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Diversity and quips about council tax - your views on Thetford and Brandon this week

Mark Taylor and Terry Jermy are no strangers to sharing a joke, as demonstrated by this picture of Mr Jermy eating his hat after the outcome of the US presidential election. Now Mr Taylor has had another quip at Mr Jermy's expense, this time over council tax. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY

Mark Taylor and Terry Jermy are no strangers to sharing a joke, as demonstrated by this picture of Mr Jermy eating his hat after the outcome of the US presidential election. Now Mr Taylor has had another quip at Mr Jermy's expense, this time over council tax. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY

Archant

Here’s what our readers have to say on Thetford and Brandon issues this week.

Two quips in one speech

In your “news bite” column you reported on my quip about a Jeremy Corbyn look-alike taking pictures at the full Breckland Council meeting.

It was good to see that it was reported on in the same light hearted manner that it was delivered. It was also good to see that some members of the Labour group do indeed have a sense of humour.

You also reported in detail the points raised by councillor Terry Jermy during Breckland’s council tax budget debate.

His proposal for a 12-week consultation in relation to some people being exempt from the tax, his statement about council tax being regressive, his proposal to allocate money from growth funds in order to employ a market town co-ordinator all points which seemed to frustrate the Conservative majority within the chamber.

I personally thought that he was trying to stall or tarnish the budget debate in an attempt to take away from the fact that Breckland still has the cheapest council tax rate in the country.

But you did not then mention my second quip, delivered when councillor Jermy had finished his speech - a quip that brought the house down and had most people in fits of laughter.

When invited to speak by chairman Bill Borrett, I stated that I was shocked at the way Mr Jermy had now become the font of all knowledge on budget matters as he had just made a

complete and utter “horlicks” of his own budget in Thetford.

This quip was delivered factually rather than humorously and the laughter that it induced was not intended. The point that I was trying to make in relation to Mr Jermy’s attack on Breckland’s handling of its budget is an old but still valid one.

“People in glass houses should not throw stones.”

Mark Taylor

Abbey Green, Thetford

Town better for diversity

I am privileged to volunteer for a project in rural Norfolk that welcomes refugees and asylum seekers. It is a peaceful and safe haven where I have met the most wonderful people wanting a better world.

This week, however, we had some devastating news. A young man from Sudan who has been a regular visitor to the centre has been detained under the Dublin agreement, which means he must go back to the country that he first entered.

Only a few short weeks ago, he said how happy he was as things were beginning to work out for him. It is absolutely devastating for him. I can only imagine what he has endured to get here and now this agreement is deeming he must leave in the most brutal way.

He is a face to the statistics. He is not a number. He is a human being with skills and aspirations. He is also a gentle soul who made me laugh and made me care what happened to him.

He has had to escape his past and now has a very uncertain and difficult future. Aside from the human cost of this agreement, we are the losers.

We are turning people away with skills and enthusiasm who want to work and live in this country. This young man was a telephone engineer in Sudan. He was studying here and working to gain certificates at the centre. He was doing everything to make a good future in this country.

The book Exceptional People gives research findings that show communities that embrace migrants are more dynamic and successful.

Look at our own town. This is a better place for its diversity.

So when you next read a headline condemning tefugees or hear someone saying something disparaging, please think of the people behind those headlines and comments.

Theresa Mason

Thetford

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