MY EARLIEST memories revolve around Sackville Street in Ravensthorpe. It ran parallel to Huddersfield Road, joined to it at opposite ends (in my childhood) by Spen Valley Road and Queen Street.
I remember playing in the ‘laundry field’ round back of our house; I well recall my mum’s washing tub with its mangle down in the cellar, and occasionally being allowed to wander along to the old tip where now stand Crawshaw Street playing fields and the greenway.
I can still almost taste my favourite milk chews from the grocery store opposite the Hopkinses house and for some obscure reason I can recall that my dad’s pal Trevor Hardwick used to run across the street to ours in his stockinged feet. Funny things, memories.
For a bona fide treat, there was a trip across North Road and round the back to Crossley’s ice cream factory to buy a cornet (with chocolate bits on) straight out of the big drum. Maybe a cider lolly if we were that way inclined and a summer’s day was particularly hot.
In Dewsbury in the 1960s you were either a Crossley’s or a Caddy’s ice cream aficionado (and I happily confess to being both, depending which was most likely to earn the treat on any given day).
I didn’t actually realise that I came from immigrant stock, because a different regard for Mary the mother of God and a fondness for Guinness apart, there was little to readily identify an Irish Catholic from an English CofE person, once the accents had waned.
Our immigrants of the time were Poles, and even now I’ll probably spell wrong the Klawaskis and Kabertowskis of my childhood acquaintance. No offence intended, lads.
With my Uncle Joe and Aunty Joan next door, my Uncle Bill and Aunty Kathleen round the back, complete with shared outside lavatory, we had much of what has always made community the blessing that it is – family, friends, shared values, aspirations and a dependence on each other.
People will tell you that some parts of Ravensthorpe are still like that today.
But what we didn’t have were drugs, child prostitution and trafficking, or blokes running up and down the streets with guns.
Ravensthorpe has become like the wild west, and I’m ashamed to say that we can’t tell you the half of it. Not for want of trying, I might add.
I mentioned the armed raid on Mahmood’s last week, which according to police might as well have been a figment of the watching crowds’ imaginations.
I didn’t even know about what locals were calling an armed incident and arrest the day before on nearby Deacon Street. It seems that didn’t really happen either.
At least we know for sure that the shooting last June in nearby Clarkson Street, actually occurred. Two men got 16 years apiece for that.
It isn’t just the back-to-back terraced housing and outside lavvies in Ravensthorpe that have changed. Unfortunately, only the bricks and mortar have been for the better.
Patel ‘the untouchable’
AND so another month passes – it will soon be a year – and Labour councillor Abdul Patel and his private burial business sails on unchallenged and uncharged.
Kirklees Council still has not recouped a penny of the tens of thousands it is owed, every passing week reinforcing my convictions about an untouchable Muslim political ‘mafia’.
Industrial scale postal vote fraud went unchecked as Patel’s acquaintances were let off with police cautions.
Patel and his sidekicks were putting bodies in the ground for years without keeping a legally-required burial register and months on from being handed irrefutable evidence, the police just sit on their hands, hoping it will go away.
At least the Pakistani families ripped off by the Savile Town postmaster and his mostly Indian accomplices were alerted to the nature of his privateering by our revelations.
And now I’m informed of yet more breathtaking council-based chicanery being laid at Abdul Patel’s door.
It’s a bit premature to reveal yet, but I’m hoping that next Friday we’ll have yet another chapter to add to the staggering story of this discredited ‘public servant’.
I’m aware that council staff are trying to rewrite history even as I pen this. Unfortunately (for them) the evidence already exists in safe hands.
I hope that it will fully inform and entertain you – but I suspect it will also dishearten fair-minded people just a little bit more.
If indeed that is still possible in this pit of corruption.
Come the revolution...
IN CITIES across the new economic superpower Brazil, ordinary people are taking to the streets to protest.
Moderates in Turkey started off protesting against the felling of a few trees in an Istanbul park and it has turned into a symbolic arm-wrestle with a ‘democratic’ leader who has become altogether too in love with absolute power.
The French bring their country to a juddering halt if they don’t like the weather; around the world, people stand up for their rights.
Meanwhile in Britain, every week someone else – today the Care Quality Commission covering up the deaths of mums and babies – like the BBC, the banks, the police, both Houses of Parliament and virtually every other public institution you can name, is exposed as a haven for a privileged, unsackable and unjailable elite.
Sure, we get an abundance of hot air and harrumphing about ‘getting tough’.
The reality? Massive pay-offs and a revolving door into the next cossetted position of abuse. It’s a system Cameron, Clegg, Miliband and Co will never tackle because they all benefit from it.
We need a revolution, I’m telling you!
I’VE almost given up on the BBC’s Question Time because it’s become mostly a parody of what it once was, and is now a stage-managed bunfight between party PR managers and a hand picked audience of liberals hostile to anyone speaking up for common sense.
However when I saw that Respect MP and certifiable fruitcake George Galloway was going head to head with UKIP’s caped crusader Nigel Farage last week, I couldn’t resist.
I was left very, very disappointed. I hope otherwise, but suspect on this evidence that Farage could be as easily blown to the four winds as a flowered dandelion.
Galloway is the consummate verbal brawler – any man who could face down the US Senate like he did is a heavyweight, and then some.
Galloway’s public performances are aided by him not being bound by any political morality – he can talk like a flag-waving Communist, a son of Islam and still manage to position himself somewhere to the right of Stalin, all in one 30-second political exposition.
It’s also very hard to out-reason a bloke who can shout louder than Tarzan and is as snakily clever as gorgeous George. As dangerous and despicable as I believe he is, I always end up feeling a grudging admiration. That is a man who looks in the shaving mirror every morning and loves what he sees, unequivocally. Self-doubt? Not in his vocabulary.
But I thought the rumbustuous UKIP leader would at least give Galloway a run for his money. Farage can think on his toes, has a rapier wit and seems to have a rounded grasp on politics.
But he was shot to bits by the Scot; if it had been a boxing match David Dimbleeby would have stopped it.
UKIP are as close to political hope as the country possesses, and to make good on that they are going to have to prove their credentials on a lot more than the EU and immigration.
Come on Nigel, up off the canvas old boy … seconds out, round two..