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What’s to be proud of?

RE MARK Anthony Pritchard’s sarcastic attack on Graham Carter’s column which indicated the latter’s view of how some of the world’s key problems are at least partly the fault of middle aged rich white men.

As it happens, I think Graham’s view misses the key question of social class. The problems Graham points to stem from the naked pursuit of wealth by a tiny minority of the population.

But Mr Pritchard has taken umbrage because he thinks Graham is undermining patriotism. He complains that “people feel no pride, patriotism or sense of belonging ...” Ludicrously Mr Pritchard thinks this is why the “country is in a mess”.

No; the country is in a mess because successive governments have pursued policies designed entirely to make the rich richer at the expense of the rest of us.

That aside I wonder what the patriotic Mr Pritchard wants us to be particularly proud of?

Would it be the Opium Wars, where Britain as the world’s biggest ever drug dealer destroyed Chinese cities to force the trade.

Maybe it’s the destruction of India, which was transformed by Britain from being one of the world’s richest and most industrialised countries to one of the poorest, characterised by poverty and death.

Could it be the efficiency with which masses of documents recording the torture and murder of people in “the colonies” were destroyed?

There is a long list to choose from. Maybe it’s the way advances in living conditions in the UK lag behind those of other advanced countries.

Perhaps Mr Pritchard could also explain what the point is anyway of being proud of being born somewhere. It is the one thing about our lives we have absolutely no say in.

PETER SMITH, Woodside Avenue, Swindon

Care trust stalwart

IN YOUR obituary of Peter Jones (SA, October 13), no mention was made of the good work he did for the White Horse Care Trust, a charity set up just over 25 years ago, to care for people with learning disabilities who, originally, were being discharged from hospitals like Burderop and Pewsey.

They would move to live in smaller ‘homes’ that would be more like an ‘ordinary home’ and so, give them a better, less institutionalised, life.

More recently the residents have come from their family homes, often when elderly parents are no longer able to look after them.

He was the trust’s original chairman and served on the board of trustees until he was no longer able to do so due to his ill health.

His work is greatly valued by the present trustees and staff of the WHCT.

MALCOLM MORRISON, Prospect Hill, Swindon

A tribute to Peter

MAY I add to the tributes to that fine gentleman Peter Jones. I played bowls with Peter many years ago. I also met him on numerous occasions at charitable events.

I love opera, inherited from my mother’s genes but I am from a working class background and proud of it. The nearest I would get to a live performance is as remote as Swindon Borough Council reducing council tax.

On one occasion at a venue in Swindon to celebrate the anniversary of our Queen’s Diamond Jubilee The Swindon Opera Society performed under Peter’s jurisdiction .

We were privileged to watch the opera, The Pirates of Penzance. I have never enjoyed myself and laughed so much in the last 20 years of my life.

I last met Peter about six months ago. Although looking very frail he was his usual smiling, friendly persona.

May I say to all his family, you are not alone in your grief regarding the loss of this great man.

BILL WILLIAMS, Merlin Way, Covingham, Swindon

Figures and facts

The figures quoted by Mr Smith in relation to child poverty are such I wonder if he obtained them from the same source that the Labour leader quoted from at Prime Minister’s Questions, when he asked the Government what they were going to do about the 650 people who due to the Universal Credit have been evicted from their houses in Gloucester.

A reality check on the Thursday morning revealed that the figure was in fact only eight and that they were in a large amount of debt even before they got Universal Credit. So he needs to check his source.

He passes off the demonstration with the banners and the shouting of guillotine as just banter, I wonder if it was reversed, what he would say?

Perhaps he can say if, like his leader, he supports the IRA.

He mentions Grenfell Tower. I wonder what he thinks of the number of people living there who have been confirmed as illegal immigrants, and also getting the payouts that others got.

I never left my sofa to argue against the Iraq war, as such demonstrations are pointless, as was proved by those who took part in the march on that day.

Blair had signed up to that war, and nothing anybody did would have changed that for sure.

Finally, a post on Twitter said that Mr McDonnell had reported that when in government, his Party would cut the personal tax allowance from £11,600 down to £4,500. Would he welcome that?

T REYNOLDS, Wheeler Avenue, Swindon

Open to prejudice

HEALTHCARE professionals will be told to ask all patients over the age of 16 about their sexual orientation to ensure ‘no patient is discriminated against’.

Surely the current system of NOT asking people such a personal question already achieves that aim.

As soon as someone’s sexuality is on record somewhere it instantly leaves them open to prejudice from those with religious or personal objections to certain groups.

Even doctors and nurses have their own beliefs, despite being supposedly professional and impartial. What is happening to this country?