the whole Irish border, which seems to be making life increasingly difficult for those living in Northern Ireland.

The issue of Brussels imposing increasing bureaucracy is now seen as laughable compared with the bureaucracy that is now needed to trade with Europe.

We have yet to see the full impact as Covid restrictions are limiting the production and movement of goods, but we already know there are likely to be longer queues at UK ports as firms battle with much more paperwork than they needed before.

These difficulties cannot be blamed on the perfidious Europeans trying to make life more difficult for us Brits. They are the inevitable result of leaving a trading bloc and ploughing our own furrow.

What is more, they were entirely predictable, but played down by Mr Johnson and his gung-ho Brexiteers.

Our economy will continue to suffer thanks to this deal and it will be the majority of us who will feel the consequences in our pay packets and cuts to services.

So, Mr Goddard, where did you get your glasses from? I hope they weren’t imported from the EU.

Richard Stainer

Bury St Edmunds

Biden has chance to restore vision

Many Diss Express readers will have watched on TV last week the swearing-in of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States.

His inaugural speech in Washington was both impressive and conciliatory and, one hopes (though time will tell), will go a long way to heal the nation’s divided communities now the Trump era has finally come to an end.

The inauguration ceremony provided a sharp contrast to the events on Capitol Hill two weeks earlier when a militant crowd of Donald Trump supporters, unwilling to accept the legitimacy of Biden’s election victory and incited by the then president, stormed the US Congress building on Capitol Hill – a building subsequently guarded by hundreds of National Guards troops.

One person who, if still alive, would have been horrified by the events on Capitol Hill on January 6 is Suffolk man John Winthrop, who led the puritans in their emigration to New England in 1630, founded the city of Boston and became the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Company.

His sermon, ‘A Model of Christian Charity’, delivered on board the Arbella while crossing the Atlantic Ocean, is legendary, especially this quotation (based on words in Matthew 5.14 from the Sermon on the Mount): “... we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill, the eyes of all people are upon us.”

Winthrop did not have Capitol Hill in mind, but the eyes of millions of people around the world were on that particular hill last week.

Winthrop’s sermon also included these words, “Now the only way to avoid this shipwreck and to provide for our prosperity is to follow the counsel of Micah, to do justly, to love mercy, to walk humble with our God.” (Micah 6.8).

Former US presidents John Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama have used or alluded to Winthrop’s sermon in speeches. Biden did not do so, though 22-year-old National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman alluded to it her poem The Hill We Climb, which she read as part of the inauguration ceremony and which included these words, “while we have our eyes on the future, history has its eyes on us.” And, as she ended her poem, “For there is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.”

Let us all wish President Biden godspeed in restoring Winthrop’s vision of America being a beacon in the world when leading the government of our friends ‘across the pond’ over the next four years.

Mr A Smith

Pulham St Mary

Research into Singhs brings me to Norfolk

I am researching some local history in Norfolk. The history in question is of an Indian prince, namely the Maharajah Duleep Singh, who resided at Elveden Hall during the period 1860-85.

He had six children, who, after the Maharajah’s death, settled in various areas around Thetford.

In particular, mention is of his son, Prince Frederick Duleep Singh, who was a well-known figure in Blo’ Norton and died in 1926, and Prince Victor, who lived at Hockwold Hall.

The Maharajah’s other children were Princesses Bamba, Catherine and Sophia, who also lived at Blo’ Norton and in Breckles.

I would like to hear from anyone who knew of the Maharajah’s family, including friends, relatives or acquaintances.

I am also keen to hear from anyone who may have any photographs, letters or any other items of interest associated with the family.

I would be grateful for all the help you may be able to provide. You can write directly to me at the following address.

Peter Bance

110-112 Palmerston Road Walthamstow

London, E17 7JS

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