This is what you have been writing to us about this week.

To send your own letter, email or send it to Bucks Free Press, Loudwater Mill, Station Road, Loudwater, HP10 9TY.

Can you help lunch club?

Liston Hall in Marlow, which is run by the Marlow Community Association (MCA) has a lunch club, run by volunteers each Friday(except holidays).

Some of our visitors need transport to and from the hall - we could do with two or three more people to go on a rota for these local trips.

Can any Bucks Free Press readers please help?

This only involves about one hour at 10.30am or 1pm after their lunch - and remember this is a rota.

If so, please ring our office on 01628 472558.

The office is open 10am to 12 noon weekdays but we do have an answerphone where you can leave your name and phone number. We will ring back.

Yvonne Sargeant, MCA President, Marlow

Town council veto

So once again Wycombe District Council has been found wanting. WDC councillors were too slow off the mark in pushing for a South Buckinghamshire Council to counter Martin Tett and his determination to have only one county council in Buckinghamshire from April 2020.

WDC has procrastinated, too, in tackling the future of the Brunel Rail Shed and constructing a proper cafe on The Rye. At the same time Frogmoor, formerly a garden, continues to wear the mantle of dull concrete and is still without its fountain, and the underpass, from Queen Victoria Road to The Rye, remains flooded.

And now, as the council is about to be merged into the new unitary authority, WDC can be accused of lethargy again in its inexplicable failure to put a town council in place for April Fool’s Day!

I can accept that it may not be in WDC’s remit to authorise a town council. However, they have known that this was going to happen for several years and should have left no stone unturned to ensure that Wycombe would not be left without a local executive authority from April 2020. If the present Bucks County Council couldn’t or wouldn’t help then a conscientious and diligent council would surely have appealed directly to the secretary of state for an urgent solution. And to use as an excuse that parish councils came into the calculation too is only a smokescreen. That could have been settled later.

Before WDC came about in 1974, there was a town council in High Wycombe dating back to 1285, so naturally the people of High Wycombe would expect that the ancient market town, the largest in Bucks with a population of 120,000, would revert to the status quo from April 2020. How many other towns in the country lack a town council? Even much smaller towns like Marlow and Princes Risborough have one: and the indignity gets even worse, for Fordwich in Kent, with a population of just 400, has a town council.

This gross negligence means that from this April High Wycombe will have no directly elected local officials for the first time in hundreds of years. Former town councillors over the centuries must be turning in their graves!

There may still be a mayor next year but that office is merely ceremonial. At the same time, although the new Buckinghamshire Council has approved local boards for planning, without a town council there will be no executive decisions made in order to restore run-down areas, promote the town, interact with townspeople and attract visitors.

Also who is going to tackle issues like air quality, parking and concerns about Wycombe’s street market? Then there are sports grounds, public gardens, children's’ play areas, cemeteries, toilets, woodlands and war memorials in the locality. A pro-active and assiduous town council would expect to be heavily involved in decisions affecting all of the above not to mention the Brunel Rail Shed, cafe on The Rye and the futures of Wycombe museum, library and tourist information.

Last summer WDC opened up a consultation process on the options for a town and parish councils, which received a positive response. But, as already stated, this was far too late. And why do this anyway? Anyone with an ounce of sense knows that a town the size of Wycombe should have a town council. But to then pass any decision on to the still to be formed new Buckinghamshire Council is nothing short of disingenuous, was not mentioned at the time and smacks of political machinations. By abdicating responsibility this slothful WDC appears to have no conscience and, in leaving the town without a beating heart, surely steps down with little credibility.

But perhaps WDC’s final parting gift is the most heinous of its inept actions. Obsessed with saving money through the years it appears that in 2020 Christmas will come at Easter for the new Buckinghamshire Council. At that time reserves of around £200 million from the Wycombe district will be transferred to Aylesbury.

Aux barricades mes amis! For this arrogant and dilaTory WDC has humiliated the town!

William Reid, High Wycombe

Outrageous inequality in society

I had resolved not to post further letters to the BFP after the election, but I want to comment on Hanan Jahangir’s letter in today’s print edition (January 10).

Mr Jahangir’s letter is interesting. It’s a mixture of the very personal and the political. He is from a group often unheard in our society – the intelligent children of working-class immigrants. He shares a personal ‘epiphany’ – a moment of growth or insight, when someone gains awareness, so they see events in a different light afterwards.

His epiphany culminates at the polling station when, with his mother, he votes for the first time, for the unsuccessful Labour candidate Khalil Ahmed. Mr Jahangir calls this the ‘incredible’ climax to realising over a period of months that, like all people, he possessed a personal voice to articulate his developing left-of-centre views, after feeling obliged to conceal them for a long time – an idea articulated for him perfectly by Arundhati Roy. (He also points out that the RGS – often defined in terms of pure intellect and erudition by its supporters – is a middle-class ‘beacon of Conservatism’.)

Mr Jahangir describes angrily the outrageous inequality, and shameless unfairness in our society, where the established well-off ensure they profit more and more, while ignoring the worsening plight of the poor, who often cannot afford the basic pleasures of family life. He concludes a little inconclusively: ‘… these are worrying times. Alas we move.’

I am exactly four times as old as Mr Jahangir, who is at the beginning of his political life. I hope he will not think I sound condescending if I share with you an epiphany of mine. In about 1983 I read a poem by Sir Herbert Read from 1940, in which he used the phrase ‘the immemorial feud of rich and poor’ to describe politics after 1918, and I decided that most of the time that was a good and insightful description of politics and human society.

My grandmother participated at the beginning of the British Labour movement in South Wales in 1901. She and Katie, her local politician daughter, saw the bitter defeat of 1926 and the transformation of our society in 1945 into a more civilised one where people received according to their need and gave according to their ability and wealth – a controlling principle currently almost abandoned in the quest for the uncontrolled ‘vigour of the private sector’.

At the moment, as Warren Buffett said, the rich are winning, but people will always fight for social justice. The struggle you have joined is a great tradition dating back to the Gracchi or before.

Hopefully we too will move on from ‘worrying times’ - the Johnson government may turn out to be a brilliant surprise but this seems unlikely – your resolution ‘not to stop fighting the injustices and inequalities in our world’ is a noble one that you may see carried into successful action before too long. By then people will have realised what a fraud many current Conservative orthodoxies are and I hope you will live to see a reversal of the injustices and inequalities we deplore.

Thank you for sharing your moments of insight Mr Jahangir.

Lawrence Linehan, Wooburn Green

What’s in store for 2020?

After a year of frustration and stagnation with agricultural policy, 2020 is going to be a very busy year, following the decisive election result.

The Agriculture Bill has been on hold for the last year, as Parliament was gridlocked in Brexit disagreement.

The Environment Bill received its first reading and was then pulled once the election was called. These two key pieces of legislation will now come back to Parliament.

As well as preparing for Brexit, there will also be a focus on climate change.

The UK will be hosting COP26, the major Global Climate Summit, in Glasgow in mid-November. Having been the first major economy to make ‘net zero’ a legal obligation, there will be a lot of pressure on the UK government to show they are starting to act.

The Secretary of State for Defra, Theresa Villiers, has been keen to point out that the Conservative manifesto has committed to maintaining funding into the agricultural sector for the duration of this Parliament, the much talked about £3.2bn that currently comes into the UK from the CAP. This is very important as we start the transition away from the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS).

While our industry is pushing for tariff-free trade with the EU, which is what Government say they want, they also want a looser regulatory relationship with the EU to allow divergence and that is where the challenge for 2020 will be.

Legally speaking, it is likely we will leave the EU later this month – but economically the risk of there being no Free Trade Agreement remains a threat, but also a bargaining chip for the UK government.

The Secretary of State highlighted the Government’s commitments to maintaining the highest standards of food safety, animal welfare and environmental protection in any future trade deals.

The maintenance of standards and not undercutting UK food producers will be crucial for our sector and remain a key focus of the CLA’s lobbying work with Government.

Mark Bridgeman, CLA President

Take the time to say hello

It is so sad to think that there is so much loneliness in this age of communications and we read about the elderly being neglected in care homes and some hospitals.

Just recently while shopping an elderly lady dropped an article from her handbag which I thought was accidental, when I picked it up for her, she sadly said she had dropped it on purpose hoping to say ‘thank you’ and perhaps have a little chat with someone.

After leaving her, it made me realise we should all try and spare the time to smile or say hello. Everyone must know someone who is living alone who could do with a bit of company now and then.

I believe if we all left the world a better person, the world would be a better place.

Rose Whitehead, Chalfont St Peter

Shop second hand and help the planet

We all know by now that fast fashion is bad for the environment as well as our wallets so the RSPCA is encouraging people to shop second hand to save the planet, help us rescue more animals and save some pennies this January.

We have launched a Charity Shop Challenge asking people to commit to wearing one second hand item from a charity shop every day for a week, whether that’s a pair of boots, a scarf, a tie, or a whole outfit. The items can be an old purchase or a new one and those taking part in the challenge can take a selfie in the shop or at home and post it with the hashtag #RSPCAMyStyle.

Charity shops are a treasure chest of fantastic outfits and not only does your purchase help a cause close to your heart but it also curbs the tide of disposable fashion.

The Charity Retail Association estimates each charity shop saves 29 tonnes of textiles from going into landfill each year, and with over 300 RSPCA charity shops that's around 8,700 tonnes saved - the equivalent to over 1,200 African elephants!

We hope our lovely supporters and animal lovers will pop into an RSPCA charity shop with the knowledge that buying a second hand top, shoes or dress helps us care for dogs, cats, horses, rabbits and reptiles in need!

The Charity Shop Challenge runs from January 20-26 and supports the RSPCA branches across England and Wales who rely on generous donations from animal lovers to help care for thousands of animals.

Jenny Eden, RSPCA retail specialist