This is what you have been writing to us about this week.
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Bus service must improve
To help avert catastrophic climate change, we are advised to use public transport as much as possible. To this end, last Thursday I was booked in to attend an event in High Wycombe, so I walked to the Spinfield Lane stop in Marlow and arrived at 5.50pm.
I had visited Arriva’s website to learn that the 850 bus would arrive at my stop at 5.54pm. After a couple of minutes, I checked on the display at the bus stop and it confirmed that I would have to wait for two minutes. Two minutes came and went. I checked the display again and then it said there was a 16-minute wait!
According to Arriva’s website, an 800 bus was due at 6.09pm. At about 6.15pm a bus did arrive. I embarked but was surprised to see that another Arriva bus overtook us, whilst we were picking up passengers in Wiltshire road, Marlow.
As the 800 and 850 buses no longer stop outside Wycombe Hospital, the walk from the bus station to Bucks University was considerably longer than previous. Due to the missing, or incredibly late bus, I was late for the event I had been invited to.
I am not surprised that most people would prefer to drive to High Wycombe in a warm and dry car rather than wait for 25 minutes in the rain (no bus shelter at this stop) and arrive late at one’s final destination. It’s no good promoting public transport use, if it does not comply with the timetable it publishes!
John Laker, Marlow
‘Is it time for a new MP in Wycombe?’
This election is probably the last chance the people will have to prevent further damage being caused by the Brexit experiment of the last 3.5 years.
However, those thinking 'getting Brexit done' is the answer to their situation or the challenges facing the country, will be in for a disappointment. It will solve nothing. It will only make dealings with our largest and closest market more complicated and costly. It will then require lots of new trade deals, which as a country with a market a fraction the size of the EU's, is rather like expecting the corner shop to undercut the supermarket. The effect on the economy is bound to lead to money becoming tighter for public services.
Unfortunately, our last MP, Steve Baker, is one of the most ideologically committed to Brexit, so much so, it seems he has little time left to deal with his constituency work. We have had Conservative MPs in Wycombe for as long as I can remember, but Steve Baker is in a league of his own.
He and his fellow Brexiteer ideologues have had 3.5 years to demonstrate any concrete benefits of Brexit and it's clear there aren't any. It is now time to call an end to this experiment and vote in a new MP for Wycombe.
Alex Wilson, High Wycombe
How can we tackle climate change?
The Green Party is contesting four constituencies in Bucks in this election. They have important things to say about climate change but rather surprisingly the party manifesto is silent on the related problem of population growth.
When I was born the world population was 2.4 billion. Today, just 82 years later, it is 7.7 billion. The bigger the population, the greater the burden we humans put on the environment and it is now clear that the planet we inhabit is over-populated in relation to its size and the natural resources which exist to sustain us.
We can cut down the Amazonian rainforest to grow more food but we can’t do this without adversely affecting the world’s climate. We can open up the Antarctic for mineral exploitation but we can’t do this without causing a global rise in the sea level. Individual nations can set environmental standards as high as they like but their efforts will count for littler unless climate change is tackled on a worldwide basis.
One thing mankind needs to do is to scale back the population. How we achieve this in an intelligent and civilised way I do not know. But I do know that if we fail to face up to the challenge our long-term prospects look bleak.
Laurence Reed, Beaconsfield
Tory Party vote could be split in Beaconsfield
Dominic Grieve and his supporters appear to be misleading people that he is still a Conservative, when in fact he is standing as an independent and does not represent the Conservative Party.
While it might be true that Mr Grieve still believes in the Conservative values, he does not support the Conservative Party’s main stance in their manifesto on Brexit – and in fact, has gone at great length to thwart the passing of the withdrawal bill in Parliament.
By standing as an independent candidate in the election, Mr Grieve is going to split the Conservative vote in the Beaconsfield constituency and therefore is not supporting the Conservative Party.
If the electorate in the Beaconsfield constituency wish to see a Conservative government returned with a good majority, they should vote for the Conservative candidate Joy Morrissey.
David Onslow, Flackwell Heath
Why does Marlow need another car park?
I think most BFP readers are aware that there is a Climate Change Emergency. We are told by a vast number of scientists in this field that we only have around 10 years to avoid a catastrophic future.
We are strongly advised that transport, especially flying, manufacturing and construction are large contributors to the continuing heating of our planet. The second largest contributor to extra CO2 in our air is concrete manufacture (8% of the total).
It was, therefore, with a great deal of surprise that I read in last week's MFP (November 22) that there are plans to construct a two-tier car park in Riley Road in Marlow to accommodate an extra 150 cars.
We already know that readings taken in most of the roads in the centre of Marlow (Wycombe District Council figures) exceed the World Health Organisation's maximum levels for NO2 emissions. This gas is generated almost exclusively by vehicular traffic and it now kills more people than smoking every year!
We also know that shops are closing (currently there are four in empty shops in Spittal Street, alone) as online ordering increases.
So, logically, why do we need a new car park facility for even more cars to park in Marlow? If there are going to be fewer and fewer shops, why will more people need to park their cars to shop in Marlow? And should we embark on the construction of a new car park, when concrete is such a high polluter?
Instead of spending hundreds of thousands of pounds on a two tier car park, shouldn't we be investing this money sustainably on improved (electric) bus services, advocating walking and car sharing, marking out priority cycle lanes throughout the town and providing 'Boris Bikes', both pedal and electric powered; the latter for those pesky hills around Marlow?
Is it possible to have a vibrant and dynamic town without attracting even more cars that will create even more congestion and increase pollution levels in our town, or are we able to look forward and plan for a safer, calmer, healthier and happier town in the years to come?
John Laker, Marlow
Amusing letters in last week’s BFP
It would be possible to write a short book about the amusing letters by Conservatives in today’s print BFP (November 29) but the best must be Peter Harper’s.
This week the IPPR reported that, at a time of modern record-breaking low taxation for the rich, inequality in wealth and life expectancy were worse in the UK than any similar western European nation, with higher mortality rates than places in Turkey, Romania and Poland. At a time like this Mr Harper is worried about taxing the rich and ‘the politics of envy’.
Mr Harper says: Boris Johnson’s EU leaving deal: ‘may well be a step into the unknown’. I can only envy this mastery of the understatement. It typically takes seven years to establish a trade deal with the EU so we are going to be living with the unknown effects of Brexit, probably until the late 2020’s, as the only nation in the world not in a regional trading bloc, or one of two nations trading on WTO terms alone.
One comment is outstanding - Mr Harper says: ‘Putin must be watching 12th December hopefully at the very least.’ This seems based on the 1960’s Conservative assumption that, as a former KGB officer, Putin would like Jeremy Corbyn to: become PM, assassinate James Bond, assassinate ‘M’, possibly assassinate the Royal Family, and then do the Kremlin’s bidding from Downing Street. Those days are long gone Mr Harper – the Russians are now friends of the Conservatives, Brexit and the British upper classes.
Denis MacShane, in the Globalist in 2014, called a doubles match between David Cameron and Boris Johnson, against Mrs Lubov Chernukhin, the wife of a Russian oligarch and former Putin minister, as: ‘… part of the decade long love affair between the Conservative Party and Vladimir Putin.’
MacShane said the UK has given visas to 433 Russians since 2008 who had invested more than $1.5 million in Britain and ‘Londongrad’ – had become ‘… a place where Russian money has bought political influence openly and crudely.’
The UK Electoral Commission reported $1.5 million in donations from rich Russians to Conservative funds in 2013. Three weeks ago Chris Bryant, former chair of the Parliamentary Group on Russia said: ‘One investment was commonplace … (investment) in the Conservative party … In all, Russian money has dripped into the Tory party to the tune of at least £3.5m since Cameron came to power – with at least £500,000 in the past year alone.’
In the Council of Europe, instead of working with other centre-right European parties, Cameron and the Conservative Party aligned themselves with the Putin-controlled Russian Duma deputies in the Council’s parliamentary assembly.
More recently Aaron Banks (whose Russian wife the Sunday Times said was suspected by Special Branch of working for the Kremlin) was involved in business dealings with the Russian government. We all know Banks was unable to account satisfactorily on the Andrew Marr Show for the source of the wealth that suddenly came his way after 2014 and that he gave abundantly to the Leave movement at the time of the 2016 referendum. It is widely suspected that Banks obtained the money from Russian business ‘sweetheart’ deals, though Banks has denied this.
This month a report by the cross-party Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC), into Russian influence in British politics was delayed by the government until after the election. The report examined concerns that Russian money had flowed into British politics in general, the Conservative party in particular, and claims that Russia launched a major influence operation in 2016 in support of Brexit. Sir Malcolm Rifkind former chairman of the ISC said the delay was "not normal".
Hillary Clinton, whose candidacy in the 2016 US Presidential elections was interfered with by Russian agents, called the delay was "inexplicable and shameful". The delay in publishing the report was brought up in the Commons – to no avail - by the current ISC chairman - an MP called Dominic Grieve.
Chris Bryant describes how when he was chair of the parliamentary group on Russia: ‘Conservatives worked directly with the Russian embassy to have me removed. Sergey Nalobin organised the lavish launch of the Conservative Friends of Russia group at the embassy in 2012, a few months later … more than 150 Conservative MPs turned up at the AGM to vote me out. Evidence recently provided to the foreign affairs select committee … claims that this was directly sanctioned by the Kremlin’s foreign intelligence agency, the SVR.’
Ex-KGB officers like Mr Putin are known for their respect for democracy and the British common man and Putin is on record saying Theresa May “must enact the will of the people.”
Meanwhile, in Chesham Bois, Peter Harper concludes: ‘It has to be the Tories.’
I say ‘Nyet, spaseeba!’ to Harper and Putin - I intend to vote for Dominic Grieve who is a talented and effective Conservative constituency MP, standing as an Independent, however Vladimir Putin has nothing to worry about if your choice wins Mr Harper!
Lawrence Linehan, Wooburn Green