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No appreciation

I wonder how many of our wonderful volunteers, selling poppies for the British Legion - who in turn help veterans like myself and all the others - get so much as a cup of tea from the Asda they are in?

I went to my local Asda today here in Swindon, it’s a huge Asda- Walmart and open 24hrs. Anyway there was an older gentleman veteran selling poppies and he was wrapped up in a hat and scarf against the cold of the entrance.

I got chatting and found out he has been selling poppies for over 59 years and has been selling them in that store since it opened. I asked if they were keeping him warm with cups of tea and I was told that he didn’t get a thing! When the store first opened the manager gave the sellers a card to get free hot drinks and something to eat from their cafe, but a new manager took over and that kindness stopped.

They don’t get so much as a single cup of tea, so I went to the cafe in store and asked if they would donate a cup of tea for the poppy seller and was told no. After pushing a bit more the cafe manager went to customer services who finally gave a £1 voucher towards a cup of tea. I still had to pay the other 20p. The money doesn’t come into it, I would have brought him a cup of tea if they had said no.

But here is this big American company - and give the Americans their due, they do show great appreciation to their veterans, always thanking them for their service and really backing them - and their store over here can’t even provide the veterans selling poppies a few cups of tea or coffee so they stay warm.

I have just worked out, using Asda’s own prices, that 1 pint of milk is 49 pence, 1 kg of sugar is 65 pence and 240 own brand tea bags are £1.99. A cup of tea uses one tea bag = 0.8p, approx 40ml of milk = 3p and 1 sugar is about 7 grams = 0.4p. So a cup of tea costs just 4.2pence yet they charge £1.20 in the cafe! Can they really not afford to give away 4.2p for a cup of tea?

I am selling poppies at the Swindon Waitrose and we are welcome to help ourselves to a free hot drink. Here is one veteran at least who is most disappointed with Asda Walmart and its attitude to our veterans!

Miss L Tilston-Brookes, Haydon Wick

Democracy blocked

So the government called a people’s vote and the majority voted for change. On this occasion I voted remain. However, as someone who believes in democracy I am happy to go with the wishes of the majority and now, having given the people the choice to express their view, I expect our elected public servants to deliver. I am talking about Swindon Council’s public consultation to see whether we should have the current rolling annual elections or only get a say every four years to elect the whole council.The Tories and the Lib Dems are ready to make the change that more than two thirds of the citizens who responded asked for. But wait - here come Labour blocking it. Jim Grant firstly cites a low response. I think you should always vote or participate, but to decline is also a democratic choice as long as you recognise that you live with the consequences of not voting. I just leave Mr Grant’s second reason out there “The last thing we want is four years of an unfettered, unaccountable Tory administration”.

Rather than seek what is best for local administration, rather than go with what the electorate wants, Labour debase even this to party politics. When their candidates spout about “best for the country” over the coming weeks remember Labour want power by any means and are not that interested in democracy.

Should Swindon Council ever become Labour controlled again expect a sudden change of heart on this matter.

Richard Williams, Yarmouth Close

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