Letters, Monday, July 2nd, 2012

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Time to debate case for a republic

I VERY much doubt that I can disabuse Isabel Snaith of her ardent monarchism, but I think it is high time that the republican argument was heard properly for once, since it is just as important a historical force in this country’s history as the monarchy.

But how many schoolchildren nowadays learn about the Commonwealth of England (1649-60) or the Putney Debates? Instead it seems that they are simply told to wave a lot of Union Jack flags about, as if the monarchy were somehow synonymous with Britain and with British patriotism.

Ms Snaith says that the Queen has dedicated her life to duty and to this country. But, since Elizabeth has not permitted any real scrutiny of her role, how can Ms Snaith feel justified in making this bold assertion? Has she ever asked herself in what this allegedly great sacrifice consists?

Like many of her fellow “subjects”, I would say probably not, judging by some of the ridiculous statements many people were making throughout the Jubilee weekend. One woman appeared on my TV screen to tell me that: “Without the Queen, Britain would be nothing”. Eh? Where on earth do people get this thought-free drivel from?

However, although the Queen has done and said extraordinarily little since 1953, she did once make a rather serious (and, to me, misguided) intervention at the time of the Good Friday Agreement by openly endorsing it, even though there were those in Parliament who opposed the agreement.

Other than this violation of constitutional neutrality, I can’t think of anything else of any significance that she has said or done. Her heavily scripted and choreographed existence once prompted Willie Hamilton to refer to her as “a clockwork doll”.

There is an alternative to this state of affairs. We could ditch the Queen and her uninspiring, freeloading offspring and create a republic and written constitution which enshrines our rights as citizens. And at the helm, we could have someone of genuine distinction and merit, such as a great poet or scientist.

At least let’s have the debate.

Wesley Crossland, Dovedale Road, Sunderland

Double standards

THANK you for publishing my letter re Save the Children fund-raisers calling at 9pm on a Friday. I thought your readers may be interested in their response and the hypocrisy of the organisation.

Their response was they use an agency called Home Fundraisers to do these calls and they have decided the industry standard, based on years of experience, is that it is acceptable to call up to 9pm on an evening.

I have advised them it is not acceptable to me, and having spoken with a few neighbours, they were not happy about the calls either.

The thing that amazed me most, however, was when I called Save the Children to get a reply to my email complaint. Before they put me through to speak to a person they played an electronic message which said they do not accept any sales calls. When I was put through I questioned the person about this and they said: “That’s right – we do not accept sales calls”.

I asked if they thought it was OK for them not to accept sales calls in office hours but it was fine for them to make a sales call to me at 9pm, and the answer was yes, it was OK. How hypocritical!

Harry Chalmers, Fatfield, Washington

Road markings

I WOULD just like to thank the road-marking department for the long-awaited lines that have been redone on the Queen Alexandra roundabout.

I use it every day like thousands of other road users, many confused and ready to wipe you out. So after telling them of my concerns and the frustrations of many road users, they have swiftly re-marked the lanes

A big thank-you to them.

I’m sure there are now a lot of relieved and happy motorists.

Lesley Robinson

Bridge silver rivet

RE the letter about the silver rivet on Wearmouth Bridge: the rivet is still there, on the south side of the bridge, only some fool has allowed it to be painted green like all the rest. It has a washer around it to distinguish it.

Mrs M. Massingham

Thanks for fare

I WOULD like to say a very big thank-you to the lady who gave me my bus fare to get back home on the morning of Wednesday, June 27.

I had been shopping at Iceland in The Bridges. When I got to the checkout I realised that I had forgotten my wallet. The lady behind me at the checkout immediately offered me the bus fare to return home. I’m disabled so I was unable to walk home.

Once again, a very big thank-you for your kindness. It’s nice to know there are caring people like you.

John L. (name and address supplied)