The town appreciates you, Gary!
Letter of the Week: Coun Darren O’Donovan
I’d like to take this opportunity to recognise the career of Gary Sykes.
I know his decision to retire from the sport he loves was not taken easily, but he can be confident that he was not only a great boxer but also a stand out ambassador for Dewsbury and in particular Dewsbury Moor.
I got to know Gary well over his career and his dedication, resilience and his ability to remain down to earth are to be admired.
Due to his roots he was able to connect to people young and old and always had time to give back to the community.
Gary was a very humble champion to us all and I wish him and his young family well for the future. Gary – Dewsbury appreciates you, your career and what you have done for the town.
Decision is a disgrace
From: Jenifer Devlin, Dewsbury
On Monday Kirklees Cabinet will consider the future of museums and galleries in Kirklees.
They are being recommended to close Dewsbury Museum. The stated aim of Kirklees Council policy is to reduce inequalities, the leader of the council has made much of this on his blog. Yet Dewsbury Museum lies in one of the most deprived wards in Kirklees.
Closing the museum will clearly increase inequality and deny access to a local museum to schools and families.
When the plans are completed, there will be no museum between Huddersfield and Batley.
It is a shocking state of affairs that a town the size of Dewsbury will be without a museum.
As we know, there are ongoing attempts to regenerate Dewsbury, so I would like to know how Coun Graham Turner reconciles his determination to close Dewsbury’s museum with his statement this week that: “The future resilience of towns and cities relies on mixed uses of retail, residential and culture and leisure opportunities.
The so-called “public engagement” mirrored our experience of the run-up to the major changes to our hospital in that there has been no effective consultation, merely some meetings at which attendees were told what was going to happen and an online survey which shamelessly engineered responses and did not allow free comment.
Despite this, there were 920 responses, plus letters, emails and other comments, which showed that most people wanted to keep all of the museums.
What we face now is an empty building with all the consequences for increased vandalism in the park that will bring.
Why aren’t we talking about a new plan for the museum, with enhanced opportunities for income generation through licensing for weddings, with a ground floor restaurant like there used to be, creating income directly to support the museum?
A museum that could contribute significantly to the “quality cultural offer” that Coun Turner says is important to a “resilient economy”.
A museum that could work hand-in-hand with the Green Flag park in which it sits to create an impressive leisure and educational feature in Dewsbury.
I am sure I am not alone in thinking it is a disgrace that the council is seeking to close our museum, in the face of survey showing it is not what people want, and without even considering with local people and local groups, alternative ways of keeping it open.
From: Harvey Alexander, Leeds
The Conservative Party, Liberal Party and UKIP have decided to not contest the Batley and Spen by-election, out of respect for Jo Cox.
By doing so, they are disrespecting our democracy and the right of its citizens to vote for the party of their choice.
I deplore the murder of Jo Cox and have great sympathy for her family but this election is about governing our country, it should not be used as an expression of grief.
The supporters of the above parties are unlikely to vote for the Labour candidate.
I urge them to go to the polling stations and to put a cross, corner to corner, across their ballot papers, to express their dissatisfaction with these parties, who are denying the public their democratic right to vote for them.
A bitter taste
From: John Appleyard, Liversedge
Congratulations to Jeremy Corbyn’s second huge mandate to continue his leadership of the Labour Party.
He has been the victim of so much abuse in the media and by a clique of Labour MPs who should now do the decent thing and stop complaining and start campaigning for a Labour Government.
I welcome Jeremy’s intentions to give back more power to Labour Party members who do so much foot slogging to get MPs elected but don’t get much appreciation for their efforts.
My local Labour Party had no say whatsoever in the short listing of candidates for the forthcoming by-election in Batley and Spen, it was determined in London and we were more or less told to take it or leave it.
Over the past few weeks we have been subjected to the musings of unnamed ‘Labour Party sources’ quoted in daily newspapers hostile to Labour, that Tracy Brabin was favourite to take over from the late Jo Cox as MP for Batley and Spen.
This was carried out very underhanded and there was a feeling that the memory of Jo Cox was being exploited for political gain.
Mike Wood, our MP for 18 years prior to Jo, seems to have been written out of Labour history, so may I thank him for all his hard work and also Jo Cox, whose photograph I have framed alongside a letter she sent me two days before her horrific murder.
I also will be campaigning alongside Tracy Brabin in the forthcoming election for a Labour victory, but the shenanigans of the past few weeks have left a bitter taste in my mouth. When will these people grow up?
From: David Honeybell, Heckmondwike
In a national daily paper, Neil Kinnock is reported to have said “Labour won’t win again in my lifetime if Jeremy Corbyn is re-elected”.
Well, he should know all about losing general elections.
He was Labour Party leader in both the 1987 and 1992 elections, when the Conservative Party easily won.
In fact, he has the unenviable record of being the longest-serving party leader of the opposition in British political history.
When he became an MP in June 1970, his father said “Remember Neil, MP stands for Member of Parliament, but it also stands for Man of Principal”.
He must have forgotten his father’s words when he started the Labour Party on its lurch to the right.
In the strike of 1984/5, the miners got support from Labour Party branches, other trades union members and councils.
Kinnock forgot where his roots were and instead of giving wholehearted support to the miners, he instead criticised their leader, Arthur Scargill, who was proved to be right about the hit list of pit closures.
And though the NUM was called “the enemy within” by Thatcher, the 30 years rule was to show that the real traitors were Thatcher and the Tory government.
Kinnock should look at his own record before he attempts to finish the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, before he has been given a proper chance.
Billions still heading east
From: D Johnson, Mirfield
What an excellent question Mr Spreadbury asked in last week’s Forum – why are the eastern European EU countries so keen on maintaining the free movement of workers to the UK when we leave the EU?
The answer must be that they are benefiting hugely in some way to justify losing so many of their own workforce.
Trawling through the internet, the figures on how many eastern European migrants are officially here and working is hard to establish, however it is between two and four million, gulp!
A large number of these will be squirrelling away what they can and sending it back home, can’t blame them for that, but with just a few taps on my calculator it becomes clear that many billions of pounds are heading east every year.
Also any EU nationals who have a child born in the UK can continue to claim child benefit and child tax credits from the UK when they return to their country of origin. Yep, unbelievable.
Ah, but, I hear some of you say what about the taxes they pay?
Okay what about it, 40 hours on the minimum wage, less the annual tax allowance of £11,000 comes to diddly squat. It might just about cover the extra burden on the NHS.
The construction teams we hear so much about will earn considerably more than the minimum wage and I feel confident that they will be honest about their earnings (cash and otherwise) when they diligently fill in their UK tax returns upon returning home.
Having said all that I have no objection to controlled immigration. Let’s face it, until we can get the lazy tattooed Jeremy Kyle-watching lardy backsides into work and teach them to speak English and be as pleasant as their EU counterparts then we really do need them.
Branch FM is Dewsbury’s little gem
From: Madina Wakenge, a third-year broadcast journalism student from the Democratic Republic of Congo studying at Nottingham Trent University
I always give praise where it is due. The incredible work done by local radio station Branch FM is certainly commendable and worth recognition.
I would even go as far as saying that it is Dewsbury’s little gem. My two weeks at the Christian community radio station was challenging but very enjoyable, I found myself right at the centre of the action, creating material that would be broadcasted across West Yorkshire and beyond.
During my time at Branch FM, it dawned on me that I was enjoying the fruits of a democratic and free media, and this is not the case in many countries around the world, sadly this includes my home country; the Democratic Republic of Congo.
A country in central Africa that has seen most of its independent media outlets silenced or shut down by the government without good reason.
This comes at such a critical time in the history of the Democratic Republic of Congo, a nation that has never experienced a peaceful transfer of power but is subjected to unthinkable human rights abuses, months before the presidential election.
It is important that we appreciate and cherish the liberties we have such easy access to. We are very blessed to live in a country that gives us a number of platforms to choose from in order to get our voices heard and spark conversation.
Community radio at its best holds the power to forge an unbreakable relationship and bond with the local community and surrounding areas.
This is true of Branch FM, who on many occasions partner up with local schools, colleges, and universities to give a helping hand with providing work experience for students within the Yorkshire region.
Branch FM also take on individuals with special needs who have been turned away by organisations.
The time has for us come to celebrate this incredible station going above and beyond what is expected of them.
I am very happy to have been part of an outstanding radio station that is making a world of a difference to people from all walks of life.
It is organisations like this that should be at the forefront of our community.