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Crackers bring joy

Two reports in the Adver in recent days have deeply saddened me.

Firstly, the confirmed closure of Morrisons supermarket in Regent Circus. It is a splendid store with plenty of good stock at reasonable prices and helpful, friendly staff.

I have also always like its cafe which with the wooden tables, displays of colourful teapots and wall and screen cafe motifs reminded me of the old style country town teashops of which I have happy boyhood memories, please of course, the excellent food , especially the beautiful porridge.

Critics say it was a bad location, but its situation out of the crowded town centre actually gave it a tranquil ambience which I found appealing. It must also have provided a useful grocery service to residents of the local streets, especially the elderly and disabled sparing them treks into town.

I cannot comprehend why they have to close it in November. If they stayed open until the end of the year then they could have provided a final Christmas service to customers and made more money before they shut.

I would appeal to Morrisons even at this eleventh hour to defer closure until Christmas is over and to give their shoppers and staff a last festive time.

Secondly, I was saddened by the interview with the eco militant on October 10 condemning Christmas crackers as pointless, particularly by the comment that plastic gifts in them are discarded.

Next to the Christmas stocking and general presents I found it so exciting to pull crackers to find out what they contained, laugh at the silly jokes and try to work out the riddles. I treasured my little cracker gifts and have kept many them: lovely rings (no need for jewellery and little puzzles.

On my bedside stand a little naked pixie with a mane of pink hair and a cowboy, gun drawn, with an arrow through his heart.

It was through them I first heard of Hong Kong since the toys carried the name of origin. Perhaps if crackers and their contents were made recyclable this fun Christmas tradition could be preserved.

Robert Murray, Ridge Nether Moor

All change for rail trips

I am writing in response to the news that there are going to be great changes to the railway timetable on December 15 and the comment by Councillor Penny that “this will be beneficial for everyone in and around Swindon.” (Swindon Advertiser October 9)

Whilst this is no doubt good news for commuters and people travelling to London it is certainly not good news for all.

I have been travelling from Swindon to Paignton (day return) very frequently for many years.

After December 15, instead of catching a train at 8.24 and arriving in Paignton after one change at 10.59, I will have to catch a train at 7.59 and after two changes will arrive in Paignton at 11.24.

So, an extra change and an extra hour travel time! On top of that my fare will increase by £8! This is not an improvement for me.

I am horrified to think that some journeys will be so badly impacted by what is supposed to be such a great improvement.

I am sure that there are many other people disappointed by this radical timetable change.

P Nayar (Mrs), St Helens View, Okus

Populism is a weapon

Hermann Goering said at the Nuremburg Trials in 1946, “Peoples can always be brought to the bidding of their leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, then denounce pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country”

We have just seen a textbook demonstration of this from snake oil salesman turned Prime Minister, Boris de Pfeffel Johnson.

Backroom guru, Dominic Cummings came up with two expressions, ‘over the line’ and let’s get this thing done, with a huge rising emphasis on done.

The instructions quickly went out to Tory press owners, Tory MPs, and Tory foot soldiers to get these expressions into every single conversation, interview, headline, article or discussion, as many times as possible.

Almost immediately neutral commentators were using this expression in interviews. Pretty soon the unbiased populace in vox pops were mouthing the same slogan as if their very life depended on it. Europeans in Brussels were joining the bandwagon in pigeon English, as was our great friend in the White House.

What’s good about these words? They smack of success, over the line, a rugby try, a positive outcome. Get something done, successfully completed, achieved, satisfaction.

Even both our local MPs (SA, October 24) cravenly repeat the mantra in their article “let’s get Brexit done!” Against all odds and all common sense, driven by the right wing press, this strategy has pretty much paid off.

Remember, anything that unites Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Harmsworth family, the Barclay twins, Rupert Murdoch, Richard Desmond, Nigel Farage and Donald Trump, is very unlikely to be in the best interests of the ordinary British working person. This mega-rich establishment clique, egged on by a right wing agenda, is now in the ascendancy. Of course decent thinking people would never, ever, have been asked to re-confirm their opinion. ‘One vote once’ is the stock-in-trade of despots the world over.

It was all very clever. The attack Goering describes was coming from hordes of immigrants destined for the UK (60 million Turks coming over the horizon), even though we have always had control of immigration from the rest of the world which has been four times higher than from Europe. The patriotism element, was stoked up with words like Surrender Act, traitors and the constant reference to unelected bureaucrats. Populism, deliberately re-enforced with jingoism, is a potent weapon in clever hands, and that’s exactly what we’ve had.

We are now to have an election which will almost certainly seal Johnson and the Tories in power, possibly for a generation.

And where is Her Majesty’s loyal opposition? Momentum thought they could take over the grassroots of the Labour Party and achieve change. As most sensible people realise, this will never happen. What they have done is ensured the Tories will inflict their damaging philosophy, unchallenged, throughout our nation, for many years to come.

I expect in the long term, the country to disown these extremes, return to the sensible middle England viewpoint and see through the patronising manipulation of the unscrupulous Johnson, but then sadly it will be all too late.

John Stooke, Haydon End

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