This is what you have been writing to us about this week.
If you want to send us a letter, email email@example.com or write to Bucks Free Press, Loudwater Mill, Station Road, Loudwater, HP10 9TY.
Bucks’ hospitals are being left behind
During the local plan consultation, we had two open letters that gained hundreds of signatures in a short space of time.
One called for the removal of a paragraph which put the Wycombe hospital site at risk of redevelopment.
After much hard work, we were successful in reaching a compromise paragraph following the examination so thank you to everyone who helped with this, particularly Leigh Day for their legal advice.
The second called for expansion of the hospital to be an option for consultation as development of the Office Outlet site was on the local plan document.
Therefore, when the Trust's CEO wrote mentioning that the Office Outlet carpark was being used for staff, this was a welcome move as it was one of our suggestions for the site.
My thoughts on comments in last week's BFP article were - let's not rush into turning it into an ambulance station - there needs to be a credible plan for the site to return to a fully functioning hospital in future.
The letter also confirmed that the new scanner was fundraised for by the Scannappeal charity and that the Cervical Screening Laboratory at Wycombe will be closed, i.e. another staff team of 20 will be ripped apart.
There is also no sign of Amersham's 22 bed Chartridge ward reopening, let alone 24/7 care at Marlow and Thame's hospitals.
Yet Oxford have managed to reopen their community hospital ward this month. Their county council's HASC challenged the decision. If only ours would actually do the same.
Bucks is being left behind, and this is impacting patients in the National Spinal Injuries Unit in Stoke, as their specialist beds are taken over by general patients due to the cuts.
I hope people will ask questions of candidates and vote during this general election and council elections next year with our hospitals and NHS at the heart of their decisions. We can't go on with all these cuts and downgrades.
Thank you to everyone who has supported the campaign over the years and particularly NHS staff.
Ozma Hafiz, Save Wycombe Hospital Campaign
‘Don’t split the Tory vote this General Election’
Now the chips are well and truly down.
The Corbyn manifesto has been published and we know what to expect from 13th December if this hard left Labour leader becomes PM.
Bo-Jo’s Brexit deal may well be a step into the unknown but Corbyn’s plan is definitely a leap backwards into the 1970’s.
Back to politics of envy, nationalisation (remember those recurring losses?) increased union control, massive borrowing, reckless giveaways and increased taxation to be paid by “the rich” and business.
Really? Those wicked billionaires will simply activate their plans to change their taxation residences from 13th December and thus avoid penal taxation. Businesses will relocate or invest abroad wherever possible. Thus those increased taxes will therefore fall on those aspirational people who have worked or are still working their way to financial independence.
All this before we consider Corbyn’s security record. Putin must be watching 12th December hopefully at the very least.
So, what is the remedy? Firstly, ignore the dulcet tones of John McDonnell. Then avoid the temptation of a protest vote for any candidate, however deserving on personal grounds, who may split the anti-Corbyn vote.
This time it has to be the only possible party which can produce an overall majority in Parliament. It has to be the Tories.
Peter Harper, Chesham Bois
‘How can this be democracy?’
My wife and I have been appalled to receive a handwritten letter from Dominic Grieve, which is condescending in its tone and presumptuous by assuming that we agree with his well-known anti-Brexit views.
The letter sets out Mr Grieve's objections to Brexit in such way that they appear to be undisputed facts, which they most certainly are not. He is not the undisputed font of all knowledge about the consequences of Brexit.
He states that the "deal" threatens to break up our country. Does he not realise that his action, if successful and repeated by a few other disgruntled ex-Tories, could lead to another hung parliament and all that entails. That would be even more likely to lead to the break-up of the UK.
Mr Grieve is standing as a so-called "Independent" candidate, but with the support of the Liberal Democrats, whose stance in this election is to remain in the EU by revoking Article 50. How does that align with him advocating in the letter that another referendum should be held?
Another statement in his letter is "I believe that you should have the final say on any decision to leave the EU, based on the choices now available". We would firmly remind him that the people in the UK have already made their decision in a straightforward In/Out referendum.
If by "choices" he means a three-way referendum - Leave without a deal/Leave with the deal "on the table"/Remain in the EU, we would point out that that is fundamentally dishonest. The vote for the leave option would be split two ways. The result would almost inevitably be Remain.
Another referendum, whether a straight repeat on the In/Out basis, or the three-way one, would certainly not heal "Brexit's deep divisions" (Grieve's words).
Finally, he asks us, my wife and myself, to "lend him our vote" in the upcoming General Election. That request is disgraceful.
How are you acting "with reason and integrity" as claimed in your letter, how is this democracy in action Mr Grieve?
Michael and Christine Dewey, address withheld
General Election doom and gloom for voters
This general election is filling a lot of people with gloom and worry about which party to vote for as all three major parties lack real appeal.
Can we really trust Boris Johnson, a proven fibber, who does not represent the views or background of many of us. He has a bitterly divided party.
Jeremy Corbyn is an old style socialist with radical policies which sound very costly. At least he's apparently honest and so is Jo Swinson, Lib Dem leader, but her stance is possibly undemocratic as we had had a referendum more than three years ago. Should we revise our vote now we know a whole lot more about the real likely impact of Brexit?
In Beaconsfield there's an odd situation with Dominic Grieve, independent candidate, a decent man chucked out by his divided party along with others, because of Brexit.
He believes in One Nation Conservative principles in danger of being undermined by reckless and extremist policies pursued by Johnson.
That damages our democratic system and undermines the rule of law. He no longer trusts Boris Johnson or the team he leads to act in the best interests of the Union, of England or of Beaconsfield. Mrs Thatcher would not agree with Johnson.
It's a pity he was criticised in letters last week by embittered and apparently blinkered Conservatives who seem absolutely certain that leaving the EU will take us to the Promised Land. Are we certain?
Name withheld, Tylers Green
The EU is run by its members
I was sorry to see that Jonathan Eadon-Smith believes that money is "wasted" on "EU membership fees" (BFP letters, November 22).
The single market rules reduce bureaucracy and improve standards. The agencies like the European Medicines Agency and the European Aviation Safety Agency save money.
Far from being big and expensive, the budget amounts to 1.1% of UK government spending, according to the Office for Budget Responsibility.
Some of this money comes home. It comes home in the form of farm support, the regional development fund, the social fund, the science fund, the Creative Europe arts and culture programme, the Eurasmus+ programme for youth and sport, the Maritime and Fisheries Fund, the Natura 2000 wildlife programme, and the Galileo satnav programme.
For more examples, please see the EU's Publications Office (bookshop.europa.eu). As for "the EU's intentions" for "ever more integration".
At the core of the EU are the member countries. The EU is a shared organisation. It is run by its members, for its members. The EU is not somehow set apart from its member countries.
The top table of national leaders is like a board of directors. It's called the European Council. It meets at least four times a year.
What has to happen to transfer more UK powers to the EU? The prime minister must voluntarily sign for it. The Westminster Parliament must decide to vote for it. The European Union Act 2011 requires a referendum to approve it.
Phil Jones, European Movement UK, High Wycombe
Will we have to re-run the election?
If Dominic Grieve fails to win his long-held seat of Beaconsfield, no doubt he will be asking for another election claiming we, his constituents, did not know what we were voting for.
Susan Fagan, Fulmer
My views on General Election
There are two letters in today’s print BFP (November 22) about Dominic Grieve’s independent candidacy in Beaconsfield.
In the first, Jonathan Eadon-Smith says Mr Grieve’s candidacy: ‘will only enhance Labour’s prospects of winning by further splitting the original Conservative vote three ways …’
I am not sure that what Mr Eadon-Smith says about the Peterborough by-election in January, as proof of this, is really applicable to Beaconsfield as Peterborough was not a highly secure Conservative seat – Labour and Tory have oscillated round it in the past, so the Tory majority was vulnerable to start off with.
Mr Smith says annual national budgets in Eurozone countries have to be vetted by ‘Brussels’. Eurozone countries (to which we do not belong in any case) do have to undergo an annual ‘peer review’ - introduced after prolonged argumentation and modification after the 2008 Credit Crunch - each government presents to all the other members and the Commission, broad estimates for growth, inflation, revenue and expenditure levels, six months before they go to national parliaments.
If a country runs a deficit, it has to justify it to the rest of the EU while countries with a debt more than 60% of GDP face greater scrutiny. The EU has only interfered once with a national budget in the Eurozone, last year, when the Italian Five Star government proposed tripling the previous government's deficit target.
The powers Mr Smith refers to are intended to promote growth and stability and seem to be ones the Conservative government already uses against its poorer citizens under the names ‘austerity’ or ‘financial responsibility’
Philip Hammond was expelled from the Tories by Boris Johnson and immediately took up a (probably highly lucrative) job with an Irish multinational as a non-executive director. Hammond didn’t mention avoiding splitting the vote and said he had been forced to step down because he would lose his party membership if he stood against an official Conservative.
He also made what the Guardian called ‘a veiled threat that he intended to continue to oppose hard-line Conservatives who are trying to force one nation Tories out of the party’ - he warned he would continue to support a: “broad-based, forward-looking … centre-right party”.
Mr Eadon-Smith betrays some of his real motives in his final sentence in which is a paraphrase of the words of Joy Morrissey: ‘A vote for Dominic Grieve is in effect a vote for Labour…’
He also says the EU’s ‘ultimate aim’ is ‘… diminishing the sovereignties of individual member countries’ – he believes the EU is a tyranny we must liberate ourselves from and would rather we were some tiny, imaginary, ‘independent’ ‘global’ power, and not an influential and prosperous member of the largest trading bloc in the world.
He gravely concludes: ‘This could eventually lead to them (EU countries) becoming mere vassal states.’
If ALL countries in the EU are vassal states then who will run the EU? Presumably vassal states from within the EU, in which case the UK, with one of the largest economies and defence capabilities, may end up being in charge, as top vassal state, or at worst we would be in a state of equality of vassalage with the other states.
If we continue to trade with the EU after Brexit, which we will have to, then we will be in a position where we have to conform to EU rules without having any input into them – surely a real vassal-like situation.
Mr Smith’s letter is basically a Leaver endorsement of the official Tory candidate who would immediately prove her orthodoxy in Parliament by helping ‘achieve’ the delusional folly of Brexit.
The second letter is by veteran Tory Laurance Reed, who has written here before, giving differing justifications each time for leaving the EU, and attacking the behaviour of Dominic Grieve.
Mr Reed condemns a second, confirmatory, referendum (something that was advocated at one point in 2016 by Boris Johnson), after the forthcoming election, because this might: ‘… divide the leave vote. We could then end up with the ludicrous situation in which remain gets 45 per cent of the vote, leave with a deal gets 35 per cent and no deal 20 per cent.’
Surely this situation would mean there was no genuine majority of voters who had the right to impose their views on the rest of the country - leave with a deal and leave with no deal are very different points of view. (Most private sports clubs require a majority of more than 60% to change their constitution, as does the USA.)
If we returned to a stalemate after a second referendum then the matter could be (reluctantly) looked into further to devise a genuine final conclusion, but in any case it would be no worse than the current ludicrous situation where a majority of less than 2% of the voters is being used as a justification for ‘doing’ Brexit when the Brexit we are being offered has no resemblance to any Brexit we were (dishonestly) offered in 2016.
Mr Smith asks what Dominic Grieve expects to achieve.
At the moment, in the absence of any polls to the contrary, it seems possible, if not probable, that Dominic Grieve has a good chance of winning Beaconsfield by capturing a majority of the votes of two groups - traditional practical Conservatives who have not been born again as members of the Strict Brexit sect, and traditional Labour and Lib Dem supporters who have all been shown in the national press defying the habits of a lifetime by campaigning with and for Dominic.
I would think these people are typical of many who will vote ‘strategically’ for Mr Grieve as a considered alternative to an orthodox Leaver Tory like Joy Morrissey.
Mr Grieve was elected by a majority of the voters of Beaconsfield and removed by entryist local ideologues and a dictatorial Prime Minister.
His achievement is that he has already behaved in accordance with principle – something politicians are often said to lack - even though it has damaged and may end his political career.
If he wins the election, he will have achieved the opportunity to continue fighting for our best local and national interests in Parliament.
If he should lose the election then he will still have achieved something worthwhile, as, on this occasion, his candidature gives effect to the votes of people who are usually effectively disfranchised by being in a safe seat.
Lawrence Linehan, Wooburn Green