South Wales Echo letters: Monday, August 19, 2019

We need myths to give life a higher perspective

I discovered today that we are within days of the 250th anniversary of the birth of one of the leading characters in European history, Napoleon. Opinions will differ as to the merits of this major historical figure, born as is well known on the island of Corsica. Generally, as will be understandable, the French have a much more positive opinion of this figure than the British who at worst would see this military leader as a dictator and a war-mongering individual who had several clear military victories before receiving his come-uppance in the end while exiled on a distant island.

What is perhaps more significant here is that there was no great publicity for this anniversary in France, reportedly in their media. Perhaps the anniversary of Napoleon’s death in a year or two will inspire greater interest across the channel. Some French media commentary enlarged the perspective of this incident by talking for the need for nations to have “myths”, founding myths as they are sometimes termed, to give life a higher perspective than focusing on the economy or showbusiness alone.

We have Winston Churchill, whom Boris Johnson clearly regards as a role model, let alone that egregious and to me unpleasant figure Mr Cummings, a Svengali de nos jours perhaps. Michael O’Neill Penarth

Return to the Ninian Stand

I have returned to the Ninian Stand,

Familiar faces I warmly greet, Saturday afternoon in a strange land It’s only at the football match we meet.

My depression from relegation disappears As I hope for a season that’s sublime. When the team comes out we loudly cheer

The first home game always a special time. And new boy Vassell scores the winning goal With almost the last kick of a tense game.

We jump for joy losing all self-control Nothing else in life feels quite the same. For a while I lock my problems away

Following the team I’ll forever adore, A perfect way to spend a Saturday My heart blue until I exist no more.

Guy Fletcher Pantmawr, Cardiff

Evidence to show Corbyn is wrong

For those individuals, like Corbyn and McDonnell, who doubt the efficacy of the market mechanism, I provide two material pieces of economic evidence. Exhibit A: The competitive nature of the grocery market in the UK which furnishes great choice and low prices, especially for the less affluent consumer.

The nascent low-price supermarket sector (eg Lidl and Aldi) and frozen food retailers, like Iceland, respond to consumer demand as they have a incentive to do so, ie profit. Exhibit B: Heavy metal giants Metallica finance paediatric hospitals and other social initiatives via their foundation, while Roger Federer is building schools in Africa. As in the Victorian era, philanthropic initiatives thrive when the corporate health of a nation is sound.

Who remembers Corbyn taking the stage at Glastonbury to inform rock fans that society had failed them? Laughable. I rest my case.

Ian Roblin Llanishen, Cardiff

Boris selected to save the Tories

Although legally the EU referendum was non-binding, the government of that time had promised to implement the result. The Tory party got Theresa May after Cameron stepped down.

The general election which followed showed us the people didn’t want a Tory hard/no-deal Brexit. Now the Tories have selected Boris, mostly to help save their party from the Brexit Party. Andrew Nutt

Bargoed

Bonfire night and global warming

Extinction Rebellion are proactive and are doing something to bring to the attention of all of us the important issue of climate change. They have not mentioned, as far as I am aware, the damage that bonfire night has on global warming and the environment. So why is bonfire night not stopped?

OK the tradition goes back hundreds of years, but what is more important, tradition or global warming and air quality? Pets are terrified on bonfire night, and goodness knows the effect it has on farm animals. Is it the lobby of firework producers?

Most fireworks are boring – bang, bang, bang. Perhaps Extinction Rebellion can explain why they are not advocating stopping fireworks. Richard Shurey

Penygraig, Tonypandy

Store items in railway tunnels

ONE valuable unused resource South Wales has plenty of is abandoned railway tunnels. There are many historical items that museums wish they had which have been destroyed in the past 50 years when they came to the end of their useful lives and were not yet historical but have been destroyed because of their value as scrap metal. As the old saying goes: “We do not know what we have lost until it is gone.”

Old abandoned farms and military equipment survives well at the end of its service life because farms, the army and the air force have plenty of land to keep old tanks, tractors and aircraft on. This is not the case with the construction industry, which has no vast expenses of land to keep objects on. The construction industry goes back thousands of years almost as long as farming and war.

The cement mixer, bulldozer, crane, excavator, dump-truck and etc are as historically important as tractors and tanks but very few survive. Other important historical items are the ashcart and pneumatic drill. The ashcart was more historical importance as the lord mayor’s car and more worthy of preservation.

Old items at the end of their useful lives could be put in abandoned railway tunnels and taken out after 50 years. Historical items from museums in London were put in old underground slate quarries in North Wales during World War II. Even old but important documents could be put in old railway tunnels when it would be too costly to keep them in buildings above ground.

Ralph W Rees

Penylan, Cardiff

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