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Climate change is very much on the minds of readers this week.

RESIST THESE ATTACKS ON OUR DEMOCRACY

Several recent issues of the Bury Free Press have quite rightly made trenchant adverse comments on aspects of government policy. However, what has been left unremarked are the multifaceted attacks currently before Parliament that aim to undermine fundamentals of our liberal (small ‘l’) democracy.

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor

These include an Elections Bill that aims to weaken the independence of the Electoral Commission and a bill to ‘reform’ judicial review to undermine the role of the judiciary. Judicial Review has been a powerful tool for the public to contest government decisions, often with significant success.

In addition, there is a policing bill that greatly weakens the right to legal protest, under which anything that ‘annoys’ the Home Secretary can be made an offence, and a plan to expand the scope of the Official Secrets Act that would much restrict the defence of journalists’ enquiries into matters of public interest.

On top of these attacks on democracy, we have the erosion of environmental standards, not least with the trade agreements concluded or under way with New Zealand and Australia. Neither of these agreements will make significant contributions to our balance of trade and are very likely to cause significant harm to the UK farming industry but are trumpeted as successes of ‘Global Britain’.

The government’s contempt for environmental standards was all too clearly demonstrated by its recent willingness to sanction discharge of untreated sewage into rivers, only reversed after a storm of protest. This alone emphasises the dangers of trying to curtail protest.

Our freedoms are precious, and the blatant attempts to secure a one-party state must be resisted.

John Corrie, Bury St Edmunds

CITIZENS’ ASSEMBLIES COULD BE THE ANSWER

The human species is facing an existential threat at present regarding its very survival but without the structures for decision-making that eliminate partisan interests.

COP26 will solve nothing for it represents all these failures in a razzamatazz and beanfeast of egos playing to their relevant electorates. In other words, politics as usual egged on by the mainstream media.

Likewise, untrammelled market forces have contributed to our plight and offer no long-term solutions;

technology is a delusion and creates tomorrow’s problems.

What is required are new structures that eliminate the inbuilt weaknesses that perpetuate systems not fit for purpose. Referenda have proved inadequate for the challenges we now face, as recently experienced by the hubris of Brexit that resulted in even more disharmony and division, solving nothing but only re-arranging the problems. To date, our endeavours for the freedoms of the individual to comfortably sit within the collective responsibility have foundered, albeit societal experiments have been in place for some thousands of years.

Democracy, as a concept to actually include everybody, and Representational Democracy, in practice, are found wanting especially as populations grow.

So, the latest idea is Citizens’ Assemblies for critical decision making but not administrative duties; they are worth a try for, at this point in time and place, we have nothing to lose as we may lose everything anyway if we carry on as we are doing.

Malcolm Searle, Bury St Edmunds

REFLECT ON THE HARMS OF CLIMATE CHANGE

On Saturday, November 6, as part of the global day of action calling for just solutions to the climate crisis, Bury St Edmunds Quakers will hold a silent witness to the pain and harm caused by climate change. It will take place from 11.30am-noon at the bottom of Angel Hill, opposite the entrance to the Abbey Gardens.

We wish to bear witness for people around the world who are living with the impacts of climate change known as ‘loss and damage’; to the need for an international fund to bring about climate justice; to the necessity of working to minimise further damage for future generations; to acknowledge our privileged position and recognise our own contribution in damaging creation, and to provide a local witness to global inequality. We believe that our deep silence will enable us to reflect on the grief, fear and hope which urge us to action.

We hope to continue these acts of witness on the first Saturday of each month. People of all faiths and none will be very welcome join us for as long as they wish. It will be an opportunity to join in spirit with similar events calling for climate justice which have been planned by multi-faith groups around the country.

Bury St Edmunds Quakers, St John’s Street, Bury St Edmunds

THAT’S JUST WHAT I DID IN THE 1980S

Just been enjoying your article (Camille Berriman’s 15 Things You Only Know if you Grew Up in Bury St Edmunds, via Suffolk News) on growing up in Bury, which is exactly what I was doing in the ’80s so probably of a similar vintage to the author of the piece.

One thing that struck me . . . the name of the pizza place in St John’s Street was ‘The Pizza Gallery’. The items on the menu were named after famous artists and it was full of prints of their work. I remember going there with my friends from St James’ Middle for an end of school meal together, aged 13 in 1989.

Another one to add . . . Andy’s Records, further down St John’s Street. I remember buying my first 12inch single from there, Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s Two Tribes. Everyone wanted a ‘Frankie Says’ T- shirt and I remember seeing people going out in the town square wearing them.

Anyway, thanks again for the article, really enjoyed it

Nick Ross, via email

RESTORED GATES ARE A FITTING TRIBUTE

At the beginning of November my thoughts always turn towards Remembrance / Armistice Day on November 11, and the nearby Remembrance Sunday.

Over the years, wherever I am, I have always stopped on the day for a moment of quiet reflection, be it in Ipswich or Bury St Edmunds, or a parish somewhere else in Suffolk – on two recent occasions this has been at the soldier silhouettes at Haughley.

The focus of remembrance in many communities is the local war memorial, usually cast in stone. However in a few exceptions in the United Kingdom, there are memorial gates. Apart from the Bill Shankly memorial gates at Anfield, Liverpool, there are the Commonwealth memorial gates in Hyde Park, London, and others at Ealing, Ashbourne (Derbyshire) and Frodsham (Cheshire).

Stowmarket also has been for many years a member of this illustrious ‘gates’ community. Erected on the Recreation Ground in 1921, and listed as of architectural significance, the memorial gates have been the focus of remembrance for many years. Now, they have recently been restored and rehung, and what a splendid shining sight they are. They will superbly provide again a fitting tribute to the fallen of all conflicts and a fine focus for remembrance.

Remembrance as always is important as we must never be careless of our history.

Graham Day, Stowmarket

ARTICLE BROUGHT BACK MEMORIES

What an interesting item by John Nice (Bury Free Press, October 1). It brought back so many memories of people and places in Bury St Edmunds, especially the grocery store (O P Nice and Son). As he said, it was where Boots now resides. Not to forget the other places in our beautiful town that John mentioned.

So thank you and I hope other people enjoyed the article as much as I did.

Edna Coote, Bury St Edmunds

STREET COLLECTION NETTED £644

The Bridge for Heroes would like to thank everyone who donated to the charity on October 9 in Bury St Edmunds. The total raised was a wonderful £644.22.

This money will go towards the provision of holistic support to serving members and veterans of all our Armed Forces and their families delivered by The Bridge for Heroes from our Centre in King’s Lynn

Gordon Halewood, Vice-chairman of trustees, The Bridge for Heroes

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