In response to the Conservative leader of Windsor council’s demand that the police clear Windsor of homeless people for the royal wedding (Report, 4 January), could I just add that as a frequent visitor over many years, from childhood to my pension days, I have never been subjected to aggressive and intimidating begging. What I have been subjected to more and more are the appalling and highly visible consequences of the social policies of this government and its Conservative-led predecessor. I see more and more homeless people in Windsor as everywhere. In Windsor I see more and more women out in all weathers selling the Big Issue and responding to the support and interest of passersby with warmth and appreciation.
Windsor has a history of accepting people through hard times. My mother and her family were among the many Jewish people who fled the terrible bombing they experienced in the East End of London and made a temporary home and community in Windsor, where they were welcomed and escaped the horrors of the blitz. That’s one of the reasons why we have spent so much time in Windsor, first with her, then with our daughters and then with our grandchildren.
There is a problem that needs dealing with here, but it is not of the people victimised by savage cuts in housing, welfare benefits and social care. It is the problem of a government that refuses to act as though it had a responsibility to all its citizens not just a coterie of well-heeled supporters and funders.
Professor of citizen participation, University of Essex
• Rather than sweep all homeless people off the streets lest they be seen by visitors to the town coming for the wedding of Prince Harry, how much better it would be if Harry were to provide a celebratory meal, a royal luncheon, for these homeless people on that day. Something I believe done in past times by kings and princes celebrating a royal wedding.
• A more proactive way for the royal borough to “clear” the rough-sleeping problem would be to set up a Crisis at Christmas-style shelter for the wedding weekend with professionals and volunteers available to help solve the problems of the borough’s homeless.
And why not make it a country-wide celebration of the wedding? After all, the couple who are getting married have a home funded by the state.
Charitable donations to make this happen would of course be welcome. Harry and Meghan could start the ball rolling by auctioning their wedding presents.
Over Kellet, Lancashire
• It is almost certain that some of the rough sleepers in Windsor, as elsewhere, are ex-military personnel. Perhaps council leader Simon Dudley should consult Prince Harry about the proposal to clear the streets for his wedding?
• What a snowflake the leader of Windsor and Maidenhead is, wanting the homeless cleared from the streets before the royal wedding! Stout-hearted Tories used to just step over them on their way to the opera.
Steeple Claydon, Buckinghamshire
• These people might like to join in the celebrations, along with thousands of others, some of whom may also arrive in advance, with their sleeping bags, to bag their places along the route.
• The demand from the leader of Windsor that the streets should be cleansed of the poor and homeless brings to mind the way in which this was done for Louis XIV on the rare occasions he left Versailles to visit Paris.
Holmfirth, West Yorkshire
• Reading the story about the council’s attitude to the homeless in Windsor and the royal wedding I was irresistibly reminded of the old nursery rhyme: Hark, hark, the dogs do bark/ the beggars are coming to town/ some in rags, some in jags/ and some in velvet gowns.
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