Observer Comment: Fishermen have done a lot for this town – now it is time to give something back

FISHERMEN here in Hastings have been badly treated by the Government for too long.

Today sees the launch of our new Fairer Deal For Fishermen campaign and we would urge every single reader to cut out the coupon on page four of this week’s Hastings Observer (February 4) and send it back to us.

Each day the local fleet is forced to throw back hundreds of dead fish because of crazy quotas. What better way to open David Cameron’s eyes to the problem than dumping a sackful of fish-shaped petitions on his doorstep?

The fishing community is as important to the identity of Hastings as the Battle of Hastings and as an industry it has supported thousands of locals over the years.

The unfair catch quotas are threatening the fishing fleet’s very existence. Like the pier, we will miss it when it is gone. When there are no iconic huts in the Old Town, no locally caught fish in our restaurants and no fathers passing on their skills and experience to sons. The day we lose our fishing industry is the day this town starts to die.

That is why we must act now. Join our campaign. Together we can make a difference. The fishermen have done a lot for this town – now it is our turn to give something back.

ROBERT Noonan wrote The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists while living and working in Hastings in the early 1900s. Working under the name Robert Tressell, he penned a masterpiece which would transform the lives of millions of working class people. His book made for grim reading, but it inspired a generation of left wing politicians and made normal people realise they could expect more from their lives than backbreaking work and measly wages.

Yesterday was the 100th anniversary of his death and tomorrow (Saturday) will see Tressellites head to Hastings for a day celebrating his life.

In his book, Tressell lampoons the Observer (or the Obscurer as he dubbed it) and the role the press played in maintaining the status quo of the time.

He cannot have known how important his book would go on to be – or that his life would be celebrated in the local press.

But he remains one of the most important figures ever linked to 1066 Country. Harold included. And we should all be thankful for the part he played in helping to build a better future.

THE Labour Party has announced it will choose its next candidate from an all-woman short-list. The thinking is that there are not enough women MPs in Parliament. If it was any more than a shallow gesture, you would have expected the party to target somewhere unlikely to pick a woman without being forced. Not one which already has a female MP.

Amber Rudd says she is pleased because it automatically removes 50 per cent of the talent. She also says that single-sex short-lists are no longer needed in this day and age.

We agree. Candidates should be selected on merit, not gender.

Whoever ends up taking over will face being undermined from day one. Whatever Labour may say locally, it is unlikely they are thanking party HQ for this.