Carol Nicholas-Letch

What have we got to moan about?
One Sunday we turned up for church at Christchurch Whittington to find there was a power cut.
It was cold outside the Church and just as cold inside! There was no usual welcoming cup of tea and whilst the old gas heaters were quickly turned on it took a little while for our young and not so young bones to warm up.
We were also going to have to sing with no music and so the decision was made – only two hymns and a short but to the point sermon. As it happened the lights came on during our first hymn and the electric heaters were very quickly turned on and the service continued as normal, followed by that, oh so welcome, cup of tea!
But during tea and biscuits afterwards I overheard a comment about the poor folk sleeping rough in such cold weather. And here we had been grumbling about no heaters or tea whilst sitting inside with, at least, some form of heating. Shame on us.
On the way home a couple of us decided that we would hold another Giving Challenge during Lent and donate the proceeds to The Purfleet Trust, a charity that helps the homeless. If you too would like to help the homeless please feel free to take part, details are in this magazine.
Carol Nicholas-Letch

Ron’s Rambles

Defence and the budget
Our defence budget is inadequate. The manpower in our armed services is too little and we do not have enough up to date equipment. Comparisons with Russia (a country regarded as poorer than ours) show us to be militarily much weaker, for example, whereas we may have a couple of hundred fairly up to date tanks, Russia has over 2000 state of the art tanks. Not that I believe that we are under threat from Russia, even though our newspapers and some of our politicians like to imply that we are. David Williamson Minister of Defence was being ridiculous when he told us that Russia could attack our infrastructure and thereby kill thousands and thousands and thousands of us, as the Russians said it was like something from Monte Python. Maybe they could do that, we could probably do that to them, but why would they? Being weak militarily is not likely to result in being attacked by Russia, what it does mean is that Russia can use its muscle to intervene in other countries’ affairs in a way which we would not approve and we cannot confront them but only sit back and watch. It doesn’t even need Russia to be involved, nowadays we would probably hesitate to involve our forces in situations such as we had in Kosovo and Sierra Leone, where we were able to do so much good.
Our governments have played a potentially dangerous game of cutting defence budgets in order to help balance the books. Therein lies the problem, despite the increased allocation to the NHS, the NHS remains less well supported than health systems in other western nations and inadequately funded to meet the needs of the people.
It is claimed that we are among the richest nations, the only nations richer are the USA, China, Germany and France so why is it that we seem to be so short of money? The government is beset by financial problems, it is not only the NHS and defence that are underfunded, housing, education, police, social care and roads and railways are all crying out for money but they simply do not have enough revenue coming in.
Just prior to the economic summit at Davos last month Oxfam produced a report, in this report they stated that between July 2016 and June 2017 the global wealth had increased by £7.3trillion (not their figure I think), of this they claimed £6trillion had gone to 75million people, 3.7billion people had flat lined and the remaining £1.3trillion had been spread among 3.9billion people In fact 80% of the wealth increase had gone to the richest 1% of the people. There are now 2.043 billionaires and one more is created every two days. So much of the global wealth is controlled by a relatively few people some of whom have more financial power than most governments. A similar situation exists in the UK where most of the wealth being generated is going to very few people. It is abundantly clear that the economic system is broken. It is no wonder that we don’t have enough money for the NHS and defence and all the other needs when most of the wealth is going into the pockets of the already rich.
Just how much longer are the people going to tolerate this situation?

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