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What does our town council actually do for us?

Letter of the Week: G Robinson, Mirfield

Dear Sir,

The outgoing Mayor of Mirfield, Coun Vivien Lees-Hamilton, has handed her chains of office to her deputy, Coun Sean Guy.

The handover was not conducted in the usual civic buildings because they were shut by Kirklees Council without so much as a whimper by the town council. How strange.

What is even stranger is the charity that town mayors raise money for during their office. In Vivien Lees Hamilton’s case, no monies were raised.

Monies were given out to local worthy causes, that is for sure, but that was our own money from our council tax payments being redistributed back to the town council for its grace-and-favour handouts.

No charitable monies have yet been announced from Coun Lees-Hamilton’s term of office.

As far as I can make out via social media, no charitable cause has been announced by the new mayor, Sean Guy.

Is there still a civic dinner? No, that has been taken over by the My Mirfield Awards, run by Richard Hartley and associates.

Is there anything that the town council organises using funds from its own pockets? No, not to date.

All the things that make Mirfield stand out are organised by other groups: the Mirfield Show, the bonfire by the Round Table, the Beer Festival by the Round Table, the local parish pantomime, Brass in the Wood, the Remembrance march, canal boat trips – all cross-pollinated with our own cash in some instances – but no overall back-breaking input by the town or Kirklees Council.

I don’t reckon much to a group that can’t keep a roof over its own head and I despise the fact it was taken off them in such a mean manner, without a fight.

It’s completely nuts – or should I say lack of!


More teachers, yes ... but good ones

From: Mel Stradling, via email

Dear Sir,

By background and inclination, I am a Labour voter – for many years I have voted for Mike Wood, who I knew personally as a good local MP and representative for the less fortunate in our area.

I have just read Jo Cox’s article in The Press in which she quite rightly states that “nothing politicians do matters more than ensuring that no child is left behind”.

She goes on to say that the answer is (partly) “teachers, teachers, teachers”, and in case you missed the significance, this paraphrases Tony Blair’s “education, education, education” speech.

Whilst lamenting the woeful state of achievement in GCSE passes in our region, Mrs Cox also says: “I never cease to be impressed when I visit local schools”.

This is a politician’s way of speaking which I had hoped she would not have fallen into. You cannot have impressive schools and the worst performing educational regime in the country.

She goes on to state that “30 years of neglect and lack of focus from Government” means local children have less chance of reaching their potential than those in London.

Those 30 years cover the period in which the Labour government under Tony Blair had overwhelming control of our education system and, not to put too fine a point on it, they blew it!

The message is simple: those children who have a family background of expectation and are taught by teachers who are most able, will make the most of their opportunities.

Parents have a massive responsibility and effect on their children’s performance in education, allied to teachers who have the skills to enlighten them.

School governance is vital to the promotion of high standards. Without proper oversight of a teacher’s performance there will inevitably be a deterioration in standards.

I have had the privilege of working with teachers, both excellent and poor.

The excellent ones could teach even the most “difficult” of classes and the poor ones often required rescuing from the situations in which they found themselves.

In conclusion, my comments on Ms Cox’s article are a reaction to her politician’s way of speaking.

We do not have the worst performing educational structure in the country for no reason.

Those, like me, who were able to progress from what would now be described as difficult backgrounds, will always look back at those wonderful teachers who inspired us to make the most of our lives.

As in most aspects of life, it is the quality of the people involved which makes the difference.

No amount of tinkering with structure, curriculum or political ideology will make things better without the inspiration which GOOD teachers give.


A review of EU ‘Remain’ camp

From: R Spreadbury, Liversedge

Dear Sir,

Just to review the support for remaining in that mafia state, the EU:

Lagarde: Leader of IMF, French, currently making Greece a failed state. The US government has by far the largest share of votes in the IMF and the World Bank and, along with its closest allies, effectively controls their operations.

In 1998, the US held 18 per cent of the votes in the IMF and 15 per cent in the World Bank. Together, the United States, Germany, Japan, the UK and France control about 40 per cent of the shares in both institutions.

With the rest of the shares spread among 175 other member governments, some holding a tiny number of votes, the United States is effectively in charge.

Carney: Head of “independent” Bank of England, Canadian, has the enviable position of whatever he says becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. The Bank of England never saw the 2008 crash coming; always gets its predictions wrong.

Obama: Leader of the “free” world, American, president for nearly seven years having actually achieved nothing.

Various foreign city institutions, banks and hedge funds: Either created the 2008 crash or didn’t see it coming. Goldman Sachs to pay $5bn for its role in the 2008 financial crisis (Guardian 11/4/16).

However, the crash has had no effect on their remuneration (top 12 hedge fund managers pocketed £15bn between them last year), since they are adept at generating cash from thin air, ie spread betting, short selling (selling shares you don’t actually own and the fastest computer link profits) and other weird, made-up financial jiggery-pokery.

David Cameron: Etonian elitist. Seems to think thousands of British soldiers gave their lives for an integrated Europe and the right for Britain to be run by Brussels-based Eurocrats, not actually defending their country from a German invasion and Europe from becoming a greater Germany.

Oops, it’s actually happened.

Further, he seems to think leaving the EU will precipitate a third world war. With whom? Romania or Germany?

We are lions run by donkeys, to misquote a WWI truism.


Keep up the good work at The Press

From: A loyal Press advertiser (name supplied)

Dear Sir,

Can I first apologise for not signing my name to this letter.

It probably won’t happen, but I would prefer not to get a brick through my house window, or lose the custom I get from a lot of Asian customers.

I might not be quite as courageous as Mr Lockwood and his staff, but I do want to put on record my appreciation for the service they give the people of this district.

I am one of the businessmen who received a letter this week, unsigned, which I took as threatening me with the Asian community refusing to use my services, if I kept advertising in the paper.

I have advertised in The Press for several years and it has been an excellent service, very affordable and has definitely helped me grow my small business.

Nothing is too much trouble for the staff, the paper is an excellent read, and it tells us things going on in this district which we would never otherwise find out.

I don’t agree with Mr Lockwood’s views in his Ed Lines column more often than not, but I still enjoy reading them.

And I do wonder sometimes at his willingness to challenge both authority and the activities of certain parts of the local community. In that I say more power to his elbow.

I wasn’t planning to advertise this week but having received this letter, I have phoned up and booked.

The Press management will know better than me if these threats are illegal or not, but I would call on people in the same position as me to ignore them and do what Britain used to do best – business as usual.

Keep up the good work.


Dewsbury A&E proposals unworkable

An open letter from Coun Paul Kane (Lab, Dewsbury East) to: Dr David Kelly, chairman, North Kirklees CCG

CC: Adrian Lythgo (Kirklees Council chief executive), Jules Preston (chairman, Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust), Stephen Eames, Coun David Sheard, Coun Robert Light, Coun Kath Pinnock, Jo Cox MP, Paula Sherriff MP

Dear David,

As you may know, in two weeks’ time I shall no longer be the Mayor of Kirklees and as such, will not have the personal political constraints which I’ve had for the last two years.

I have to say that I am confused and surprised that there has not been a greater uproar and campaign made of the effects on the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust as a result of proposals to shut Huddersfield Royal Infirmary’s Accident and Emergency department.

Having been on the scrutiny panel for over seven years – up to two years ago – and having chaired a scrutiny review on the reconfiguration of the Mid Yorkshire Trust, I can talk from experience when I say that the option to downgrade Dewsbury A&E did include some of the possible patients from North Kirklees going to Huddersfield Royal Infirmary A&E.

With the possible loss of this facility, the calculations used render the proposals unworkable.

Therefore, I ask you to think again about the downgrading of Dewsbury Hospital’s A&E department and request that you attend a public meeting, which can be arranged at a mutually convenient time in Dewsbury Town Hall, to discuss with the people who may have to use the A&E facility.

The people of North Kirklees are, and can be, as vocal as the people in Huddersfield and need to know what the options are if the facility at Huddersfield closes.

I look forward to your response.

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