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Northamptonshire

There must be a better solution

I have growing concerns over the proposal for the creation of two unitary authorities in place of the existing arrangements.

While the proposal may be beneficial in terms of savings in the cost of administration and the spreading of the debts of the county council, it is surely a very unbalanced arrangement in terms of weight of populations, economic power, community identities and aspirations.

As a citizen of Daventry, I have a sense of belonging to both its town and district, but the thought of the districts of Daventry and Towcester being yoked with Northampton town on the very edge of its area is disturbing. How much more disturbed I would be if I were a Northamptonian!

For those with a sense of history, how unjust this proposal must seem. With a population of a quarter of a million, Northampton is a city in all but name.

In medieval times it was a centre of national government with a university to rival Oxford and Cambridge, a fine castle, defensive walls and rich in churches and monastic communities. Yet, in time, all this potential was stripped from its people by barons and kings.

A break came in 1968 with the New Towns Act, unleashing its potential for development, yet its applications for unitary status in 1996 and city status in 2000 were rejected.

And what of the county itself – this ancient shire? As a civil engineer, I was impressed by the drive and excellence of its engineering staff, but much of that kind of pride has melted away – just as the county’s entity itself must seemingly fade.

How sad. Can we not come up with a better solution?

Alan Fifield

By email

harvest

Give thanks for precious gifts

The season of harvest has been used since time immemorial as an analogy for the fruition of human existence. “You shall know them by their fruits” says Jesus (Matthew 7:20).

We often say that people get out of life what they put in but is that always the case?

Why do bad things happen to good people or good things fall into the lap of bad people?

Some folks like to find answers to life’s dilemmas in their origins, their genes or in their place of birth.

We have absolutely no control over our conception, but we do have a lot to answer for as to how we develop as people.

We sometimes have misgivings today about those who come to live among us and are born in places beyond our shores.

Yet if we are honest, those who were once new neighbours have often become firm friends and have made us all better human beings. Harvest time reminds us to be thankful about our characters as well as for the gift of life. When we look at how we grow our foods, see the joys in our gardens and public parks, we must see that we need to cooperate with mother nature and be unstintingly generous, as God is with us, so that we obtain the very best that can be achieved.

So too with our families and friendships, local communities and fellow members of humanity. St Paul reminds us “the one who sows sparingly will reap sparingly and the one who sows bountifully will reap bountifully” (1 Corinthians 9:6).

He is not all that concerned about our earthly beginnings because in God’s eyes we are all His children. St Paul would rather urge us to seek ways on how we can we use God’s gifts to build up our character and bring about a real harvest for our souls and for one another. These gifts are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22 and 23). These are the seeds that can be sown by everyone so harvest can be a daily occurrence and not just an annual event.

Canon George Burgon

By email