Letters - Tuesday, January 28, 2020
Stop arms dealers not social justice groups
Is it fair that the police have included environmental and animal rights groups, such as Extinction Rebellion and Greenpeace, along with CND, as “extremist organisations” according to the Counter Terrorism Policing document?
The biggest threat to democratic rights in Britain has always come from the capitalist state.
The other night at a London hotel, arms dealers - who profit from the destruction of Yemen - cosied up with politicians at a black tie dinner. This was all hosted by arms industry trade body ADS Group, with costs up to £500 a head.
Right now, UK-made fighter jets are flying over Yemen (pictured), firing UK-made missiles and UK bombs. It has created the worst humanitarian catastrophe in the world and left millions of people on the edge of starvation.
MPs are treated to seats at the table by arms companies, representing a major opportunity for weapon manufacturers to influence our politicians. It all sends a message of uncritical support for the British arms trade, regardless of the terrible damage it does around the world.
Can we urge all attendees at these dinners to consider the carnival of violence that goes on with their support?
It’s not social justice campaigners that need to be stopped, it’s the arms dealers.
School dinner memories
The lunch break at my school (in 1954) was one hour, 45 minutes.
The school dinners then had a main course and a sweet.
There were no choice of meals back then.
About mid-1954, the canteen acquired a chip range.
Sausage and chips was a firm favourite.
I was a dinner monitor in 1954.
One lunch time, I knew it would be sausage and chips that day.
Running to the canteen, I was the first in.
Grabbing a plate, I dashed to the serving hatch.
I got my meal and hand-polished it off before the rest of the school filed in.
Then I queued up with the other children at the hatch for dinner number two.
Older readers may remember Billy Bunter and Hungry Horace, two characters from children’s comics who loved food.
That day I was going to emulate them.
Now, with two meals down, one of the teachers shouted “Seconds for Class 1”.
My hand shot up.
Yes, it’s now dinner number three.
The sweet that day was sponge and custard, another firm favourite.
I queued again for the sweet. Boy, it was good.
Again the teacher said, “Seconds for class one”.
So off I went (are you keeping up?)
The senior children’s mealtime would be over about 12.40pm.
The infants would then come to the canteen, five to eight year olds. I had to wait on tables for these youngsters.
When it came to their sweet, one little boy didn’t want his. “Pass it here son”, I said, so that made it sweet number three. Three dinners and three sweets.
In 1954, school dinners cost 3/9 (19p) a week.
E H Simister
We don’t have
the right to judge
I refer to the following letter, Seagulls can look after themselves just fine, which you published on January 23.
I am frankly tired of the same old comments being trotted out about seagulls, magpies and grey squirrels.
Just because somebody has an irrational dislike of them does not give them the right to be judge and jury.
Nor does it give them the right to dictate how others should behave.
These animals are often the only wildlife one comes across, especially in our ever-expanding urban environment, and if someone wants to interact with them, then so be it.
If somebody DOESN’T, then walk away.
Culling animals simply because certain sections of society have decided that they are “vermin” means nothing more than humans deciding that they have the right to eradicate with moral impunity.
Vermin is a word used far too often to justify killing a species without conscience.
Improve northern rail links first
HS2 might well, as some suggest, be essential to the North’s economic development.
But, if that is the case, it seems to be starting at the wrong end.
As it was with the motorway system, so with HS2: London to Birmingham first, with the northern cities left waiting until at least 2030, probably much later, before they are linked in.
Far better, in my view, to improve Northern links first, between Sheffield, Leeds,
the North East, Hull and Manchester.
Help this wide region to realise its full economic potential, hopefully one which grasps tackling climate change as an opportunity not a problem.
Then bring Birmingham into the fold.
But let London wait.
Perhaps by the time HS2 reaches it, the capital city might then find it has greater need to connect with the North than the North has need to connect with London.