SIR – The situation in the United States is very serious for NATO and the West.
The president’s gatekeepers – sorry, advisers – are clearly trying to keep him away from television and public events as he becomes less and less physically and mentally capable of fulfilling his role.
Each time he appears, he struggles to string together more than two sentences. He is clearly not up to it.
Tadcaster, North Yorkshire
SIR – Is Joe Biden a latter-day Neville Chamberlain? While Chamberlain thought he had achieved “peace in our time”, Hitler had already moved his troops to the Polish border.
As Mr. Biden and the West continue to kill each other, Vladimir Putin is ready to invade Ukraine.
Mr. Biden has already let Afghanistan down. Will Ukraine be next?
SIR – Anita Singh, in her review of Keeping Up With the Aristocrats, lists cufflinks and illness as things considered “common.”
In the 1950s, my aspiring lower-middle-class parents were obsessed with what was below us.
We would apparently betray our working-class roots if we liked comic books, didn’t ask permission to leave the table after a meal, didn’t worry about what the neighbors thought, shouted when we played in the garden, didn’t use the room front that on holidays and bank holidays or watched ITV.
MR – I have been a magistrate for 36 years. Since 2012, the number of people serving in England and Wales has fallen from around 25,000 to 13,000.
It is difficult to see how any increase in our powers (Letters, 20 January) will affect the backlog of trials in the Crown Courts.
In East Sussex, seven out of eight magistrates’ courts have been closed and redeveloped. This means that defendants facing long journeys often do not show up as summoned, resulting in costly and time-consuming arrest warrants being issued.
Unless the number of magistrates increases and local courts are re-established, the expected increase in the powers of magistrates will be useless.
Eastbourne, East Sussex
SIR – During my service in the RAF I met a number of gay airmen.
They were not treated differently. We were vaguely aware of an offense known as “two in one bed”, but we didn’t take it seriously. I have never heard of anyone being accused of being gay.
Whitley Bay, Northumberland
SIR – I have a strong objection to Tim Stanley referring to Matt Hancock as a “Suffolk Stallion”.
As a member of the Suffolk Horse Society I doubt he passed a stallion inspection and was probably neutered.
HSBC fees force charities to close accounts
SIR – I managed an HSBC account (Letters, Jan 20) for a small charity that supports people while they work for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Prize. There were no fees or interest until November 1, 2021, when HSBC imposed a monthly fee of £5 and a fee for each transaction. We had a small lump sum, which would soon have disappeared into the coffers of the banks.
We have decided to close the account. I submitted the forms on December 8 and it was finally closed on January 7. I was warned by the cashier that it might take a while, not only because of the festive holidays but also because of a “big backlog of other accounts”. closures”. What a surprise.
We found a more hospitable place for the price.
Malvern Wells, Worcestershire
SIR – I am the treasurer of a small village association, which for many years had a free HSBC account with telephone banking.
In August 2021, HSBC said that from 1 November a monthly fee of £5 would be charged, plus other fees if we wanted to deposit or withdraw money. On November 1, when I tried to use telephone banking, I was told by the recorded voice that our details were no longer recognized, and it took me until December 23 to do so. recover after many visits to agencies.
HSBC says it is “confident that our offer remains very competitive”. As far as I know, this is the only bank that charges small charities for an account, but we can’t consider switching to another as at the moment none of them are opening a charity account.
SIR – Due to Covid our monthly meetings (on the Thames) did not take place – meaning we had no income.
How can HSBC justify the £5 charge when the account has always been in credit? I, too, could resort to keeping society money in a box (Letters, January 15).
Treasurer, River Thames Society
The unique taste of intruding cow’s milk
SIR – My family remained on the Isle of Mull in the 1960s and our milk was supplied by the neighboring farm from three cows: Jean, Meg and fat Rosy (Letters, 20 January). It was strictly unpasteurized and, aside from the occasional spider, very good.
However, fat Rosy liked to break into the packing shed to eat the onions. “Sour” didn’t begin to describe the taste of her milk afterward.
Warkworth, Auckland, New Zealand
SIR – Our milk was delivered by horse and cart in the 1940s. My mother poured it into containers and let the cream come to the top. This was kept spooned over strawberries from our garden. Leftovers were turned into delicious scones.
Unfortunately, our milkman’s cows caught tuberculosis and were destroyed. Fortunately, I lived to tell the tale.
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