This is what you have been writing to us about this week.
If you would like your letter published, email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Bucks Free Press, Loudwater Mill, Station Road, Loudwater, HP10 9TY.
Thank you for helping after our ordeal
Following the attempted armed robbery here just before Christmas may I take this opportunity to thank the police, CID and paramedics for not only their speedy and efficient response but also their kindness and support to all of us during a pretty traumatic few hours.
The staff at Stoke Mandeville were also very kind and supportive the next morning.
It is too easy to take for granted our emergency services but they do an amazing job - for which we are eternally grateful.
Our thanks, too, to Sue and John Lord for all their help and for giving up a large part of their day to assist the police - you were both a tower of strength.
The lovely messages, phone calls, personal visits and gifts have been quite overwhelming - it brings home what a wonderful, caring community we live in.
Bless you and thank you all.
Our very best wishes to everyone for 2020 and the new decade.
Mary Marshall and family, West Wycombe Post Office, High Street, West Wycombe
Fighting against cocaine use
Thank you for mentioning the fight against cocaine in Bucks Free Press today (January 3).
Drug smuggling is a cross-border issue, so a European approach can be more effective than purely national approaches.
The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction helps the fight against drug smuggling. It's a European Union agency. It's in Lisbon. The website for it is www.emcdda.europa.eu.
It works with the European Medicines Agency. The Medicines Agency was in London and now it's in Amsterdam. www.ema.europa.eu.
The EMCDDA works with other European Union agencies. The Eurojust courts
cooperation agency. The Europol police cooperation agency. The European Police College that helps police forces learn how policing works in neighbouring countries. And the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
The EMCDDA has international partners such as the World Health Organisation. The Schengen Information System shares information between EU countries.
This country should be supporting its neighbours. This country should be at the forefront of the effort to help the fight against cocaine.
This country should be fully involved in everything the European Union does.
Phil Jones, member of European Movement UK, High Wycombe
Thoughts on Wycombe Air Park plans
I regret that due to hospitalisation I was unable to attend any of the consultation meetings on the proposed development at Wycombe Air Park (Booker). However I would like to raise the following issues.
I understand that Wycombe Air Park is in the Green Belt, if so, surely it is wrong to allow a large-scale commercial development on what is currently effectively a large grass covered area?
One of the original terms under which the airfield (Booker) was allowed to be constructed was, and I quote "that in the event of the aerodrome ceasing to be used as such for a period exceeding six months, that the promoters or the other owners for the time being of the site, shall forthwith clear the site of all erections, stores and materials and so far as is possible, restore the land to its state at the granting of the interim certificate".
Has this condition ever been rescinded?
Dave Scott, address withheld
Time to revamp election system?
Wycombe MP Steve Baker claims that claims that people would be shocked if they knew the extent of electoral fraud.
However, Mr Baker presents only anecdotal evidence that electoral fraud is occurring on any significant scale.
If electoral fraud is so prevalent, why have there been so few prosecutions, and where is the evidence?
The fact is that the real purpose of the proposal to require voters to present photo identification in order to vote is to effectively disenfranchise millions of poorer voters who are not easily able to present this identification or who might be deterred from voting by this requirement, and it is no coincidence that these are the voters who are least likely to vote Conservative in the first place.
The Conservative Party seems to have learned well from its close friends in President Trump’s Republican Party that the best way to guarantee a majority in future elections is to disenfranchise the voters likely to be hostile to the party and to gerrymander constituency boundaries in the forthcoming boundary review.
The real threat to democracy in this country is not the miniscule levels of electoral fraud but the failure of parliament to accurately reflect the population at large, largely as a result of our hideously undemocratic first past the post electoral system.
In the recent general election the Conservative Party won 56 per cent of the seats in parliament with just 43 per cent of the vote, well short of a majority of the votes cast.
One Tory MP was elected for every for every 38,000 votes cast for that party, whereas it took 51,000 votes to elect a Labour MP, 336,000 votes to elect a Liberal Democrat, and a massive 836,000 votes to elect a Green.
Of course, the existing system does not always work in favour of the Conservative Party: in Scotland, the SNP, with just 45 per cent of the votes, won 81 per cent of the seats, whereas the Conservatives, with 25 per cent of the vote, got only 10 per cent of the seats.
In 1997, the first past the post system massively exaggerated the scale of Tony Blair’s Labour victory, giving him a huge majority with only 44 per cent of the vote.
Such perverse results fatally undermine the legitimacy of parliament and of the government, encourage voter cynicism, and call into question the right of our country even to describe itself as a democracy in any meaningful sense.
Yet the Tory manifesto specifically ruled out any review of our outmoded electoral system to ensure greater proportionality.
Of course, the introduction of proportional representation, which should be coupled with a review of the franchise to lower the voting age to 16 and to include all permanent and long term residents in the country even if they do not hold British citizenship will not, on their own, revitalise our dying democracy, trust in the political class has been far too badly damaged for that, but it would at least help.
Steve Morton, High Wycombe
How would it feel to be an EU citizen?
How have people from the other European Union countries living in the UK been feeling recently?
Imagine... Suppose you had come to this country for love, for work, for an adventure, for any number of reasons. You came in good faith. You felt happy and at home.
But then there was what seemed to be a debate about you, without you. A debate where you felt that your voice counted for less, or worse, not at all.
You were denied a vote on your own future after you had loved this country.
Feeling unwelcome, unwanted, you couldn't stop crying, you wanted to hide in a dark room and never come out again, not knowing where 'home' is anymore.
You have to do a humiliating search for documents and worry about if they're accepted.
You are told to apply for a worse version of a status that you thought you already had, with the danger of being turned down, and the danger of Home Office mistakes.
Today you walk down the street and wonder, did that person vote for me not to be here?
When you meet any stranger socially you have to talk cautiously until you find out if it's someone who's going to be sympathetic to you, or if it's someone who's going to make you feel upset.
Above all, you notice the silence of the people around you. Too often, their apparent indifference. When they change the subject, or ignore it, or say, oh, you'll be all right.
Phil Jones, European Movement, High Wycombe
An incredible moment for some, but not entirely dismal for me, as a Labour party supporter.
I’ve always attempted to restrain myself to the shackles of silence, when it comes to discussing politics at the beacon of conservatism at my school, RGS.
The child of working-class immigrants, I represent an anomaly within the grammar school. I used to think that there was no point in standing up for what I believe in, because I would have appeared as a minority, the weird, odd one out.
However, if there’s something that the last few months, developing and externalising my political opinions, have taught me; it’s that “there’s really no such thing as the 'voiceless'. There are only the deliberately silenced, or the preferably unheard.”
A beautiful quote from an inspiration and role-model, Arundhati Roy, creating an atmospheric sense of unimaginable power in my hands.
My voice means something, and Labour’s poor performance does not mean that I will stop fighting the injustices and inequalities in our world, within my own community and the wider population.
When I went to the polling station with my dear mother, it was my first ever experience. And it was incredible.
Crossing Mr Khalil’s box renewed a sense of hope within me, a belief that the system will one day work for and benefit my people; the working class who can’t afford to spend time with their children, who can’t afford to treat their children, who can’t afford to go on holiday as a family.
The criminal austerity policies disproportionately affected us, making our lives more expensive and difficult, whilst the rich just got richer. We cannot remain blind or ignorant to the facts.
A change is required within our society, in terms of attitude and empathy to begin with. Too often politicians have romanticised our struggle and pain, treating us as worthless.
How many politicians can even claim that they come from a working-class background, and they support the working-class people (ruling out Sajid Javid etc. as they vote for cuts to benefits).
To all of this, I say “don’t give in”. With the weaponisation of populist rhetoric, creating prejudice through Brexit, immigration, and mainstream media, means that these are worrying times. Alas, we move.
Hanan Jahangir, 17, address withheld
Thank you for helping us
To all readers of the Bucks Free Press,
I am writing to thank the students and staff at The Highcrest Academy for selecting Wycombe Women’s Aid as their charity of the year.
The support from the school and the rest of the community in High Wycombe is absolutely invaluable to the work we do, supporting women, children and young people who have experienced domestic violence.
Wycombe Women’s Aid provides independent, high-quality, specialist services to women, children and young people experiencing the effects of domestic violence in the Wycombe, South Bucks and Chiltern Districts of Buckinghamshire.
Our vision is of a world where women and children live their lives free from domestic and sexual violence.
We work from a feminist perspective and are committed to the principles of self-help and mutual support.
We provide safe, temporary and emergency accommodation as well as practical and emotional support within the refuge and through outreach in the local community.
Between 1st April 2018 and 31st March 2019, we supported 781 women, 106 children and 76 young people. We offered 1710 face to face support sessions and received 1759 helpline calls.
We therefore know that our work makes a vital difference and so we are thrilled to have the support of The Highcrest Academy in High Wycombe.
Any funds raised by students will go directly to support our services and will be of great assistance to us, but we are also delighted that The Highcrest Academy is involved because it will help to ensure that their students, and the general community, are more aware of the prevalence of domestic violence and unhealthy behaviours within relationships, and how to access support.
Recently, I conducted several assemblies at Highcrest where I explained what domestic violence is, the different forms of abuse, how to recognise it and how to access support. I was really pleased with the response from pupils who were very engaged.
Tackling domestic violence is crucial to the health and well-being of the thousands of women, children and young people who experience it every year in the UK, so it is wonderful that a school such as The Highcrest Academy is helping us to do this.
Megan (Youth Worker), Wycombe Women’s Aid