News that the complaint against the deputy mayor for alleged racism has now been dropped (Gazette online 9th September) will have come as a relief, not just to Cllr Onnalee Cubitt, but also to the vast majority of us moderate and free-thinking Basingstokians.

It is a depressing sign of our times that we have to be on constant guard against saying 'the wrong thing'. That the current pandemic emanated from the East there is little doubt, so we can certainly label the virus with impunity as Chinese 'flu. 

Those who dissent against such labels were singularly quiet in the 70's at the time of the wretched 3-day week. Many will recall that the UK was suffering from the "English disease" and it was a well-deserved label, given that the country was then being held to ransom yet again by unions.

Complaints about' inappropriate' use of certain words unfortunately abound. Can historians even now refer to the Black Death? And is one no longer allowed to turn off the M1 to visit the Black Country?

Hugh Sawyer, Winchester Road, Basingstoke.