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National issues dominate the the letters this week - the cut to the aid budget, politics and the environment.


It was disappointing to note that our local MP, Jo Churchill, voted in favour of the cut in international aid which the government pushed through Parliament on Tuesday, July 13.

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor

This, in effect, means that she voted to break the manifesto promise on which she was elected and to cause an estimated 100,000 more deaths in developing countries. More women will be denied access to education and health care as a result and fewer children will go to school. Many thousands more will face malnutrition as well-established aid programmes will be disbanded.

Apparently this move is popular amongst some voters.

How desperately sad that we now have a government that makes policy on the basis of what is popular rather than what is right.

Voices were raised across all parties against this cut, but the government prevailed as it convinced some Conservative MPs that the cut would soon be reversed. The conditions under which the government will restore the funds have only been met once in the last 20 years, so it is unlikely they will be achieved soon.

The suffering that this cut will cause will, of course, result in many people trying to find food, education and health care somewhere else and so we can expect more tragic scenes of migrants in small boats crossing the Mediterranean and the Channel in years to come. Poverty and the climate crisis are the driving forces behind the migration that this government says it wants to stop.

I have written to Jo Churchill twice on this subject, the first time back in March, but I have still to receive a reply. I gather from your other correspondents recently that this is not unusual. However, I have received an apology for failing to answer my email to her in June, which I accept. It is, of course, academic since the she has already voted for the cut. My March email, which her office received, has still not been answered.

I shall continue to pray for those affected by this cut in international aid and also for wisdom for our government of which Mrs Churchill is a part. It must be difficult to know that one’s actions have had such adverse effects on so many across the world.

The Rev Richard Stainer, World Development Adviser for the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich


The Elections Bill will allow ministers to define and curtail ‘campaigning’, could make coordinating opposition an offence, and permits political meddling in the Electoral Commission.

A free election is one where unaffiliated organisations, charities and even the person on the street can be part of the debate. And one where independent groups like Best for Britain, can provide voters with information on parties and their policies.

By putting restrictions on campaigning and cross-party co-operation, this bill would privatise elections and stifle opposition. It is an attack on the foundations of our democracy.

Shame on this government for even thinking this is acceptable.

The populist ‘take back control’ now means ‘take control’ in favour of the right wing over everybody else. A dangerous path to be led down. We all need to bear this in mind when casting our ballots in the future.

Brian Pettitt, Bury St Edmunds


Boris Johnson, his team and our local MP Jo Churchill deserve the highest praise for the following reasons.

1) The majority of people in the UK voted to leave the EU and Boris Johnson was the only political leader who didn’t dither or waiver. He took us out. The leave agreement is imperfect but by the nature of the complexity of the agreement, it is going to be complex and imperfect and the government negotiated a deal where were are now able to be an independent trading nation with global ambitions. The public had an opportunity at the General Election to reject the government’s approach to leave, but the government won the election with a handsome majority when the policies of Labour were totally rejected.

2) Very few of us would have relished being Prime Minister over the past 18 months. Covid has decimated our economy with 130.000 deaths and many more affected in one way or another. I can understand the government’s initial response of trying to maintain the economy with some form of herd immunity at a time when we had just left the EU. But when it came to lockdown, the government offered a generous range of world leading support packages to individual people and business which supported the nation through this difficult time. They protected tenants from eviction and supported the NHS with significant additional funding. Of course mistakes were made, there was no precedent on dealing with such a nasty virus and decisions had to be made, some unpopular.

3) At the very early stages of the Covid epidemic, the government instigated and funded the development of vaccines which, within a year or so, were being delivered to people’s arms. This was a world first and we can be very proud of our government for having the confidence in our medical scientists and those who worked so hard to deliver the vaccines. Other countries and the EU had dithered while we got on with the job.

4) Many remainers and political commentators said that leaving the EU would decimate the UK economy, well in fact, it hasn’t. Investment into the UK is booming, order books are increasing and job vacancies are rising faster than at any previous time. In many sectors, wages have risen at the fastest pace in the last 10 years and free ports are set to make the UK the trading hub of Europe. All in all, what a brilliant government we have.

Tony Nicholl, Bury St Edmunds


David Yates equates being presented with facts, that he finds uncomfortable, as ‘aggressive’ (Letters, July 16). However the facts remain: the use of vehicles is detrimental to the health of their users and those around them due to their poisonous emissions. Like tobacco products they should come with health warnings, gory illustrations and all.

Our global addiction to fossil fuels is killing the planet; we are in the 6th Mass Extinction through our behaviour. This behaviour is aggressive if not downright violent against all living species and a fact we all need to deal with, honestly, rationally and objectively, if successive generations are to be able to survive and thrive.

If that challenge is interpreted as ‘aggressive’, then so be it. Meanwhile, events in the Low Countries are the ‘facts-on-the-ground’ of the reality of Climate Breakdown. People, property, crops and livestock are paying the penalty, landscapes reconfigurated, and if that’s not worth becoming ‘excitable’ about it’s difficult to tell what is.

Those that turn their energies to rebelling against extinction and are prepared to challenge the inertia of the authorities and get arrested for their principles do not have to be endearing to Mr Yates.

Politicians, in their ivory towers of self-aggrandisement, declare an ‘aim’ to be carbon neutral by 2050 but do little to achieve it. To quote Sir David King, leading scientific advisor on climate change: “What we do in the next five years – and then carry through to actions throughout the world . . . will determine the future of humanity for the next millennia.”

These are the facts and no-one will be exempt from having to face them.

Malcolm Searle, Bury St Edmunds

-- Email your letters to letters@buryfreepress.co.uk

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