Letters round-up: Politician needs to grow up over voting age debate

Your views.
Your views.

A reader’s firm response to an MEP’s call to lower the voting age to sixteen is featured in this week’s round-up from the Herald’s letters page.


Regarding the Letter From Catherine Bearder, MEP Regarding Lowering Voting Age to 16

I do wish that people in power, who ought to have a modicum of intelligence, could think of the facts when they make a political point.

I am not political and mine is not a political point, just one to challenge half truths and an ill thought out argument.

Ms Bearder makes the point that you can do anything at 16 except vote which is about as far from the truth as you can get.

For example you are still a child under the 1989 children act and covered by the UN charter on the rights of the child, you can be under a care order and you are still under child protection legislation and people would need a D and B check to work with you.

You have to be in statutory education or training and if you get in trouble with the Police you are dealt with as a juvenile [indeed PACE was recently increased from under 17 to under 18 because of this so you need to have an adult with you to be interviewed by the Police until your 188th birthday] and you go to a Youth Court and if you go into custody you go into a juvenile facility.

You cannot be held liable for a contract in most instances and you cannot smoke, or drink in a pub. If you have a job you cannot work nights and as for marriage and joining the Army, under 18 you need your parents’ permission for both and in the Army you cannot go into a combat operation until you are 18. Further in regards to joining the Army this is currently the subject of legal and political scrutiny as to whether having people serve in the military under the age of 18 contravenes the UN ban on child soldiers. These are just some of the things you cannot do at 16, I could go on.

Is Ms Bearder suggesting that as well as lowering the voting age to 16 we should lower the age of majority?

Is she saying that somebody is capable of voting therefore they are an adult who can take on all adult decisions and responsibilities eg join the Army and go and fight and die in combat operations or not be covered by child protection legislation?

I would like her to clarify this.

In my opinion I do not think she has thought this through, I think she is parroting the sloppy arguments some in her and other parties have previously put forward. Further I think she and they believe that young people will not think things through and vote with their hearts and not the heads (in Scotland young people tended to vote more in favour of independence despite the political and economic risks and the older people tended to vote more in favour of the union).

Obviously there are extremely intelligent, well educated and mature 11-year-olds (who can possibly make a far stronger argument for voting at 16 than Ms Bearder) and unintelligent, poorly educated and immature 50 years old but a line in the sand has to be drawn somewhere and it is 18 because that is the age you become an adult and take adult decisions and be responsible for the consequences, eg you vote for a government that takes you to war you find your self liable to fight in the conflict.

As stated mine is not a point for or against a political party or even necessarily against voting at 16 just against politicians making statements without thinking them through.

People in power need to be presenting the voters with the facts and crafting their argument around them without ignoring the inconvenient ones.

Roberta Todd

Address supplied


I disagree with Peter Raynor regarding the design of the new university campus.

I really like it, and it complements the equally interesting design of the theatre close by. The new campus building looks at home at the head of the canal basin, which itself is now a most attractive area.

My son and I regularly enjoy our walk along the towpath from behind the theatre to our respective homes,passing the attractive planting by local people, close to the bridge at Highbridge.

The “nature meadow” area in front of Waitrose is most unattractive and needs a rethink. The cinema and adjoining restaurants also enhance the area.

Josephine Brader

Narbeth Drive, Aylesbury


I read with interest Cllr Blake’s reply to a letter from Mrs F King in relation to the new campus building alongside the Waterside theatre.

If ever there was an example of political waffle, this was it. Mrs King’s letter had nothing whatever to do with the building’s intended use (very commendable though that may be), it was in relation to the aesthetics of the building.

As Mr Peter Rayner also points out in his letter on the same subject, the early designs for the building, which were used in the original adverts, were far more pleasing to the eye, and were I suspect, what most people had expected. What we have subsequently ended up with, is an unedifying structure, with a bland, dull, and thoroughly boring finish, which does nothing aesthetically for the town, and which would not look out of place on a development site for industrial warehousing .

I look forward to reading the council’s response to the points raised by Mr Rayner.





I read the article about the proposals to ban pavement parking with wry amusement.

Why wry amusement? For the same reason as I find it amusing when I see the law being broken in many ways, every day; who is going to enforce the rules/legislation?

How on earth can anyone expect a ban on pavement parking to be enforced when the rules in place at the moment, are not? I have seen vans and cars parked on grass verges, under signs making it an offence contrary to local bye-laws, to park on the verge: I have seen PCSOs walk past these vans and do nothing. I have seen cars parked in such a way that almost entire junctions are blocked (leaving just enough room to pass) in direct contravention to the Highway Code Rule 243; who enforces this? No-one.

Every day I see vehicles being driven along Coventon Road (governed by a 20mph limit) at speeds so high that it is doubtful that the driver could stop quickly if required. Quite often, the same drivers are using a mobile phone at the time: it amazes me that a vast number of these drivers are women with children in the cars. Who enforces this? No-one. I am waiting for day when someone is knocked over and injured, or worse.

A regular occurrence is the riding of mini-motorcycles along Riverside Walk and adjoining playing fields, sometimes narrowly avoiding children playing and dog walkers (and dogs). Who enforces this? No-one.

So before we all get excited about banning people parking on pavements, ask who is going to enforce it.

Neil Richards

Address supplied


Local residents in Wendover were shocked to receive a letter dated 6th May from Bucks County Council informing us that “you may be aware that over the last few years there has been an increasing demand for new primary school places in Buckinghamshire.

This now means a need for additional primary school places in Wendover from September 2016. We residents were asked to comment on the proposal to increase the capacity of the John Hampden first school to 360 pupils plus nursery accommodation and to increase the capacity of the Wendover CofE school to 480 pupils.

Nothing was mentioned about the remaining users of the site, which includes the John Colet School, a public swimming pool, a youth centre, a Children’s Centre and numerous activities at the Memorial Hall (including a pre-school facility).

Local Wendover people of course had no idea about Bucks County Council’s difficulties with providing school places.

We in Wendover feel passionate that we are having to suffer the nuisance and problems associated with some other area’s housing development. There is no way that we in Wendover have suffered a sudden population explosion causing the need to expand our schools. Maybe our population explosion happened with the development of the Princess Mary Gate estate when there was no infrastructure provision to speak of, just one small glorified “corner shop”.

We in Wendover say to BOTH of our local authorities “build the new schools where you are building the new houses”.

We call on BCC and AVDC to start some joined-up thinking on this subject and to spend the bonuses paid by developers on the consequences of that development. If BCC and AVDC refuse to work together, maybe we constituents should make them do so by calling for a swift move to unitary authority local government.

There has been an initial burst of local activism prompted by a small number of local residents in Wendover. Many of us feel we need to take this forward and there is a hope to form to Residents Association to give us a strong voice. We ask any local resident who feels strongly on the matter and may wish to join us to keep looking out for details of how to join.

Mr and Mrs A Hetherington

Wharf Road, Wendover


Armed Forces Day

It was a proud day on Saturday (June 27) when we honoured the Services families of Buckinghamshire with a great afternoon in the sun at Aylesbury Rugby Club.

My thanks for your pictorial coverage of the day, which ably demonstrated how much people enjoyed themselves.

Buckinghamshire has a close and strong relationship with our Armed Forces and it was our pleasure as a County Council to host the event this year – an opportunity to show how much we, as a community, value the contribution and sacrifices they and their families make on our behalf.

An event of this magnitude doesn’t just happen, and although on the surface, the expert organisation will have displayed swan-like characteristics, underneath I know there was a great deal of energetic paddling! This was attributable entirely to the committed and enthusiastic input of the County Council’s four-strong Civic and Ceremonial events team, scores of Civilian and Armed Forces volunteers, Councillors, Officers, event sponsors, and highly skilled display participants both on the ground and in the air.

I was thrilled to see how well they all came together to make this such a fantastic afternoon. And it’s to them –and the patronage of the great Buckinghamshire public – that I offer my sincere and grateful thanks.

Bill Chapple OBE

Chairman of Buckinghamshire County Council


On Wednesday, July 1, my wife and I were refused admission to our local Odeon cinema in Aylesbury!

Were we drunk and disorderly or guilty of some misdemeanour – NO , we were just too old and didn’t have a young child with us.

As a teenager and an avid film fan all my life, I was often refused entry to cinemas because I tried to attend the showing of films which were classified for people older than my actual years at that time, sometimes unless I was accompanied by an adult, but never rejected for being too old.

My wife and I are OAPs and with me nearly 80, we wanted to do something a bit different to mark our 48th wedding anniversary.

We decided, being young at heart and told about The Minions film by our young grandson, that we’d like to go and see it in the morning and then on afterwards for a celebratory meal.

Knowing that in the past, the Odeon had staged Wednesday morning screening of films for OAPs, we decided on attending the 11.15am scheduled showing of the film , as advertised on their website.

On arrival at the Odeon, we tried to pay for two tickets,, only to be told that we couldn’t be admitted as this showing was for “Newbies” only, something we hadn’t been aware of from the website not that we’d have known what it meant even if we had seen it.

This is apparently yet another stupid modern day distortion of the English language with which we were unfamiliar.

Apparently it meant that this screening was ONLY for people – usually young Mums and Dads – with one or more toddlers in tow, when presumably their older siblings would be in school. Even many of our young friends who have young families were also unaware of this word “newbie” and its meaning.

As we didn’t have a young child with us and didn’t have time or the inclination to suddenly produce one – our long-gone child-producing years well behind us, we had to admit defeat and come away disappointed at not seeing the film.

Odeon cinemas managed to spoil to some extent what we hoped would be a special anniversary doing something a bit different, but we did however manage to have a decent celebratory meal at a nearby eaterie so the cinema didn’t manage to spoil our day completely.

Stan Ball

Elmhurst Road, Aylesbury


I am sure correspondent Suzie McCarthy (letters, BH July 1) had written that 2 degrees C was the “safe limit” for temperature rise, but it has been printed as 20 degrees.

That sort of rise would be catastrophic.

Computerised type setting does odd things. On p5 in the In Brief column the word “chiefs” is hyphenated with the last two letters on the next line.

On p18, the first two letters of “ladies” (see the Midnight Walk item) are followed by a hyphen and “dies” appears on the next line.

Who would be a sub-editor with all this modern technology?

John Oliver

Campion Close, Aylesbury


The letter of support (Chris Whitehouse July 1) for John Bercow’s conduct as a constituency MP may well be justified.

However, it undervalues the fundamental thrust of the Harriss petition for change (over 2,000 signatories ).

The proposal to establish a new protocol for a newly elected Speaker to resign his constituency seat and so trigger a by-election in order to then elect a fully representative MP, is not new. Since the 1930s change has been proposed a number of times, only to be frustrated by the Commons opting for the comfort of the status quo.

Mr Whitehouse suggests that this resignation demand is simplistic and without proper consideration.

This is not so, and it has been widely supported by democrats from across the political spectrum – not least that of ex-Speaker Lady Betty Boothroyd.

Mr Bercow continues to remain silent on this glaring undemocratic anomaly – it’s about time his constituents heard of his own personal view, and not just the view of another procedure committee.

David Dilly

The Green, Brill


I would like to correct a small mistake in last week’s paper.

On page 9 you said that Edward II signed a document that declared Tring to be a market town.

It is most unlikely that Edward II ever signed anything.

The usual way of validating documents in the middle ages was for one of the king’s clerks to fix one of the king’s wax seals to a document with a parchment tag.

For example, King John never signed Magna Carta. It was sealed as above.

N Hayes

Address supplied


I noted with interest the photograph on page 10 of the June 24 issue of the Bucks Herald in the Back in Time feature, which depicts an accident at Kimble involving a bus.

The caption dates this incident as taking place in 1952.

In the interests of historical accuracy may I be permitted to correct this date.

The bus belongs to the Thames Valley company and is heading towards High Wycombe on service 30.

This type of bus ( a Bristol Lodekka) was introduced by Thames Valley in 1956 and the service was renumbered to 20 when the through service between Aylesbury and Windsor was introduced in July 1959.

This photograph would therefore have been taken between 1956 and 1959.

Ed Maun

Crowbrook Road, Monks