Letters - Wednesday, April 7, 2021
This is how social control begins
The latest move towards authoritarianism and social control by our supposedly freedom-loving government is to require public buildings to fly the Union Jack daily, whether or not there is any particular cause to commemorate.
So, what’s wrong with that?
Just a harmless demonstration of patriotism, claim supporters of the legislation.
Not so. The people of this country have never before needed to go around flag-waving merely to demonstrate our allegiance.
Whenever there is a reason, we fly them with gay abandon, whether it be football matches, the Olympics or to thank the NHS.
We do not need to be told by higher authority when and how to show pride in our country.
Following provisions in the Police & Crime Bill to criminalise people causing ‘serious annoyance’ or ‘serious inconvenience’, this flag Bill is yet another sign of the creeping desire of government to get us all into line.
“Where is your flag?” asks your neighbour. Do you not have a flag? What’s wrong with you? Are you not proud to be British? Are you really a reliable citizen? Or are you a secret enemy of the state?
The words do not even have to be spoken out loud.
As more and more of us start to ‘get the message’, the message becomes internalised – even as a form of guilt.
The Chinese developed a ‘social credit’ system, recording the personal behaviour of its citizens in fine detail.
‘Bad citizens’ (those who criticise the state?) may end up being barred from certain jobs and travel facilities.
Yes, they can ‘choose to opt in’ – for which there are incentives; and ‘disincentives’ for opting out.
If you opt out: what is it you have to hide?
This ‘innocuous’ call to flag-wave, regardless, is just how the Chinese form of social control begins.
And not just in China: we have seen the same phenomenon in Europe within living memory.
Let us hope that we shall not see it here again.
Capabilities of the Queen Elizabeth
I don’t think we should be too hard on M. Tipper (Your say, March 31).
A European Conference For Aeronautics And Space Sciences, (Eucass) paper is readily available online that goes into great detail on the theoretical capability of a Typhoon making a take-off from a medium size carrier fitted with a Ski Jump. The carrier currently having repairs to cabling,(Queen Elizabeth) is fitted with a Ski Jump. The paper submitted to the seventh science conference concluded that a Typhoon with no major modifications can take off from a medium sized carrier and keep its combat ability.
Typhoons do have arrester hooks fitted and these have been deployed in the past. Papers have been submitted to Eucass on how this interacts with the aircraft landing on the carrier.
The Queen Elizabeth was designed with a steam / or electromagnetic launch arrester system to be retro fitted if STVOL, (F35B) is replaced or added to by CTOL, (F35A) which is a conventional version of the F35. The clue, is in the 260 metre runway for, ( potentially) CTOL and a 160 metre runway for STVOL.
Personally, I would not even think of using existing Typhoons on carriers, (salt corrosion, constant structural checks, coming to the end of its life, politics etc) and I think this has been looked at in great detail. However, it does appear to be technically possible.
Given that the Queen Elizabeth carrier should be with us for 50 years I’d hope that the Tempest goes ahead, is carrier capable and one day is launched from her.
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Bottle deposit would cut litter
I am sure that most people are disgusted at the shocking amount of litter left after mass gatherings in our precious parks.
It is clear to me that some people will not alter their behaviour unless it hits their pockets. If there were a refundable deposit on bottles and cans, then I estimate that 80 per cent of litter would not be there.
In Germany shops must give a refund of 25 cents (equivalent of nearly 25 pence) and in supermarkets there are even “bottle and can banks” which automatically refund either cash or a voucher for returned empties.
When shops were obliged to charge 15p for plastic carrier bags, this cut down the amount of them being collected by local authorities as waste by 85 per cent and cut down significantly on them being dropped as litter.
Best programme on TV over Easter
I watched with fascination Fern Britton’s Holy Land Journey on BBC1 on Easter Sunday. What a wonderful presentation it was. I have always longed to do this journey and she brought it so alive with awe and sensitivity.
I felt I was there with her. She visited all the sites we have only seen with images and photos, and through our imagination. Easily the best programme over Easter which reminded us all what our beliefs are about.
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