Don’t blame Brexit

Dear Editor,

I write in response to Mr Bryant’s letter indulging in the despairing remainers’ habit of blaming all our ills, real or imagined, on Brexit. Unfortunately the truth is rather more prosaic.

The shortage of Lorry drivers is an international phenomenon. In the US, HGV licences are now being granted to 17 year olds in a move to overcome the shortage. The solution to UK job shortages is not to continue to import cheap labour from Europe, or elsewhere but to improve the training  and wages of domestic employees which is now proceeding apace, UK wage growth now being at a record high.

The current problems caused by the escalation of gas prices is rooted in the fact that prior to de-nationalisation the Central Electricity Generating Board  used to maintain an energy reserve of up to 50%, wildly uneconomic of coarse but  better than today’s situation where the  reserve is often down to 2% leaving no margin to cover a windless Indian Summer, combined with an unprecedented international surge in gas demand and thus wholesale prices. As to the economy as a whole it is now the fastest growing of all the G8 , a situation which will likely continue in 2022 according to the IMF.

As to the campaign for Scottish Independence if Mr Bryant imagines for a moment that Ms Sturgeon would abandon her campaign were we to rejoin the EU he is being naive in the extreme.

As to Northern Ireland the immediate problem is more a question of Macronic intransigence over cross border trade whose volume hardly warrants such microscopic intervention, as to the longer term demographics will, unless present prejudices fade away determine the future.

Global Britain is about returning to our historic outward looking and international trading role with a foreign policy determined by our national interests as the recent AUKUS Defence agreement demonstrates; it seems to me that in reviewing Mr Bryant’s letter that blustering dogmatism is more a characteristic of disappointed remainers who also fail to make allowances for a Government only now being able to address the opportunities of Brexit after confronting the greatest economic and healthcare crisis for nearly a century.

Robert Hickman CBE, Andover

Shopping in town

Dear Editor,

Yet again we have two new food outlets in Andover. Today I have carried out a survey just in the town centre which identifies seven pubs, eight cafes, 13 restaurants and nine takeaways and there are obviously more.  

But where is the diversity which we need to attract people to Andover? There are no quality clothes, shoe or accessories shops or gift shops, let alone kitchen equipment and other diverse products.

With the government seriously worried about the obesity problems and its effects on the NHS, surely it is time we took peoples’ minds’ off food and concentrated on other things.

How about offering the many empty shops to young entrepreneurs, free of rent for one year, to encourage and new generation and show them that shops are still the things that people want to visit (but not more food unless they are good quality delicatessens etc).  

But no, what do the council do? They spend an enormous amount of money on cosmetic things in the town – so people can come and sit by the river. These people then take their cash to other towns to have a total shopping experience. 

When you consider the cost of the houses in the area and especially those in the surrounding villages there are a lot of affluent people around who must have money to spend and who must shop somewhere but certainly not in Andover.  

So come on counsellors get your act together and think of the people of Andover - all ages - and especially those who have money to spend.

Joy Preston, Anna Valley

Road fiasco

Dear Editor,

It must have cost taxpayers thousands  of pounds to resurface Weyhill Road. Well, let me tell you it has been a complete waste of taxpayers’ cash. It is worse now than it was previously. I have never driven on a resurfaced road before having the living daylights shaken out of me and my passengers. I travel this road daily and now I have opted to use the A303 from East Cholderton. The resurfacing works were disgraceful.

Norman Fisher, Wiremead Lane East Cholderton

Helpful rangers

Dear Editor,

I am writing response to the news item about a man assaulting two rangers (Man assaults two town rangers on patrol, page 9, September 17, 2021).

My wife and I were present when the two rangers were being assaulted. I do not agree that the way the two rangers dealt with a very tricky situation was ridiculous. 

The man became aggressive and was getting into the face of the rangers and shouting at them, obviously because he had been caught and didn’t like it. They had the same arrest powers as any other citizen. They had body cameras and the police were satisfied with how the situation had been handled.

Actually I was impressed how the rangers had handled the situation, they stayed calm despite being verbally abused and shouted at. It was also obvious that they had been trained and when they finally had to restrain the man they were very professional and that is not an easy thing to do.

The young family could have just moved away a bit and out of sight. In the real world there are criminals and we should be glad there are people who will step in and take control. They wouldn’t have put themselves in danger if it wasn’t necessary, the same as the police do. They did a duty protecting the public and we should be grateful. 

The police were happy with what the rangers had done and they will know better than anybody else what it’s like confronting a person who is aggressive and abusive.

Name and address supplied

Solution required

Dear Editor,

Yet another letter that works on the principal – ‘why say in five words what can be said in 50’. We used to call this waffle.

It is so easy to find fault, but far harder to come up with a solution which Luigi has not, apart from Cross Party Talks, all this would do is pass the problem further down the road while the parties squabble. A solution is required now. The elderly have waited far too long; this may not be the best solution and no doubt there will be amendments but a timescale is in place and a solution.

I agree Boris Johnson has broken a pledge, but I am sure the elderly would prefer this than watch their life savings drain away.

Cllr J F Budzynski, TVBC St Mary’s