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Face the reality

REGARDING Justin Tomlinson’s comments on Venezuela, we should note that Latin America has been dominated until very recently by military dictatorships which brutalised the people there and maintained extreme levels of poverty, all with the support of the USA and British governments.

People will recall Margaret Thatcher fawning over General Pinochet whose speciality as dictator of Chile was to have the families of dissidents raped and tortured in each others’ presence.

Given such enthusiastic support from Justin Tomlinson’s Conservative Party it should be no surprise that he stoops so low in his falsification of events in Venezuela.

Why does Mr Tomlinson hate what happened in Venezuela? Because oil wealth was used to eliminate illiteracy (high before Chavez), reduce malnutrition from 21 per cent to five per cent (child malnutrition from 7.7 per cent to 2.9 per cent), decrease infant mortality, massively increase access to clean water, massively decrease homelessness and increase medical care and introduce free education.

Venezuela moved up the UN development index. On democracy, Chavez repeatedly won elections.

The opposition Tomlinson supports includes those responsible, for example, for the massacre of 3,000 demonstrators against the austerity policies of the pre-Chavista, right wing government in 1989.

But there are real problems we need to learn from if we support social justice and social advance.

In making the very real advances in Venezuela the Government left the power structures of the rich elite intact.

Most business is still controlled by the rich, as is 95 per cent of the media. This elite has continually undermined every advance. And of course the USA has interfered massively, supporting all manner of sabotage in Venezuela.

The reality is that much more needs to be done to break up the power of that elite. The problem is not enough socialism rather than too much.

PETER SMITH, Woodside Avenue, Swindon

Trip highlights our litter

On Tuesday, August 1 we went on an enjoyable trip to Wales. The first thing I noticed was how clean and tidy it was - the grass verges were cut and there was no litter.

But as soon as you cross the Severn Bridge back into England there are long, uncut verges and rubbish and litter everywhere. Does nobody in this country take any pride in their surroundings?

One of the worst places for litter was when we left the M4 at junction15, it was disgusting.

And this is down to our beloved council, so come on SBC, get your act together and get it cleaned up.

L TOWNSEND, Redcliffe Street, Swindon

Cars harm trade deficit

THE letter by John Stooke (Aug 5) gives some interesting statistics about the importing of components relating to car production in Britain.

He talks about Nissan, Toyota, Honda and BMW and says British-made components amount to only 41 per cent and this is too small for the cars to be called made in Britain.

If British factories are simply assembling components that are 59 per cent made abroad then every car made in Britain makes our trade deficit worse.

Even when the cars are exported the fact the components are substantially imported means the net effect is to increase our trade deficit.

The last British-owned volume car maker was MG Rover. This company was once a vast nationalised industry and was privatised by Margaret Thatcher in 1988.

Some years later MG Rover asked for government support but all financial assistance was refused and the company was shut down by Tony Blair in 2005.

The closing of MG Rover was a hammer blow to industrial production in this country and as a result of this disastrous decision the British economy has gradually drifted into deeper and deeper trade deficits.

STEVE HALDEN, Beaufort Green, Swindon