Readers' letters - April 17

I don't need a smart meter to tell me energy bills are rising

Wednesday, 18th April 2018, 6:48 pm
Updated Wednesday, 18th April 2018, 6:51 pm
Are energy prices too high?

The latest price rises by British Gas bring up once again the theme of imposing smart meters upon us. We will all be more informed and more able to make savings, apparently. Some years ago my energy company installed a smart meter at my home, and we have a little device in our kitchen which supplies us with useless information. I haven’t the slightest idea what benefit it is to me. First thing in the morning, the little screen is telling me that my electricity is costing me a rate of 3p per hour. I assume that this is because my fridge is working. I put just enough water into my kettle and switch it on and the hourly rate goes up to 49p. I start again at 3p and switch on my triple A rated washing machine and the figure shoots up to 40p. Later I use my new tumble drier and that goes up to 40p, too. I have similar exciting revelations when I move to the gas items. I have no idea whether or not these figures are accurate, or whether the bill readings are accurate.The only thing I have learned from this rather pointless exercise is that if it’s cold, or I am thirsty, don’t put the kettle on because it’s costing a fortune. Don’t use the washing machine, take the washing to the nearest riverbank, because it’s costing a fortune. Don’t use the tumble drier in the winter, when the clothes won’t dry outside, because it’s costing a fortune. While wearing a T-shirt, a shirt, a thin jumper and a thick cardigan in the winter, and having the central heating set at only 18C, turn the heating off and shiver. Don’t try to keep just one room warm by using just a gas fire, because the big bills still keep coming and rising.I don’t need a smart meter to tell me that.S CollinsAddress supplied

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Evil deeds needs to be punishedThe use of military force against the odious Syrian leader, who is supplied and supported by two other undemocratic countries, Russia and Iran, was fully justified. It was proportionate, precise and just. All weapons are nasty but regrettably they sometimes have to be used – this is something Jeremy Corbyn does not understand, hence his stereotypical response to their use this time. Pacifists take the high moral ground but end up being trampled underfoot by those who are determined to carry on with their evil ways. The Labour leader appears to have little regard for the appalling suffering of children and adults in the Syrian civil war, now seven years old. The strike on Syria was essential if we are to deter the use of chemical weapons which are outlawed. If Assad believes, along with his allies, that he can use these with impunity, he will. Moral scruples do not apply in Damascus or Tehran or Moscow.Thank goodness this country has a government headed by a leader with a backbone and a determination to put down evil. Churchill said jaw, jaw was better than war, war. But, and this is seldom quoted, he also said that: “Tyrants have to be aware that their evil deeds will be punished without remorse”. We should be very careful not to exaggerate the consequences of this action. To say we are in a new Cold War is nonsense. Such rhetoric betrays an ignorance of history. Neither Trump not Putin want war. Colonel (retired) Barry Claytonvia emailHas the UN fallen asleep?

Have the United Nations in New York fallen asleep over the problems presently associated with Syria? The last time when the UN acted with complete unity concerning a worldwide problem was at the time of the war in Korea (1950-1953), when a United Nations force was formed to bring the whole matter to a halt.As was the case in the 1950s, Russia is a member of the UN Security Council and would no doubt use their veto on any matters of controversy. What should not be forgotten is the fact that in order to help bring Russia on his side, President Assad gave Russia his permission for a port on Syria’s Mediterranean coast to be used by the Russian Navy.Peter N Taylor via emailAnother war we cannot win

What an idiot President Trump is. Telling the Syrians he was going to attack, it gave Assad and his acolytes time to remove evidence, and stockpiles of chemical weapons, from target sites. Theresa May is showing the same failings that Tony Blair did. I thought she had more sense than involving us in another war which we can’t win.D KennedyAddress supplied