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Inaccurate points

I would like to point out a couple of small but important inaccuracies in Justin Tomlinson’s column this week (September 29).

Firstly, he stated that Labour “admitted if they came to power it would trigger a run on the pound and near market collapse”.

In fact, John McDonnell simply revealed that Labour have a plan in place for this unlikely scenario, which is a very different statement. It’s sensible for a party with a strong chance of gaining power to have made plans for a range of eventualities.

Secondly, he stated that John McDonnell “called for a female Minister to be lynched”, which is again inaccurate. McDonnell was reporting what was apparently said at a meeting he attended.

I agree it is a highly offensive statement and McDonnell was unwise to even repeat it, but to claim that he “called for” it himself is simply not true. I’m sure Justin would be unhappy if his own words were misrepresented in such a way by a fellow MP with whom he might one day need to undertake “constructive, positive cross party work”.

I agree with Justin that “Abuse, threats and intimidation… have no place in our democracy.” It is a growing problem across the whole political spectrum, from the ‘Hang the Tories’ banner in Manchester this week, to young Tories talking about using “chavs” as “substitutes for animals when testing”, to the vicious attacks on Diane Abbott (who incidentally urged people to respect BBC reporter Laura Kuenssberg at the Labour conference).

In addressing this problem, it’s essential that MPs are willing to recognise that it is happening on all sides, including their own, otherwise they could easily be accused of using it as an opportunity to play party politics.

NEIL MERCER, Maidstone Road, Swindon

Angry at MP column

It is very rare that I write to the Advertiser. Every week I am tempted to respond to Justin Tomlinson’s column as he has a habit of writing exaggerations with no questions asked but today (29th Sept) his column is beyond belief.

He talks about national debt and how Labour borrow money. In 2010 when the Tories came to power the national debt was approximately £800 billion. It is now over £1.9 trillion. Where has this money gone? It certainly hasn’t gone to the poor and disabled in this country nor the NHS, armed forces and police. It has been used to lower corporation tax, bankers bonuses etc.

He also says that Laura Kuenssberg had to have a bodyguard at the Labour party conference. Not true – this was a report in the Sun newspaper that has been proved to be false, as well as talking about anti-Semitics and holocaust deniers at the Labour party, again a made-up story that he is repeating.

As for demonstrators who support Corbyn saying they will go to the Tory conference and spit at the delegates? This is downright ludicrous.

Lastly he talks about how successful he was about payday loans — wasn’t this the committee he was part of where he got caught out giving draft details to one of the companies being investigated and was subsequently barred from Parliament for two days?

I do find it disappointing that he is allowed to write these inaccuracies without being held to account.

D MULLEY, via email

Labour offers more

Having read Justin Tomlinsin’s column dated 29th September I must say he sound like a politician who is in panic mode! Not only the same old rhetoric but now scare tactics.

His column reads like something from the Daily Mail or Express. The electorate needs to ask why can’t we have what Labour are promising.

Don’t dismiss them as the current government would want you to. Approach your Labour representatives and ask them to engage in quality conversations and you may surprised and persuaded – or you may not. But at least you will have taken the time to listen to what is on offer.

KEVIN MITCHELL, Northfields, Calne

Who’d live here now?

It is with a great sadness in my heart that I write these words regarding my adopted town of residence of 47 years. I do not go into the town centre unless absolutely necessary.

I had to go in for a watch repair so I parked my car near the Courts of Justice – they could have fooled me on a better day. Regarding soft sentences, it will soon be community service for murder – I am not jesting on that one.

After paying my parking car fee I walked my Westie who always accompanies me towards the jewellers in question in Havelock Street. I thought, after paying £1.20, after leaving the jewellers I might as well walk around the town centre and justify the expense.

In Havelock Square there were many youths of both sexes drinking out of cans, the contents I have no idea of. I walked around the town centre and was getting fed up counting the closed shops. I then headed towards Fleet street after walking past Debenhams, where a large rat crossed our path at the toilets and disappeared into the car park – saved by my Westies leash in restraint.

My point? If I had encountered this scenario 47 years ago, with all due respect to the old Swindon, I fear I would have settled somewhere else rather in the present Swindon.

What image does this give to young talented parents with families who intend to move to Swindon regarding future employment and a better life? Council Grand Poobahs and Swindon MPs. I await your replies on these pages with anticipation of grave doubt regarding there being any.

BILL WILLIAMS, Merlin Way, Covingham, Swindon

Show was worthwhile

We believe that Wiltshire Council should congratulate our Chief Constable Mike Veale and the staff of our Police Force in co-operating with Channel Four’s reality television programme “999 - What’s Your Emergency?”

We recognise that the programme reflects the many challenging and ‎difficult situations that our front-line Police Officers face, and we thank them and all our Police Force’s support staff for their courage, professionalism and dedication in keeping the people of Wiltshire safe and secure.

Why did the Tories at County hall make such a fuss? Was it because they felt some of the comments made during the programmes pointed out some of Wiltshire Council’s shortcomings? If so, good! If a programme does this in the public eye, so much the better. Every organisation can always do better and should strive to do better. This is part of the nature of being human – as John Cleese pointed out in his 1980’s management film “The Importance of Mistakes”, we need to continually learn from our mistakes. It is only totalitarian governments that don’t and this is why they all eventually fall.

At the Neighbourhood Watch meeting held this weekend in Chippenham all of those who were present and had seen the series responded to a straw poll, that it was a success and should have been shown. The problems shown in the programme are similar to those faced across the country and being informed of what goes on is no bad thing and a good way of informing the public of the challenges our brave police, ambulance and fire personnel contend with every day.

We appreciate the passion that Chief Constable Mike Veale showed in his statement to the Police and Crime Panel and we stand right beside him.

DR BRIAN MATHEW, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for North Wiltshire &Unitary Councillor for Box and Colerne

ROSS HENNING, Liberal Democrat Unitary Councillor for Lowden & Rowden

(Both members of the Wiltshire Police and Crime Panel)

Importance of Wrens

By 1917 the Royal Navy was faced with a deteriorating manpower situation. The only option was for women to fulfil some of the shore jobs and on 29 November 1917 the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS) came into service.

It was not long before the members of the WRNS became known as “Wrens” with ratings often affectionately referred to as “Jenny Wrens”. The WRNS motto was “Never at Sea” as the initial intention had been to employ Wrens in domestic or clerical jobs, but the Wrens soon found themselves taking on many more unusual jobs, including sail-making, driving, maintaining aircraft. At the end of the war the Admiralty decided to disband the service.

In 1939 with war clouds looming, the Admiralty acknowledged that WRNS should be re-instated, again with the aim of “Free a Man for the Fleet”. New roles included radio operator and boat’s crew.

In 1949 it was announced that the WRNS would be permanently established, becoming an integral part of the Royal Navy but with its own discipline code.

As time went on it was recognised that the service needed to change with the times and the first wrens went to sea in 1990 and in 1993 the WRNS was disbanded with women becoming fully integrated into the Royal Navy. Now women command ships, fly helicopters and sail in submarines.

The Swindon Branch of the Association of Wrens welcomes any former wrens and serving or retired RN women – for details email

CHRISTINE SENIOR, Hon Secretary, Address supplied