Welfare is under attack

The national leader of the Liberal Democrats has said his political party has prevented the United Kingdom coalition government from making swathing cuts to the nation’s welfare system.

The local Conservative-led Swindon Borough Council intends to limit council tax support for all (Swindon Advertiser, December 18), which will no doubt affect mostly those who are already on their uppers.

That is in line with a Government policy backed nationally by the Liberal Democrats and because much of the council’s funds are being diverted to pay for such ‘needy’ projects as yet another multi-storey car park – this time on the Union Square site in the Eastcott ward in the town centre.

Also in the Eastcott electoral ‘stronghold’ of the Liberal Democrats, and just over the road from the car park monstrosity that is being erected, the local Jobcentre Plus civil servants in Spring Gardens House make people waiting for their benefits stand outside on up to five occasions each weekday, whatever the weather. This demonstrates at best a callous treatment of human beings, notwithstanding that many, or most of them, will have suffered job loss and humiliation already, on account of Liberal Democrat-supported Conservative policies.

How do these things demonstrate that their party’s policies are in any way defending the welfare system?

They show that nationally and locally the Liberal Democrats’ actions demonstrate Nick Clegg’s assertions about defending poor people are vacuous drivel. Some, no doubt of a critical nature, might have harsher words and call them downright lies.

Geraint Day Southampton Street Swindon

Judge for yourself

For quite some time when reading about the outcome of court cases in Swindon, I have been amazed and disgusted at the leniency of the judges. I noticed Judge Euan Ambrose’s name occurred often and mostly his leniency was shocking.

Swindon police do a good job in very difficult circumstances, but their efforts are wasted once our judges get involved. Judge Ambrose is ineffective in crime deterrence, but without doubt Judge Douglas Field is the worst.

Judge Field is out of touch with society. I ask that readers make a mental note of this judge’s performance in coming weeks and I am confident they will understand my views. I checked Judge Fields’ name online and saw there is a blog specifically about him and his judgements.

We elect our government, council and police commissioner, but any efforts they make to make the streets safer are thwarted by unelected judges.

Steve Surridge Haywain Close Swindon

Tories must reach out

I OFFER my congratulations to David Cameron on sticking to his convictions and introducing draft legislation to allow gay marriage, and rightly offering safeguards to protect the Church of England in this matter.

As the church’s view is that such a union should only be between a man and a woman, to have forced the church to carry out these ceremonies, or allowed the church to be open to legal challenge would have been unacceptable. There will be those who say it is not right that gay couples should not be allowed to marry in church, but divorcées are still not permitted to remarry in church, so I see no discriminations if it conflicts with the teachings of the church.

For me, the most disappointing thing about this proposal is the reaction of the Conservative MPs. Nearly half have said they will not support the bill, and it is likely it will only succeed due to support from Labour and Lib/Dem MPs.

Yet again Mr Cameron has been fouled by his own party as he tries to drag it screaming and shouting into the 21st century.

One of his MPs complained that the bill was not supported by their core supporters. It would seem that this MP, along with many other backward facing Conservatives, have learned nothing from the Republican party defeat in the USA, or Labour’s 18 years in the wilderness, that you must reach out beyond your core vote.

Tony Blair did so successfully, upsetting many party members on the way, who still voted Labour when the time came.

Mr Cameron understands this very well and unless his grassroots party starts doing so, they will not only lose the next General Election, but maybe the one after that.

Robert Barnard Rodbourne Road Swindon

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