Donald Trump's actions in Syria are hypocritical and dangerous

Letters
Reuters

Such is his love of Syrian babies that Donald Trump probably killed another handful with his recent missile attacks. And as for the so-valued Syrian child refugees, well they can’t get into the USA for sanctuary because of his immigration laws.

When most people (and all courts in civilised nations) insist on evidence and not assumption before condemning others, Trump has made knee-jerk deductions based on appearances and not on facts or evidence. He hasn’t even allowed any time to collect these through an independent investigation.

We have to admit we simply do not know what happened in Syria, and to attack another nation based on assumptions is as reckless, supine and foolish as it gets.

Bill Haymes
Address supplied

It is heartening to know that Donald Trump’s heart bleeds for the children suffering from war in Syria and that he is prepared to take steps, however misguided, to do something about it.

How marvellous it would be if he were to feel equal compassion for the children and beautiful babies who for many years have endured weapons just as cruel and have had the misfortune to be born in Gaza and the West Bank. I find it strange to think that Palestinian children are not deserving of his identical care.

Jennifer Bell
​Devon

Holidays are a privilege, not a right

The whole debate about whether to allow parents to take children out of school during term time to take advantage of cheap flights rests on the assumption that a foreign holiday every year is a God-given right confirmed by Magna Carta and subsequent rights legislation. It is a prime example of a luxury becoming a social necessity.

The argument that the cheap flights are necessary because the children need contact with foreign cultures does not hold water. The British tend to move in little bubbles of Britishness; they would not dream of learning the languages of the countries they visit. It is the pleasures of the beach rather than the majesty of the Parthenon that most of them seek.

This debate shows how distant those involved are from the real world where the idea of “holiday” is unknown. The parents should wake up enough to find a compromise. They could save money by having a foreign holiday in vacation time every other year and one in this country in the intervening year.

Margaret Brown
​Burslem

Private schooling only benefits the privileged minority

The criticism of private school education is not a witch-hunt as Tom Davies writes in yesterday’s Letters’ page. The status quo plainly needs changing. This is primarily because private schooling gives a superior education and therefore superior opportunities in life. Inequality defines life’s chances.

We should remember that of our school population only seven per cent went to private schools, yet in the Leading People Report issued by the Sutton Trust in 2016 it stated in a current review of top professionals that the percentage of those who attended a private school ranges from 51 per cent to more than 70 per cent.

I accept that the imposition of VAT on private school fees is tinkering with the problem, but it is far more fundamental than that. We need a level playing field for all our children’s schooling, no divide in class, wealth or race. Our private schools massively hinder this objective.

David Ashton
Kent

The attack on Stockholm is a senseless tragedy that goes against everything Sweden stands for

Sweden has traditionally been a safe haven for refugees and a popular choice for international students for a myriad of reasons. Sweden believes in democracy, free speech, the rule of law, gender equity, human rights, citizenship, cultural diversity, innovation, eco-friendly culture, creativity, no ceilings for knowledge, and so on.

Sweden has an unflinching commitment to social justice. Let us hope that this terrorist attack will not sway Sweden from its role as a shining rod in human history and that those outlaws only represent themselves, are mere criminals pure and simple.

Dr Munjed Farid Al Qutob
London NW2

Reducing payment to widowed parents is cruel and counter-productive

The Government’s decision to reduce the period for which Widowed Parents Allowance is payable from 20 years to 18 months is nothing short of outrageous.

The death of a partner is difficult enough to cope with, but for someone with children to be expected to manage without any financial help after 18 months shows a lamentable lack of understanding of the pressures that ordinary working families face in these circumstances.

It is bound to increase child poverty and is also likely to have a detrimental impact on the health of the surviving partner, with a consequent knock-on effect to demands upon the National Health Service. How Theresa May has the nerve to call the Tories “the party of working people” I do not understand.

Bob Harper
Edgware, London

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