Letters, Monday, November 19, 2012

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Time to bring back our brave heroes

REMEMBRANCE Sunday is a day when we remember and honour all those brave men and women killed in war, but it is more than that.

 We should keep in mind and pray for our forces involved in a war which has lasted 11 years; this is longer than the total of First and Second World War. Casualties in this conflict are 438 killed and over 2,000 injured, many very seriously. This is more than those killed and injured in the Falklands.

 What saddens me is the hypocrisy of our politicians laying their wreaths at the Cenotaph while allowing this unwinnable war to continue.

 We are committed to remain in Afghanistan for another year: how many more will there be killed and injured, in some cases by the very people we are training to take over when we leave?

 Afghans are a tribal people and are extremely unlikely ever to make an effective army.

 It is said that by being there we are defending our country against al-Quaida, which was the original reason for invading. This was then changed to denying them training ground. Bin Laden is dead and al-Quaida has moved on. We are now at war with the Taliban; why?

  I think we could better defend ourselves if our forces were in this country.

 I’m sure that we have made lives better for some of the people of Afghanistan, however, I am equally sure that when we leave, Khazai, to save his neck, will come to an agreement with the Taliban and the country will be back to square one.

 Why can’t our political masters have the fortitude to admit that it is indefensible to remain there any longer?

 Finally the cost of this war is estimated to be £18bn; in July 2009 this was £12bn and would then have paid for 23 new hospitals, 60,000 new teachers and 77,000 new nurses.

Kenneth Burlison

Absolute scandal

DAVID Cameron, Nick Clegg and other MPs are either fed up or scandalised by the release of Abu Qatada because although the European Court of Human Rights said that he could be deported to Jordan, Mr Justice Mitting, Chairman of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission, ruled that he was not satisfied that he would be tried fairly.

 Just how long is this costly and embarrassing affair to be allowed to continue? This decision, by what some columnists describe as a weak-kneed judge, will bring another year’s worth of litigation and if Abu Qatada loses the domestic phase, he can go back to the European Court.

 Britain is known throughout the world as being a fair and just democracy and yet when terrorists come here to bomb we sit on our backsides and do nothing because feeble minded judges have doubts.

 Well to those who believe that we have to endure the threat that these people pose and the rhetoric of hate they preach, I say that this country withdraw its signature from the document that tied us to the ECHR and compose, as was promised by the Government a Bill of Rights for the UK together with a referendum asking the British people the question “In or Out?”

 There are those who believe that outside the European Union we would lose our trading links and so be economically disadvantaged. Not true. Europe needs our markets and would surely not stop trading with us.

 The truth is that Britain is a global trading nation and is developing and expanding its global markets.

 For the first time in many years exported goods to non-EU countries exceeded exports to EU countries and the trend is continuing.

Coun George Howe

Fight meningitis

I WAS touched to read in your article, Sturridge Eyes Brighter Future (November 13), that footballer Daniel Sturridge calls his battle with meningitis “the hardest point” in his life.

 The Chelsea and England star, who contracted viral meningitis, the more common but less serious form in the summer; fought hard to recover to play in Team GB’s London 2012 soccer side weeks later.

 He is an inspirational character and we wish Daniel the best for the future and with his football.

 Bacterial meningitis, the more serious form, is potentially life-threatening and swift diagnosis and treatment is vital to increase the chances of survival and ability to avoid life-changing after-effects such as limb loss.

 Meningitis can strike with incredible speed and the symptoms are notoriously difficult to detect, often being confused with flu.

 For these reasons, we believe preventative measures are the best solution.

 Our sole focus is to fund the development of vaccines and other methods of preventing this dreaded disease.

 In the absence of a vaccine, we distribute a range of materials to raise awareness of the common symptoms and need to act quickly, which can mean the difference between life and death.

 If any readers would like a free symptoms information pack, or for more on supporting our Search 4 a Vaccine Campaign, they can call Meningitis UK on 0117 947 6320 or visit www.meningitisUK.org

Kate Rowland

Chief executive, Meningitis UK