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In Honda’s wake

The Japanese are inscrutable (Defn: enigmatic, impossible to interpret, unreadable). Whatever real the truth surrounding Honda’s decision, the statement from the company announcing the closure of Swindon, was only ever designed to protect their brand.

It is of course inconceivable that Brexit and access to European markets did not, at least in part, play into this decision. Only weeks ago, it was a company that were offering the most dire warnings and planning to shut their plant in panic at the prospect of a March exit. Yet remarkably now the “B” word is that which dare not speak its name!

They are politicians and know full well that walking away from the UK is already going to hugely damage the Honda brand.

How much more stupid would they be then, to specifically alienate that half of the country, who actually sponsored this lunacy. In making such a declaration, they would bring down on themselves and the brand, a pile of bile, which would take a generation to dissipate.

If, instead of this uncertainty, chaos and confusion, Britain had been playing a pivotal role at the heart of Europe, would the Honda executives really have called back ships laden with infrastructure for electronic vehicle production destined for Swindon? The truth is none of us can really say.

Will I join the demonstration on Saturday? The answer is probably yes. I’ve marched in many demonstrations over the years, the most recent of which was anti-Trump in London, which made no real difference.

I don’t expect Saturday to either, but I feel duty bound to stand with people at Honda and their subcontractors, who sensibly voted for jobs and for economic prosperity at the heart of the European Union, and not unemployment.

The challenge now is to try to dissuade especially Toyota (who been very quiet), Nissan, Vauxhall (now French owned) and BMW, from following the Honda example, and JLR to limit its plans to the already announced migration to Slovakia.

John Stooke, Havisham Drive, Swindon

Are charges too steep?

I can understand why some traders may feel that the council’s £37 fee for a trader’s licence allied to a £40 charge from the organisers is too much to pay for having a stand at the Old Town Festival (SA March 16).

However, I’m not quite sure I would agree with Mr Walker-Loveridge that the fee is a rip off. What is a rip off are the exorbitant prices charged for food and drink by the stall holders and it’s little wonder that many visitors bring their own picnic.

With delicious irony Old Town Festival chairman Sarah Church states suggests that potential trade stalls are put off by the £37 licence, but perversely doesn’t think her own £40 is in any way a disincentive.

I wonder why Sarah thinks the council’s fee is a stumbling block whereas hers is not?

All parties have costs to bear – the traders, the organisers and the council. It seems perfectly reasonable that all three should have a mechanism to recover some, if not all of the costs they incur.

Des Morgan, Caraway Drive, Swindon

A thank you

Swindon Guide Dogs would like to thank everyone who attended our charity night at The Crown, Stratton on Monday 18th March.

Through your generosity we raised an amazing £1083.

Our thanks go to Danielle, Taniya, Emma and all the staff at The Crown for their hard work and tremendous support.

Alan Fletcher, Swindon Guide Dogs

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