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Fantastic for Swindon

When hundreds of people at last Saturday’s Swindon parkrun in Lydiard Park were asked, ‘Are any of you running the Swindon Half Marathon?’ a forest of hands went up.

The buzz was palpable.

For next Sunday’s Half Marathon to be run through the streets of Swindon is brilliant. It’s a real celebration for the town, as it is for many of us who live and work here, and like to run.

And brilliant too is the fact that organisers, sponsors, and helpers have taken on the Half Marathon, committed themselves to it, and that so many people have signed up to run.

To anyone who still doubts the good things we can do in Swindon, let’s hope that, after next Sunday, we’ll be able to say, with apologies to Ralph McTell, ‘Let me take you by the hand and run you through the streets of Swindon, I’ll show you something that will make you change your mind.’

Already, with the excitement it’s generated and the promise of music and entertainment for everyone along the way, the Half Marathon feels like another fabulous festival for Swindon!

MATT HOLLAND, Swindon Festival of Literature, Lower Shaw Farm, West Swindon

Safe and sound

As an Approved Driving Instructor, I find myself looking forward to taking my students over the recently updated Greenbridge Roundabout.

The lights give every direction a chance to progress rather than having one or two directions holding an advantage over the others.

Even at busy periods there are no long queues that were previously the case when it was a circular “Racetrack,” and attempting to take novice drivers on to it was precarious.

Your recent correspondent M. Ryan describes it as a “Nightmare,” presumably because he or she can no longer cross the junction at the high speeds previously inflicted on others.

Can I suggest to drivers that if they wish to go ahead from Oxford Road towards the Town Centre, simply use the left lanes instead of the right, in order to avoid being held up by traffic going into the Retail Park? It is a mistaken belief that the right lane is the “Fast Lane.”

And whilst I welcome the lady Australian tourist, Helen Haywood, to our town, it is my earnest hope that she visits an optician on her return home.

Her turning into Penzance Drive, for which she was quite rightly fined, is covered in warning signs and the road is painted red with the words “Bus Lane” as big as a bus! I am wording a warning email to the Tasmanian Police right now.

NEIL MAW, Covingham

Sunday peace ruined

Is it just me?

Sunday, a wonderful day, plenty of sunshine, but not too hot so people started to complain about the heat.

A day to sit out in one’s garden and enjoy the last throes of a wonderful English summer.

Plenty of blooms still out and others still coming. What a wonderful day.

But was it possible to enjoy it to the full?

No, clowns out cutting the lawn on Sunday afternoon. Sunday, so the Bible tells, us is a day of rest.

Now I believe I am reasonable - I don’t mind people mowing the lawn in the morning.

But Sunday afternoon? That is beyond the pale!

So as I said at the start of this missive, is it only me that gets upset with this idea?

DAVID COLLINS, Blake Crescent, Swindon

Not in national interest

Steve Halden’s letter (Adver: Monday 24th August) says his “interests are what is good for British people”. There follows a sequence of fact free assumptions which are supposed to back the notion that nationalism is a good thing.

For example his critique of the Labour Party says they “take a global view and not what is good for Britain”. I’m not a Labour party member but even if Steve’s comment was true (it isn’t) some might argue that a global perspective is “good for Britain”.

He says “more nationalism would have avoided Britain being dragged into the unnecessary First World War.” No, Britain was in that war because the state felt the need to preserve all the privileges of the empire against a Germany which wanted a piece of the action, a share in the plunder.

Nationalist hysterics first recruited the cannon fodder and an internationalist rebellion largely brought the bloodshed to an end.

Steve’s separation of nationalism from the UK’s disastrous Middle East interventions also makes no sense. He closes with a farcical reference to the Battle of Hastings - 1066 was long before anything like modern nationalism even existed.

But my real objection is in Steve’s conception of “national interest.” The minority of very rich Britons who run our society have nothing in common with the mass of people who live here. There is no common interest.

The austerity which they support means their total wealth has soared while wages have been cut.

The “national interest” defined by the rich is something the mass of people get worse off for. The “national interest” has long been a slogan against social progress and every social and economic advance has been won when working people have put class interest first.

PETER SMITH, Woodside Avenue, Swindon

A criminal act

HOW can you describe what those little animals who pushed a flat bed trolley in front of the lady motorcyclist as being a “prank”? Look at a dictionary definition of what a “prank” is.

What they did was criminal, but some tree hugging magistrate will smack their botties and say it’s due to a deprived childhood.

GEORGE HERBERT, Stanton Fitzwarren

They deserve better

I WAS very touched by your sad front page story (28 Aug) that six year old Louie was rejected by the three schools near to his home in Redhouse, Swindon.

He was eventually offered a school place three miles away even though his mother has difficulty in walking, having been medically retired from the RAF after 15 years’ service. It is a sad state of affairs that we do not look after our military veterans.

It is the easiest thing is the world to build lots of houses. The expensive part is providing schools, hospitals and public services for those houses.

This is where Swindon has run into trouble. Swindon does not have the money to provide all the public services required for the houses that have been build all around Swindon.

Diana Wall and her six-year-old son Louie deserve better treatment from Swindon Borough Council.

TERRY HAYWARD, Burnham Road, Swindon

The role of NATO

A BRIEF point of clarification following my recent letter about Europol (25 Aug) and the response from Des Morgan (28 Aug).

The role of NATO in the maintenance of peace in Europe is designed to deter external aggressors, particularly our former Cold War adversaries while that conflict existed, and more recently other external threats to national security.

The internal peace in Europe, specifically in Western Europe, has been guaranteed by the European Union’s political impact, not NATO.

NATO’s role in counter-terrorism (the subject of the original letters regarding the attack in Barcelona) is upstream. We tackle threats abroad, not at home, using NATO troops and funding, while a significant role for Europol and our integrated efforts with other governments and police forces is to prevent domestic terrorism, both homegrown and coming from abroad.

As I pointed out, to negotiate Brexit without this at the forefront of our minds would be short-sighted.

MAJOR (RETD) SARAH CHURCH, Manor Close, Shrivenham