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It seems the EU Inquiry meeting at Gretna yesterday afternoon was not quite the same as the one held at Hexham.

I have to say from the reports I've had from Peter Greenhill, Roger Windsor and Elaine Commander aswell as reading Nick Green's message on warmwell.com, I am concerned that the meeting not only appeared to be 'stage managed' with the apparent intent not to hear evidence from those affected by the FMD tragedy, but also poorly advertised and held in a completely unsuitable venue.

In addition I am aware that I, and several others had been led to believe that the only Public Meeting would be the one held at Gretna and the other meetings were by invitation only. Not until the evening of the 17th April were we informed that all the meetings were 'Public' albeit only those 'invited' to do so, would be allowed to speak.

Nevertheless, it has been drawn to my attention that the Scottish people attending the meeting at Gretna had been told that it was arrranged 'exclusively' for Scotland, and as a result were surprised and unhappy to see Cumbrians there! Such misinformation, 'spin', call it what you will, serves no useful purpose, is divisive and destructive.

I have no doubt that there are those who believe the truth can be hidden, a gloss put on the tragedy and eventually those who have a grievance will forget about it and give up the fight. Others hold the Inquiries in high regard, have made submissions and continue to do so, in the firm belief that when the truth, as they see it, is known, all will be welI.

I fear they are all deluded. None of those directly affected by the FMD epidemic in 2001 will ever forget what has happened to them and efforts to conceal the truth may seem to be successful in the short term but will not stand up to the test of time. I am sure that many will continue the fight for justice and may in some small measure succeed, nevertheless, the hatred felt towards the perpetrators of injustice and cruelty, can be all consuming and extremely self destructive as well.

I would urge those who want their story to be told to make submissions to the various Inquiries and time will tell whether or not they have the desired effect.

Meanwhile, surely the most constructive thing we can do is to help each other cope with the problems that continue to beset so many of us and do all we can to ensure a better future for us all. I have no doubt that there are members of the EU Inquiry who are equally distraut and upset by what occurred in the UK and Holland last year and are intent on doing all they can to effect change. However, it is distressing to hear that although one member of the Inquiry team at Gretna told the audience they were anxious to discover from those present what they felt about vaccination and the manner in which it should be used, apparently, not one person mentioned Protective Vaccination without slaughter.

I fear we are in danger of being so consumed by our desire for revenge we ignore the opportunities available for change when they present themselves on a plate!

We have always been a rather insular nation which some may suggest 'goes with the territory', being an Island race, but whether we like it or not, we are members of the EU community and perhaps a little more thought and understanding of the traits and cultures of the various member nations might be helpful.

This morning I was talking to a friend who has great experience of business and commercial negotiations throughout Europe and suggested some understanding of national habits and character is essential for success. He suggested the northern races, ourselves, the dutch and germans tend to consider that 'meetings' are places where matters are discussed, (perhaps one is allowed to rant and rave!) and then plans are drawn up for the future.

The French, on the other hand, tend to think meetings are gatherings attended to be 'told' something and that's about all. They rant and rave about what they've been told in bistro's and on street corners! Whereas the Latin races like to have a long and delicious meal, during which they rant and rave freely, everything is discussed and possibly sorted out and then they gather at a meeting to politely thank everyone who took part, (especially the luncheon providers!), but to rant and rave at their meetings is considered very impolite!

All this may seem a rather simplistic and frivolous interpretation, but I think there is some truth in it and perhaps could lead to a better understanding? Senora Redondo's long speech in Spanish at Gretna, although seeming time wasting to the Scots and English, may simply have been no more than her wish to be polite, according to her culture! The whole world knows that what happened here last year was mad and bad and I for one, don't need any Inquiry, be it Government, European or Public, to tell me so!

What I desperately need is a humane, economically viable alternative and a concerted effort to achieve it. The only option that seems to fall within that criteria is Protective Vaccination, if you have another that fits the bill please let me know!

Good luck to everyone at Great Orton and Kendal - I hope all goes well.

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