Readers' letters - February 23

Demonstrators march on Hyde Park for one of Britains largest CND rallies in 1983
Demonstrators march on Hyde Park for one of Britains largest CND rallies in 1983

Join call for a global ban on dangerous nuclear weapons

February 17 marked a very significant date for all who campaign for a world free from nuclear weapons. On Saturday, it was exactly 60 years since the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) was founded at a massive public meeting in the Central Hall, Westminster.
Shortly after that meeting, at Easter 1958, the first Aldermaston march attracted thousands of participants and the CND symbol appeared everywhere.
From the outset, people from all sections of society got involved, including scientists.
The Society of Friends (Quakers) was very supportive, together with a wide range of academics, journalists, writers, actors and musicians.
Labour Party members and trade unionists were overwhelmingly sympathetic, as were people who had been involved in earlier anti-bomb campaigns organised by the British Peace Committee or the Direct Action Committee.
CND’s advocacy of unilateral nuclear disarmament caught the imagination of many people and, in 2018, it seems more important than ever to join the campaign for nuclear disarmament.
As in 1958, there is much to fear. Nuclear weapons have proliferated and dangerous leaders, like Donald Trump, are advocating policies of so-called ‘first use’, even against states without any nuclear weapons of their own.
But in 2018, there are also reasons for hope. The vast majority of the world’s countries still shun nuclear weapons and, in July 2017, more than 120 countries joined the call for a worldwide ban. It is time for Britain to join this call, to decommission the Trident nuclear weapons system and to halt plans to
replace it with ever more dangerous and costly nuclear weapons of mass destruction.
Philip Gilligan
via email

Soulless surgeries

I’m sure this letter will be perceived by some as the facetious ramblings of a dissatisfied dinosaur, but what on earth is happening to GPs’ surgeries?
As a creature of advancing age, I remember the good old family doctors in the small friendly surgeries well, but now look at the worst case scenarios in today’s world!
It takes ages to even get through when you ring up, even longer to get an appointment, then it’s off to a large soulless surgery with more doctors than you can shake a stick at.
If you get to see the same doctor twice, you’ve won the lottery!
Instead of the doctor coming to fetch you when it’s, (finally), your turn, your name is called out and flashes up on a screen – bad luck if both your eyesight and hearing happen to be failing.
The doctor is then so busy looking at, and tapping into, the computer, that they barely look at you, and then you’re left doing the walk of shame if you’ve overshot the allotted ten minutes by more than a few seconds, possibly leaving with a referral to somewhere with a waiting list as long as the River Nile.
On my mission of research, I did a rare thing by my Luddite standards, by doing a random search of local GP surgery websites.
Along with their job descriptions, words like ‘clinical’ and ‘management’ kept cropping up. This lead, that lead, what next? Dog lead? Cue the theme music to The Apprentice!
Underneath all this managerial fog, there are still some brilliant and caring GPs out there, and that’s the tragedy of it. I wish the government would invest some of their cash into preserving the few small, homely practices that still exist, where you’re treated like people as opposed to those automaton-powered super surgeries where you’re regarded as sheep being aligned into a pen.
Too much to ask for? Hey ho, at least I’ve had my say!

What is it about pigeons?

You look at the pollution from vehicles’ exhausts, which affects people, especially in city centres, but what is it about pigeons?
Most of them live permanently in city centres and are exposed to all the pollutants that society can throw at them, but they carry on regardless, eating and drinking, while happily cooing away.
EB Warris
via email

KFC and 999 calls

What the cluck, KFC has run out of chicken?
I don’t mind a meal from there once in a while but if the news is to be believed, people are phoning the police to ask when they will be able to get their hands on some of the finger-lickin’ chicken.
Are some people so sad they have to ring up the police and make a nuisance of themselves asking a daft question because they have had to go without their takeaway?
One word. Fools.
Jayne Grayson
via email