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Banks caused crash

I’m sure we all agree with Steve Halden about the importance of promoting British manufacturing and exports, (We must help the young, Adver November 25), especially with Brexit looming.

However, he goes on to say the economic crash of 2008 was because Labour over-invested in the public services and neglected manufacturing industry. This is nonsense. The crash was worldwide.

It was caused by unsustainable bank lending, with the first signs of trouble coming from the American fund managers BNP Paribas on August 9, 2007. In the UK Northern Rock ran into trouble barely a month later and was nationalised by Labour in February, 2008. Thereafter many banks either went under or had to be rescued not only in the UK but in America and elsewhere.

Trouble rumbled on until October, 2008, when the three largest Iceland banks collapsed. Gordon Brown then rather cleverly stretched the powers of our anti-terrorism laws to justify freezing the Iceland banks’ assets in the UK, thus saving as much as he could for the UK investors. At the same time he was pouring money into RBS, Lloyds TSB, HBOS and others to keep them afloat.

Britain wasn’t the only country to suffer. The USA lost a quarter of a million jobs in October, 2008, alone and I don’t think their guys blamed the British Labour government for that. There was a huge slump in our manufacturing output between 2006 and 2008 because demand for UK products simply melted away. Our index of manufacturing output stood at 110 in November, 2006, and even ten years later had only slowly crept back up to 105.

The real worry is that many commentators believe regulation of the banks is still too weak and it will probably all happen again.

DON REEVE, Horder Mews ,Old Town

NHS needs funding

The Chancellor has promised £2.8bn for our NHS over four years.

However, this is not additional funding in the sense that it is not above what is required and doesn’t account for seven years of historic underfunding. According to esteemed organisations such as The King’s Fund, £4bn is what is required next year alone in order to keep pace with demand.

The £10bn that has been assigned for capital investment is a vehicle to dismantle our NHS by facilitating the process of Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships and the sale of NHS land as outlined by the Naylor report. This will not go on frontline patient care.

It is also very disappointing that no extra funding has been allocated for social care, the demise of which has a huge impact on the budget of the National Health Service.

The immediate injection of £350 million for the NHS this winter is welcome, but it will not stretch far and comes very late. It remains to be seen whether this amount will be sufficient to avoid what last winter the Red Cross called “a humanitarian crisis”.

This government needs to take NHS funding much more seriously and spend more money in the right places if it genuinely wants to retain a publicly provided service, open to all and free at the point of use. This is not going to be achieved on the basis of this offering.

SAMANTHA WATHEN, Chair of Keep Our NHS Public, Swindon

Sacrificing our troops

John Crook writes “you will never stop wars, there will always be the bully states that need standing up to”.

I don’t agree that a world without wars is impossible but leaving that aside, Mr Crook’s comment evades the question of British militarism. Should young men and women be sacrificed in the interests of the British state when it, for example, joins up with the US to “bully” less armed states and grab control of their resources?

This greedy thirst for profit has been behind just about every British military incursion through history. There have been something like 29 military engagements since 1945 where service personnel were killed in countries they were not invited to and were not wanted in.

Our rulers have no regard for those sacrificed just as they have no regard for the victims of aggression or indeed for the mass of working people at home. Official remembrance spectacles studiously avoid this question.

Interestingly, ministry of defence figures show that now almost no military personnel are killed through hostile action. In 2014 and again in 2016 no military personnel were killed by hostile actions. This low death rate should be a cause for celebration.

But for Britain’s militarists it is a cause for concern. They are worried that public opinion now makes it harder to send troops for sacrifice in military adventures.

PETER SMITH, Woodside Avenue, Swindon

My views on war

I simply cannot let Peter Smith to get away with his outrageous paraphrasing of comments taken from a previous letter. Not because paraphrasing isn’t an acceptable literary technique, it is, but when he attempts to use it to suggest (1.) I am perpetuating a Conservative mindset and (2.) I advocate war and its attendant slaughter, I must object.

What I wrote was “that unfortunately war and conflict exists for many reasons and over millennia philosophers and wise men have sought to understand and explain the rationale which sees people fighting each other for territory, wealth and yes, security”.

It really is difficult to imagine how Peter has managed to extract a political viewpoint from that statement and even less to garner the opinion that ‘my philosophy’ is “when the war drums beat we should all pack up our troubles, wave the flag and let slaughter commence”.

Peter mentions oil – I didn’t.

I did mention how that “Patient years of ‘peace building’ has not stopped civil war in Africa, conflict in the Middle East and nor will it until the mindset of the protagonists changes. For some people the concept of violent altercation to achieve their ends is so embedded in their psyche that I suspect no amount of ‘attempting to understand them’ will achieve much in terms of peace.” Peter somehow manages to take a statement of a self-evident truth and twist it into an attack on Britain’s role in various conflicts.

I am sure he is right that the UK should not have involved itself in Iraq, Syria and Libya (I would also include Afghanistan) and I would go further and argue that our contribution has done nothing to reduce the problems of those countries and absolutely nothing to reduce the threat of terrorism in this country.

DES MORGAN, Caraway Drive, Swindon

Remember the military

Mr Smith tried to impress me with his rants about British military history. In my letter I never referred to Russia or Hitler. If Mr Smith calls himself a “True Brit” then I do not want my name to be uttered in the same breath!

Along with millions of others, I wore my poppy to remember men, woman and children who have died in conflicts past and present as well as the military.

I have special thoughts for those of my generation, people who themselves are perhaps nearing the end of their earthly lives, whose memories are of a mum who after receiving a telegram drawing her children to her and fighting back the tears tell them that “daddy has been killed in action”. At least my father came back and we had years with him.

I do not know if you did National Service Mr Smith, but what a pity that the nation called an end to it!

I spent two years at the RAPC Training Centre, there were times when a cocky know-it-all arrived but they soon came down to earth, after a few weeks of getting out of bed before 05.30 hrs, spit and polish every night, endless drill on the square or drill shed along with five-mile route marches.

If they did not, they were shunned by the members of the barrack room, then their lives became hell. One thing that you were taught in the forces was being part of a unit and looking after one another.

Reading your letters, Mr Smith, it seems that you think yourself as an authority on all subjects and this country is not good enough for you.

May I suggest that you “up sticks” and go to another country, perhaps North Korea; there you can criticise it leaders and military to your heart’s content – well, for a week anyway.

JH OLIVER, Brooklands Avenue, Swindon

Aggressive minorities

Can we stop tiny aggressive minority groups from forcing their views onto policies in local, national and even international politics?

A few people hate gender. A few people hate sexual stereotypes. A few people hate boxing. A few people hate fox hunting. Yet many of these groups willingly intimidate and repeatedly threaten those who happen to be in the massive majority of the population whilst claiming to be compassionate and loving.

They claim to be humanitarians yet will threaten and hurt other humans in pursuit of their cause. Hunt saboteurs will hurt horses and riders on false hunts yet claim to be victims of retaliation whilst they are hooded and masked and try to grab the reins of horses. Try grabbing the steering wheel of a car or lorry whilst hooded and see what the law says.

It’s plain that most groups who want to impose their pro-animal views on society are very left-wing and support violence against other humans to achieve their aims. The law needs to accept this and stop being so weak against them. And for the record regarding boxing – more horse riders die in five years than have ever died in boxing. Want to ban horse riding?

I could continue about left-wing politics forever but I would be shouted down and probably eventually threatened by those kind-hearted animal-lovers from the Left.


Housing cost crisis

On many occasions I have raised concern that the young generation are struggling to afford the very high rents and house prices in Britain today.

But the situation is actually far worse than I had suspected because the problem is not over even when couples eventually get onto the property ladder.

Having bought or rented a property, the affordability problem continues as families struggle to keep up with rent and repayments.

It was bad management by the three major parties over the last 50 years that has created the problem of high housing costs.

It has forced one in five families to stay childless with a greater number finding that they can only afford to have one child. The working class in Britain is slowly being wiped by high housing costs.

The three major parties must all take their share of responsibility for this terrible housing crisis. The British working class have been sold down the river on housing.

STEVE HALDEN, Beaufort Green, Swindon

Worries over plan

I read in the Advertiser that there are 2,380 new homes to be built at Gablecross and beyond. There is a lot of planning involved – applications include a local centre for retail and restaurants, two primary schools and leisure facilities.

What I would like to know is where are the medical facilities for this great complex, as I am sure this will involve people from other parts of the country moving there?

Where are they going to get a doctor or a dentist, none of which has been mentioned?

I really hope these have been brought into the planning but these seem to be taking second place as usual.

CAROLE GLEED, Proud Close, Purton