Letters, August 26: Compassion on a Bristol bus, fears Egypt and Syria and changes to Gloucester
Citizens offering help to someone in need
I witnessed something on August 14 that reinforced my belief that even after a third of a century of a "me first" politics and culture, this city and country still has reserves of common decency that would move the most fervent supporter of market-driven capitalism.
I was sitting on First Bus's number 20 service when the driver slammed on the brakes, stopping less than a foot from a cyclist who had lost her balance and fallen off her bicycle. As if as one, pedestrians, passengers and residents combined, without guidance, to phone for an ambulance, offer first aid, provide a blanket as she was in shock and direct traffic until the emergency services arrived.
No impatient driver sounded their horn, no one asked for recognition for their services, it was just citizens of Bristol offering help to someone who needed it. I came away proud of each and everyone who played their part. In this city helping others still has no price.
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Finally well done to the driver who, with his sharp reflexes, effectively saved this young woman's life and went on about his job.
Westbury Park, Bristol
Fears for future of the Middle East
I am confused and worried over the states of Egypt and Syria by what I see and hear from both TV and radio.
The leaders of both countries seem to have forgotten the human rights of their citizens, and in the process the world is watching from afar. Things cannot go on like this.
It is becoming a tinder box for the wider Middle East, such as Israel, Iraq and Iran. I write to you now as a former employee at the Ministry of Defence, which must work with the Foreign Office.
I am confused that politicians of the EU, together with other nations, are not doing all that much – just going on holiday and watching Rome burn, while eggs are thrown.
Mr A Fry
My thanks for this display of flowers
I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of the Montpellier Association to thank the borough council and Cheltenham in Bloom for the fabulous display of flowers in Montpellier.
Montpellier is looking absolutely wonderful in the summer sunshine. People are taking the time to enjoy the atmosphere in the outdoor cafes and restaurants, strolling around the shops and enjoying the floral displays that line both sides of the streets.
There is a definite buzz in the air – whether it is the green shoots of recovery, the colourful blooms, the glorious British summer or all of the above – and we invite everyone to come and sample it. We are fortunate to live in one of the most beautiful parts of the country and, due to the vision, hard work and dedication of the gardeners of Cheltenham, we will keep it that way. Thank you.
Things change, not always for the better
I recently spent some time back in Gloucester and several things gave me the urge to reach for my pen to make a few random points.
I doubt if there is another city in the country with such a large area of land, so near to its centre, just waiting to be developed. What an opportunity for a new transport hub with new bus and rail stations, taxi rank, bike hire, market site, car park etc, as well as commercial development.
I refer of course to the Railway Triangle. It could bring the city into the 21st century, and what a difference it would make for us visitors.
I gather your leaders have opted for a supermarket. Ah well. I expect they know best.
Why do you not provide public toilets any longer? Those I remember have been closed or removed. I assume this was necessary, but would it not have been sensible to provide new ones first?
The Golden Egg is not a pretty building, but at least it is tucked away in the corner of the square. Grow some ivy over it and it will be OK. If you want to knock something down, how about Bentinck House in Bruton Way? It's much uglier and ten times bigger.
Do you really want to build on King's Square; you will never be able to replace it. Towns on the continent make such good use of their squares, could you not do the same? It could be such an asset.
You have a novel way of dealing with those people who break the law by being drunk in a public place – ie. Eastgate Street. You ban motor cars to keep them safe. It might be going too far to leave the cars and up the speed limit to 40mph, but a night in the cells and a court appearance with a fine seems more appropriate.
It is a fact that not all change is progress. I don't think Gloucester is the place it was 20 years ago and my worry is that when things go downhill too far people can't be bothered to pull them back up. I hope someone is monitoring things because like so many of your readers I still love the place.
F W Black
Dodge shows we are not 'in it together'
We learn that the most highly paid senior civil servants have a tax dodge, approved by HMRC, in which the taxpayers pick up the tax bills for perks such as official cars and rent-free accommodation. This is said to increase the value of the pay package of these civil servants by as much as £30,000 a year.
So much for "we are all in it together".
Learn lessons to end wars of religion
Why, oh why, do religious wars still continue, or rather those warring factions which, in the name of religion, trouble the world today with their disputes? This is not so much about true religion, as furthering the superiority of the particular group.
Religions are made by mankind and come in many forms.
There are surely many paths leading to true faith. Power, land and oppression can also be the reason for these disputes. For 50 years the Western world has been distributing armaments to many countries around the globe. Frequently in the name of commerce. Dictators were willing customers, but it was not expected that they would turn these guns on their neighbours, or worse still their own people, as has been seen in Syria, Israel and Egypt.
England has also experienced religious wars. In June 1215 King John, a greedy, despotic ruler was finally confronted at Runnymede by his barons who extorted from him "the Great Magna Charta", which established the supremacy of the law over the will of the monarch.
The Magna Charta came along early in the history of the country. It was many years before the religious problem was solved. However, religion as a format for government proved not to be the best way of ruling and in the present system prevailed.
People practiced Christianity in the way of their choice and grew close together. Only a few continued to complain.
History seems to repeat itself but lessons should be learned from history.