Readers’ letters - November 16

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Focus on changing our defence policies

With the departure of Sir Michael Fallon, the Secretary for Defence, pictured, the opportunity could be taken to focus on this country’s defence policies.

Can anyone claim that our limited capability has been used to advantage?

On the contrary.

First of all we are blundering out of Europe, so prejudicing co-ordination with the forces of our near neighbours.

We long ago lost 
our Empire and our economic situation precludes our abilities to respond effectively to global crises.

This does not seem to stop the posturing and gratuitous involvement in troubles across the world.

My advice to Gavin Williamson, pictured, would be to pursue a policy for non-interference in overseas affairs unless vital interests are involved.

All the advice from the military should be treated with the utmost scepticism and caution and we should now adopt a policy commensurate with our reduced capability and status.

The power of the top brass is biassed in favour of increasing their vast empire in Whitehall.

The civilian complement is numbered in hundreds of thousands.

Any further adventures in the Middle East should be looked at askance.

Don Burslam

Address supplied

nostalgia

History behind Longridge Rec

I spent a fascinating day searching the archives in Bow Lane, Preston. My quest was to review the records of Longridge Urban District Council from the 1920s, looking for the facts behind the purchase of the Recreation Ground. The search for land began in early 1926.

Three parcels of land were considered. Seven acres near the Alston Arms was offered for sale. At a second site, the Longridge Gas Company did not wish to part with any of its land, and the council settled on Kestor Lane at a cost of £1,740.

The land was bought with the specific purpose of public recreation. Notices were posted in the Advertiser requesting public loans.

Four individuals came forward with loans of £200 to £300 each and the bulk of £900 was loaned by the Co-op Society in Longridge.

I found no evidence of fundraising to pay off the loans and the final repayment of the Co-op loan took place in 1946.

The connection with the Great War came with a grant from the Longridge War Comforts Association to provide a shelter, swings and slide. A memorial plaque was to be erected on March 31, 1928 to acknowledge the contribution of the War Comforts Association.

The land was purchased on February 16, 1927. The Co-op was granted access for a Field Day for the sum of £2 on the second Saturday in July 1927. The children of Longridge received an early Christmas present in December 1927, when it was reported that swings, shelter and slide had been erected.

Some local children were not so fortunate though when, on June 17, 1931, Masters Isherwood and Sherwood received letters from the council demanding an apology for breaking the by-laws. Their misdemeanour involved riding their bicycles across the land.

And so to the present day then with the welcome news that Ribble Valley are to work with the town council to dedicate the land with War Memorial status in time for the centenary of the ending of the Great War.

Alan Odix

The Forrest Arms

brexit

We must not join EU army

I am very pleased that the Government has backtracked from its intention to sign up to EU defence spending.

But it is muted pleasure as it is quite possible that the UK could join the “permanent structured co-operation, known as Pesco”, in the future.

These plans, which will inevitably lead to an EU army, must be rejected by our country, which should continue to fully support NATO.

We need to preserve our own sovereign military capabilities, free from external control, and while we would cooperate with and support our friends and allies to ensure collective security, we must protect our ability to defend ourselves.

We are supposed to be breaking free of the grasp of Brussels – as the majority voted for Brexit – not tying ourselves to them.

Paul Nuttall MEP

North West

UK Independence Party

politics

Mogg’s no alternative

As the Prime Ministership of Theresa May heads at full speed for the rocks, some people are touting the name of Boris Johnson as a possible successor. Even a cursory examination of his career reveals a history of incompetence, disloyalty, ruthless ambition and a total contempt for anyone who is not rich, British, or upper class.

The only reason for his existence seems to be to convince the gullible and the deranged that Jacob Rees Mogg could be a plausible alternative.

John Prance

Penwortham

TAX

Evasion and avoidance

The distinction in meaning of the words ‘avoid’ and ‘evade’ is very slight.

Surely it is not beyond our Government to find some way to prevent both avoidance and evasion when it comes to tax? A friend of mine suggested that if all PAYE tax went up by a penny in the pound, and all tax loopholes closed, the country would be better off anyway. Fairer than the present system, I suggest.

Michael Storey

via email