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It’s a ghost town

After reading the article about the Skywalkers shop in Faringdon Road closing after 25 years, may I add to the words of the owner Luke Kaye regarding footfall in the town centre? I had to go into the town centre midweek regarding an issue with my bank recently - I have passed more people on a winter’s day blizzard walking my dog in the Cairngorms than I did walking up Regent Street.

A national newspaper on its financial pages on 31st of October stated the following facts. Swindon Borough Council received a government grant of £314,300 to help out small businesses. There were certain criteria to be met, but the bottom line was councils had total freedom on how to spend the cash as long as it went to reducing business rates.

Out of the £314,300 grant Swindon only spent £58,000 - then gave the government back £256,300.

The question arises that surely with the closure of so many small traders in the town centre, that quarter of a million pounds could have saved some of them from losing their businesses and help to bring more people into the town centre. Or am I missing something with that simple equation.

I have an open mind on this matter at the moment as perhaps the council had a genuine reason for this action. Remember there are two sides to every story. Perhaps the council could give us that reason on these pages and clear the matter up with the council tax payers who pay their wages and pensions.

Bill Williams, Merlin Way, Covingham, Swindon

United States of hate

What is happening in the USA? Under the current administration the country seems to be going down a path in which fear and hatred is being whipped up by a President who it would appear is allowed to tell complete lies with impunity. He appears to be dividing the country as never before.

In the past week alone we’ve seen unhinged people emboldened by the President’s words send pipe bombs to over a dozen leading democrats, all of whom the President had specifically demonized, and 11 innocent worshipers killed because they were affiliated to the Jewish aid charity HIAS.

The President has boasted about cutting aid to foreign countries. Now the administration is claiming migrants making their way to the USA on foot from Central America are criminals and disease ridden.

This is exactly how the Nazi propaganda machine fed fear and mistrust to the German public regarding Jews in the1930s, they were classed as vermin. The haunting spectre of right wing nationalism appears to be on the rise in the US under this current administration like never before. It’s up to the good people of America to shine a light on it, and expose it for it’s true ugliness.

In the upcoming mid-term elections, Americans have a chance to reject it.

Tom Horwat, Upavon Court, Penhill, Swindon

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