Letters: Nato invasion hits south Wales

These letters appear in the September 3 edition of The Independent

Share

The head of Wales’s largest luxury hotel has pointed out that the Nato summit taking place in his hotel is a chance to “showcase Wales”. Well, the best advice we can give to anyone wanting to visit south-east Wales is to stay away or be put off for life.

We’re warned that motorway junctions will be closed without notice, schools throughout the region will be closed, fences surround several venues, including the tourist attraction of Cardiff castle, and major arteries in Cardiff will be closed.

This is not an opportunity for anyone other than some British and Welsh politicians to gain kudos from the prestige of hosting world leaders. They’ll rub shoulders and have a damned good jolly before, as we all know, disappearing for ever, never to be seen again or give us lot a second thought.

The taxpayers of the world are paying a fortune for this nonsense, when Nato has perfectly sound and secure premises in Brussels and elsewhere they could use for a fraction of the cost. Instead, they choose to roll around in a multi-billion pound jamboree  where even the journalists are to be treated a “reception” in a local stately home. Contemptuous of the locals they then offer the advice, on the eve of the meeting, that we have an opportunity to showcase the area.

Utter rubbish. My advice is to follow me and go to North Wales.

DVB Thomas
Usk, Gwent

 

Surely these summits should be hosted in isolated, easily securable “neutral” zones. Perhaps Diego Garcia or Guantanamo Bay should be the permanent base  for such gatherings in future, because the people of south-east Wales certainly wouldn’t welcome another one.

John Moore
Northampton

 

Free school meals for all

This week, for the first time, all infant school pupils should be able to sit down to enjoy a free, nutritious school meal. This achievement is the culmination of years of hard, patient work by charities, trade unions and others. It’s also a testament to the power of politicians, of all parties, to touch the lives of ordinary families and improve life-chances by tackling child poverty.

The case for universal free school meals is compelling and the evidence clear: all children benefit, but low-income children benefit the most. Universal free school meals will improve nutrition and raise educational attainment. They will put pounds into the pockets of parents struggling to maintain living standards. They will mean 200,000 poor children in working families, previously ineligible for help, are eligible for free school meals. They could also help to banish the stigma of free school meals. 

The councils already doing this struggle to remember the painful process of getting schools and kitchens ready with only a few months’ notice. Instead they talk about watching kids eating together and learning together. Teachers report improved concentration in classrooms. Head teachers have seen an increase in pupil premium registrations. Parents talk about being able to move into work without worrying about their children losing free school meals.

We look forward to seeing the success of this change, and hope to see it being offered to all school children.

Alison Garnham
Chief Executive, Child Poverty Action Group

Celia Sands
Strategic Manager, 4 in 10

Dr Colin Michie
Chair, Royal College of Paediatrics Nutrition Committee

Christine Blower
General Secretary, NUT

David Holmes
Chief Executive, Family Action

Anne Longfield
Chief Executive, 4Children

Brian Strutton
National Secretary, GMB

Fiona Weir
Chief Executive, Gingerbread

 

Sleepwalking into war over Ukraine?

As the centenary of the First World War has been commemorated we have heard many times the phrase “sleepwalking into war”. All the signs are there that we are doing the same now – for Serbia read Ukraine – but the consequences could be even more cataclysmic.

In your pages over the last few days we have read “Nato to stockpile weapons on Russian border” and “Nato readies rapid-reaction spearhead force in response to Russian intervention – with sizeable British contingent”. We have also seen highly aggressive views from Ian Birrell and in particular from Richard Shirreff, writing in The Independent on Sunday.

The latter says: “It means a return to deterrence, both conventional and nuclear, with credible, capable armed forces and the will and means to communicate that capability so that Putin is left in no doubt that if he steps over the Nato line, he will get hammered”.

What on earth are we doing? Why has Nato expanded up to Russia’s borders contrary to treaty? The Baltic states and Poland are hardly the North Atlantic. What if the USSR had done the same in Mexico and Canada? Don’t we remember the Cuban missile crisis? Let’s not forget the mischief-making by the EU in Ukraine and the subsequent coup supported by the West against a democratically elected (albeit corrupt) government.

Surely it is now the responsibility of our leaders to wake up? Why aren’t Obama, Putin and Cameron meeting with the other leaders of the UN Security Council?

If they don’t wake up then their people have to make them. Blair was able to toss aside the views of 2 million people in the two great marches against the Iraq war. However, recently he has been convinced that the assembly of 17 million in Egypt justified the overthrow of another democratically elected government. If that’s what we have to do we need to start mobilising.

Alan Pearson
Guisborough, Cleveland

 

Civil rights for British jihadis

Barry Tighe  (Letter, 2 September) seems oblivious to the mortal danger that Isis and returning jihadis pose to this country. Protecting civil liberties is important, but not as important as protecting British citizens from terror. The freedoms that we cherish so dearly are of little use without security.

Stan Labovitch
Windsor

 

I’m afraid I don’t share Mary Barnes’ concern that young men returning here from fighting with Islamic State in Syria are likely to be suffering post-traumatic stress and so will need our help (letter, 1 September). Better surely that they stay out there where they are among likeminded friends.

Patrick Devlin
Wembworthy, Devon

 

Referring to a UK jihadist who wants to return to the UK to wreak havoc here, David Cameron said he intends to take away the passport of anyone who has “pledged allegiance to another state”.

Will that also apply to British Jews returning from a stint of fighting with the Israeli armed forces? In order to participate in the “Mahal” programme, they also have to swear allegiance to a foreign state.

Elizabeth Morley
Trisant, Aberystwyth

 

Urgent need for a transport strategy

The Davies Report on airport plans sensibly removes the £60bn Thames Estuary Option in its preliminary findings but it is to be hoped that the final report will consider the future of UK aviation (particularly domestic flights) alongside major rail developments such as High Speed Rail and expansion plans for regional airports.

The UK urgently needs an integrated transport strategy to consider the future of all modes of transport both across the UK and internationally.

It is ironic that major multi-billion-pound infrastructure plans are afoot for airports in London when many shire counties cannot afford to foot the minuscule cost of local bus services to enable people to access employment and health facilities.

Dr John Disney
Nottingham Business School

 

The business of modern sport

David Stansfield suggests that “there is just too much sport in The Independent” (letter, 28 August). Given that present day sport has succeeded in entering the domain of big business rather than the  more laudable encouragement of physical exercise, might it not be more appropriate to move it (12 pages today) to the Business section (six pages today)?

Sidney Alford
Corsham, Wiltshire

 

The man who would be MP for Uxbridge

Just why is Boris Johnson the best Tory candidate for Uxbridge?

He left his Henley-on-Thames constituency for the London mayoralty, and now wants a parliamentary return for an ill-disguised bid for the Tory leadership and the premiership soon after the next general election.

Surely, Uxbridge Conservatives can field a competent and deserving local candidate?

Dominic Shelmerdine
London SW3

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The Public Accounts Committee found widespread concern among civil servants that they would be victimised if they spoke out about wrongdoing  

Nikileaks explained: The sad thing about the Nicola Sturgeon saga is that it makes leaks less likely

Jane Merrick
New SNP MP Mhairi Black distinguished herself in Westminster straight away when she made herself a chip butty in the canteen  

The SNP adventure arrives in Westminister - but how long before these new MPs go native?

Katy Guest
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?