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Proud of our town

Without denying our town has its problems, and I have been as vocal as most in questioning our council, to label it a Third-World slum sums up nothing that I know about the place I call home.

In my opinion this rural town nestling in the stunning countryside of sleepy Wiltshire could not be further from being destroyed by mass immigration than any other thriving place. If I were on a political agenda I could conjure up all sorts of positives or negatives to back my leaning, as all levels of politicians frequently do. However, to take the town Martin Costello was born and brought up in to task makes me think he really doesn’t know the place at all. Yes we have many diverse areas of our town - tell me which town hasn’t? - but although some are a little run down we have none that could be labelled a slum.

If you removed all of the people who have relocated into Swindon over the last 30 years (regardless of where they came from) this place would be a sad and sorry place.

Does Mr Costello really believe that all of the national and international businesses based in Swindon would be able to man all available positions without an influx of people of all levels choosing to relocate to our town?

Things can always be better and our expectations are always higher but challenge the people who run our town and work to make it so, don’t make headline grabbing statements that bring the place down.

I do hope Mr Costello is not in need of any of the immigrants he refers to in the future, but there is no doubt he will.

I for one embrace everyone that contributes to make this town work and make it a place where people relocate to and stay for life.


We’re too top heavy

It looks as though we may have another referendum on whether we leave or remain in the European Union.

I’m one of the over 65s that voted for Brexit. I’m still to be convinced staying in would be a good thing, but I’m not inflexible and only want what’s best for my country.

This £350 million a week we pay to the EU which was said to be a deceitful claim made by Boris Johnson is now estimated to be somewhere in the region of £250 million. I think Jean-Claude Junker let the cat out of the bag when it was reported in The Times if Britain leaves he warned the other EU’s remaining 27 countries that they will have to pay increased contributions to fill the shortfall of 18 billion euros.

Interestingly, net contributors Austria, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and Finland have refused to pay more. It was reported France and Germany are reluctant to increase their share too. Surely that’s to Britain’s advantage in the ongoing trade negotiations.

If we leave without an agreement and none of the other EU’s 27 countries, in spite of appeals, are unwilling to pay more, would the European Commission be forced to consider another country to take our place? Turkey?

Britain’s economy has dropped to sixth place being leapfrogged by France even though we have a bigger GDP. India’s economy is expected to overtake Britain and France in 2019.

How can a country which was gifted with vast amounts of oil and gas in their waters be in this position? Because we have too many at the top feathering their own nests and couldn’t care two hoots about the working class. All this about wealth at the top will eventually trickle down is the real deceit.

WILLIAM ABRAHAM, Rodbourne, Swindon

Who betrayed who?

Tony Mayer’s betrayal barometer must have broken under decades of pressure from a Labour Party previously barely distinguishable from the Tories. He has been a member for 40 years and was a councillor in the 1990s but now feels betrayed by Jeremy Corbyn. Let’s look at the real betrayals Tony missed.

He will have become a councillor around the time Thatcher decided to soak working people through the poll tax. Despite verbal opposition Labour’s leaders and councils everywhere betrayed the revolt against the poll tax, desperately trying to make it work. Obviously, Tony was OK with that.

He was a member under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, and was okay with Blair lying to drag the UK into George Bush’s oil war, which torched the Middle East, something the world is still paying for. He was fine with Blair’s policy of enthusiastically following Thatcher’s policies of privatisation of public services, (PFI, PPP and the rest). OK when Carillion’s boots slid under the desk at GWH. No problem for Tony with Blair and Brown’s increasingly authoritarian and scapegoating social policies or their continuation of what Blair boasted were amongst the developed world’s most draconian anti-union laws.

Corbyn has a proud record of opposing such betrayals but Tony Mayer will now leave because he can’t stand Corbyn respecting the EU referendum result. He also seems to think we should uncritically praise the EU ignoring features like the stability and growth pact which seeks to force Governments to follow right wing “business-friendly” polices. Labour still needs to overcome the conservatism of its machine and work to support the struggles of ordinary people against austerity, privatisation, war and racism. Whether such struggles succeed will depend on enough working people getting involved in them however they voted in the referendum.

PETER SMITH, Woodside Avenue, Swindon

They were life savers

I AM writing to express my sincere thanks to the ambulance staff and Great Western Hospital emergency staff for saving my life on New Year’s Eve, after I suffered a stroke at a friend’s house. Also to everyone who looked after me on Falcon Ward, also those on Forest Ward, and SWICC for their constant care and attention, which was much appreciated by me and my family.

I am pleased to say I am now home, with no long-term effects due to the prompt attention I received.

JOYCE WALKLETT, Wharf Road, Wroughton