I HAVE written several times here that ‘to care is the most important characteristic of any worthwhile society’, writes retired consultant Doctor David Halpin.

No good person would disagree but what is the evidence, that people with power in our land - from top towards the local bottom, care for our people in these most beautiful islands - and our land?

In last week’s MDA contradictions and lack of care sprang out at me. First it was the ‘cash strapped council’ - the headline on the front page. The deputy leader Mr Keeling, whilst having a go at the current and inept ‘government’ justified the agreed increase of many TDC charges because of the ‘cost of living crisis’. How do these increased charges affect the cost of living crisis of the citizens you are elected to serve Mr Keeling?

You know well how poverty stricken are many here in Teignbridge and the UK; they are counting pennies as they fear an icy little house this winter. Some will know the man made climate change meme is nonsense and that the crisis in the TDC budget is down to the rulers at Forde House. In an attempt to limit the emission of life-giving CO2 in the UK (some councillors have learned of photosynthesis at O Level), a 1% of the global whole, vast cost have been piled on to us. 

Tell us the total ‘spend’ Messrs Wrigley and Keeling on the renewed climate friendly heating, filtration and chlorination system at Dyrons please. And whilst you are at it, the cash TDC received from the sale of the Penn Inn open air pool where so many Newton Abbot children learned to swim.

Typical of the amoral nature of much which is local government in our dear country, this little park with its oaks and the cottage where a lady passed out ice lollies, was bought with pennies in the 30s for public benefit and joy.  Yes - public benefit, and joy. Some of those humble people who encouraged neighbours to put precious coins in the tin will have passed on. They will be uneasy in their graves to know that this little oasis on marshy ground  is now three quarters concrete and tarmac.

Instead of children glistening with beads of water as they dived, seen by me on Saturdays as I drove from the Princess Elizabeth Hospital on a Saturday to the trauma wards at Torbay, there are hundreds of cars, Sainsburys post Co-op, MuckDonalds, a large Fossil Fuel Station and sulphites and nitrites in often poor lungs. I omit the PM10s in the necessary diesel. The clientele of the corporation are wheeling out the ultra processed food from shelves with their ‘offer’ - the current jargon, of perhaps over 200,000 varieties.

Fact. There is no longer a fresh fruit and vegetable shop in Torquay. A population as sickly as that of Newton Abbot’s needs the nutrients and taste of fresh vegetables, instead of that limped chilled from vast and soulless hectares in East Anglia - by the corporations. A patient from long ago, Ernie Prowse, was one of seven brothers in Stoke-in-Teignhead. They had a 7 a side soccer team! and the family had 80 acres under vegetable cultivation from Stoke down to Ringmore . Every Tuesday and Friday a lorry went with fresh veg to Torquay. Sue and I are almost self sufficient in vegetables here at 1,000ft with a small poly tunnel (properly hidden) and well into our 80s.

And what of Bovey Tracey? Arnolds the excellent ironmongers went a year ago, so it’s fossil fuel to B&Q and the helpful Dave Morgan there. He told me the management treat all staff fairly and listen to them! Now Whites the green grocers have upped sticks. A good deal of their veg was grown locally. They are focusing on their shop in Moretonhampsted; the couple will not be fearing a Lidl or other corporation there - Ldls with it 11,000 + stores globally.

And what did the Bovey Tracey Council think of Lidls being plonked on the 12 hectare ‘housing development’, and on this flood plain? About two years it was ‘minded’ to support the Lidls’ application, though that was not in the much mentioned ‘local plan’, but later voiced interest in having a few more trees and more bicycle places so that some pond’s weight of ‘carbon’ could be saved. I ask this council to stand by the culvert of the Challa Brook and look southwards to Brimley. 

About four years ago, when Devonshire Homes was lining up support for this housing - without chimneys for wood stoves nor solar panels, I met a Mr Fouracre. There too was Dr Alan Hale, one of the many GPs I worked alongside with as a bone specialist. 

The former was born in Bovey. He was weeping to know that the footpath was being diverted, and already the hawthorns had been excised and the old stock fence felled. 

As I said in a letter to this good local paper, he had probably delighted at seeing the colour of sticklebacks in the clear water through his jam jar as a nipper. Bovey Council - admire the 6 foot dark grey fence guarding the corporation, and admit that this ‘plan’ was ‘in the can’ from very early on.

Page 17 in last week’s MDA - ‘Town’s Fairtrade status reaffirms commitment’! 14 people, all smiles and most being councillors in the gateway to the moor. Cllr Brooke said ‘the long-term commitment by many groups and businesses in the town is a real tribute to the community we live in and I thank them for their support without which this status (Fairtrade !) could not be sustained’. 

Footnote. Public health is central in any truly civilised country. Next week, and very appropriately, I will deal with sewage.