Propagating a myth

I spent the recent bank holiday weekend at my partner's flat in Oakhurst, on returning from shopping and carrying several bags of groceries I was approached by a young man who was out canvassing for the Conservatives for the upcoming council by-election in the Priory Vale ward.

He asked if I would be voting Conservative in the above mentioned election( I didn't tell him that I don't live in the ward).

Proudly wearing my CND T-shirt I replied 'Why would someone wearing a CND T-shirt vote for a political party that spends hundreds of billions of pounds on nuclear weapons, but can't properly fund the NHS?

His reply was the usual clap trap 'Nuclear weapons act as a deterrent against our enemies eg, China, Russia and North Korea.

He then went on to talk about the success of the Covid vaccine rollout, of which he gave much credit to the Government.

I pointed out to him that the success of the rollout is due to the work done by the NHS and not the Government, so why is the Government trying to take the credit for it? He walked away saying that we all have different views on such issues.

Two questions I ask are why are the three mentioned countries seen as enemies of the UK and are they really going to launch a nuclear attack on us? And why do this government, its canvassers and its supporters continue to try and spread the myth that they should be credited for the vaccine rollout.

Sadly millions of people across the country have fallen for the myth, this resulting in the Tories doing so well in the recent local elections,

Martin Webb

Wellington St


Competition in charity sector

Emma Rawlings makes a valid point when bemoaning the loss of funding from Wiltshire Council for the 24 hour helpline service provided by Swindon Domestic Abuse Services. However this decision highlights the ‘competition’ that exists for funding in the charity sector. There is doubtless a case to be made to continue the funding for a helpline, but if there already are helpline services available (whoever provides it is really immaterial) surely the proper thing to do is for charities like SDAS to signpost their clients to them and not attempt to do everything themselves. Emma asks the question “Where can we point these women to?” and equally swiftly dismisses the magnificent efforts of the national Women’s Aid Helpline by suggesting “it often goes to voicemail.” I suspect that occurs because it’s a busy line, whereas the SDAS line is not as busy, a point identified by the Council.

The Survivor Pathway identifies a number of organisations which work to help and support victims of domestic abuse and include SPLITZ, Victim Support, Home Truths and The Nelson Trust plus many more – and they all make a claim on a finite sum of money.

The simple truth is that there are too many organisations chasing a limited amount of funding for doing pretty much the same sort of work. Maybe we need to refocus on core functions, perhaps SDAS needs to go back to doing what it was originally set up to do - provide a physical refuge for victims of domestic abuse – remember it used to be known simply as Swindon Women’s Refuge. How things have changed with the SDAS recently advertising for a Health Independent Domestic Violence Advocate on a salary of £22,500 per year. As its core function changed, so too has its need for ever more funding – in much the same way, people supporting charities have a much wider range of organisations to choose from.

Des Morgan

Caraway Drive

Dog theft promise

The violent attack to steal a dog in the peaceful Wiltshire ‎village of Luckington shows how fast this vile crime is growing. Fortunately the attacker was fought off and the pet saved.

When the Lib Dems launched our "keep our pets safe" campaign, Wiltshire Police said there were no instances of dog theft.

In response to the rapid growth of our campaign an Assistant Chief Constable was appointed to co-ordinate the Force's response. After months of the Liberal Democrat’s highlighting and battling the rise in dog theft‎ the Government has established a special task force. This is a great example of people (or should that be pet) power!

As a dog lover myself, I'm delighted that protecting mankind's best friend is finally being taken seriously. However, much more needs to be done to see the crime of attacking and kidnapping our much loved companions and family members punished accordingly. That means higher and more consistent sentences. As it stands stealing a pet is the same as stealing a wheelbarrow.

Swindon and Wiltshire residents deserve a Police and Crime Commissioner who acts on the things that matter to real people, like protecting all members of our families. If elected on 19 August, keeping you and the ones you love safe will be my priority.

Dr Brian Mathew

Liberal Democrat Candidate for Wiltshire and Swindon’s next Police and Crime Commissioner

& Wiltshire Councillor