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Revulsion for war itself

Dom Watkins in his letter (No Celebration of War, June 25), claims that Armed Forces Day isn’t about getting youngsters to sign up for military service nor is it a celebration of war. What nonsense!

While making a solo protest at the recent Armed Forces Day event held at Faringdon Road Park, I noticed alongside the bouncy castles, the classic car display, ice cream vans, etc, there were several battalion stalls all with military flags flying.

What does Dom think these stalls are set up for? To discuss the price of beer or the latest storyline in Emmerdale, or to get impressionable youngsters to sign up for war?

Dom says that I have revulsion for all those in the military. Opposing war and Armed Forces Day does not show revulsion for those in the armed services.

My revulsion is saved for war and the horrors that occur in war, eg death, destruction, poverty, rape and human suffering on a huge scale.

Equally my revulsion is held for all those politicians from across the spectrum who quickly vote for war, then after the bombs have stopped falling and the last bullet has fired, these same politicians casually walk away from the responsibility of what comes in the aftermath of war, eg giving refuge and rebuilding the countries we have bombed.

Dom ends the letter by saying “the military will continue to face down despots and tyrants who enslave and impoverish their people”.

Perhaps Dom can explain how the UK’s removal of Saddam Hussein and Colonel Gaddafi has improved the lives of those living in Iraq and Libya?

Martin Webb, Swindon Road, Old Town, Swindon

Pricing out plastic

I know it’s hot and I know the weather inclines us all to want to drink more, but walking around Haydon End it’s sad to see almost every verge and footpath littered with single use, discarded plastic bottles.

To add insult to the injurious throwaway culture which has developed in my lifetime, a remarkable number still seem to have intact half of their contents!

The landscape is further interspersed with a generous helping of Macdonald’s tubular plastic straws, which seem designed to last for a millennia. What has happened to civic pride in our neighbourhoods?

Even thrown in bins, bottles are not separated by the Borough Council at Waterside, and are incinerated as general waste destroying PET, a plastic formulation that is actually relatively easy to reclaim and reuse.

I was at an electronics exhibition in Nurnberg, Germany earlier this month, where a 50 cent deposit was added to all drinks in plastic containers. The result? Not a single plastic bottle in the grounds, on the steps, or in the litter bins or trash bags.

So come on Michael Gove. There was lots of political hot air earlier this year about deposit schemes, but seemingly very little progress.

I can tell you this. If a similar scheme was operating in North Swindon, I’ll wager a few young lads I know around here would ensure discarded plastic bottles on the roadside would become as rare as hens’ teeth!

John Stooke, Chairman, Swindon Civic Voice

Able to read the Adver

MAY I thank Mr Imran Zaheer, his team and all of the Staff in the Eye Clinic at the Great Western Hospital for the fantastic outcome of the cataract eye surgery that has been performed on myself this year.

I find that it is possible for me to read the Adver again, without having to use glasses, so thank you all.

T Lambourne, Royal Wootton Bassett

Reduce our bills

I see that there is now talk about water shortages and hosepipe bans in certain areas and, as far as I understand, there is enough water but the water treatment centres find it difficult to cope with usage.

If there were real problems with water shortages, why aren’t the water companies up in arms when massive amounts of new houses are contemplated? They must have a huge effect on the water distribution facility to all of those extra properties.

On that basis, plus the fact that I pay water rates, I see no need to limit my usage, even with a hosepipe, unless the water company offer me a reduction of rates.

Chris Gleed, Proud Close, Purton

NHS is not perfect

A LOVE affair with the NHS is something I have in common with almost everyone in our town, having had cause to be grateful for the excellent treatment I have received at the old PMH and latterly the GWH.

However, my love for the NHS is not blind and I see much that could be improved. I fear it is moving inexorably to a point where it simply will have to stop and take stock of what it can and should provide for future generations.

My friend Malcolm Morrison, a former surgeon at the PMH, writes in his usual erudite style of the changes in medicine which occurred during his 40 years service as an NHS doctor working in NHS hospitals (SA 5 July). The advances in medicine coupled with the increase in population and the extension in lifespan has created its own perfect storm and I know that Malcolm would agree that money alone is not the answer to the problem of waiting times, post code rationing and relieving pressure on local services.

GP Peter Swinyard can always be relied upon to quote a bygone age. Doctors like Dr Swinyard speak and write eloquently about the need to preserve the principles of the NHS while at the same time negotiating to sell their private practices to private health care organisations.

Yes let’s celebrate the NHS but at the same time let’s not kid ourselves it is the envy of the world (it’s never been copied) and let’s not think it’s as efficient as some would have us believe.

Des Morgan, Caraway Drive, Swindon

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