The Government’s defiance and resolute assurances that it is willing to impose sanctions on Russia are encouraging [April 10].
Vladimir Putin’s behaviour is unjustifiable and the threats of military action against the United States by Russia and Iran are alarming to say the least.
The UK must ensure its resolve is unwavering after the supine response by our European allies at the G7 summit, as they cooled on imposing further sanctions on Russia.
However, instead of resorting to more air strikes, which may have irrevocable consequences for the US, the allies ought to find a solution that demonstrates that the chemical attack was intolerable and, moreover, that Bashar al-Assad cannot remain in power in Syria.
After the horrific chemical attack last week in Syria it seems that the UK and US are more concerned with who did it rather than those who suffered.
When young children are killed in such attacks a line must be drawn. They have not done anything to deserve their country being bombed — they were merely born there. Yet they find themselves in a precarious position whereby no one seems to want to protect them.
While this is hardly surprising if the West’s main aim is to oust Assad, making plans for Syria’s legacy will be an important next step. But that is irrelevant if there isn’t a Syria left to protect.
The West must come up with a diplomatic way of protecting Syrian civilians. If that means bringing more against Russia to persuade them to withdraw from the country, then so be it.
The British and American governments are, regrettably, totally wrong about their involvement in Syria. I don’t necessarily favour Assad but to arbitrarily accuse him of the recent chemical weapons attack without any firm evidence is way off the mark.
As an Englishman who has lived and worked in various Third World countries I like to think I understand the basics of tribalism — but it took me many years. Our MPs, who have only lived in Berkshire or Surrey all their lives, simply don’t have a clue — even Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has no overseas experience.
There are just too many players in this Middle Eastern civil war and the Western leaders don’t understand the nuances of each tribal group or what their ultimate aims are. So for President Trump to simply react to what may well be false information by killing even more innocent Syrians is monumentally wrong.
There will be consequences to this action that neither the Americans nor the British will enjoy.
Homes should not trump our heritage
Last week Lambeth councillors refused an application by developers to convert a family house into five dwellings.
The reasons for the refusal were well-justified, in that “the development would harm the architectural integrity of the building” and “would not respect the character of the area”. Whatever the arguments over the cost of restoring Buckingham Palace, it is right that we take responsibility for not ruining our city’s heritage.
It may appear to be a small victory but in fact this decision is of great significance. Local authorities are under pressure to increase housing stock, meaning a number of inappropriate developments have been approved despite strong objections.
This, however, was a good decision based upon careful and intensive investigation, not short-term expediency and financial reward.
Apprentices need real training
With some exceptions, British industry is notoriously bad at training. Firms prefer to de-skill jobs or recruit personnel who have been trained at the expense of other firms or colleges or, frequently, in other countries.
The Government is once again trying to boost apprenticeships. It is a laudable aim. But we must ensure these are real apprenticeships which lead to qualifications recognised by employers and provide real skills.
It is the responsibility of employers to pay for the training of their staff. Let’s hope they are up to the job.
A fitting tribute to PC Keith Palmer
A few hours after PC Keith Palmer’s funeral two police officers on patrol on Tower Bridge saw an American family trying to frame themselves and the bridge into a photo. One officer offered to take a picture of the family and the officers posed for them. On what must have been a difficult for day for all police officers I felt proud to witness this small action.
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Sadiq must stick to Oxford Street plan
The awful news that another pedestrian has been killed in Oxford Street happens with depressing regularity. I trust that the Mayor will not waver in his proposal to pedestrianise it by 2020.
This may mean that a few residents’ journeys will take longer but surely this is a sacrifice worth making in order to save lives and rid London of this traffic nightmare. Sadiq, we implore you — do not let us down.
Peter Hartley, Westminster Living Streets
Switch off lights and save energy
In this era of climate change and energy security I am dismayed at the amount of energy wasted as a result of lights being left on when they don't need to be.
Street lights and housing estate lights are usually on during the day while I regularly see office buildings lit up at night. Surely the Mayor can shine a light on this issue and encourage companies to switch off?
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Gunners have used up all of their luck
Arsenal lost touch with their roots in 2011 when Stan Kroenke became the majority shareholder. He is a well-known American sports mogul who never gives interviews to the press and rarely interferes in day- to-day operations, instead focusing more on the business side of running a club.
When Arsenal fans are expected to pay more than supporters of any other Premier League team for match-day and season tickets, it’s no wonder the Emirates Stadium lacks a decent atmosphere during matches when they fail to perform.
In recent years Arsenal were regarded as “lucky” for their FA Cup triumphs and run of successive Champions League qualifications. But after a bad run, including their 3-0 drubbing at Crystal Palace on Monday, it appears that their luck is running out.
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