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Civilisation is in decline

History tells us that every empire and its associated civilisation rises, peaks and falls to an abyss of strife and mayhem.

It is my belief that our modern civilisation has already passed its peak and is beginning the slide towards a new dark age.

The very criteria which underline civility, the law of the land and collective care for the well-being of the populace, are being undermined by politicians who are ignoring the historical reasons for their existence.

The provision of public toilets came about during the Victorian era as a means to ameliorate the spread of diseases such as cholera and typhus.

Our politicians today see them as just an unnecessary expense, as these diseases have largely been eradicated.

Yet we find that antibiotics are becoming less effective. Hand washing and disinfectants are now common in all of our medical centres to help stop the spread of the so-called superbugs.

We haven’t quite got to the point where people find themselves routinely required to defecate or urinate in the streets (although the latter is common enough after the late night town centre pubs throw out) but that point may yet be reached. Disease will surely follow.

An overstretched police force has become a reactive entity rather than a preventative one. More and more law-breaking deeds are becoming un-policed. See cycling on footpaths. The police do not enforce it and so it becomes increasingly common.

I have for some time observed the youth of my area riding their cycles with no regards to the law.

Now I see that some of them are starting to move up to motorcycles with the same disregard.

Very soon they will be in cars and bringing their own brand of mayhem to our already dangerous roads.

It now seems that the simple possession of cannabis is not considered a significant offence yet it is surely just one step on the way to drug dependency.

Users move on to the harder Class A drugs which are readily available on the streets and in the bars of Swindon.

Let go the small crimes and you soon have bigger ones.

As the bigger crimes increase in number, so they get swept under the carpet of the Police And Crime Commissioner as he says he has to concentrate his available forces on what really matters, i.e. what really matters to him.

I have read in the Advertiser of so many court cases where the defence council laid the blame for a crime on drink or drugs affecting the “otherwise good nature” of their client. This should be taken as a further offence.

Deliberately debilitating your senses is an excuse not a reason. The sooner the judiciary start to see this and deal with it, the sooner this excuse will fall into disuse.

These people need to be aware of what is and what is not acceptable behaviour, in order to be a member of our civilisation.

I fear however that it is too late. The decline has started and I see no means for it to be stopped.

JAMES CROTON, Derwent Drive, Stratton, Swindon

Reform won by fighting

STEVE Halden wrote that I believe wanting to provide homes and jobs is like supporting smallpox.

I, of course, said no such thing and Steve has once again demonstrated he lacks the capacity to follow a simple argument.

My original (actual) point is worth repeating. We will never win the reforms needed, and never did, by working class people bowing down before what our rulers tell us is our national interest.

Every reform, I listed a few before, has been won when the resistance to those reforms from the elite rich, has been broken by the struggles, or threat of struggles, of ordinary people - one part of “the nation” against the other.

Incidentally, it is a bit rich for a UKIP spokesperson to claim he wants to help the young when his Party repeatedly insisted it would help George Osborne pass an even worse austerity budget.

PETER SMITH, Woodside Avenue, Swindon

Tories are to blame

IN YOUR article about police funding (Crime fighting gets councillors riled up), Coun Russell Holland accuses the Labour Party of not knowing where money comes from.

He goes on to say: “We must never forget that it is Labour’s toxic legacy of debt which now means as a country we spend more money on debt interest than we do on public order and safety.”

I have just downloaded the Government debt statistics from the official website. The true figures are £1,031.4bn. debt in May, 2010, when the Tory/Lib.Dem. coalition Government came to power, rising to £1,755.3bn. In September, 2017, an increase of just over 70 per cent in seven years.

Either Coun Holland simply doesn’t know what’s going on in Whitehall or he’s deliberately setting out to peddle false news.

Whichever it is, he and his Party colleagues here in Swindon have a similar track record, having racked up huge debts since they took control of the borough council.

DON REEVE, Horder Mews, Old Town, Swindon

Look into tax havens

FOR years a cloak of secrecy has surrounded the affairs of tax havens around the world.

However, it has always plagued our minds more significantly in times of austerity.

Similar to a firework, on 5th November that secrecy was blown away by the release of the Paradise Papers.

Somehow 13 million documents relating to offshore investments were taken from a law firm and leaked to a German newspaper.

The Paradise Papers have confirmed our beliefs that some of the biggest companies in the world are using tax havens to reduce their tax bills.

Many of the tax havens named in these papers are autonomous British Overseas Territories, including Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.

And $10 trillion dollars is the amount of money that is hidden away.

The British law is being used to avoid corporation tax and income tax that is due to be paid in Britain.

It is hard to understand why Britain created this crazy situation when we are one of the main countries to suffer from this aggressive tax avoidance.

In Britain our public services, such as the NHS, are very short of money and it is very annoying to find that some of our most profitable well known companies have found ways to pay almost nothing in corporation tax in Britain - I urge people to boycott these.

HMRC must pool its resources into chasing these large sums of money owed rather than chasing the white van man trying to scrape a living.

MARTIN COSTELLO, Eldene, Swindon

The war saved us all

PETER Smith seems to denounce all British history as a disgrace, not once praising our efforts to overcome enemy advances.

Not one country can say that they have never committed acts that they are now ashamed of.

Along with people of my age who lived through the war, millions of us had fathers who were serving in the forces.

We saw men and women fighting to save lives and buildings following bombing raids on our cities and towns.

Ground crews worked 24 hours a day repairing and getting fighter planes ready to take off against enemy planes.

They were flown by young men hardly out of school, knowing full well that their chance of staying alive was very slim, such was their courage.

Our forces in 1944 reached the launch pads of V2s at St Omar with just weeks to spare otherwise the rockets could have destroyed some of our towns within days.

If it wasn’t for just these two actions alone we would not be crossing letters today Mr Smith.

As to Mr Webb’s assertion that wearing a red poppy is now more about war than remembrance, sorry but that is not true.

Mr Chamberlain held a piece of paper and said “I have an agreement with Hitler: Peace in our time.” While he was making this statement Hitler was amassing troops on Poland’s boundary.

Tell Peace to the children of European Jews, perhaps concentration camps will be the answer.

JH OLIVER, Brooklands Avenue, Swindon

Improve this benefit

I WAS interested in your article (7th Nov) that said that the new Universal Credit system was causing people to be evicted from their homes and increasing the problem of homelessness.

There is an old saying: “If it’s not broke don’t fix it”. The old system worked much better.

There are two ways to improve the system. Firstly housing benefit should be paid to the landlord directly, as was the case previously and which worked perfectly well.

Secondly, payments should be made weekly. If you are on a tight budget it is much easier to manage with weekly payments.

These would cost nothing to implement and would save a lot of hardship for the working class.

TERRY HAYWARD, Burnham Road, Swindon