This is what you have been writing to us about this week.
If you would like to send us a letter, email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Bucks Free Press, Loudwater Mill, Station Road, Loudwater, HP10 9TY.
Sad death of ‘litter lady’ should be a wake-up call
I WAS saddened to read of the elderly ‘Litter Lady’ who was killed by a car, whilst picking up someone else’s litter (Bucks Free Press, September 13, page 8 - ‘Litter lady killed in road traffic accident’).
It affected me particularly as I am the same age, and my wife and I regularly pick up bottles, tins and paper discarded by pedestrians and car drivers along Lodge Lane and Burtons Lane in Little Chalfont.
I wonder if those who so carelessly throw their litter, for others to pick up, stop and think that they could be responsible for the death of this socially responsible lady.
Aidan and Keren Thomas, Little Chalfont
I respectfully disagree with EU claims
I'd like to thank Steve Sturgess and Lawrence Linehan for their letters in BFP today (September 13).
Kenneth Muller (September 6) wrote, "there has been the reckless pursuit, by the unelected leadership of the European Commission, to drive a dangerously uncontrolled expansion of the number of new member states".
I respectfully disagree.
I believe it has been done carefully, and for good reasons.
It has been done by national leaders with their government ministers and their national parliaments, along with the European Parliament.
Firstly, the expansion has made Europe a safer place.
John Major said in his autobiography that it was a moral duty to accept the central and eastern European countries that wished to join.
They suffered the imposition of Stalinism and then had many years of adjusting and recovering in different ways.
Lord Heseltine has pointed to how there was dictatorship in Spain and Portugal, the generals in Greece, the Iron Curtain, the Berlin Wall. Now there are 28 democracies cooperating together. "We have seen massive change", he said.
Jüri Ratas, Estonia's prime minister, remembers how in Estonia there were cities that were not on maps. You needed a permit to go to the islands. Watching Finnish television and listening to Radio Free Europe was the only access to the free world. He told the European Parliament on 5 July 2017, "I know what it means to wish for freedom and democracy".
Secondly, it has been done in an organised way.
For example. The ten new countries that joined in 2004 asked to join over the previous fourteen years. Cyprus and Malta applied in 1990.
The job of the European Commission was to give its impartial opinion on whether or not the new countries met the conditions to join. The European Parliament also gave its approval.
The national leaders of the existing fifteen approved the ten new members. It had to be unanimous. The accession treaty was signed on 16 April 2003 in Athens by Tony Blair and Jack Straw.
The UK's European Union (Accessions) Act 2003 ratified the treaty. It took effect on 1 May 2004, taking membership to 25.
"Developments in central and eastern European politics", edited by Stephen White, Paul G. Lewis and Judy Batt, says that one of the reasons for ten joining at the same time was because some of the ten felt that if another joined early then that country would have an advantage from being on the inside first.
Since then, Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia have joined, so now there are 28.
Please see "The European Union explained: Enlargement" from the EU Publications Office.
Phil Jones, member, European Movement UK, High Wycombe
A single town council would have more power
I read with great interest the letter from Willie Reed a few weeks ago regarding ten reasons why High Wycombe should have a Town Council.
Well done Willie!
The only thing is, upon reading the last paragraph, I went into a cold sweat when he said more or less that it would be acceptable for Sands, Totteridge and Micklefield to have parish councils whilst the rest of us would have a town council.
I feel sometimes that we are fighting a battle on two fronts because there are some folk that do not want a town council, merely the status quo when we become unitary and there are a few others that want parishes in certain areas which I personally think would be disastrous.
A town council will have more money, more influence and more power to carry out work and look after the whole and every single part of the town than the other parishes put together.
Cllr Brian Pearce, High Wycombe
The people said what they wanted and meant it
Last week (August 31) the Bucks Free Press carried the story that the Conservative whip had been withdrawn from Dominic Grieve. Some members of the local party association may deplore this and believe that what has been done is a mistake. But I support the decision.
Mr Grieve and the other rebels owe their political careers to the Conservative Party and to the hundreds of men and women up and down the country who work tirelessly to ensure victory in general elections. In exchange, they owe us at the very least loyalty to the common cause.
Conservative backbenchers have always been free to express their point of view and argue their case in Parliament but at the end of the day the leader of the party has to make a decision about what the official line is to be.
Political parties are not and cannot be just a collection of individuals pursuing their own agenda. That way is the road to chaos and disorder.
Dominic Grieve was re-elected in 2017 not because he was Mr Grieve but because he was the official Conservative Party candidate with a manifesto which stated that the party would respect the referendum result. It is now clear that he never intended to stick to the commitment and that he will vote against any deal Boris Johnson brings back from Brussels.
Mr Grieve and the other rebels say that in opposing the government they are acting in the national interest.
But the whole point is that the British people are the nation and the people made their decision on Europe at the behest of Parliament more than three years ago.
They said what they wanted and meant what they said.
Laurance Reed, Beaconsfield
First aid skills are vital for children to learn
You never know how you would act in an emergency, yet our actions could save a life.
This is why I think it’s fantastic that, after 10 years of campaigning by the British Red Cross, it will be compulsory for first aid skills to be taught in all state schools in England from 2020. It’s an impactful way to give young people the confidence they need to help someone.
As parents, Ben and I are so thrilled our children will be able to learn these important skills so that they never feel completely helpless in an emergency situation.
It’s also a relief knowing that if anything were to happen to them in the future, more people might be able to help.
So many women I know, especially those weaning their babies, are terrified of the possibility of their child choking. But children learning first aid could make all the difference if one of their younger siblings was choking at home.
This new legislation, however, is just for schools in England. At the moment teaching first aid in schools in the rest of the UK is optional. We support the British Red Cross’s calls for it to become a compulsory part of the curriculum throughout the UK so all school children get the same chance to learn how to save a life.
Dozens of doodles are up for grabs
Have you ever fancied the original artwork of an actor, artist or designer adorning your wall?
I am writing to ask your readers to bid for their favourite piece of art this Friday 20 September, National Doodle Day. A gallery of one-off celebrity sketches will be up for grabs in a three-day eBay auction. Winning bids will help the 600,000 people living with epilepsy in the UK. There are over 85,000 people living with epilepsy in South East.
Dozens of doodles penned by a range of famous names will go under the hammer. Tom Hardy, Aisling Bea and Stephen Graham join forces with artists and illustrators in drawing their support for Epilepsy Action, all to raise vital funds for the charity’s life-changing work.
The money raised will help support Epilepsy Action’s nationwide network of coffee and chat groups. Offering advice and a friendly listening ear, these groups are a local lifeline to people living with epilepsy. Donations also help to run the Epilepsy Action helpline, meaning our team of experts can offer emotional support, reassurance, information and advice to people with epilepsy when they need it most.
Getting involved is easy. Visit the online doodle gallery epilepsy.org.uk/doodle-day and get ready to bid when the auction goes live on Friday 20 September. Good luck!
For information and support about epilepsy, visit epilepsy.org.uk or call the free Epilepsy Action Helpline on 0808 800 5050.
Xanthe Hopkinson, Epilepsy Action
Can you volunteer your time to help us?
You may have heard of The Silver Line Helpline, (free, confidential, on 0800 4 70 80 90), which offers friendship and information to vulnerable and isolated older people.
Since we launched six years ago, we have received more than two and a half million calls from older people, most of whom have literally nobody else to speak to.
They tell us that the conversations they have with us literally transform their lives, making them feel that they are not entirely alone, that somebody does care about them.
As one lady asked us “Where do you find such lovely people?”
We need to find some more lovely people to volunteer for us. We will train you. It’s important work and extremely fulfilling as well, sharing memories and lifting people’s spirits.
We hope that some of your readers may have a few hours free which they could donate to us. If so, could you contact us at email@example.com or on 020 7224 2020 to find out more?
We would love to welcome you onto our team, and you would know you are really making a difference.
Dame Esther Rantzen, The Silver Line