PLEASE keep your letters to 250 words maximum giving your name, address and daytime telephone number - even on emails. Email: Write: Swindon Advertiser, 100 Victoria Road, Swindon, SN1 3BE. Phone: 01793 501806.

Anonymity is granted only at the discretion of the editor, who also reserves the right to edit letters.

Are we deluded?

I NOTICE in this week’s Advertiser a headline that our decision to leave the EU is predicted to have a particularly marked effect on the local Swindon economy.

Despite the 2008 financial crisis setback, our membership of the EU has coincided with a period of unparalleled growth and prosperity… a stunning transformation from the basket case economy of the three-day week. This is no accident and is because of Europe and not in spite of Europe.

OK, the EU is not perfect by any means; we should have pushed subsidisation harder and of course there are issues about free movement. Thoughtful politics, supported by sensible constructive MEPs instead of our embarrassing Kippers, would have been seeking alliances with many like minded countries. Ditto the unbridled power wielded by the unelected civil service over the democratic Parliament which is outrageous. Also there was some budgeting unfairness, yes … but as for the 25 per cent or so of UK laws being enacted Europe wide… well I never found these personally restrictive or unfair.

Critics of Europe argue we’ve been on the receiving end of one way import traffic from the EU. No question there is an adverse balance of trade, but the bizarre idea that we can be much more successful in exporting to the rest of the world than we have been exporting to a market on our doorstep, easy to converse with, easy to travel to, no tariffs and barriers, with common standards and low-cost transportation? Truly incomprehensible.

The Brexiteers strongest card is that they claim to be globalists and that untethered from Europe’s rotting corpse, Britain will be free to engage with the emerging world. There is no evidence whatsoever that British companies have been held back from global exporting by EU membership. Were Johnny Walker stopped from exporting to China? The EU has certainly not prevented Germany’s impressive manufacturers from becoming world leaders since the 1970s.

I am a director of a company in Germany and also India and have been involved in export markets, particularly the USA, over decades. Export criteria is relatively simple. Clients are concerned about price, delivery, logistics, technical fit and quality and frankly our membership of the EU has never been mentioned in a whole business lifetime. I really have no clue where all this new business that Liam Fox keeps on about is?

However much we delude ourselves, we are simply not an economic powerhouse waiting to be liberated. We are a clever, creative and mostly honest small island with an economy relying on financial services, creative arts, a bit of aerospace and importantly, foreign-owned auto companies who have no allegiance whatsoever to the UK.

JOHN STOOKE, Havisham Drive, Haydon End, Swindon

A basket case

The European Union is a corrupt protectionist institution. It has created various mechanisms for the benefit of multinational companies which are detrimental to the purchasing powers of consumers.

The Brussels bureaucrats have devised schemes to prop up and support inefficient and uncompetitive European Union based companies. They impose tariffs to tax products which can be made cheaper elsewhere; they impose quotas to limit the numbers of competitive products coming into the European Union and they impose complex and cleverly worded regulations to deter the competition.

In exchange for being members of this protection racket European Union bureaucrats demand a membership fee, from the British tax payers, of about £10 billion a year.

Mr Stooke’s letter gives an excellent example of European Union inefficiency, “On the road to ruin” (SA August 5). He says, “The crankshaft of a BMW mini crosses the English Channel three times. Cast in France, it is machined in Warwickshire and then shipped to Munich where the engine is assembled then comes back as part of the engine to be fitted into the vehicle at Cowley. When it is then exported to Europe, as most are, it crosses the channel a forth time”.

As I read this interesting and informative account, of this farcical practice, I couldn’t help wondering what European Union supporters such as pseudo-environmentalists in the Green Party think about this bizarre practice. What would they say about the multi-handling and lengthy carbon footprint created during this protracted manufacturing process?

The European Union calls itself a free trade area but it puts up barriers to the rest of the world. Cheaper and better products are prevented from entering the European Union market. It has become an economic basket case which is run on the basis of crony capitalism and protectionism.

Borrowing the phrase from Mr Stooke it represents “unadulterated insanity”.

MR K KANE, Wharf Road, Wroughton

How much do we pay?

I HAVE lived in Swindon since 1954 and have never been asked where the museums/art galleries are. Excluding the London or military museums I do not think many people have made trips solely to see a museum.

I read recently in your paper about people being accosted at venues and pressured into ticking/signing a form to say they wanted the art gallery etc. I don’t know if it’s true and I wonder if they were told how much of their council tax increase would be paying for it.

I think it’s more a desire to keep a cushy job with maybe their names on a plaque for posterity. I agree with everything that was raised in the 20/06/17 and 21/06/17 articles in the Letters to the Editor.

ALAN DUNCAN, Dudley Road, Walcot

Rebuilding lives

As many of your readers will know, stroke is devastating, changing people’s lives in the blink of an eye. The condition is a leading cause of disability, and many stroke survivors and their families’ financial situations are severely affected as a result.

At the Stroke Association, we support people to make the best possible recovery following a stroke. Our means-tested Life After Stroke Grants help stroke survivors and their families who are sometimes facing the most challenging time of their lives.

Life After Stroke Grants provide a one-off payment of up to £300 to fund vital home or personal equipment, or by funding support to become active after stroke. Our Grants have been used to contribute towards items such as mobility aids, kitchen appliances or specialist aids, or household furniture.

Last year, over 1,100 people across the UK used a Life After Stroke Grant to help rebuild their lives, and we want to support as many stroke survivors as we can.

Applications for Life After Stroke Grants must be applied for via the Stroke Association, by a health or social care professional, or another charity. To find out more about applying for a Grant, call our Stroke Helpline on 0303 3033 100, visit or email us at

JACQUI CUTHBERT, Regional Director at the Stroke Association

It was shocking

On Monday 7th August I watched the channel 4 documentary 999 what’s your emergency which followed the Swindon police whilst performing their duties around the town.

I was shocked at the level of drug abuse shown in this programme and the terrible desperadoes and low life we seem to have living in the town centre and the streets surrounding it and I have to say I didn’t recognise the place portrayed in this show as the Swindon I have known and lived in for 47 years.

After seeing some of the things that go on, the muggings, the crack houses, the house where two ladies were being held prisoner by a gang of thugs that had taken their house over and locked them in a bedroom, it left me thinking I live a very sheltered life at Coleview. I had no idea things were this bad, the place shown in this film seemed like some ghetto, a powder keg on the brink of exploding.

No wonder the town centre, particularly the bottom part of the town, is a no go area at night for many.

Full marks to our police men and women, they do a hard job and deserve every penny they get.

STEVEN BLANCHARD, Coleview, Swindon

Switch off the lights

When work on the Greenbridge roundabout was underway there was a very large hoarding stating that improvements to the roundabout were being carried out.

Could someone please enlighten me as to when these improvements are going to take effect? Whenever I have the misfortune to negotiate the new system it is total chaos no matter which direction you travel in.

Please switch off the traffic lights and let it work as it should.

MR A MORGAN, Stubsmead, Swindon

Well done and thanks

I READ many letters in your paper complaining or moaning about one thing or another but seldom do we write in and praise those that deserve it, so this letter is from all of us at Covingham that appreciate the hard work that is now being done by the parish council after they had to take over the cleaning and well being of our estate.

I can say that the difference in the last few months is nothing but astonishing, we all remember the long grass that stopped you seeing around the roundabouts last year, making it dangerous to drive.

I spoke to a couple of the workmen and thanked them for all their hard work, I think their names were John and Martin - well done to both of you.

But this is not just about the guys that strim the grass etc, it’s about the attitude of the parish council who I am sure did not want all this extra work but have taken it on board and made a great job of it.

Town councillors please take note, you can learn a lot from these people that give their time and energy freely.

Covingham looks better now than at any time I can remember in the last 35 years that I have lived here so on behalf of the the residents can I say a great big thank you to everyone involved?

If you would like to thank them yourself please go to their email address,


Need, not greed

The BBC should get a grip on the enormous salaries paid to presenters of both genders. They are an insult to the hard-pressed TV license payers. Why should a presenter be paid 10 times as much as a nurse, a police officer or a teacher? Little wonder the BBC and the presenters wanted to keep these rip-off salaries secret. Salaries should serve need, not greed and the BBC could lead the pressure for parity nationwide.

MAX NOTTINGHAM, St Faith’s Street, Lincoln