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Money squandered

In 2014 I received a copy of Wroughton Parish Council autumn newsletter. It gave information on the new parish council office which said: “The parish council has completed the building work to the Ellendune Community Centre and moved back from the portacabin into their new office.

“There is a new welcoming counter and a much larger office to accommodate the staff, who were previously working from a very cramped office.

The chairman of the parish council said ‘This work has been in the planning for a number of years and it is good to see the extension finally completed.

“It will enable the parish council to provide a much better service to parishioners.’”

Last week I received the Wroughton Parish 2017 Summer Newsletter. It gave information on the Wroughton Library Update which said: “The parish council recently received confirmation that our bid to run the Wroughton Library (via a trust)had been successful.

Swindon Borough Council is now working on the plans to split the existing library in half to accommodate a pre-school and the parish council offices.

“We aim to have your brand new library service up and running by June 2018.”

This means, in less than four years the new building extension which took “years of planning” to give “parishioners a much better service” and office staff a more spacious working environment will no longer be required by the parish council.

Swindon Borough Council is constantly pleading poverty and reminding us that austerity has had a serious impact on its ability to deliver services.

They have used this as an excuse to dump some of their former responsibilities on to inept parish councils.

This policy is already proving to have adverse financial implications for tax payers.

Extravagance doesn’t matter when you have the ability to squander other people’s money.

Parish councils are proving to be an expanding level of expensive bureaucracy.

Over the last three years the Wroughton Parish Council tax precept has increased by 30 per cent. In the last financial year it increased by an unbelievable 16.4 per cent.

Could a representative from Wroughton Parish Council tell us how much the three-year-old Ellendune extension cost tax payers and why this much needed and long awaited facility will no longer be required after being in service for just four years?

I suggest prudent residents need to be careful when electing parish councillors or they may find themselves represented by money wasting buffoons.

K KANE, Wharf Road, Wroughton

Adverts are to blame

WE ARE told that many children have mental health problems, and yet the British people are unwilling to pay sufficient taxes to attempt to help our own children in a matter which is completely life-changing in every single case.

That gives you some small indication of how worthless are the society and politics which we accept.

We are a ‘low tax economy’, without any intelligent intention to examine the priority, how much tax is essential, to solve broken lives. What price a child’s mind?

But all of us already believe that, at least some of these mental health problems, such as the eating disorders of teenage girls, are the direct result of the millions of pounds which we all choose to pay to the monstrous advertising industry.

This is only one tiny indicator of the many evils in our society, which ordinary parents are content to see inflicted upon their own children.

It is not enough to condemn tycoons like Sir Martin Sorrel, CEO of a large advertising agency, who is paid £46m a year for his contribution to society. How much tax does a Tory Government take to undo the harm he has done?

The blame must lie with every Tory voter who accepts free market economics, without any effective regulation over industries, and there are many, which knowingly and deliberately damage the minds of our children.

Advertising Regulation in Britain is an evil abuse of responsibility.

What kind of society have we created, spending billions to distort the thinking of our own children, to addictions such as gambling and alcohol in later life?

What kind of citizens are we, who have no intention to do anything about it, to safeguard the minds of our children?

CN WESTERMAN, Meadow Rise, Brynna, Mid Glam

Here’s what’s wrong

Martin and Mark Webb, who I have met several times and I think they are friends I could get on with, although they have a different outlook on life to me, ask, ‘what’s wrong with Swindon?’ Where do you start?

The town is heading towards a council debt of about £300m by April next year, the interest on that is in the region of £10m a year.

And this, remember, is a council that can’t afford items like child care centres, grass cutting, and the rest.

It is charging every household in Swindon a precept payment of £25.45 as year, for the ‘non parish area payment’, and yes, we now do not have any non parish areas in town, since they chucked out all the responsibilities that they had towards running this town.

Someone, due to bad management, is walking the town or otherwise, with £400,000 in their pockets, thanks to the wi-fi fiasco - and I’ll let you figure out what they have spent in total on that.

Take a walk around the bus station area, it’s like a Third World State. And notice the bus station hasn’t seen a lick of paint since it was built.

I’m sure many people will tell you that I was against the Iraq war, the way the Armed Services were treated out there and back in the UK was, and still is, a disgrace.

On the day that Blair announced the Iraq war, he was asked in the Commons by a Lib Dem MP what would happen if he didn’t find any WMDs. He replied: “Wait and see.”

I won’t even ask who killed Dr Kelly.

The current lot seem to think our defence can be maintained by two carriers and the rest of the Armed Services can be scrapped.

As for Blair and Bush being put on trial, like looks after like.

Finally, did any of those anti-war protests achieve anything? No, only bus fares to London.

T REYNOLDS, Wheeler Avenue, Swindon

Tories live up to name

THE other evening I found myself embroiled in a discussion regarding my views on the political main parties of our land, and the conversation suddenly turned to as to why Conservatives have always been referred to as being Tories.

I did not know the answer to this and neither did any of my friends that I was speaking with and so I told them I would try to find out the origins of such a peculiar terminology, and how its use came about.

Evidently the word Tory came in to normal usage during the so- called ‘exclusion crisis’ of 1679-81 and was used by Wigs or Liberals as they became to be known, who wished to disinherit themselves from the presumptive Catholic heir apparent of the British Throne of the day.

It then became a derogatory term word. ‘Tory’ was a derivation from an Irish word ‘Toraidhe’ which was a title given to a pursuer, robber, outlaw or general brigand.

It would seem that the Conservative Party was proud of the word and above all its anti-Catholic connotations and thus decided to adopt the word ‘Tory’ despite its notorious and derogatory meaning.

Finally, it would seem that, judging by the way the current Tory administration behaves, robbing the disabled, the poor, and the disadvantaged in our land so as to funnel the proceeds to the already wealthy then I would suggest that the modern day ‘highwayman’ like connotations are not far wide of the mark.

With the Budget not far away now should we all expect yet another tax give away from Hammond to the wealthy, at the expense of the poor and destitute? Watch this space.

GA WOODWARD, Nelson Street, Swindon

A wasted time

This week Swindon Borough Council planning committee met to consider two housing developments – both rejected by Local Neighbourhood Plans.

I worked on the Highworth Neighbourhood Plan with other town councillors. Highworth residents approved the plan. Swindon Borough Council approved the plan.

The Government has encouraged us to do a plan, saying local people should have more say about their town’s future development.

Now we realise the time and money has all been a waste of time. The Government has said our borough council has not met its local housing quota and therefore any offer of development should be accepted.

The borough council is not entirely to blame for this, as builders tend to hold the biggest purse and the potential building land.

The Government must give local councils the authority to make builders construct the houses they have planned rather than leaving swathes of land sitting waiting for them to act.

This would speed up the process for frustrated councils and be far better than using councils’ lack of house building as an excuse to ignore our Neighbourhood Plans.

The Government has betrayed us by ignoring our Neighbourhood Plans, which unpaid councillors have spent years working on - Wroughton, Croft and Highworth so far.

Shame on a Government which raised our expectations and then dashed them without any sensible consideration.


Politics out of touch

IT IS often claimed that our elected politicians are out of touch with the opinions of their constituents.

The referendum on June 23, 2016 illustrated by its result the truth of this accusation.

Our politics might improve if referenda were used more frequently for issues such as the death penalty for child abduction and murder, and the validity of the reasons for the climate change Act passed at the time of the Blair regime.

Also the efficacy for our public health of the smoking ban; not to mention whether whether Foreign Aid is affordable for this country and how effective the alleged benefits of it are to the recipients.

China has shown the world the best way to develop a primarily peasant economy into a leading, if not the leading industrial power by implementing a one child policy for 40 years.

NOEL GARDNER, Carlisle Avenue, Swindon

Lions laid these eggs

British eggs have finally been declared salmonella free which reminds me of a funny story: Several years ago when my son was almost three, we were in Asda doing our shopping when he came running up to me saying “dad, dad, can we buy some lions’ eggs?”

He took me over to the eggs and pointed to the red Lion Mark printed on them convinced that an actual lion had laid them.

He’s eight now and we still laugh about it.