I got married in the 1950s at the age of 25. My wife was several years younger.
Our names were on the council housing list but there was nearly four years to wait. In the meantime we saved hard to try and buy a house.
There was a minimum ten per cent deposit in those days. Also, mortgages were restricted to two-and-a-half times the husband's annual earnings absolute maximum and the wife's earnings didn’t count at all. What’s more, it was proven earnings, none of this self-certification nonsense!
In less than three years we managed to buy a shabby, run-down cottage. Money was tight, particularly when the children came along and my wife had to resign her job. In those days it was almost unheard of for mothers of young children to go out to work.
Still, with overtime and some moonlighting we ran an old car and managed a fortnight at the seaside each year.
We didn't go abroad, few people did, and there were restrictions on how much money you could take out of the country.
Currency restrictions applied to companies as well. They couldn’t simply move their capital around the world as they wished. So they couldn’t really move the jobs either.
I remember our first black and white TV. How we marvelled at Tommorow's World.
Through it I learned that during my lifetime technical innovation would bring such riches that the average man need only work thee and a half days a week to house and support a wife and family.
So what happened to the promised heritage of my children and grandchildren? Where has all the money gone?
Well, the Apple Corporation has $76 bn, which is more than the US Government. General Electric has $80 bn, Toyota $50 bn, Google $33 bn, EDF $22 bn, and so on.
Together, the top 50 global corporations are hanging on to more than one trillion dollars.
With no exchange controls, all this cash can swill around the world in search of the most benign tax regime. Meanwhile, most couples in the UK both work full time and the average age at which they get their first home has risen to 35.
Fortunately, I was a bit too young to fight in the 1939 - 1945 war, but I imagine that those poor devils that did, in the belief that they were fighting for a better world, must be turning in their graves.
Don Reeve Okus Road, Swindon
Groups’ vital role
In a recent Swindon Advertiser article members of the Eastcott Community Council, with the support of local councillors, has suggested that it may cease if the community does not show support.
Unfortunately, residents’ associations across Swindon have been marginalised by political participation that can only serve to alienate a large section of the community from participating.
Of the four Eastcott residents’ associations, two are chaired by councillors, one is regularly promoted in conjunction with the local councillors and the fourth has managed to remain neutral.
Unless Swindon residents’ associations can detach themselves from the local councillors, or any political body for that matter, they will not be taken seriously by those disillusioned by the political process or by those who are not supporters of that particular Party.
A resident’s association must have, and be seen to have, unfettered universal public access in order to gain the trust of the local community.
It is right that councillors and council officers should attend residents’ association meetings, but they should not be setting the agenda, hold positions on the committee or attempt to hijack the meeting for their own ends.
Furthermore, these meetings should not be seen as an opportunity for political self-promotion, information gathering for political leaflet drops or a substitute for councillor surgeries, as seems to be the case.
It must be a priority for all residents associations to evolve constitutionally in order to ensure that they throw off political ties in order to gain broader acceptance and support.
Residents’ associations should not measure their success against attendance numbers.
Lower numbers may suggest that the local residents are relatively content or are able to resolve issues through other channels.
It is more important for the residents’ associations to be accessible and ready to act should a local issue arise.
A prime example would be the Croft Area Residents’ Association, whose attendance at their last meeting exceeded 150 due to the issue of the proposed sighting of the new school.
I wish the Eastcott Community Council well and hope it continues to represent the local community.
Chris Watts Dunsford Close Eastcott Labour Party
Stephanie Giles (Letters “Animals need aid”, Thursday, Aug 25) while demanding tolerance for Mr Beaven’s views, appears blissfully unaware of the gross intolerance shown by animal rights activists towards those who believe that research involving animals continues to contribute to medical progress – providing it is carefully and meticulously regulated, and providing it is the only way of solving important questions.
When my late wife was in the Radcliffe Infirmary, in Oxford, I had opportunity to talk to an eminent doctor who told me of the despicable activities of animal rights activists directed towards him and members of his family.
While my wife and other patients were fighting for their lives under the dedicated care of these doctors and nurses, a raucous demonstration of animal rights protesters was taking place just a few hundred yards down the road.
And, just for the record: I’m not pro-hunting (despite my name) I abhor it, but having been born in the countryside I know that nature will mercilessly restore the balance in the absence of land management.
Animal cruelty I find inexplicable. I’ve known people who have bought dogs, only to lock them up in their sheds once Christmas is over.
Worse still, those who abandon their pets at motorway service stations.
When my wife was alive, every waif and stray came tapping on our cat flap.
I know more cats in my local neighbourhood than humans.
We CAN accommodate all wildlife, it is not necessary to run an animal down on the road. People, especially children, need the sanctity of life instilled in them, of the vital importance of insects, of preserving our marine environment. There are concerted efforts being made to achieve this.
No, I will not deny that I’m unable to reconcile myself to non human primate involvement in medical research. Their use in laboratory experiments, especially in the USA and China, makes the stomach churn.
Philip Beaven and I are not so far apart as he would think.
One of us needs to widen our terms of reference. We are simply talking past each other.
John P Hunter Kerry Close, Shaw, Swindon
Shame on you
To the five or six people waiting for the number 1 bus at 9.19am in Sudeley Way, Grange Park on Friday,August 26.
My daughter was waiting for a bus to go to hospital when she began to feel unwell.
She partially fainted and fell to the floor. Everyone at the bus stop totally ignored my daughter, one man even looked at her, tutted then turned away!
My daughter managed to fumble in her bag for her mobile to ring me for help.
When the bus arrived my daughter was still on the floor as these people walked past her to get on the bus!
What an appalling lack of compassion shown to another human being.
I hope that you all feel deeply ashamed of yourselves and hope that if any of you are unfortunate enough to fall ill in public that you will receive the same treatment.
S Povey Grange Park Swindon
Regarding cycling on pavements being monitored, I consider this to be a very good idea.
Leaving aside the issue of safety for walkers maybe more bikes being on the main roads, could, in a cynical way, be a good thing as it could slow down all the car traffic M G Jones Alveston Close Westlea Swindon