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Joseph Dean - defending his country

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What a lovely guy. Like JK Rowling and the Enigma codebreakers, Joseph Dean was a Classics scholar, but he had poor eyesight so to make sure he could defend his country in World War II he memorized the letters of the eye test to pass it. He joined the 51st Highland Division, fought in Sicily and Normandy and was injured twice, acquiring "a scar of heroic scale across his chest".

After the war, Dean returned to Oxford, took a degree in Law and became an expert in the Privy Council's colonial affairs. "In 1953 he published a successful collection of 40 libel cases entitled Hatred, Ridicule and Contempt", which might well serve as the title of a book on politicians today. In 1966, he founded a new set of law chambers, the "most successful in the Middle Temple". In 1975, "he became a judge on the South-Eastern Circuit, which allowed him to live at home" with his wife and three children near Ashford. He may have caught a glimpse of his next great campaign even then.

Defending country

The Chunnel might have its virtues, but destroying Kent, "the garden of England" was a price too high to pay. The Telegraph recalls -

Many parties were anxious to derive as much economic benefit as possible from the proposed Channel Tunnel, almost irrespective of the aesthetic or environmental cost. Proposals had been made for four new routes for a new high-speed rail link across the county, with the clear intention of pitching the opponents of each route against the others.

Rather than falling into this trap, Dean ensured a single voice of opposition against all four routes, guaranteeing that the present, more environmentally sensitive, solution – which involved more tunnelling (and greater expense) – emerged.

. . .From his home at the foot of the North Downs, Dean spearheaded a decade-long campaign to save the countryside. . ."

He succeeded, but the struggle to protect country life from destruction continues. Joseph Dean died on January 11th aged 88.

Ave atque Vale.

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