One correspondent claims this week that Tory rebels may thwart plans for the HS2 rail link.
Cause for optimism
The politics of HS2 are far from certain.
It would be all too easy for those opposed to HS2 to be disheartened following the general election result.
The Conservatives, who have championed the scheme, have been returned with a majority government, with MPs along the line largely returned with increased majorities.
Of course those majorities increased almost exclusively due to a collapse in the Liberal Democrat vote, whilst the parties opposed to HS2 both significantly increased their vote share.In the last government, on many issues potential Tory rebels were kept to heel by the fear of splitting the coalition, whilst as John Major will testify, backbenchers are far more empowered to rebel in governments with small majorities. Couple with this the fact that Labour leadership frontrunner Andy Burnham is sceptical of the HS2 project, which along with fellow candidate Yvette Cooper finds it going through his constituency, and the concept of the supposedly essential cross-party support is suddenly looking less solid. It has been further damaged by the first slap in the face delivered to new SNP MPs from HS2 Ltd.
It has transpired the feasibility study into extending HS2 north of the border has concluded there is no business case for it.
Whilst anyone who has been keeping up with the arguments surrounding HS2 knows there is no business case for any of it, it is unusual to hear such candour from an official source. The Scots will also not be impressed that the Welsh, who have a far better case for making such an argument, have been unsuccessful so far in arguing for a Barnett pay-out because the government insist HS2 is not an ‘England-Only’ project, as the supposed benefits will be spread far and wide beyond the physical track.
Add all of that together, along with surely more revelations about rising costs, decreasing benefits and general debacles in the months before the HS2 Bill returns to be voted on in Parliament, and you may well feel we are in a better position to stop HS2 now than we were before the election.
Stop HS2 campaign manager
Our secret police
RE: Human Rights.
Ms Bearder MEP is living in a dream world.
In her letter last week she said that the European Convention on Human Rights protects us from the excesses of the government.
Oh no it doesn’t.
MI5 routinely forges documents and commits serious abuses of human rights and breaches of the Harassment Act but nothing can be done because MI5 is above the law.
That is the situation in practice, no matter what the theory may be.
The police refuse to act. The DPP has never prosecuted MI5 for anything. The tribunal rejects all complaints about MI5 automatically regardless of merit. The minister won’t help. The House of Commons committee won’t help.
Legal Aid is not available, which prevents the Human Rights Act from being enforced.
MI5 knows that it can do what it likes because there is no penalty.
Further information about the abuses committed by the secret police can be found in my letter which was published on October 17, 2012. That letter was signed ‘name and address supplied’ and it can be seen in the library.
Complaining to the ECHR itself is pointless because it is heavily overloaded and can only deal with a small number of cases.
In short there is no effective remedy from the abuse of power by the secret police.
Room to widen
Mr Christopher Lowe (Letters, 27 May) has been misled by the reference in your previous edition to Mr Del Tester as a “highways boss”.
So far as I am aware, Mr Tester is a consultant paid by the county council to advise on highway matters.
The “boss” is now Mr Mark Shaw, who is assimilating his brief after taking over from Mrs Vigor-Hedderly.
Mrs Vigor-Hedderly had made it clear that the proposed Stocklake Link Road is to be a new radial route to relieve A41 Tring Road and A418 through Bierton. Curiously, Mr Tester failed to mention A41 in the comments you reported. He seemed to be at pains to play down more than 30 years of strategic highway planning by the county council.
In the morning peak, there is a goods vehicle entering or leaving east Aylesbury every five seconds.
None of these vehicles have business in Tring road or Bierton, and need to be diverted to the new radial route as intended.
The design of the proposed Stocklake Link Road has not yet been finalised.
AVDC’s strategic development management committee accepted that there were inconsistencies and lack of information in the details before them on May 22.
As to the question of future widening of new roads, it is preferable to build to the predicted future traffic flow.
If this would require a dual carraiageway, the construction of the second carriageway could be deferred, but it is not so easy to widen a single carriageway when it is full of traffic.
Nevertheless, it is prudent to leave room for widening if possible.
Anyone who has useful information to contribute should continue to present it to the council so that full regard is paid to the public interest when decisions are made.
Alterations and new accesses to existing highways are a matter for the county, but all off-road planning is controlled by the district council.
O J Oliver
Campion Close, Aylesbury
The standard of comment made on this subject in today’s editorial (May 27) appears ignorant beyond belief, (Bradley Seal and Ben Glazier, to name but two).
Yes, there were never ‘parent and child’ spaces when I grew up, but then there were no supermarkets either.
When I raised my own children, which these two clearly never have, I suffered many back problems as a result of twisting to lift a heavy baby or toddler in and out of their seat, whilst desperately trying not to damage the neighbouring car with the door.
Sitting the baby in the trolley whilst unloading the shopping, or leaving the trolley to run riot whilst putting the baby back into their seat, were also poor choices to have to make.
Allocated wide parking spaces, whether close to the supermarket entrance or not, would have been a godsend, and this applies to all car parking, not just to supermarkets.
By all means put allocated spaces further from the entrance, if this will discourage the Bradleys and Bens of this world from using them, but do think before you lambast parents for requiring a little extra support.
If you’re lucky you may have children of your own one day, and feel differently.
Abuse of ‘Disabled’ spaces is different matter.
When my partner had an operation and was in a cast and on crutches for six weeks, he was not entitled to a Blue Badge, despite being very limited in his mobility.
We often had to park in a ‘Disabled’ space, and hoped not to cause offence.
We did once receive a polite note on our windscreen from Tesco, asking us to come to customer services and request a temporary badge if we needed to park there, which I thought was a sensible solution.
It can be galling in a crowded car park to see ‘Disabled’ spaces lying vacant, but it is a mark of a decent society to ensure that those who are most needy are cared for in this way. (Anyone ‘geriatric’ enough to need close parking would be entitled to a Blue badge, wouldn’t they, Jacquie Edwards?)
Make a difference
It remains a real source of concern to me that more than 50 per cent of children in care in Buckinghamshire have to be placed with families outside this county, as we don’t have enough foster carers.
You have probably heard this message before from me, but as we enter Foster Care Fortnight, which runs from June 1-14, I want to ensure anyone thinking about fostering is encouraged to make that call today.
There are so many myths about fostering, which means people rule themselves out unnecessarily.
People quite often think they can’t foster if they are single, religious, in a same sex relationship, in rented accommodation, on benefits or have their own children.
None of these is true. If you are passionate about making a real difference to a child, able to provide a stable and secure home, and have a spare room, please contact us today.
I am sure that, like me, most of you will find it hard to believe that so many young people have to be sent miles away from familiar surroundings and friends because we don’t have enough of our own foster carers.
On average, there are around 430 looked-after children at any one time in Buckinghamshire – and yet we only have one foster carer per 1,000 households.
If you want to find out more, contact our First Step team for a chat. You won’t have to make a commitment until you are entirely satisfied fostering is right for you.
Email email@example.com visit www.buckscc.gov.uk/fostering or call 0800 160 1900.
Cabinet Member for Children’s Services
I did act for them
Two of your correspondents have wrongly suggested that I either refused to act for them, or failed to respond. That is a serious charge which I wish to rebut.
Far from “refusing” to assist him, as Mr N Hayes alleges, I wrote to him on no fewer than nine occasions, and raised his concerns separately with the Justice Secretary, the Commons Clerk for the Joint Committee on Human Rights, the Home Secretary, the Minister of State for Justice, the Attorney General, and the Lord Chancellor – the latter on two separate occasions.
With respect to Mr Dilly’s complaint that I “failed to reply” to his email outlining his concerns about the Speaker’s Seat, my records show that I replied to his email on February 24 this year. Furthermore, far from hiding “my personal views”, I set them out quite clearly – along with the position of the House of Commons – on this issue in my letter to him, as I routinely do on any other matter a constituent seeks to raise with me. The purpose of this letter is not to defend my record but to set it straight: if any local resident wishes to get in touch with me, he or she will receive a response. It would, however, be disingenuous of me to pretend that my representations – however diligently undertaken – always yield an outcome or reply that chimes precisely with the views of every Buckingham constituency resident.
MP for Buckingham
Time to withdraw
The recent letter (May 27) from Catherine Bearder (Lib Dem MEP for South East) objecting to the new Tory governments plan to withdraw from the European Court of Human Rights in favour of a British Court of Human Rights tells me that, in typical Lib Dem fashion, she has become completely entwined in EU legislation, to such an extent that she believes the unelected Strasbourg elite can do no wrong.
Does she not realise that the current European legal framework is so far removed from the original British act, which was set up after the Second World War by British lawyers and Churchill, that it has become unfit for purpose in our country?
What the government want to do is to restore the act back to its original purpose, which was to protect British citizens from abuse in its many forms. Winston Churchill must be turning in his grave.
I note that Ms Bearder carefully avoided mentioning the fact that on countless occasions over recent years hate-preachers and others who wish to turn people against us have been able to run to the ECHR and and plead successfully to avoid deportation out of this country on, among other things, the right to a family life here, when they have also committed crimes against humanity in their country of origin and are then able to remain here for years on end.
So they avoid trial elsewhere, slap their hands in glee, and simply carry on as before in the knowledge that they can shelter under this sinister umbrella of so-called justice.
And what about the string of serious court cases against individuals who have been given lengthy custodial sentences by British judges, only to have them reduced by the ECHR, making a mockery of our judicial system?
Surely when our own judges make decisions in this country, those decisions should be binding within our state, with the full force of British law to back them up.
Catherine Bearder tells an untruth when she (quotes) “launching a campaign to stop the Tories from abolishing the Human Rights Act.”
What nonsense! They do not want to abolish it, madam, merely to bring it home where it belongs!
Okay, let the EU run its own Act in the centre of the European continent, but don’t expect us to tag along like a flock of sheep accepting everything they say with no recourse.
I say the time has come to return back to a time when British justice ruled here in Britain, before the European Union (to which nobody was allowed to vote for here by the way) was even conceived.
Let’s have a British bill of rights and withdraw from the ECHR, for our own protection in what has become an extremely dangerous world.
Buckingham Road, Aylesbury