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It’s a hamster wheel

Over the years of writing letters to the SA, I have on many occasions banged on about potholes and how they are being fixed.

In the (SA, July 18) councillor Maureen Penny said that 7,592 potholes had been fixed last year and that “sometimes it’s a quick fix” but stopped short of telling us how many of those repairs was in act a temporary repair and how many where in fact a permanent repair to HAUC (Highway Authorities and Utilities Committee) specification.

Using a deferred tarmac in a bag will last a matter of days in poor weather conditions and then it’s inspected by one of the highway technicians. He puts a report in saying ‘such and such pothole we temped up last week has failed again, arrange a gang with another bag of deferred tarmac to fix it’. Out goes the gang, opens up the bag, pours it in said pothole, stamps it down with his/her size seven and wanders off whistling a happy tune, only for the rain to come down.

Hey presto, the following week out goes the highways technician and, yes, you guessed it, the hamster wheel keeps revolving.

The poor conditions on our roads have been caused not just by the present party in power but going back 10-20 years to other parties in power, caused by poor management.

It seems to me to be a totally bury-heads-in-the-sand attitude. The way things are you fix one pothole and five more appear.

Why can you not take the way the Spanish go about repairing roads? They have no potholes, each region has over the years had a rolling total, street by street refurbishment of the whole road.

In essence most areas have 500 miles of roads so over a five-year programme, they divide it and completely plane off the road and re-lay it. They work all year round on the programme – year one, then back there in year six. It’s simple.

John L Crook, Haydon Wick, Swindon

Countries left in a mess

David Collins (SA, July 19) writes that Britain can do better from without the European Union and to prove his point he uses as an example that undoubtedly great engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

I don’t know if Mr Collins is aware of this but,ironically, Brunel was the son of an immigrant from France, a present-day EU country.

He goes on to decry the demise of the British empire, an institution as evil as the the third reich, Stalin’s Russia or Mao’s China.

The British empire started in the east coast of North America, where the native population were wiped out in a deliberate genocide. It then established itself in Africa where it started the Atlantic slave trade which destroyed the civilisations in Benin and Zimbabwe.

It invented concentration camps in South Africa, where it imprisoned thousands of farmers wives and children and permitted thousands of them to die. It still used concentration camps in the 1950s, where it imprisoned thousands of Kenyans and tortured a great many of them.

It moved on to India and after a series of brutal wars it ruled it for 100 years and during that time allowed millions to die in famines and even more during the partition during independence.

How could I have forgotten Ireland, which was taken over in the 13th century and suffered brutal repression right up until 1916, was stripped of all its riches by absentee landlords and in 1840 a million Irish people were allowed to die in the potato famine?

Why do people from those countries want to come to the Disunited Kingdom?

Not because we are the mother country. No, it is because we left those countries in a mess, both economically and politically, both made worse by climate chaos and as the British empire made them learn to speak English we are a natural destination.

Stephen Thompson, Norman Road, Swindon

Affront to democracy

Who the devil does Boris Johnson think he is? The reincarnation of the Tyrant Charles 1st? Or perhaps Hitler?

Any plans to suspend parliament are an affront to our democracy.

We need a general election.

Jeff Adams, Bloomsbury, Swindon

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