Dear Editor, The letter from Michael Moore blaming Neville Chamberlain for abandoning the gold standard in 1931 was plausible except for one minor detail. Chamberlain was not Chancellor or Prime Minister in 1931.

When the Labour government collapsed on August 24th 1931 and was replaced by a National Government, Ramsay MacDonald remained Prime Minister while Philip Snowden remained Chancellor. It was Snowden who took Britain off the Gold Standard that autumn. Chamberlain did not become Chancellor for another two years.

Labour’s policy of remaining on the Gold Standard 1929-31 was a continuation of the Conservative policy of the previous Baldwin government, whose Chancellor had been Winston Churchill. Churchill had restored the Gold Standard despite the criticisms of John Maynard Keynes who warned that an overvalued currency would indeed damage exports, as the unemployment figures in the late 1920s proved to be correct.

Unemployment peaked in 1933 before Chamberlain became Chancellor, though he reaped the benefits in his first budget, that of 1934. It is very curious that Mr Moore thinks that this was the basis of rearmament, and saved Britain from Hitler. The recovery had already begun, and it is the former Labour chancellor Phillip Snowden who deserves the credit. As for saving Britain from Hitler, this was hardly the achievement of Chamberlain as Chancellor or Prime Minister, as the disastrous state of the British army when war broke out in 1939 shows only too clearly.


Lovatt Street, Stafford


Thank you to everyone who came to our Christmas Fair

Dear Editor, The staff, volunteers and services users, who joined forces to organise and run the Birmingham Focus on Blindness Christmas Fayre, would like to thank everyone who came along to the Resource Centre on Woodville Road, Harborne recently. We hope you picked up a few pre-Christmas bargains, had time to sample our relaxation room and generally had a bit of fun with Father Christmas whilst helping to support our work. Together with our Carol Singing activities we raised over £1,000. This will enable us to continue supporting visually impaired, and disabled people, together with their carers, to live fulfilling and independent lives by providing services that reflect their wants and needs. Without the encouragement and enthusiasm given by local people, at events such as these, we could not continue with our work. We wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy new year.

Samantha Kendall

Head of Communications Birmingham Focus on Blindness


We will so miss Pinter’s speeches

Dear Editor, Harold Pinter was our greatest post-War playwright and a man who would speak the truth about our political system and ego-obsessed politicians. He wrote great plays and I once received a letter and signed photo from him, when I wrote to him in agreement to an anti-war speech he gave in 2003. There will never be anybody like him again and sadly those who were being criticised by him can sleep easily in their beds now.

RIP Harold and we will always have your plays and thoughts on paper to ponder and read for many years to come.


Thornbury Road Walsall


Regeneration will eventually hit buffers

Dear Editor, A short while ago, Coun Mike Whitby said: “The government has been bold in rescuing the banks. They must be as bold in giving the cities the freedom and the resources to secure prosperity in the future.”

The carbon-binging, energy-hungry high life of never-ending regeneration, wealth and new projects has a limited future. The more we live it up today and to hell with tomorrow, the sooner we will hit the buffers of unsustainability. The party ends the sooner we rip through our irreplaceable resources and fossil fuels.

It seems to me to be so obvious that we are heading for disaster, but we just cannot stop ourselves. Our unsustainable behaviours are just too irresistible and, as GW Bush declared, we are addicted to oil. We are acting just like the Easter Islanders of old and certainly won’t learn from mouldy, dusty, old history from an ancient tale of Pacific islanders.

Is Coun Mike able to understand my point – the double whammy message that money and energy do not grow on trees and that our consumption has a negative impact on our future prospects?

It seems to me, that if we are ever going to face up to the uncomfortable home truths, retrenchment rather than everlasting regeneration, is required.

Tim Weller

Hunnington Crescent, Halesowen