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A true hero

I HAVE been critical of the Council and some of its decisions over the years, in my opinion they are the most distant and narrow minded bunch who need to listen to the people more often, and I’m not saying the voice of the people is always right, but to listen and act on the consensus would be a massive step in the direction we need to go in.

The basis of most of my rants are borne out of my fondness of what is/could be a great town, a town that has served me well over many years and will always be my home.

The frustration for me is that for as many poor or ill advised decisions made we have a core of world class brilliant people that should make every Swindonian proud.

The Adver reports almost daily of the countless heroes who cycle or swim or walk or run or do many activities to raise money or awareness for so many causes or charities, they are all top people and we ALL benefit from their efforts.

There is one person for me who stands out, and although I have never met him in person I read about him year in year out, a selfless man (along with his dedicated team who are equally brilliant) who gives up his own Christmas every year to give a little hope and cheer to the homeless from the streets of Swindon.

This man gives food, shelter, clothing, warmth, company and above all hope to the community amongst us (for whatever reason) who our Council spent £100,000 to barricade out of the car parks of Swindon.

Patsy Moloney you are one of Swindon’s finest and I salute you, and whenever you find the time to sit down with your own family to celebrate Christmas, I hope it is everything you deserve.

Gentlemen like Patsy make this town the place I want to be my home.


Lessons to be learned

Roger Lack makes a good case for educating drivers to ‘Indicate their intention to take a desired route/direction’. As an Advanced Driving Tutor/Observer with Swindon Advanced Motorists and, I do not think we will solve this problem easily.

Roundabouts for example, my advice is to: Treat each roundabout as a red traffic light, plan to stop and look to go. Plan your approach so that you have time to determine the direction of travel of other road users by using, your primary objective by looking to the right, (Early Vision = Early Decision), then your secondary objective, by looking for your gap. If the gap is there, then be assertive and ‘Go’, if not ‘Hold Back’.

If you are following a vehicle and there are parked vehicles on the nearside and also a junction on the right but the driver in front of you indicates right, is he indicating to overtake the parked vehicles OR turn right? Take an oncoming vehicle in this situation who slows down to allow the driver to turn right, the on driver carries straight on, so, even with a signal being determined, we still don’t know what drivers intend to do.

Advanced drivers plan for the unexpected and look for body language of drivers. Are they turning their head left and right? They may be looking for an address or even a parking area in Wootton Bassett High Street! Watch the ‘chassis language’ of vehicles, ie Their position on the road and where are their wheels pointing if possible.

We do offer a free driving assessment and a demonstration drive of advanced driving principles for anyone interested and people are welcome to telephone me (01793 772314) for information.

We can educate many drivers if they take the trouble to come to us. We are not a driving school but a registered charity and we don’t charge for our one to one tuition, only a joining fee for books and membership.

CHRIS GLEED, Proud Close, Purton

A cruel system

Chris Gleed claims the UK’s immigration system is a joke, (Megan Won’t Struggle) Letters 12 Dec. The UK’s immigration system is not a joke.

The government’s policies enable them to 1. Deport Afghan and Iraqi refugees looking for safety in the UK back to the two most dangerous countries in the world and back to the countries the UK have bombed to pieces. 2. Lock up refugees/asylum seekers in detention centres where they are beaten, racially and verbally abused and treated like criminals. 3. Denies non-EU citizens the human right of coming to the UK and visiting relatives who are seriously ill and in many cases some who are dying in hospital (this is an issue that I have written to Robert Buckland MP about on several occasions). 4. Deny the right of children living in squalid conditions in the camps of Calais to come and live in the UK, thus leaving them vulnerable to all kinds of horrors.

The UK’s immigration system is a brutal callous system that is devoid of compassion, dignity and abuses human rights. It’s a system that BNP, Britain First and the EDL would be most proud of Mr Gleed.

MARTIN WEBB, Swindon Road, Old Town

Lack of festive cheer

I HAVE just been into Swindon Town for some Christmas shopping and I must say I have never been any where so flat at this time of year.

There is no Christmas atmosphere at all. What has happened to our town? Over the year of this so-say regeneration Swindon has got worse and worse and I really don’t know why people still shop here.

We have no Christmas street stalls, no Christmas music, most shops have staff who have no Christmas cheer. I am not surprised people are going elsewhere for their Christmas shopping - why would you want to come away feeling depressed and less like Christmas than ever?

Come on Swindon council, pull your finger out before you lose all customers to our town.We need Christmas stalls, chestnuts being roasted, all the normal things for this time of year.

JULIE WRIGHT, Highworth Road, South Marston

A lovely lunch

I am writing to say thank you very much to the staff and pupils at Ridgeway School, for the Christmas lunch they provided for us on Wednesday.

It was a happy occasion, with food, drink and entertainment by the choir. It was very much appreciated by everyone.

Also thanks for lunches served during the year.

JOYCE WALKLETT, Wharf Road, Wroughton

Not true Brexit

Robert Buckland (Dec 13) is promoting the benefits of regulatory alignment in his weekly column.

He is pleased that the EU Withdrawal Bill is transferring all EU laws and regulations into British law.

Regulatory alignment is not Brexit. For those of us who have campaigned against the the EU for 44 years this is not what we expected when we voted to leave on 23rd June 2016.

EU membership has pushed up house prices to a level where many of the young generation can no longer afford to have children.

Britain runs a trade deficit with the EU of a billion pounds per week.

The 17 million people who voted for Brexit did so to break free from regulatory alignment with the EU.

They will be disappointed by the damage that the EU Withdrawal Bill will do to the British economy.

STEVE HALDEN, Beaufort Green, Swindon

Rose-tinted views

JH Oliver has shifted the focus of his argument. First he attempted to defend a position, which was essentially that we should not examine the intentions of Britain’s rulers in their never-ending sacrifice of people in wars. Instead we should blindly follow their lead and celebrate militarism. Now he just wants to persuade us of the accuracy of his rose-tinted view of conscription, side-stepping the issue.

Many people have fond memories of their “national service”. At least some of this I suspect, as some openly say, reflects a tendency to smile on events of our youth. But very many people experienced it as a waste of their time which often disrupted plans for their future. For those who saw action it could be far worse. JH argues that some people were fitter after their two years’ service. He doesn’t say if they stayed fitter afterwards when the shouting stopped.

There are more important issues than speculation on psychology.

For JH a key issue is clearly discipline. But here we return to the original disagreement. Military discipline is about stamping out any questioning. Not a few ex conscripts will share anecdotes about this or that ridiculous decision of officers that had to be mindlessly obeyed. (Some officers due unconditional obedience were conscripts themselves who were made officers because they had attended private schools.)

Finally, in answer to JH’s claim about character building, a Daily Telegraph headline: “Army has ‘overly-sexualised’ heavy drinking culture, Chief of General Staff admits.”

PETER SMITH, Woodside Avenue, Swindon