Friday 17th February 2017
Don’t tar us all with the same brush
Letter of the Week: ‘A Moorside resident’
In response to your readers’ letters concerning the Moorside TV programme, please don’t tar us all with the same brush.
It is such a shame that the only people it showed were the ones on benefits, and the small band of idiots.
It would not be able to show the decent and hard-working people that live on the estate, as they were too busy working and paying taxes.
Why, if these residents were fit enough to march and search for Shannon (and, by the way, a lot of people began to ask if it was a scam because they did not have the brains to do this by
themselves), were they not working?
The good people of Moorside are totally disgusted by all of this.
The documentary should have been called ‘The Julie Bushby Show’, not The Moorside.
None of this needed to happen as the police would have found Shannon, as they did anyway.
This programme was partly based on input from one or two and, as a result of this, there was a lot left to be desired.
Situation critical, warns campaigner
From: Simon Roadnight, chairman of The Friends of Batley Library
The Friends of Batley Library group was set up in August 2015 to help further the cause of staving off the threat of closure to this magnificent building.
Since then, we, as a group have done our utmost to help to support the fantastic, friendly, hard-working staff and their small army of volunteers, as best we can.
We have held events and tried to think of ways to increase footfall into the library.
One of our current, ongoing projects is the Memory Lane Cafe. This was established in the hope of encouraging people experiencing short or long-term memory loss to come along and meet people going through the same experiences in a warm, friendly, environment.
Now, we face the very real threat of having to repeat the desperate fight to stave off that same threat of closure once more.
The council have announced that they will be slashing a further £1.9million from the library services budget for the financial year 2017-2018.
This will leave the entire budget for the whole service at a paltry £2.3million. Compare this with the budget being at £4.1million for the year 2016-2017 and you will see why this threat has emerged once more.
The total of £2.3million would have only covered the cost of running three library services across the whole of Kirklees last year, Dewsbury and Huddersfield amongst them.
Libraries were already forced to reduce staff and opening hours in order to stay operational, and how they are possibly going to be expected to adopt these further cuts is quite simply, anybody’s guess.
Perhaps it is worth pointing out that councils across the land have been granted permission to raise council taxes by a maximum of 5%, 3% of which is supposed to be earmarked to help cater for the crippling crisis in local social care.
The question I pose here is was the library to be closed as a result of these budget cuts, what impact will it have on the more vulnerable members of society?
They rely on the library service as a vital source of information and education. After all, Batley does not currently have any sixth form provision in its schools, let alone a college to speak of. To many, the library is, quite simply, their only source of further education they have available.
Last week, there was much fanfare made of the renovation and investment being put into the former Taylor’s Mill complex, where a whole host of new apartments are being created, at vast expense no doubt.
Again, the question has to be what is the point of creating new living accommodation for people who will, quite simply, have nothing on offer to them in the town they are being encouraged to reside in?
Quite simply, the heart of the town is being constantly ripped out of it. We have already learned of the imminent ‘relocation’ of the job centre to Dewsbury and despite the efforts of a vast number of well-intentioned people, Commercial Street remains a barren, nigh-on derelict wasteland.
Last Friday, the library hosted an event simply entitled ‘Love Batley.
I had personally tried to encourage members of the public to come forward and say a few words to my camcorder in the hope of creating a short film to showcase at this event.
In total four people emerged, which meant I had to revert to my many hours of footage I have from my own ‘Pride of Place’ film.
I even ventured out on the day in the hope of encouraging shoppers on the market to come in and take a look, as well as enjoy a hot beverage and a biscuit or two.
Imagine my horror when I saw there was a grand total of two stalls there on the day with not a single shopper in sight to encourage in?
Admittedly the weather wasn’t too great but again, is this not another prime example of how far our beautiful town centre has been allowed to decline?
In total, a number of seven people came to listen to the talk we had organised from a delightful chap called John Rumsby.
Five of those were members of the Friends group and the other two were ladies that had attended the crochet class beforehand.
We will continue to do our very best to attract more people into the library and to use it more often than they are doing.
Unless they do start to use it, then the chances are that it will be an obvious target for closure once the council have finished with the undertaking of yet another review of the service.
We are well aware that the very same threat hangs over the heads of the libraries at Mirfield, Cleckheaton, Heckmondwike and Birstall and I know how much effort their ‘Friends Of’ groups have put in previously to safeguard the future of their particular library.
Batley has to react and react now before it is too late. Commercial Street, the job centre, the market, the fire station, the library? Whatever next is going to be allowed to simply disappear without so much as a whimper?
Batley simply cannot afford another nail in its coffin and I for one refuse to stand by and watch things vanish one after the other.
No confidence in the system
From: Adele Latham, Batley
Where’s the justice?
I refer to a court case in last week’s Press newspaper where a pensioner was found guilty of fraud for using his wife’s blue badge on a number of occasions, and for this terribly heinous crime was sentenced to 26 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to pay costs of £500, plus £115 victim surcharge – the government being the poor innocent victim, you understand!
Yet in the same edition a man pleaded guilty to three charges of making indecent images and one of extreme pornography, including young children, and a woman and an animal, and was sentenced to a mere eight-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, plus 200 hours unpaid work! Wow, that’s one mighty deterrent.
I could list more cases, but suffice it to say, in my opinion, our judicial system is a joke, and certainly gets a huge vote of no confidence from me.
Why should we pay for her?
From: ‘Tammy Anne Firth’, via email
After wathing The Moorside on Tuesday, I was disgusted with the part of Karen Mathews.
Not the part that was played, but, the way she reacted.
As a local (mother) I can remember being at work with the radio on waiting for any update that little girl was found alive and well.
It put Dewsbury in a bad light after what that woman put her daughter through to try and get money.
The sad thing is the Moor came through and did what any community would do, but they are getting slated because of the area.
Had this been an upmarket area in Kent for example, would the press be so unrelenting?
It is great that we can be shown what is hopefully the true evaluation of what happened. If this programme is based on the truth, then; well done Dewsbury Moor!
You were let down by the courts. Karen Matthews should have spent her life behind bars. Why should we pay for her new lease of life?
Thanks to MP for answer
From: Linda Harrison, Birstall
I’d like to thank Tracy Brabin for her informative reply to my letter about her appearing on a television advert while she is our MP.
Tracy honestly admitted that she does not endorse the product she is promoting. Her response confirmed my suspicions.
I have always suspected that many of the high-profile actors who are seen pleading for our donations to charities have no real interest in such causes and are merely doing it for the fee or to further their career.
My personal view of such appeals by celebrities is this – put your money where your mouth is!
Working class families have a hard enough time providing for their own without the added burden of contributing to the welfare of those on a different continent.
Not giving a good impression
From: R Spreadbury, Liversedge
Now retired, I have more time to get around our area on foot and by car, no more commuting for me.
As a downside to this, I am disgusted by the amount of rubbish strewn over any open green space.
I have no idea who the morons are who sling stuff out of their car windows or dump stuff on any bit of grassland, but surely it can not be beyond the wit of man (or council) to do something about it.
If it is, here are a few suggestions to our esteemed council to get the ball rolling:
Inter-faith school groups – adopt a street/area and keep it clean.
Young offenders in litter-picking chain gangs.
Councillors have half a day a month off from axing our services and destroying our local culture, and pick some litter, preferably outside of Huddersfield.
Teach civic pride in our schools.
Name and shame fly-tippers, litter droppers on a council Facebook page, and ASBO kids could be added to this.
Teach appreciation of the countryside, nature and our green spaces in schools. These are things to be cherished and not desecrated.
A lot of the world’s people are less fortunate or don’t care.
Anyone caught littering or fly tipping should be given a £2,000 fine and community service.
The latter involving litter picking.
Here are three areas of concern to get the ball rolling:
1) The top car park in Heckmondwike, above the mosque.
2) Webster Hill in Dewsbury, opposite Harrisons Lighting.
3) The end of the Mad Mile.
Perhaps your readers could nominate some more locations.
This will save Kirklees Council staff from venturing outside of Huddersfield and save them the cost of employing a consultant, setting up a diverse interfaith assessment committee with a policy statement, developing a strategic litter plan and setting up an OFSTED-type supervising body to ensure everything is PC and non-discriminatory.
After all, if North Kirklees is to become an investment hub for the performing arts, then we have to give any visitors a good impression.
Not the impression that we live in some sort of Third World litter-strewn enclave.
A big pay-off and a golden hello
From: NK Braithwaite, Cleckheaton
Councils in Devon are getting volunteers to mend potholes, pavements, cut hedges, and clear up weeds, without them receiving any reductions to all that council tax they are paying.
It is well known how councils waste our money – too numerous to list.
Even if they are complete failures, we never hear of any top people being sacked; they just seem to fade out of the picture with a big pay-off and pension, or miraculously land a top job at a neighbouring council.
Is it a case of ‘who you know, and not what you know?’
They cover their inabilities by blaming shortage of cash, and raise the council tax.
When they had more money they only blew it in on stupid ideology; they never mention the real reasons – their failures and over-population.
Why not start at the top for a change and give the £40- £60,000+ salary brigade a bit of a haircut? (the Kirklees boss earns approximately £200,000 per year)
I have only ever heard one politician say that he would stop all ‘golden goodbyes’ for failure, and that was Michael Gove, who obviously can’t do it for a while.
It also happens in the NHS, where a chief executive who never leaves his office and knows nothing about doctoring matters, makes a mess of things and just slinks away quietly to take another jolly good number.
Does any reader know how to get these positions, and what qualifications they need?
Disgusting, selfish behaviour
From: D Johnson, Mirfield
Following on from the letter by Kathleen Hodge last week regarding dog poo bags, I would like to widen the debate to dog ownership in general.
Twice in the past two weeks I have stood in dog excrement whilst walking the local pavements, so I would like to invite a response if possible through this publication as to why dog owners think it is okay to allow their pets to foul not only our public highways, but also parks, sports fields and grass verges?
It is bad enough behaviour to do this, however the cretins who collect the poo into those little black bags and then discard them into the hedgerows leave me speechless.
Add to this the smell of dog urine which permeates many public footpaths and the noise nuisance created by barking dogs leads me to believe that dog ownership is becoming anti social.
I have yet to see someone offending, perhaps they sneak out under the cover of darkness or have trained the pet to look both ways before depositing a fresh steaming batch.
Anyway, perhaps it is time to re-introduce the dog licence scheme which could be used to fund dog wardens and give the courts a workable way of banning ownership for those who have offended.
So come on dog owners, stop this disgusting, selfish behaviour.
Speaker’s role is to offer guidance
From: John Appleyard, Liversedge
John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons, is coming in for criticism from some members of parliament (mainly Tories) for expressing his thoughts on US President Trump’s visit to the UK.
Bercow’s role as Speaker is to not only to chair debates but to also offer guidance.
Since Theresa May’s visit to the US to meet Donald Trump some MPs have queried the wisdom of allowing the US President a state welcome to the UK.
John Bercow has politely advised MPs that parliament is a democracy, in favour of equality, opposed to racism and sexism and a respecter of the law and the judiciary.
Trump struggles to meet that criteria, he also has a problem meeting the Government’s British values of respect and tolerance, something the Government has been banging on about lately in regard to immigrants coming to this country.
In his time as Speaker John Bercow has greatly increased the use of urgent questions as a way for parliament to keep the government on its toes, and finally a belated thank you to him for coming to Birstall with Jeremy Corbyn and David Cameron the day after Jo Cox’s murder.
Tributes to a well-respected man
From: Mrs A Rawat, Batley
It was with shock and sadness that I read in your paper of the passing of Dr Glyn Powell.
My condolences to Sue his wife, and the rest of his family and friends.
I knew Glyn and Sue many years ago for a short time, and they always came across as outstanding people with good values.
In reading about the work that Glyn had been doing over the years, I can see that he carried on helping people, primarily with injustices in the workplace. He was obviously a man of high intelligence and good principles.
When I was fighting my injustice in the workplace, I found out just how unintelligent and unprincipled our politicians in this area are.
So, Amanda Stubley has been thrown out of the Labour Party, or she left of her own accord, whatever.
I wonder if she will find she has a job for life, now out of the Labour Party?
Many people, especially Asians, vote for the Labour Party no matter who is standing; so exasperatingly wrong. How intelligent are they?
How capable are they of representing us at all levels?
Never mind their principles, which I consider to be very feeble.
One thing I will agree with Amanda on is that the numbers of councillors should be reduced.
It will be a great cost-cutting measure, and we won’t even miss them.
How many times have you been to see a councillor; how many times have you been helped by them?
I have never been helped by them, even though I went to them and needed their help.
Groups of good community-minded people, with various expertises and knowledge, can far better represent their area than these people doing it for money and prestige.
I would love Councillor Sheard to explore this area of cost-cutting; no lives would be lost; no great work done now won’t not be done any more.
The money saved can be used elsewhere. Have costs been cut at the top of the council?
I used to work for the council with senior officers and from what I saw, believe me, no lives will be lost and no great work being done now would stop being done in the future.
Have you considered cutting councillors’ allowances?
Does your deputy really need to be paid all that he is being paid? What great work is he doing?
Have you considered this before making us pay even more in council tax?
Not all taxi drivers are like that
From: M Aswar, Batley
I read on Facebook that an elderly lady and her two-year-old granddaughter were verbally abused by a local taxi driver, because the child had dropped a piece of chocolate.
The lady said she would clean the seat with wipes and a vacuum cleaner, but he made her pay £25 for the car to be valeted.
She was not used to travelling in a taxi and was in tears; she said she would never go in one again.
But let me tell her that not all taxi drivers are like that; my husband is one and was disgusted with him – he works for a different company.
What a great community we have
From: Tim Wood, Mirfield, on behalf of MRV & RBL
On this occasion I am wearing two hats, the Mirfield Rifle Volunteers and the Royal British Legion.
I would like to express my thanks to members of the MRV who attended the charity presentation evening where we presented two cheques of £1,600 each, to Ben Parkinson’s charity the Pilgrim Bandits and to Christ the King Church in Mirfield for their local luncheon club.
Once again MRV have raised funds beyond all expectations, so well done to one and all who have grafted all year round.
Secondly, a thank you night was held for volunteers who helped make the Poppy Appeal and Remembrance Parade in Mirfield another outstanding success.
More than £16,200 was raised for the Poppy Appeal and the parade is now setting standards for others to follow. We are so proud of what we are achieving with the help of just so few and the wider generosity of the local population.
Not one of us is in receipt of any financial remuneration for our efforts.
We are happy to volunteer and the locals seem to give and give.
What a great community, well done one and all.