Your Letters

Councillors need to step up in hospital fight

Letter of the Week: David Honeybell, Heckmondwike

Dear Sir,

Have we any councillors representing North Kirklees (the Heavy Woollen district)?

The question needs to be asked after all 69 members of Kirklees Council, quite rightly, voted to support the retention of a consultant-led A&E department at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary.

The very idea of a town the size of Huddersfield not having an A&E unit at the town’s hospital is just too ridiculous for words.

But wait a minute, where were all these representatives of the people when Dewsbury District Hospital was downgraded?

Where were the North Kirklees councillors then, and more to the point where are they now?

Coun Paul Kane resigned his seat on the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust board, in protest at the proposals to downgrade DDH.

But with his position as Mayor, Coun David Sheard as leader of the council and Coun Robert Light as leader of the opposition, the three people with most influence, all with seats in North Kirklees, why hasn’t the same support been given to DDH?

Come on all of the North Kirklees councillors, do what you were elected to do, represent us in the struggle, not only for DDH, but the future of the entire NHS.


Not perfect, but we’re better off in

From: John Appleyard, Liversedge

Dear Sir,

It’s no use those in favour of leaving Europe saying that people like Margaret Thatcher and Winston Churchill would vote for exit, because we don’t know.

We have to deal with those that are living now.

Jeremy Corbyn made a very good speech on why he wants the UK to stay in Britain, because it’s the best framework for trade, manufacturing and cooperation in the 21st century.

He also made a special appeal for young people to get involved because the decision on June 23 will effect their future.

More and more people particularly those in work are in favour of staying in to protect workers’ rights, equal pay for work of equal value, part-time workers laws and guaranteed holiday pay.

I have never been a purist – the EU is not perfect by any means, most organisations are not, but it doesn’t prevent us from participating in argument and discussion. That’s why I will be voting to remain in the EU.


Labour want to concrete us over

From: Peter Clegg, via email (50 years a socialist now a Tory)

Dear Sir,

As the present council seems determined to turn North Kirklees into a vast dormitory estate for Leeds I will be breaking the habit of a lifetime and voting Conservative.

We moved into Kirklees 36 years ago now, as it still retained a rural ethos, with green fields accessible from the towns and villages, and a well-managed infrastructure.

This Labour council seems determined to cover everything between Huddersfield, Dewsbury and Wakefield in bricks and concrete, without essential transport, schools etc to support the vast increase in population.

I will be voting for Mark Eastwood in Dewsbury East, an excellent candidate (for a Tory) at the forefront of the fight to save our fields.


The end, but let’s not drink to it

From: Norman Macleod (Chairman, Kirklees Alcohol Advisory Services)

Dear Sir,

After some 40 years of supporting alcohol abusers to stop their addiction and go on to live happier and more productive lives, Kirklees Alcohol Advisory Services (KAAS), a voluntary charitable organisation, is closing, another victim of government austerity policy.

The brainchild of the late Dr Taburak Hussain, a consultant at St Luke’s hospital, he dealt with problem drinkers on a daily basis he came to the conclusion that getting people to stop drinking, difficult as that may be, was less of a problem than keeping them stopped long-term.

He identified a lack of on-going aftercare support.

He established a confidential self-help support group administered by ex-drinkers which met on a weekly basis, expanding to three evening meetings where problem drinkers met with kindred spirits, sought advice and helped each other to achieve and maintain sobriety.

This was the forerunner of the SMART meetings currently operated by many alcohol support services.

In its history KAAS meeting attendance exceeded over 100,000 people and many of these, sadly not all, have been able to turn their lives around.

A toast then (alcohol-free) to all our friends who passed our way and passed away, and to all those who overcame their addiction and prospered, we wish them a long and abstemious life.

It may be of interest to those who have used the service in the past that the last KAAS meeting will be held at the Salvation Army Centre, Bradford Road, Batley, on Tuesday April 26 at 7pm. You are most welcome to attend.

For anyone wishing to access alcohol support, this is available at On-Trak, Union Street, Dewsbury.  No referral is required.


Concerns about candidate Khan

From: Phil Haley, Hightown

Dear Sir,

Might I be allowed to ponder the game being played by the local Labour Party in May’s elections?

I note that in my ward, Liversedge and Gomersal, Coun Simon Alvy is standing down, and his replacement candidate is Jawad Khan.

No problem there ... unless you throw in the mix that this young man is 18 years old, still at school at Heckmondwike Grammar, and intends to go off to university in September.

Very useful local member of Kirklees Council he’s going to be, except if he’s their 35th councillor, who will never be there to cast a vote in council or affiliate himself to any of the council’s committees.

What use is that to anybody in that ward?

Come on Labour, grow up.


• In response to Mr Haley’s letter, Jawad Khan said: “When I decided to run for council, I took all factors in to account. 

“This included me going to university and the structure of the course.

“Since then, I have received an offer from the University of Leeds which I will be accepting. I will be living at home in Liversedge during my studies.

“University lectures will be taking place during the day whilst council meetings are in the evening, due to the fact that many councillors have full time jobs so that the role is not open exclusively to those who can afford to fully support themselves without employment.

“This means I will be able to fully carry out the role of a councillor and serve all residents to the best of my ability.

“Following on from the role not being exclusive to certain groups, I believe this should be true for different ages.

“For years, young people have been seen as not being politically engaged.

“My aim is to reverse that trend. After all, we want our elected officials to be representative of the people they serve.

“The youth have a voice, and I intend to exercise that voice by being a councillor.

“Nobody, regardless of age, political affiliations, income or any other factor should be excluded from participating in democracy.

“The Labour Party has recognised that, which is why candidates from a wide background have been selected.”

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