Pleased and proud at this approach
Letter of the Week: Andy Smith, Birstall
I read Jo Cox’s reasons for her principled abstention on last week’s Syria vote with great interest and was quite taken with it.
Well researched and plainly spoken, I could not find anywhere I disagreed with her reasoning.
This was a chance for Britain to have a meaningful intervention in Syria, protect the people there and push for a ceasefire.
Sadly this battle was lost and we must trust now that sufficient pressure can be brought on the government to formulate thorough plans to rebuild the area and give its inhabitants hope for a prosperous future.
But I am very worried at the seeming lack of plans for what we should do following up this action that the Commons has voted to take part in.
I am very worried that no-one is talking about what we should do, assuming we manage to dislodge Daesh, to rebuild Syria and stop any other obnoxious groups taking control during the subsequent power vacuum.
These decisions can’t be easy to make for MPs, not least when there is so much divided opinion and strong views.
I am pleased and proud that Mrs Cox had such a sensible approach and made the decision she did.
We can’t stand by and watch another quarter of a million people die in this terrible war.
What is reason for objecting?
From: David Honeybell, Heckmondwike
I’m still in shock by Danny Lockwood’s support of Batley and Spen MP Jo Cox’s decision to abstain in the ‘air strikes on Syria’ debate in last week’s Ed Lines.
For once I agree with every word he wrote. It was a free vote, and Jo wasn’t convinced by the argument of either side, so voted accordingly.
My own opinion is we should not join in the bombing.
The other article I want to comment on from last week is the ongoing Chidswell Road green belt dispute.
I would like to know when the land in question was designated as green belt?
What was the land’s status when the present houses were built? If they were built before green belt status was given to the remaining land, were they built on green fields that had not been built on before?
And if they were built on green fields, whether green belt or not, how can the present home owners in Chidswell/ Leeds Road object to the remaining land being developed?
Are they really trying to protect the green belt, or are they only interested in preserving their wonderful view over the countryside?
Do they think it was fine for their houses to be built on green fields, but it’s not right for other housing to be built?
I’m sure the Chidswell Action Group will be able to set my mind at rest with the reasons for their protest.
Manners maketh man
From: Mr WK Lambert, Roberttown
As a retired teacher, I often question the modern day emphasis on gaining a string of GCSEs, much of which is basically dour information that will be forgotten in a few years.
From my own experience, concerning Latin, chemistry, physics, algebra etc, and English literature, I can’t remember a thing.
Was it Oscar Wilde who wrote, “The only things worth knowing are never taught in school”?
What the powers that be need to do is add emphasis on to life skills, interview techniques, self-expression, confidence building, relationships, knowledge of finance, mortgages, banking, borrowing and first aid, and manners, that’s if the X-Factor generation will listen and take in the advice.
If six youngsters went for a job interview, the one with manners would stand out like a shiny glass in a bowl full of dirty washing up.
Just choose another school
From: Name and address supplied, Mirfield
I have read your story with regards to Mirfield Free Grammar and the lack of prayer rooms at said school.
As the school says, when people enrol their children in the sixth form college they are aware of the facilities/amenities there.
Why sign up to a college that, if you’re a practising Muslim, does not have the amenities you require for your faith?
Why try to force the school to change because you’ve chosen an unsuitable school?
No-one forced you to enrol your children there, that was your decision, why enrol your child there and then expect the school to change to suit you?
It says in the report that most of the children go to a particular mosque in Batley.
Another question springs to mind – how many sixth form colleges a lot nearer than our grammar school have you bypassed/ignored to land at our particular one?
Batley has plenty of sixth form colleges, so does Dewsbury.
Dewsbury is a lot nearer to your home than Mirfield is. I’m also surmising that given the much higher percentage of Muslims in these two towns they would also be suitably equipped at colleges in these towns to enable you to observe Friday prayers.
There must be a reason that you chose Mirfield Grammar. Are the academic achievements so much higher here so to warrant travelling so far out of area? Not drastically, so as far as I can tell.
There are several closer ones with satisfactory and almost similar results.
Convenience – is it easier to get your child to school in Mirfield as opposed to Batley or Dewsbury?
If it was one or two children and the parents worked in, say, Huddersfield, I would possibly say so, however it seems to be more than just a handful.
We do the journey the other way, taking children from Mirfield to Batley for them to go to Catholic school as I am a practising Roman Catholic.
It’s a hellish journey in rush hour traffic but our decision for them to go to a faith school.
That’s our reason for doing the journey, what’s yours if not convenience?
So if you rule out convenience and academic excellence as being the deciding factors, what’s left?
I’m scratching my head. Why would parents choose to enrol their children at a school that was inconvenient to get to and was not academically superior enough to warrant the inconvenience?
If you rule out these two I can only come up with one reason, and it involves vexatious litigation.
You as a group of parents at a mosque have identified a “broadly Christian academy” (their words not mine) that doesn’t offer a prayer room.
Rather than go to a college closer to home with suitable facilities you choose to force your opinions/views on others and force change on a school because you see it as an injustice.
If I enrolled my children at a state/secular/other faith school such as Jewish or Muslim, would I be in my rights to insist that they provide a chapel for my children to pray in?
Or would I think this is not a school that caters to my child’s religion, I can either enrol them in a school that does or accept the school as it was when I signed up to it.
What I would not do is enrol a child in an unsuitable school (be it for academical, religious or convenience reasons) and then try to force change on it.
Hopefully my eldest will be going to Mirfield Free Grammar in a couple of years (we live in Mirfield and it is convenient for us to do so).
Am I going to write to the school and insist they open a chapel with a Roman Catholic priest there for holy days of obligation?
No I’m not, I know what the school is about, I accept the school as it is.
Can I suggest you take the same common sense approach and either accept the school as it is when you signed up to it or, find a school more suited to your religious needs.
I know there are several that meet your criteria, why pick on the one that doesn’t, in a town miles away from where you live, if not for the sake of causing trouble?
Why do we need a cabinet
From: Coun David Pinder, (Independent, Eastthorpe, Mirfield Town Council)
Recently there have been several instances where the so-called Kirklees Cabinet has been criticised for its behavior and decisions.
It is time this wholly undemocratic system was re-examined, giving, as it does, the council’s decision-making powers into the hands of a cabal of just nine (yes – nine!) Labour Party individuals.
At national level it is obvious that the affairs of the entire country cannot be the daily responsibility of the full parliament – nor even the full governing party – hence the need for a cabinet.
However, at local level, there is no need for this.
Indeed it is a traversty of democracy that just nine Labour councillors wield such power, especially as Labour do not have a majority on the council.
There is also the question of competence; none of the members of this cabinet have held any positions of any great responsibility elsewhere, nor run a major organisation; and yet they are called upon to make decisions affecting thousands of people and involving millions of ratepayers’ money.
The talents – if such there be – of other councillors (all of whom draw very generous allowances) are relegated to various scrutiny functions.
However there is a more subtle flaw in this system. By denying real decision-making power to members of the other political parties it perpetuates the silly party political games so beloved of mediocre local politicians and allows them the luxury of permanent and ‘safe’ criticism, without ever having to put together workable solutions which would benefit the ratepayers.
If there has to be a ludicrous and self-important sounding cabinet at local level it should be composed of members of all parties represented on the council, in proportion to their total number of councillors.
Thus establishing ‘corporate guilt’ for decisions and forcing them to work together for the benefit of the people they claim to represent.
I can’t see any improvements
From: Wendy Senior, Dewsbury
‘Inadequate’, this was the decision the Care Quality Commission health inspectors gave to the Mid Yorkshire Hospital Trust for safety at Pinderfields, Pontefract and Dewsbury hospitals.
The inspectors found a dirty A&E department at Dewsbury Hospital.
When I go to Dewsbury Hospital, I look at the skirting boards where they meet the floor, and look at the dirty edges, and think about the cleaners when I worked there in the 1970s.
They had scrubbing brushes and got on their knees to clean; cleaners then would have been appalled at this report.
Ever since the ‘Meeting the Challenge’ shake-up programme began three years ago, these hospitals have not improved and the downgrade of hospitals was not supposed to start until the Care Closer to Home project was in place.
I have worked in health care for years; I go to Clinical Commissioning Group and Trust meetings, where they are convinced these changes are the right way to go. I do not agree.
I worked at Crossley Maternity Home in the 1960s, and when the staff were moving into the new Bronte Tower maternity unit in the 1970s, they were so relieved to be moving into a
So now we are going back to a midwife-led building where an epidural is not available; do you call that improvement? What will they do when a lady needs an emergency caesarean, and has to be moved to Pinderfields Hospital?
In all the years spent working in health care it would be nice to see any of the improvements the CQC and Trust members are so proud of.
Us bombing them is futile
From: David Ramsden, Cleckheaton
Danny Lockwood’s article ‘Why do we keep avoiding the real issues with ISIS?’ is broadly welcome, though I don’t agree with all of it.
It is for example, incorrect to imply that Corbyn’s policy with regard to ISIS is to do nothing, as many politicians have done.
He has argued for serious sanctions against those who are in one way or another aiding ISIS, such as Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
This is not going to happen because Saudi Arabia is a western friend who spends billions on British weapons and Turkey is being bribed as a bulwark against the very refugees the West’s wars have created.
In conjunction with sanctions, the means by which tyrants and terrorists alike can be overcome are those which got rid of Mubarak in Egypt and Ben Ali in Tunisia.
Unfortunately no elected politician or dictator is going to urge the rising of a whole people – that might turn out bad for them – futile bombing is much more palatable.
It is often conveniently forgotten that one of the key factors which brought about the end of the First World War was the Russian Revolution.