Readers' letters - December 23
Keeping an eye on Russia
Well-founded or not, claims that Russia interfered to try to get Donald Trump elected, or to hinder Hillary Clinton’s campaign, probably show that the politically inexperienced isolationist was the Kremlin’s preferred candidate.
As Syria might have gone too far already, his first real foreign policy test could be in the Ukraine.
If Mr Trump recognised Russia’s annexation of Crimea, or even agreed to a partition line drawn further west to hive off Ukraine’s Russian speaking districts, we would be back to the 1930s and the infamous sell-out of Czechoslovakia, whose German-speaking Sudetenland was given away by Neville Chamberlain to achieve “peace in our time”. We do not know whether Donald Trump would sacrifice a distant land about which some of his supporters will know little and care even less, but those in the Kremlin may believe that it’s worth trying to find out.
Brexit should find favour in Russia, perhaps a pattern is beginning to emerge. An inward and backward looking United Kingdom, with Scotland and Northern Ireland trying to break away to stay in Europe, would weaken the whole continent. Particularly since 2004, many East Europeans have come to know Britain well, especially England.
If their home countries come under pressure from the east, they will expect our support. If that support is needed, it is to be hoped that it will be quick and decisive enough to nip trouble in the bud by diplomatic means, rather than needing large-scale mobilisation and deployment of troops. In Britain we’ve never had much quarrel with the Russian people, but its governments and its sports administrators have been somewhat different.
Learning from Finland
The United Kingdom remains one of the most charitable nations on the planet, helping both nationally and internationally.
Our Armed Forces have often been called upon to help out after natural and man-made disasters.
It is thus with anguish that I heard thousands of ex-soldiers, who were made redundant during the last Labour and Coalition (LibDem-Tory) Governments, are facing a perilous life on the streets of Manchester, Glasgow, and London, amongst many other locations.
Please spare a thought for them during this glad time of Yuletide and, if you possibly can donate a fiver or more, there are some excellent charities to help.
These include the official Armed Forces Charity, the SSAFA, which has identified some working age veterans in pretty dire circumstances through no fault of their own.
The number to ring is 0800 731 4880 or contact them on www.ssafa.org.uk.
Likewise, if you know of any ex-servicemen needing help or you are able to offer other forms of assistance, please contact them.
There is something wrong with a society where this kind of things happen and not just as a one-off misadventure.
There is something wrong with a political class who seem incapable in helping such worthy individuals.
Finland has recently adopted a policy of zero homelessness for native-born Finns, and the results have been rather dramatic.
Once a person is homeless then everything else spins out of control.
Here’s hoping that in 2017 England can adopt Finland’s modest target.