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We can’t avoid tax rises

It comes as no surprise to discover that police commissioner Angus Macpherson’s consultation has resulted in a majority of the 2,320 people who participated, voting for a 13 per cent increase in the police precept of an average of £24 per annum. This amount may seem trivial in isolation, but when added to the almost certain rise in council tax by an average of £80 per annum, and the £20 per annum average increase in the parish precept, the figure fast approaches £124 per annum and for many it will be much more.

These are charges which residents cannot avoid and for which they cannot select a different service provider. In short the PCC, SBC and the PC holds all the ‘aces’.

Promises that services will be improved as a result of increased taxation are simply statements of an aspiration which history will confirm has no foundation in reality.

Still, we the residents will just pay up and re-elect the people who pick our pockets and spend our money even though we are dissatisfied with their performance.

Bear in mind that only 2,320 residents out of a population of 700,000 bothered to respond to Mr Macpherson’s consultation which might indicate that the vast majority took the view that their vote would have made no difference, worse that they view local politics with the same disdain as they do national politics.

Des Morgan, Caraway Drive, Swindon

Not Golden Days at all

It seems to be a common idea that the 1960s were a Golden Age, bought to an end by joining the EU; Steve Halden is certainly not the only believer (Letters, Mon Feb 4). Let’s look at a few facts (sorry if that bores you).

First, in 1960 we joined the European Free Trade Association, so if we leave the EU with no deal we are going back to the 50s not the 60s.

Second, the signs of industrial decline were clear in the 60s. The only British supersonic fighter aircraft, the Lightning, was developed in the 50s, and development of its replacement, the Jaguar, was begun in cooperation with French industry. Concorde followed as an Anglo-French project a few years later.

The age of the ocean liner was over and there were no new large ships to be built for the Royal Navy, heralding trouble for our shipbuilders. The car industry was struggling and the British manufacturers were merged to improve efficiency. The railway system was slashed by a minister with financial interests in road construction, heralding trouble for trainbuilders too. Increasing dependence on oil undermined our coal industry.

Third, the oil crisis of 1973 seems to have been forgotten. This was a large influence on our problems in the 70s.

All the fault of the EU? I think not.

Howard March, Tudor Crescent, Swindon

Prophesy was wrong

David Hampshire seems to think that Britain is heading for a disaster with regards to a no-deal Brexit.

However, it is incorrect to say that in 1911 a Russian Monk “prophesied that Britain would one day become so divided it would come to total ruin” as actually the prophesy, by Bishop Aristocoli, was that Germany would be divided in two, France will just be nothing, Italy will be judged by natural disasters and that Britain will lose her Empire and all her colonies and will come to almost total ruin, but a female monarch will be on the throne and Britain will be saved by praying women. I don’t think losing our Empire has anything to do with Brexit.

M. Archer, Badbury Park, Swindon

Show animals some love

This Valentine’s Day, be kind to your heart by ditching artery-clogging animal-derived products in favour of plant-based foods, which are cholesterol-free and low in saturated fat.

A wealth of scientific evidence backs up the benefits of eating vegan – including a University of Oxford study which found that those who don’t eat meat are a third less likely to develop heart disease.

Of course, Valentine’s Day is also the perfect time to extend a little love to animals by leaving them off our plates. PETA is offering free vegan starter kits – containing delicious recipes, tips on eating out, and more – to anyone wanting to make the switch. Go on: order one – you’ll love it!

Kind regards,

Jennifer White, PETA UK

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