I HAVE watched with great respect the various ceremonies that have taken place over the past weekend. I have every sympathy with the families of those who have been killed and maimed as a result of being a member of the Armed Forces.
They deserve all the support we can give them. I am now 90 and so have seen many wars involving our forces and also noted those that have occurred elsewhere and are still going on in other parts of the world.
I am not a pacifist and would be prepared to support a call to defend our shores from an unprovoked attack, but I suggest that those who are responsible for all this suffering, i.e. the politicians of all persuasions and religious zealots, should take this special time to reflect on their responsibilities.
It is not they who are called upon to face the bullets and the bombs. Rarely are they called to account for their failure to resolve the disputes which lead them to start the fighting. They should be made to work harder to make the so-called “United Nations” more effective.
Whoever said “Jaw, jaw, not war, war” was very right and the phrase should be quoted to them, over and over again, every time they even start thinking about a war. They are all very good at talking, to no purpose.
From: Phyllis Capstick, Hellifield, North Yorkshire.
President Macron was in Paris alongside other world leaders to celebrate the ending of the First World War, but has the audacity to now be warning us all against the rise of nationalism.
He must be so full of his own importance, of his own rich and powerfulness, that he doesn’t understand that both the First and Second World Wars were all about nationalism; the preservation of each country’s uniqueness, the right to be free nations and not under the control of another. Surely this is called patriotism.
What is wrong with that?
Mayor worthy of respect
From: Wendy Cole, Willesden Lane, London.
I WRITE in support of the mayor of Sheffield and his decision to wear a white poppy (The Yorkshire Post, November 12).
I have always had issues with wearing a poppy but I still deeply respect what ordinary men and women sacrificed in the war, except of course they were far from ordinary. The photo I saw showed him behaving respectfully at the ceremony and he reportedly said he supports charities for ex-servicemen and women.
I moved away from Sheffield, my much-loved home city over 40 years ago but if anything might draw me back it is Magid. He appears to have a very positive attitude and a great care and concern for the city and its citizens combined with a good sense of fun and humour, just the attitude needed in my opinion. I wish him well.
From: John Eoin Douglas, Spey Terrace, Edinburgh.
Whilst others have been quick to criticise Jeremy Corbyn’s sartorial choices, what I found most telling about the Leader of the Opposition’s presence at the Cenotaph on Sunday was that he was the only politician singing Oh God Our Help In Ages Past without having to refer to the hymn sheet.
We are owed a People’s Vote
From: Anthony Gledhill, Leeds.
Further to your recent extensive coverage of Brexit; although the full details of the final deal are not yet known, it is clear from what we know that the final deal (or no deal) will not be what was promised by the Leave campaign before the referendum.
They promised a quick and easy departure from the EU, followed by prosperous trade deals and the achievement of full sovereignty for our country. We now know the final deal (or no deal) will look nothing like that.
We now stand at a turning point in history. Indeed it is no doubt the most significant turning point since the Second World War.
Whether or not Russia acted to influence the leave vote, Brexit achieves a long-held Russian objective of destabilising the UK and Europe. The founding objective of the EU and its predecessor organisations was to maintain peace in Europe at a time when peace was sorely needed after the horrors and losses of the Second World War. For peace alone, and for security against all enemies, we need a united Europe. Brexit damages that severely.
The British public deserves the right to give or to withhold informed consent to the final Brexit deal (or no deal) and to have an option to remain. Therefore, I hope all readers will contact their MP to tell them they demand a People’s Vote on the final deal, with an option to remain.
Libraries need investment
From: Mark Burnwood, Carlisle Street, Sheffield.
Regarding Sheffield volunteer libraries and the Labour council responsible for introducing them, a public library without paid/trained public library workers isn’t a public library – it’s a book swap or community centre or internet cafe.
This isn’t an insult to those who’ve been forced to take them over, it’s just a fact. In addition to this, library staff in the city are an under-utilised resource who could be delivering educational and social care activities that save the council money on other services but they can’t deliver all the activities/events they’d like to because of cuts in opening hours and staff.
Our Labour council is happy to support campaigns to keep guards on trains yet is happy to deprofessionalise and degrade its own libraries by replacing paid professional staff with volunteers.
In the words of Helen Pankhurst we need deeds not words for Sheffield libraries. Ditch volunteer libraries and invest their funding in professional library staff instead.