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Did anyone ever think to just talk to Bashar al-Assad about the chemical attack in Syria?

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Tuesday 10 April 2018 15:05 BST
US President Donald Trump has threatened Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, saying he has a ‘big price to pay’ after the chemical weapons attack in Ghouta
US President Donald Trump has threatened Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, saying he has a ‘big price to pay’ after the chemical weapons attack in Ghouta (Getty)

As a result of the outrageous use of chemical weapons in Syria, many of the leaders in the West are supporting Trump’s belligerent stance.

To mark the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement ending the Troubles in the north of Ireland, the former taoiseach Bertie Ahern was asked why earlier attempts to bring peace had failed. Ahern observed that peace was not established until all the protagonists were given a place in the peace talks.

Food for thought?

John McLorinan

The answer to violence is not more violence

Assad’s forces allegedly deploying chemical weapons caused horrendous suffering and deaths of civilians in one Syrian location. Western governments now argue that we, using conventional bombs, should cause horrendous suffering and deaths, albeit not intended but just foreseen, in another Syrian location.

Am I getting that right? I wonder how keen Putin and Assad, Trump and May, would be to continue those battles if bombs, be they chemical or conventional, were to be landing on them.

Peter Cave
London W1

We need more stop and search

Nobody could be unaware of the terrible surge in knife crime in our capital city and elsewhere. As far back as 2003, myself and Middlesbrough resident Barbara Dunne created “Mothers Against Knives” – in the form of a petition to the then Labour prime minister, asking him to do all in his power to stop knives and other bladed weapons being so readily available over the counter and via the internet, etc.

We went to Downing Street and handed the petition in. It was signed by 5,000 residents (mainly local), we had the full support of many MPs and were helped a great deal by the late MP Ashok Kumar. While campaigning, we came across numerous other like-minded groups up and down the country.

I myself have said for many years that the “stop and search” operation needs to be increased and more visible to the public, in an attempt to reassure them – “nothing to hide, nothing to fear”.

What’s the point in residents all over the country putting in a lot of effort to help reduce knife crime when those in authority appear unwilling or afraid to grasp the nettle and deal with it in a really robust manner?

Joan McTigue

Taps are just not made like they used to be

I totally agree with Jenny Eclair’s comments on hotel taps. And I would extend her comments to include all modern taps.

The Victorians had the perfect tap design and things have gone relentlessly downhill since then. The Victorian taps had cruciform handles which could easily be operated by wet, soapy hands. They were colour coded and, properly installed, were placed side by side in hot/cold, left/right order, so that even if the red and blue spots had worn off they could still be easily understood. Also, most usefully, it was easy to push a rubber hose on to them.

Modern mixer taps? Pah!

Patrick Wise

It’s time we reverted back to council-run schools

Is anyone actually surprised that academy companies are generously rewarding their heads and executives, while schools struggle and ordinary teachers get peanuts?

The whole point of the academy system was to reduce local authority control and privatise education, diverting funds from the public to private purse – at which it is succeeding admirably!

Never mind the budget cuts, stressed staff and pupils, over-testing and obsession with targets and league tables (Sats anyone?) and useless DBS system – as long as the rich get richer the Conservatives are happy.

Mike Margetts

Teachers get too much stick

I never wanted to teach but have great sympathy with local teacher Sylvia Haddrell. With the constant onslaught on the profession, who now would want to do what ought to be the best job in the world?

Carol Wilcox

A more accurate Boris description?

Boris Johnson, a useful idiot (Beryl Wall, letters)? Well, one out of two’s not bad.

Shirley Dickinson

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