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Bury Free Press readers' letters to the editor

The Covid vaccination roll-out and Brexit have prompted letters this week.


The rapid Covid vaccine rollout nationally seems to have passed West Suffolk by.

Covid vaccinations locally seem to be behind the curve
Covid vaccinations locally seem to be behind the curve

All we seem to have is one GP surgery in Bury and a small hall in Mildenhall. As such, vaccination of the over 80s is lagging well behind whilst other places are already starting on the over 70s.

Suffolk as a whole also seems to be well behind the curve with a promised mass vaccination centre promised for next week – in Ipswich.

What about using the cathedral? They have managed to clear all the pews previously for banquets, so what about the same flexibility for a much more important task? Or Southgate Community Centre which is one of the larger halls in the area with good parking next door?

West Suffolk has the Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock himself as one of its MPs, together with the largely anonymous Bury MP, Jo Churchill, also a health minister. Isn’t it about time they spent a bit more of their time and effort on their own bailiwicks by looking after their constituents?

We can only hope that Mr Hancock’s ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ (Bury Free Press) will soon be shining a little brighter.

Bob Jones, Bury St Edmunds


Why is the vaccine being rolled out to 70 year olds in Suffolk before a single over 80 year old in Ixworth has been invited for their first vaccination?

What is the problem in Ixworth? #postcodelottery

Sue Spiller, via email


There have been various reports of a chink of light emerging at the end of the (Covid-19) tunnel and, providing we stick to the widely published rules, there is every reason to hope we can eventually free ourselves ofthis dreadful virus.

But this time we cannot afford to take our foot off the pedal which we very foolishly did over the Christmas and New Year celebrations at the end of 2020, bringing a surge of hospitalisations and death in its wake.

The best scientific brains have worked their socks off to produce vaccines to save lives, and the least we can do is to obey the rules.

Other than for medical reasons, would abstainers gather themselves together and depart these shores for the Isle of St Elsewhere, leaving the rest of us to know exactly where we stand.

Brian Davies, Bury St Edmunds


Reading Joey Sadler’s column (Bury Free Press, January 15), I would like to suggest that that is typical of today’s football fans; a couple of bad seasons, the toys go out of the pram and the season ticket gets jettisoned.

Ipswich sacked Mick McCarthy, a manager who got them into the play offs and generally in the top half of the Championship, and as Mick himself said ‘that went well’.

I have had a season ticket at Leeds United for 38 years and I am also an away season ticket holder. Although I no longer go to every match, I do manage quite a few each season.

In that period, Leeds too have had some anonymous owners, inept chairman, incompetent managers and some truly poor players, been out of the top flight for a combined total of 24 years (including three seasons in League One) and in recent seasons, have lost to Rochdale, Sutton, Hereford, Newport, Histon and recently Crawley in the FA Cup, but cancelling my season ticket has never crossed my mind.

I do not have the benefit of only having to travel ‘down the road’ every other match, and over those years I have travelled hundreds of thousands of miles, including friendlies in Australia and several European destinations, I could have purchased a decent size house with the money I have spent.

The current pandemic has temporarily halted my total matches at just under 1,800 (including a period where I only missed one match in 20 years, home or away) but only temporarily. I would suggest that that is the difference between a true supporter or only a fan. Perhaps the blood in young Sadler’s veins is not quite as blue as he suggests.

Kevin Gaught, Bury St Edmunds


I was interested that Greene King are thinking of renaming the Black Boy pubs in Bury St Edmunds and Sudbury.

I noted on Google the name Black Boy was given to King Charles II due to his jet black hair and swarthy complection, it was also given to young chimney sweeps sent up those large Tudor chimneys. They ended up at the end of the day covered in soot, hence the name. So will Greene King rename those pubs King Charles the Second?

Tom Murray, Bury St Edmunds


The dangers that a trade deal with the US could pose to our NHS or food standards are well known, but what many people do not realise is how little control our representatives in Parliament have over this sort of high risk deal.

As things stand, Members of Parliament are not even guaranteed a vote on trade deals – in stark contrast to Members of Congress in the US, and indeed MEPs in the European Parliament, who are.

The Trade Bill will be voted on in Parliament very soon, and has been amended in the House of Lords to give Parliament a say on trade deals. Yet the Government wants to reverse this and at an earlier stage West Suffolk’s MP, Matt Hancock, voted against giving Parliament a say.

I hope that Matt Hancock will vote for the amendment this time round. I do not want to see again the absurd spectacle of our representatives in the House of Commons voting to give themselves less power over things that matter to our lives.

Perry Morley, Depden


As the manager of Fornham House care home in Fornham St Martin, near Bury St Edmunds, I’m writing to share my heartfelt thanks to everyone in our local community for helping us to make Christmas so special for our residents.

The outpouring of support, cards and gifts we received from our friends, neighbours and wider community was overwhelming.

We’re lucky to have a large outdoor space, so decided to create a ‘winter wonderland’ in our garden, making a festive spectacle for our residents to enjoy. We asked local people and businesses for donations of their surplus trees, lights and decorations to help create this and were touched with the generosity we were shown. It was a true example of our community coming together at this difficult time.

While this is one of the most challenging times we have all faced in recent times, it has also been a time for us to appreciate the importance of community spirit.

On behalf of everyone at Fornham House, thank you.

Desiree Jooste, Home manager


This topic is not usually aired in the Bury Free Press, perhaps being outside the normal remit of your newspaper. However it occurred to me that effective action to this situation could enhance our standing in the world now that we are alone and perhaps vulnerable to reduced influence.

Many of your readers will have been following the distressing case of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the British woman detained in Iran for nearly five years after a grossly unfair trial. Nazanin is just one UK-Iranian dual-national targeted by the Iranian authorities in recent years.

Another is Anoosheh Ashoori, a 66-year-old former engineer subjected to a sham trial that involved ‘confessions’ extracted via torture.

We’re working closely with both families to press the UK government to do more to secure Nazanin and Anoosheh’s release.

The former foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt has recently criticised the government for not doing more to help them. He’s right, and supporters will be pressing for more action in the coming weeks.

Readers can stay in touch with the campaign for Nazanin and Anoosheh by visiting www.amnesty.org.uk/campaign-update-nazanin-and-anoosheh, where they can also watch our very moving 10-minute film with the families made shortly before Christmas.

In the past British citizens were protected the world over; I don’t want to be jingoistic but these are British citizens who are being pushed around by Iran and our Government should stand up for them and get them released.

Robin Davies, Horringer


Brexit will only be good for us was the recent message by your columnist Steve Britt (Bury Free Press, January 8).

Whether Brexiter or Remainer we all want the best for Britain and that can only happen if we face reality and deal with it. I have the advantage of writing two weeks after the UK finally left the EU and am perhaps able to see more clearly what just some of the immediately apparent downsides are. There will be some that may be short lived but most will be permanent. Government may have taken back control but the people have lost power.

Since Christmas:

- The UK government has promised repeatedly to ‘match or exceed EU environmental regulations’. The government opted not to apply, from January 1, a new EU rule banning the export of unsorted plastic waste to developing countries. The UK instead chose to keep a loophole allowing exports. The UK is one of the worst culprits globally, second only to the US in total exports of plastic waste.

- “No border in the Irish sea”. A group of supermarket bosses operating in Northern Ireland branded the new customs regulations ‘unworkable’, and blamed them for depleted shelves in shops. A case raised in Parliament last week was of a woman moving from Essex to Northern Ireland, who was not permitted to drive her white van on to the ferry because of personal items, presumably food, which contravened the new regulations. The UK Government has a unique achievement – forging unity between all the parties in Northern Ireland distraught at what is happening and angry with the Government. It is not surprising that Conservative MP Bob Stewart expressed ‘Good God’ when recently told by the HMRC that they expected to issue 11 million customs documents on the UK/NI route each year.

- “Brexit bureaucracy” inspections and forms, has caused fish prices to crash as much as 80 per cent because of delays in exports of shell fish in particular. Scottish

fishermen are now landing catches in Denmark. Someone, probably the Fisheries Minister who said she was busy supervising a Nativity trail when the deal was done, did not understand that most of the fish in British waters is exported and most of the fish we eat is imported.

- Direct employment is suffering especially in the entertainment industry. Musicians and creative artists have decried the UK Government’s choice to reject the offer of visa-free tours by performers in the EU. Touring musicians are often exempted from the need for work visas, generally for a three-month period. But a source close to EU indicated that while this had been offered to the UK, the UK said ‘no’. On this Government has been honest, they said they would stop ‘free movement’ but who thought this would be the result.

- Meanwhile, in a sign that manufacturers are beginning to feel the Brexit damage, Ford raised the prices of two new models by £1,700 after they became subject to tariffs under the Brexit deal’s ‘rules of origin’.

- Ineos, Head Office London and founder Sir Jim Ratcliffe, who recently moved to Monaco, has decided to move the production of its new electric vehicle the Grenadier (a Landrover lookalike), to the border of France and Germany. Previously promising to build it in South Wales, he received UK government funding towards developing the car. Not the first time that a business man has taken the government’s money and knighthood, then departed for a tax haven.

- Many manufacturing companies, especially if selling products under £100 or so are faced with pulling out of the EU market as the costs of deliveries, customs and courier fees for collecting VAT, make it uneconomic to send many parcels to the EU.

n It is estimated that 2020 saw a reduction of over one million jobs held by non-UK born citizens. Rascists will no doubt cheer but the rest of us will rue the day. Health and health care are suffering from staff shortages, nothing new but it is getting worse. The Government answer seems to be get rid of the Working Time Directive and tell NHS and care workers they should work longer hours (interview of Cornish Conservative MP on BBC News) and presumably give up the lengthy breaks they now have no time to take. The Financial Times reported last Friday that ministers want to reduce minimum levels of holiday pay by excluding payments for overtime among other things. Although Government denies the report, it matches positions taken over working time by most of the Cabinet over many years, ‘if pay is low and not guaranteed, the answer is to work more hours when it is available’. This from a government with ‘family values’ supposedly at its core and apparently wanting to improve the not well off it has helped to make vulnerable. It was their express intention to ‘match or exceed EU working conditions’.

- And now the Government has abolished the Parliamentary Select Committee on Brexit because ‘Brexit is done’. There are dozens of new working groups and regular reviews of EU and UK civil servants to take place for at least a decade and only this government, the competence of which many commentators say varies from poor to abysmal, to make sure they get it right. Its track record indicates it may have some difficulty.

It is not only in the USA that chickens are coming home to roost. The government must be prepared to re-open negotiations to return our borders to the single market that would require the UK to accept regulations which the Government claims it does not want to change. So the chaos on our borders is all because the Government wants to have the right to do something it claims it does not want to do. It is now obvious that this right is getting very expensive and disruptive to business and workers.

Roger Spiller, Ixworth

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