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Learn the facts

Experience has taught me that the contents of political circulars should be treated with caution and scepticism. The latest to arrive through my letterbox proves it is wise to do so.

I recently received a copy of Wroughton Focus the “Local Lib Dem News from local campaigner Cllr Andy Spry and Cllr Ann Richards”. This newsletter informed us, “Local campaigner Andy Spry has been selected by Wroughton Parish Council as their newest Parish Councillor”.

Within this newsletter is the article “Andy calls for ACTION on Devizes Rd crossing flooding”. It says, “The pedestrian crossing by the Ellendune Centre on Devizes Road has been attracting flooding problems for too long. Cllr Andy Spry and the Lib Dems are adding their voice to others in the village who are demanding that Swindon Council finally takes action to solve this problem. Cllr Andy Spry said, ‘It makes no sense to have a crossing that cannot be used whenever it rains.’”

Accompanying this article is a photograph of the flooded crossing with Ellendune Community Centre in the immediate background.

Swindon Borough Council implemented this scheme but Cllr Spry is either ignorant of the full facts or is being economical with the truth.

As a newly appointed parish councillor he should know there are 15 councillors who meet on a regular basis at the Ellendune Community Centre. The parish offices are also situated within this building.

Before going to print, and making himself look like a opportunistic political point scoring man, I suggest newly appointed Coun Spry should have familiarised himself with some basic facts.

I refer him to the minutes of Wroughton Parish Council, Environment and Road Safety Committee held on December 7 2015. Item 454 Pedestrian Crossing - Devizes Road (Min.652 - 30.03.15) says, Councillors all supported the installation of the new zebra crossing. If he checks the list of those present he will see his Lib Dem colleague and co-newsletter presenter, Cllr Ann Richards, chaired this meeting.

It seems unbelievable that our local elected representatives, who meet on a regular basis adjacent to this flood prone section of road would choose to site a pedestrian crossing in such a stupid location.

I have yet to meet any local resident who believes the Devizes Road crossing is sited in an appropriate place. This costly and farcical folly proves our parish councillors have a dismal lack of local knowledge and requirements.

I believe the best policy is to scrutinise carefully any political leaflet and never take the “information” given at face value.

MR K KANE, Wharf Road, Wroughton

What makes us happy?

Happy new year - rolls off the tongue at this time of year doesn’t it? And I do believe that family, friends and colleagues genuinely mean it when they smile in your direction and say it.

If only it was as simple as that, what is happy? And how happy do we really need/want to be?

If we had to sit down and write down our top ten items that would make us happy in the coming year I would wager they would be almost identical to last year, the year before and the year before that, personal losses or tragedy aside we want the things that we like individually to make us happy.

If these lists could be analysed they would differ dramatically depending on your circumstances or where fate decided you would be born.

The fictitious “gap” we are reminded of constantly, the rich and the poor, the north and south divide, your “class”, your education, your age... the comparisons are endless. However my take on this is “the more you have the more you want” and until we introduce the words “content” and “satisfied” more into our society the gap will continue to widen.

I wonder if for just a year the contributors to this letters page, or every other line of communication system used in the country only submitted positive, happy, complimentary or humorous entries, would this lift our communities and give us all a positive outlook? I’d like to find out. By the way you can still be critical of the people who are employed or elected to run your town or country, but only in a positive or humorous way and we can only hope they reciprocate and listen to the consensus of opinion.

So my top ten is easy and pretty predictable for someone blessed and lucky enough by having good family, friends, enough to eat and a nice warm home.

Someone living on the streets in Swindon will have a completely different list. And someone living in fear in war torn areas with no food or water would swap with someone living on the streets of Swindon in a heartbeat.

Remember when sitting in A&E for hours that you have an A&E, when the tills at the supermarket have queues you have food in your trolley, and when it gets chilly you can turn the heating up. How many of the things we take for granted are on YOUR list of things that make you happy?

So Happy New Year to everyone, and I genuinely mean it, but if I have to read one more nah nah na nah nah letter or Brexit rant, beware.


Awful parenting skills

There’s been a big rise (30%) in children taken into care in Swindon according to latest statistics. I’m not surprised. It’s nothing to do with ‘better reporting’ or ‘increased awareness’ as everyone would have you believe. It’s to do with the awful parenting skills and sad lack of awareness and intelligence with today’s under 35s.

They’ve all grown up with mobile phones and social media 24/7. They all grew up pressing buttons and clicking mouses. They all think the world is fine as long as they have Wi-Fi. They concentrate their whole lives into a tiny window in front of themselves and as long as that tiny window is working they feel OK. With the whole world of knowledge at their fingertips they should have been the most well educated and intelligent human generations alive. Sadly this has not turned out to be the case. They have proved themselves to be the dimmest most selfish and negligent people ever. Many of them have no idea how to cope independently.

Where I live I am surrounded by awful fathers and awful mothers. All in their 20s. Arguing day and night as loud as possible whilst their small children listen and learn. Their idea of ‘parental responsibility’ extends to opening their window whilst smoking a joint (which we can all smell). Constant screaming rows. Endless visits from the police.

What they all have in common is that instead of concentrating on real life, they believe that getting a certain number of ‘likes’ or ‘shares’ is more important than actually checking if their baby needs a fresh nappy or if their child is hungry. Instead of bonding with their children or teaching the poor little things anything, they would rather waste their time on Twitter or Facebook looking for approval.

Children deserve much better but there is a distinct underclass of parents who see the cyber virtual world as more important than the real world.

Roger Lack, North Swindon

Hope for Harrison

Congratulations to the SA for its front page story (He can stay for now) and the editorial which accompanied it (19 December) which highlighted the possible deportation to South Africa of two-year-old Harrison Bendle. It is beyond belief that a much loved little boy is threatened with being taken and separated from his family.

Your story gives credence to my letter (A Cruel System 20 December) in which I wrote of the cruelty of the UK’s immigration system and its policies. Hopefully common sense and humanity will prevail and Harrison can live his life with his family in the UK.

MARTIN WEBB, Swindon Road, Swindon