Wrong to see Europe as UK’s enemy
I DO not know where Ken Appleton (HE, Letters, October 18) went to school or where he studied, but I do wonder from his letter whether it had one of those maps showing a quarter of the globe coloured in pink depicting the British Empire hanging on the wall.
Sadly time and again we see letters from people who grew up on a diet of overhyped ‘bulldog Britain’ and who all too often want to use any excuse to have a pop at our European friends and neighbours by quoting totally incorrect facts.
As a former officer in the Royal navy, I can assure Mr Appleton that far from obstructing the UK’s role in recapturing the Falklands, without assistance from France (a close friend and ally, and a nation with whom we haven’t been to war with for over 200 years), the Falkland Islands would never have been recovered in 1982 anyway. It was only thanks to mock attacks from French air and naval forces based in West Africa during the southerly voyage of the Task Force that our own navy learnt how to combat likely attacks from Exocet missiles launched by Argentinian forces. Yes, France had provided Exocet missiles to Argentina prior to 1982, but it is hypocrisy to imply this is a continental trait.
After all, the UK arms industry relished the sale of arms to Iraq before we toppled Saddam and we still seem rather eager to sell arms to rather mostly regimes such as Saudi Arabia for use in its persecution of Yemeni civilians.
Mr Appleton is also comprehensively wrong to dismiss the role of the European Union in maintaining both peace and economic stability. While Nato has prevented a war between east and west, it is in fact the EU which has prevented war for more than 70 years between the states of Western Europe.
It is no coincidence either that the EU’s existence and years of peace across Western Europe cover the same timespan that has seen economic prosperity our grandfathers could only have dreamed of , as well as the foundation of democracy in the former fascist dictatorships across southern Europe and the end of repressive communist regimes in Eastern Europe rounded Brunel-type windows.
However this was not to be and more so now.
At the age of 15 in September 1949 I was anxious to start my new career with the railway at Newton Abbot Station although not in this particular shed.
I enjoyed every minute of my years with the railway. Even at 15 I had a sense of responsibility and simply wanted to be a wage earner and bring home some cash.
I am at a loss to understand why the supposedly young morons should wish to set fire to this building.
Furthermore, the surrounding residents and their properties were placed in extreme danger and even a loss of life could have resulted.
Swift justice must seen to be done, a complete disregard for property and lives among young people in the town must be resolved.
Discipline needs to meted out to all concerned!