Letters round-up: Europe IQ test, Watermead crem, music legacy and rural broadband

Your views.
Your views.

There’s plenty of topics up for discussion in this week’s letters round-up.

Crematorium

The wrong setting

I wanted to write as I’m appalled that there is the possibility of building a crematorium on Watermead.

I have unfortunately been to several funerals across the country and locally.

All of them have been in tranquil settings, far from houses and the noise etc of general life. It is nice to be able to pay your last respects in this sort of setting.

However, as the proposed Watermead site regularly gets flooded, I’m concerned about parking for mourners, as well as the actual setting for a funeral.

While I know that life goes on, when you’re attending a funeral you don’t want to be faced with pubgoers across the lake enjoying a drink in the sunshine, hear children playing, see families picnicing, dog walkers and fishermen, the list goes on.

A funeral is a time of reflection and mourning, and I really don’t feel that to have a crematorium so close to the bustle of everyday life is acceptable.

I think AVDC need to take a trip to the two proposed sites, which are very close together, and see for themselves which is the best option.

I am sure if they were themselves planning a funeral they would select Bierton as a much more acceptable place rather than Watermead.

Linda Clarke

Address supplied

Music

It’s not just Friars

Following the recent death of pop star David Bowie, you have devoted much space to letters and articles about him and the Friars pop music scene in Aylesbury.

However, this is a very narrow interpretation of the history of music in the town and the balance needs to be redressed.

David Bowie made a few appearances in the town but the real and lasting impact on music for more than 80 years has been made by other musicians, including Charles Pope and David Aylett, and many well established music groups.

In 1932 Charles Pope, who was Head of Music at Aylesbury Grammar School, founded and conducted Aylesbury Choral Society which is still a thriving choir today.

He also founded Aylesbury Orchestral Society ( now Aylesbury Symphony Orchestra) in 1949 and a Ladies Choir in 1960.

David Aylett, a pupil and friend of Charles Pope, started the December (now Aylesbury) Festival Choir in 1958 and conducted it for over 27 years; he was also the conductor of Aylesbury Orchestral Society from 1961-74, and organized and conducted annual carol concerts on behalf of the district council for over 40 years.

All these amateur music groups are still in existence, providing performance opportunities for local musicians and concerts for audiences from a wide area.

A previous correspondent has already mentioned the Aylesbury Amateur Dramatic Society which flourished in the town until the Civic Centre was pulled down, and there are other groups of singers and players.

Thanks to the legacy of talented local musicians, music, including classical music, is still flourishing – Friars Club is only a part of it.

Name and address 
supplied

Bercow

Need for debate

John Bercow, although MP for Buckingham, is unable to give us his personal view on the coming referendum, due to his impartial role as Speaker of the House. ( Stephen Caunt letter, March 2)

However, Mr Bercow has written suggesting that he intends to chair a debate on the matter in the constituency within the weeks leading up to June 23.

Hopefully, he will be able to use his standing as Speaker to encourage national political figures to be part of his debate, in order to give the people of the Buckingham constituency their say, and an opportunity to question those members of Parliament who are able to express views that our MP, understandably, cannot.

The British people have had no say, since 1975, in the construct that the initial Common Market has now become.

Tony Blair and John Major have a responsibility for the position that the UK is now in with regard to the EU. Would they be prepared to face the electors of Buckingham alongside others of influence today?

Andrea Leadsom, an Aylesbury-born MP, is a former banker and Chief Secretary to the Treasury; David Liddington is MP for Aylesbury and the current Minister for Europe; David Owen is a former Labour Foreign Secretary and author of a book “Europe Reconstructed”; and Alan Johnson who is a former Labour Home Secretary and Labour lead on the campaign to remain in the EU, as it is currently structured.

For some intellectual balance, Prof. Roger Scruton has eloquently expressed an English perspective on this issue at the Nexus Institute in Holland and elsewhere in Europe.

Would national figures such as these be prepared to debate at Buckingham’s University the arguments for and against membership of the EU as it is presently 
constituted?

John Hampden, 17th-century English Parliamentarian and Buckinghamshire man, gave his life in battle not ten miles from here, fighting for the will of Parliament to be heeded against the imposition of arbitrary power.

In the 21st century is Mr Bercow prepared to enable the voice of the people of Buckingham to be heard, in a balanced and informative debate about the nation, and its Parliament’s future direction?

David Dilly

Brill

IQ Test

Truly wound up!

According to N Hayes (“IQ test for voters”) only those with superior intelligence should be allowed to vote in the forthcoming Referendum about the UK staying in or leaving the European Union.

How fortunate that he presumably puts himself in this elite category and can understand all the relevant rhetoric and arguments bombarding us all on a daily basis.

Perhaps he would be kind enough to run a few seminars,possibly in the Community Centre, to inform those of us who do not fit into the MENSA category.

I have to say that I am uncertain as to who and how the sheep and goats are going to be sorted out but I am sure N Hayes will have lots of super clever ideas as to how this can be managed!

Realistically,judging by the numerous arguments both for and against the UK leaving the EU from among friends, colleagues, politicians, business people and the media,one is going to need psychic powers to predict the best way forward for the UK.

Let’s hope N Hayes is a psychic as well as being a genius!

If N Hayes’ letter was a “wind up” consider me well and truly wound up!

Lionel Weston

Address supplied

Referendum

Level playing field?

I would refer to recent letters in The Bucks Herald with regard to the forthcoming EU referendum.

Whilst I find the views expressed by N. Hayes (IQ tests for voters) extremely distasteful it has to be acknowledged, that the issues are complex, and whether we leave or stay, will have a profound effect on the well being of our children, our grandchildren and the generations to come.

The Prime Minister has made it quite clear that the Government’s official position is to support our continued membership of the Union.

In order to prevent a very public row, those Conservative politicians who clearly disagree are “pulling their punches”.

It is abundantly clear therefore, that the debate in not being conducted on a level playing field.

May I suggest that The Bucks Herald has a role to play here. Would it not be possible to set aside a little space, with your readers invited to write in with their concerns and views. It may help to gain a better understanding of the matters that really concern the community and by inviting comment, serve to provide a better understanding of the issues.

Perhaps having made the suggestion, it would be appropriate to “set the ball rolling” as it were.

I am old enough to remember the last referendum on the subject, some 40 years ago.

The Union at the time, was often referred to as the Common Market which seemed to be an apt description bearing in mind its perceived function and the emphasis placed on the advantages, (free trade for example).

I consequently voted to remain in the “Common 
Market”

It is however true to say, that over the years, the Common Market or the European Union as it is now called, has morphed into something very different, to the extent that it is now almost unrecognisable from what many of us envisaged all those years ago.

My very real concern is that over the next few years it will change still further, with an almost unstoppable move to yet more federalism and all that implies for our democracy, and freedom to manage our own affairs.

Finally, we need, I believe, to reflect on the fact, that while politicians come and go, their legacy remains and that we, and future generations, are going to have to live with that.

M Hill

Aylesbury

Europe

We’re not an island

Britain is not an island.

As a Green Party member, I am very conscious of the serious environmental and social challenges posed by large-scale immigration, but leaving the EU is not going to change the situation.

In what is currently a very unstable time in European history, the last thing we can afford to do is detach ourselves from the institutions that, albeit imperfectly, can address the challenges, in particular the vast number of people displaced by the Syrian war.

It is shameful that European nations are allowing Greece to deal with the refugee crisis without providing adequate support.

The dangers of a humanitarian explosion and social collapse in an already enfeebled nation, due to austerity measures, are considerable.

In or out of the EU, we are unlikely to avoid the consequences. Throughout our history we have been caught up in momentous events on the continent of Europe and it will be the same this time, not least because we shall remain NATO members.

We have a moral and a practical responsibility to provide sanctuary along with our neighbours. I would argue, however, that the practical consequences – where and how accommodation is to be found as well as the reciprocal responsibilities of refugees – be spelt out to both the British people and to refugees themselves, amongst whom are many skilled and able people, capable of giving something back in return for sanctuary: medical skills, property maintenance, social care, administrative support.

The presumption must be that, at some point, many refugees will return to their homelands. Meanwhile, we have to be resourceful in finding shelter for displaced people without making it even more difficult for established residents to find a home.

With regard to workers employed here from other European countries, we need to enforce employment protection legislation to control unscrupulous employers and we need to have an effective housing policy that puts a stop to slum landlords and rebuilds the social housing sector.

This government, and the Coalition, have undermined social housing at every turn, with disastrous consequences for many “hard-working families” they claim to represent. If housing was provided fairly, it would be a lot more difficult to import cut-price labour.

Despite the difficulties, Britain clearly needs to call upon workers from abroad, the NHS being an obvious case in point. This situation will not change should we leave the EU. The much touted proposed new trade arrangements, such as those entered into by Norway and Switzerland, maintain the free movement of labour principle; hence, these countries have a higher percentage of workers from other European countries than does the UK.

With regard to illegal immigration, facilitated to a great extent by criminal networks, the victims must be dealt with swiftly and humanely. The task will, however, become more difficult if the UK is required to move its border from France to Britain following an “out” vote, and police intelligence and cooperation between European nations will become more difficult, e.g. loss of the European arrest warrant. I urge everyone to resist the naive folly of assuming that leaving the EU will, somehow, increase our independence and our influence in the world.

It is in our own national interest and in the interest of international cooperation to remain in the EU.

Colin Bloxham

Aylesbury

Meeting

What’s the point?

The article in a recent Haddenham column about the meeting which Aylesbury Vale District Council’s Cabinet held in Haddenham village on February 9, was of interest to me, not just because I used to be an Independent member of AVDC representing the former Haddenham and Stone Wards, but primarily because I have lived in the parish of Dinton with Ford & Upton since 1971 and have always taken a keen interest in local politics.

As you know, I write the Dinton and Stone & Bishopstone columns in this newspaper every week.The Cabinet meeting hardly received any prior publicity in Stone and Dinton parishes and I am not at all surprised it was poorly attended. I doubt whether these two parishes were even mentioned.

I may be wrong, but I do not recall local members mentioning it at parish council meetings before February 9, and the agenda and draft minutes seemed to have little relevance to Haddenham Ward.

What is the point of taking Cabinet meetings out to villages in the Vale if hardly anybody ever knows about them and if it is only in the informal session before the meetings start that local people can ask questions relevant to their own parishes, when there is no other agenda item of particular importance to them ?

I would have thought the least AVDC could do would be to give plenty of notice to your village correspondents so that the meetings could be publicised in good time to ensure a better attendance.

It would also be a good idea to have agenda items of relevance to the audience to make the meetings more meaningful instead of paying lip service to reaching out to villages in the Vale. Whatever happened to local democracy ?

Yours in disappointment,

Chloe Lambert

Oxford Road, Stone

Web

Rural broadband

Hardly a day goes by without some reference in the media to superfast broadband.

The Stone Exchange has 13 cabinets and the four most profitable to BT have been upgraded to superfast broadband.

Those of us on the remaining nine cabinets have become very frustrated because it seems as though we have been forgotten, or even abandoned. We cannot find out ‘when’ or ‘if ever’ we will be upgraded and in the meantime we have to endure speeds of well below 2Mbps.BT has effectively killed off the possibility of the remaining nine cabinets’ users being able to sign up to an independent such as Gigaclear to install a local superfast broadband network because we no longer have the necessary numbers required.

It is time for Connected Counties (the body responsible for County subsidy) to take a more aggressive stance with BT to ensure rural users are treated in the same way as the more commercial ones.

They are now five months late with publishing Phase Two of the Bucks Upgrade Plan and many users cannot be sure that they will be included in the much delayed plan.

John Owen

Dinton