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Hopeful outlook

I CONGRATULATE Fred Quinn who hopes to graduate with a degree in engineering in June 2019 (SA 8Dec). He will then enter the wonderful world of work and if he is in possession of an engineering degree he should do well and prosper.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that qualified engineers are sought after and I hope he is successful in his search for a job; I am absolutely delighted that he intends to make a positive contribution to the UK economy by first seeking employment in his home town and if not then the UK.

Fred should not make the error of conflating a decision to leave the political construct of the EU (Brexit) with any future decision by the EU to restrict UK students from participating in the ERASMUS programme. The criteria for participation already includes a number of non-EU countries, amongst them Macedonia, Iceland, Norway and Turkey.

In addition there are a number of Partner Countries (non-EU) who have conditional access to the ERASMUS programme. Should UK students be excluded from the ERASMUS or other student initiatives, Fred should be in no doubt that this will be a decision made by Brussels and not London.

I wonder where his classmates garnered their information on whether or not EU institutions and organisations in Europe would ‘favour’ British students. In my experience ‘cream always rises to the top’ and organisations seek out the brightest and the best irrespective of their place of birth or residence.

The EU is not famed for being an organisation which appoints or rewards on the basis of merit, indeed one has only to consider the number of failed and rejected politicians occupying positions of power and authority to prove the point. However, it would be churlish, but not unexpected, if the gauleiters in Brussels did decide to discriminate against students from the EU, but I sense that commercial interests will prevail and opportunities will still exist.

DES MORGAN, Caraway Drive, Swindon

Boredom and lies

Bill Williams (EA letters 4th December 2017) states that he is bored to tears with reading letters about Brexit.

I am also rather fed up with reading letters about Brexit, particularly when they are full of disinformation and deceit about the EU as is the letter by Alan Spencer, also published on the 4th December.

In his letter, Mr Spencer makes a number of claims about the EU that have little if anything to do with reality. For example, Mr Spencer’s first claim is that the UK was taken into the EU on the basis of a lie, ie the EU was only about a trade agreement. In reality, it is Mr Spencer’s claim that is the lie as campaign leaflets from the time clearly show that the EEC was always about more than just trade. Indeed, this was a common lie told by the Leave Campaign in the run up to the referendum.

The rest of Mr Spencer’s letter is no better with equally dishonest statements relating to several issues such as the EU being run by unelected bureaucrats when it is run by democratically elected minsters from member states and democratically elected MEPs, the EU being a superstate when it is not, never has been and possibly never will be, and that the referendum result was democratic when it was based upon a pack of lies told by the Leave Campaign.

Indeed, Dominic Cummings, a director of the Leave Campaign, has subsequently admitted the Leave Campaign lied and that they would never have won without those lies.

May I therefore suggest to Bill Williams that the answer to his boredom lies with himself and his colleagues in the Leave Campaign who should admit their dishonesty, and as a consequence of that dishonesty, agree to the referendum result being annulled.

ADAM POOLE, Savill Crescent, Wroughton

The real comparision

Re “The Perfect Comparison” (Terry Hayward Saturday). He believes Britain’s manufacturing base was destroyed because Britain joined the EU. I am not a fan of the EU but it is demonstrably true that the relative decline in Britain’s manufacturing base long precedes Britain’s EU membership. One factor was that owners of British industry didn’t feel any need to match the investment of competitors because they had become accustomed to depending on loot from the Empire.

Mr Hayward’s comments on Zimbabwe are closer to reality but still wrong in two respects. Mr Reynolds is right that Robert Mugabe described himself sometimes as a Marxist but Mugabe never attempted or intended workers’ power in Zimbabwe. The Financial times reports, “Although in the early days after independence the Mugabe government was theoretically committed to Marxism-Leninism, it never paid more than lip service to the concept”.

This is important to realise now in terms of a way forward for ordinary people because although Mr Hayward writes, “Zimbabwe is celebrating being free of Mugabe”, the new rulers of Zimbabwe include butchers who crushed all resistance in the past. (Much of that resistance, incidentally, came on the streets against Mugabe’s attempts to cut living conditions at the behest of international capitalist policemen like the IMF and the World Bank). This perhaps is the real “perfect comparison”. Only working people fighting for their own interests, against those of the elites, in the UK, US, EU, Zimbabwe and everywhere else, can win real justice.

PETER SMITH, Woodside Avenue, Swindon

Give us a smile

I CANNOT understand that regular writers to these pages are obsessed by one upmanship - who said what, I said this, you said that. I am bored to tears with this nonsense. Full Brexit, very dear to my heart for my country, is now out of my hands. The next chance I will get is at the ballot box. Watch this space on that one.

May I make a firm challenge to all the regular writers to these pages, as the festive season approaches to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, that you all show that you have a sense of humour?

I will make the first attempt in humour. Hopefully you all may follow. A teacher asks her class “If a man lost his wallet with all his money, what would you call the perpetrator?” A young child calls out, “His wife.” Come on ladies, a smile please.

BILL WILLIAMS, Merlin Way, Covingham, Swindon

From the heart

As a Professor of Congenital Heart Surgery and Consultant in Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University of Bristol, I see first-hand how devastating it is for thousands of families who have a child living with congenital heart disease.

Each year around 4,000 children in the UK are diagnosed with a congenital heart defect and it remains the UK’s most common birth defect, but sadly an estimated 400 of those children won’t survive until school age.

There are many children with congenital heart disease who face a future of repeated surgeries and many whose hearts have become vulnerable to damage due to hours of being on the operating table. This shouldn’t be the case. Through my research, I am trying to improve surgical techniques and find a way to stop the hearts of babies and children becoming damaged during heart surgery.

Without funding from the BHF, made possible only thanks to your incredible support, my team and I couldn’t continue our vital work. That’s why I am supporting the BHF’s Christmas Appeal, which aims to raise £750,000 towards research into heart disease.

We urgently we need to find new ways to increase survival rates and improve the quality of life of children with congenital heart disease. I’m willing to do whatever it takes to ensure children get the start in life they deserve and I am encouraging everyone to donate whatever they can to the BHF this Christmas.

For more information, visit

PROFESSOR MASSIMO CAPUTO, Professor of Congenital Heart Surgery and Consultant in Cardiothoracic Surgery, University of Bristol