Readers' letters - August 2

When will politicians learn the harsh lessons of war?

Over the weekend, it was revealed that as many as 25 per cent of the total casualties of British and Commonwealth Forces of the Great War occurred at Passchendaele.

If this is true, then this is nothing but a damnation on Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig and the British Government under Herbert Asquith and David Lloyd George.

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At the age of 73, I still fail to understand how the British people could accept such losses.

But I suppose it was a sign of the times, when the British people were treated like cultivated mushrooms – ‘kept in the dark and fed on manure’ – especially with the Press being heavily censured. It begs the question, is the British press STILL heavily censured in 2017?

If technology had been available during the world wars, as it is now, where actual scenes are screened ‘live’ into the sitting rooms of the masses, people would not have tolerated this.

This can be confirmed by the Vietnam War – and every other armed conflict since.

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Over the last few weeks, I have been reading the book written by General H.R. McMaster, US National Security Adviser. It is titled Dereliction of Duty: Johnson, McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the lies that led to Vietnam. Dereliction Of Duty is a stunning analysis of how, and why, the United States became involved in a disastrous war in South East Asia. McMaster pinpoints the decisions that got the US into the morass, disproving the theories of other historians.

This book, I am led to believe, is now a standard reference book at the US Military Academy – West Point – on the pitfalls of politicians being ‘hand-in-glove’ with military manufacturers.

The Whitehall Generals and Admirals could do well reading this book, as well as those in the Palace of Westminster, before engaging in further armed conflicts!

Norman Tomlinson

via email

Do as they say, not as they do

Hypocrisy clearly continues to flourish in what remains of the Labour Party.

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For years Labour MPs have railed against grammar and private schools.

Despite this, several members of Corbyn’s inner circle have chosen selective schools for their offspring.

Diane Abbott, shadow Home Secretary, sent her son to the very expensive private City of London School.

When asked to justify her decision, she said: “ I want to do the best for my child”.

Don’t we all Diane.

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Blair and Harman also put their children’s education before ideological preferences.

Now we learn that Rosie Duffield, the new Labour MP for Canterbury, who has described selective education as “horrible and divisive”, has sent her sons to an outstanding grammar school in the town. She recently attacked the PM for her plans to build new grammar schools.

Nepotism was also recently attacked by left wing Momentum, despite the fact that Corbyn’s son works for McDonnell, the shadow chancellor. How can any of the constituents of these people trust a word they say?

Dr Barry Clayton

via email

I hadn’t heard of the top three

I can honestly say that my wife and I had never heard of the BBC’s top three female earners Claudia Winkleman, Tess Daly and Alex Jones.

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Viewers and listeners who constantly complain about the licence fee must take some of the blame for the dumbing-down which has made unremarkable individuals so rich. However, we recently watched the second night of the Proms: a nice balance between the modern Lancastrian composer Harrison Birtwistle and Elgar.

The stars of the show were the German Orchestra and the great Jewish conductor, pianist and humanitarian Daniel Barenboim.

Barenboim could not resist an emotional speech about the dangers of isolationism and the power of music to unite, before launching into a stirring rendition of the Pomp and Circumstance march which has become a symbol of our patriotism. The relish in the playing was manifest in the German musicians, with some of them seen to be hugging each other at the conclusion. That evening alone was worth the licence fee.

Brian H Sheridan

Address supplied