Among the many photos and articles celebrating Bude Tunnel come the cynics, the nasties, the negative. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, so I don’t set too much store by people who cannot find anything positive to say about the latest Bude endeavour but some, mainly those who put the effort in, are saddened and distressed by it. That’s a shame. Huge all-round effort has been made to improve Bude by so many groups, Light Up Bude being notable in terms of its Christmas display. A big thank you goes out to them, and others.
Overwhelmingly , Bude Tunnel, both in its earlier Trip Advisor incarnation and now in its festive glow, has provided much fun, laughter, merriment and even joy. To me, that’s a positive, In these times of Brexit shambles, what is the harm in it? In Bude, the Tunnel has brought the community together even more than before. Sainsbury’s has played its big part in the town celebrations, in a response to suggestions to make the tunnel more of an attraction. People flock to Oxford St to see the lights, so what is the problem with Bude having something a little different? Visitors love the Tunnel but more importantly, locals do, too.
When I first moved to the area, I thought what a great idea the tunnel was from a purely practical level. That it has become a thing of fun and, at times, beauty, simply enhances it. Pieces like this are a tad offensive, but don’t even get the facts right; for example, Bude & Beyond does not own the photo mentioned and if it did, it might wonder why it was being used without permission. So who is actually cashing in on the Tunnel?
For those who say we should focus on more important issues like homelessness, obviously, homelessness is a massively distressing problem, one which is structural in origin. I can’t tackle it alone though try to create some moments of light/humanity buying food for people on the streets when I can. I simply want to show those in terrible circumstances that someone cares. Governments, national and local, should be tackling homelessness. Bude community helps where it can (see the refugee effort). It is an environmental leader, helping the planet. The recent Christmas Fair at the Castle involved a collection for the Foodbank, and other groups are also involved. Charitable community work goes on at so many levels, day in, day out, often unacknowledged by wider media because it isn’t news.
However, crucially, the point is that celebrating and enjoying something does not negate community efforts in other spheres.
Having some fun at this dark time of year does not mean people are blissfully unaware of poverty and its accompanying social issues. Many people are cutting their own consumerism and what shopping they are doing is done locally. I like to think we are all becoming increasingly socially aware.
Yes, we could all do more, but Bude does quite a bit to help those in need, so if a week of merriment around the Tunnel is going to cancel out all that in some people’s hearts and minds, so be it. We know that is not the case.
Guess what? I haven’t even seen the Tunnel lit up for Christmas yet. But I will.