Jack, our hero and our gentleman
Letter of the Week: Caroline Rhodes, Womersley,
South Yorkshire (formerly of Hanging Heaton)
The Hanging Heaton community and many others from far and wide, are currently mourning the sad loss of Jack Bunn, who can be only be described as a local legend.
Chairman and founder of Hanging Heaton Village Residents Association, prolific letter writer, champion of the people and thorn in the side of every politician, council official, chief constable and any other authority figure or bureaucrat that happened to cross his path (or Jumped Up Popinjays! as Jack often described them).
If the definition of a hero is a courageous leader who speaks the truth and spends their whole life fighting corruption, greed, stupidity and ignorance, then Jack was a great hero.
Even his most hard-nosed adversaries held him in high regard because he had a plain Yorkshire honesty and directness that not even they could argue with.
He called the councillors at Kirklees ‘a load of monkeys’, told the Crown Prosecution Service to their faces, in front of the West Yorkshire Police Chief Constable, that their inability to prosecute criminals made them ‘surplus to requirements’, while the MPs wanting our votes were ‘half forgotten ex-public dignitaries coming out from under their logs to try and get back on the gravy train down in London’.
These are great memories, but I like to remember him best sat in his smallholding, surrounded by hens and geese, looking out over his beloved Grange Valley.
He had longed for these green fields of England during the war and he continued this battle to save them into his 96th year. He stood for common sense and human values that are now hard to find in our often greedy and dishonest society.
A true hero of our time and an example to us all.
From Kirklees to PM at No.10
From: Coun David Sheard, Leader, Kirklees Council
Dear Prime Minister
Re: Number 10 Policy Unit dialogue on budget reductions – I noted with interest your letter to Coun Ian Hudspeth, Leader of Oxfordshire County Council.
I also note references you made in the letter to the wider issue of significant reductions to the settlement for local government made by the Coalition government you led between 2010 and 2015 and the Conservative administration you now lead.
I welcome your concern about the impact of Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne’s cuts in frontline services in communities across the country. I trust you will be raising the strong views you expressed about the impact on frontline services in Oxfordshire with the Chancellor, Treasury ministers and officials.
In your letter to the Leader of Oxfordshire County Council you offered to “initiate a further dialogue with advisers in the Number 10 Policy Unit” – an offer I’m sure you will make to all Council Leaders irrespective of political persuasion. As Leader of Kirklees Council, I would very much welcome the opportunity to meet with your Number 10 Policy Unit and discuss how to deal with the cash reduction we have received in our settlement from your Government.
In Kirklees, we have had to make savings totalling £115million over the 2011-16 period and we still need to find a further £46m over the 2016-19 period. This means our total savings requirement from 2011 to 2019 is about £160m, which is the equivalent of £20m savings every year for eight consecutive years.
I look forward to hearing from you as soon as possible so that we can benefit from any helpful insight the Number 10 Policy Unit can offer in relation to the Comprehensive Spending Review of November 2015.
From: Darren F Whitley, Cleckheaton
Having read the response from Mr Hutchinson last week, I think it is not I suffering from confusion, but Mr Hutchinson.
First off, he is obviously confused as to why he could not take his seat on Mirfield Town Council. The reason was not that the Town Council did not wish him to do so, but rather through his inaction the law did not permit him to do so.
I am not so confused when I consider that Mr Hutchinson is not so much a newly elected councillor with no experience, but rather a supposedly experienced individual having served 23 years previous on council, together with being secretary of the local Labour Party.
It would have been fair for Mr Hutchinson to be well aware, without being told by others, what was required for him to accept his seat following election. Mr Hutchinson is quite correct however that local people sought to rectify the consequence of his inaction – the local electorate decided they preferred another candidate.
With regard to Mr Hutchinson’s comment regarding the funding of town and principal councils. Since I have never formed such an opinion, again he must be confused.
If Mr Hutchinson seeks to infer that I am not entitled to ask questions in public, perhaps he is of the same ilk as his Labour Party colleagues on the principal council.
I have seen in another publication that they have been reprimanded for not holding public consultation regarding the proposed closure of one of our well used council sports facilities, instead seeking to keep discussions secret.
Perhaps it is not just Mr Hutchinson who suffers from confusion on legal matters but the whole local Labour Party movement.
Finally, since Mr Hutchinson (as is typical of many politicians) appears to dodge the question asked in my previous letter, am I to assume that he is happy to criticise those who are not so confused regarding their obligations as elected members, whilst not having the answer himself? Or is it just that he is displaying a degree of ignorance himself.
Parking fees could cost us
From: Carole Mallinson, Hanging Heaton
Working as a practice nurse I have come into contact with patients who have been refused a blue badge because they can walk over 50 metres. So the majority of patients who have obtained a blue badge will have difficulty walking 50 metres.
Why then, should someone who is trying to maintain their independence despite having a disability, be expected to walk over 50 metres to find a parking meter that is actually working and then back to their car, prior to entering the hospital for their appointment?
I sympathise with the gentleman quoted by Paula Sherriff in the Press (Nov 13) who has missed his appointments due to the newly imposed charges.
I would suggest, however, that many disabled people will now be asking their GP surgery to arrange hospital transport for them, to avoid these charges particularly if they are attending hospital on a weekly basis.
So in addition to their review of missed appointments, maybe Mid Yorks should also assess whether there is an impact on requests for hospital transport?
I assume that it would cost the hospital more than £2.80 per hospital appointment to provide transport for every disabled patient?
to know Jack
From: Mark Eastwood, Dewsbury
It was with great sadness that I read in your newspaper about the passing away of local champion, avid letter writer to The Press and war hero, Jack Bunn. My condolences go out to his family at this difficult time.
Whether you agreed with his opinion voiced regularly on this letters page, or not, you always knew that Jack always had the best interests of Batley and Dewsbury at heart and a genuine passion for the area he lived in all his life.
I have been privileged enough to spend many an hour talking to Jack and listening to his war stories, how he was injured in battle and about his fights against the local authorities and councillors in Batley and Dewsbury, especially in opposing Green Belt development plans for the Hanging Heaton and Grange Road area.
Jack’s greatest comment was: “I met Winston Churchill, and he said to me ‘soldier, you’re fighting for the green fields of Britain’ and I suppose I still am.” I think that one quote summed up Jack and the battles he faced throughout his long life.
On a personal note, I shall remain forever grateful to Jack for his advice relating to the latest battle against Kirklees Council in the fight to save precious green space at Chidswell and for the support he gave me throughout my time as a local election candidate for Dewsbury East.
Having now spoken to a family member since his passing, we were of the same opinion that Jack always liked to be the centre of attention, therefore the best way to pay tribute to him would be for everyone who knew him to attend his funeral at Dewsbury Crematorium on Tuesday 1st December at 12.30pm.
We were both in absolutely no doubt that there will be a big turnout for the farewell he deserves and would encourage as many local residents who can spare the time, to attend the service in celebration of his life and the massive contribution he made to the local area.
RIP Jack Bunn. A true gent.
Silence can say everything
From: Name and address supplied
I note Paula Sherriff (Press, Nov 20) had nothing to say on the Paris massacre – but then last week’s ‘Politically Speaking’ was so packed with self-congratulation I doubt she had the room.
In her essay Ms Sherriff makes a lot of noise about her ‘struggle’ with the NHS ‘on behalf of Dewsbury people’. Big deal. Isn’t that the kind of thing MP’s are supposed to do?
But for all her hard work with the NHS, she never seems to get any closer to discovering the common denominator that links the problems that she is so concerned about.
So much for her problem solving skills.
This ineptitude isn’t confined to Paula Sherriff. Her colleagues and opponents in the House of Commons are just as bad – all share her inability to see the obvious – that demand in excess of supply is at the root of all problems within the NHS. The more that take from the pot the smaller the portion everyone receives. As they say, ‘It’s not rocket science’.
Then again it may as well be rocket science as far as our politicians’ limited comprehension is concerned.
For some reason they appear unable to make the simple connect between population growth and NHS performance -– or for that matter the performance of any other vital national service.
Why are we still paying their wages?
Paula Sherriff wants to admit more Syrian ‘refugees’ into Britain: Paula Sherriff is concerned about the performance of the NHS. Go figure.
is far too late
From John Appleyard, Liversedge
The murder of PC Yvonne Fletcher 31 years ago outside the Libyan Embassy in London left a deep impression on me.
What actually happened that day is disputed. What we do know is that the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the so called Iron Lady, allowed the entire Libyan Embassy staff to leave the country without let or hindrance.
Now I see on the news a Libyan man has been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder PC Yvonne Fletcher, which if proven guilty, is 31 years too late.
What’s in it for female martyr?
From: Mrs S Dawson, Thornhill
Ed Lines is never less than provocative but I thought the observations last week about religious interpretations of the Koran were very astute.
Everyone commiserates with the people of Paris and France, and most sensible people appreciate the sincerity of the mosque leaders in offering their condemnation.
However Mr Lockwood hit on a very important point and one which I have never heard our political leaders raise, the question of the suicide bombers.
It beggars belief in the 21st century that a religion teaches young men and women – and particularly very vulnerable young men and women – that if they blow themselves and dozens of innocent strangers into oblivion, that their reward will be eternal glory, a place in Paradise complete with their host of virgins.
(Even Mr Lockwood did not ask what the reward is for female suicide bombers. A host of virgin men perhaps? Yuk. Perish the thought.)
At the root of this is the basic problem in terms of fighting against ISIS/ISIL, al Qaeda and the Taliban.
Mr Lockwood called ISIS a death cult which is what gives them huge power over any potential enemies they have.
If the people you are fighting are not just afraid of dying but actively seek it, and if they are completely oblivious to any difference between a military opponent and an innocent civilian, then how can you defeat them?
How can you even have a war in the traditional sense of a war? The west is not fighting an enemy as it has ever recognised one, it is fighting an ideology the likes of which it has never encountered.
That is the question for the mosque leaders and if they are as sincere as Mr Lockwood expected they should take that question on. Are they teaching young men that there is or isn’t a virgin-infested Paradise for Muslims willing to blow themselves to smithereens in the name of Allah?
Only by Muslims condemning and ridiculing that premise can they be said to be trying to tackle extremism.
One in face
From: Jackie Johnson, Chickenley
Why don’t the council put another unbreakable material in the bus shelter at Chickenley?
It has been smashed four times this year, they should use something that if someone threw a brick it would bounce back and hit them in the face. We pay all this Council Tax and the council waste it.