Not getting our money’s worth
Letter of the Week: H Akeroyd, Heckmondwike
The government have given the councils the go-ahead to raise council tax once more, and not for a better service, you can be sure.
All they have done for years is reduce services, eg rates offices closed and glass recycling ended, a lot of which goes to landfill.
Now also street lighting has been cut, toilets closed, libraries and museums threatened, residential homes closed, don’t they want to give us anything for our money?
If they had not messed around for so long with that taxi firm we could have had a proper bus station in Heckmondwike.
This extra tax is supposed to pay for elderly care, what happened to the taxes and national insurance they paid in for 50 years?
It probably went in aid to other countries with space and nuclear capabilities.
We have had years of austerity and cuts and it’s about time Westminster realised that began charity begins at home.
I can’t understand why, if Kirklees are so cash-strapped, they have had so many new vehicles in 2016, eg tipper trucks, transit buses, four-wheel drive pick-ups and new vans.
So looking back at all this, I feel I’ve been mugged every time I pay my rates.
Well done to our two MPs
From: Paul Worthington, Batley
Despite it not achieving much, I was really heartened last week whilst watching Prime Minister’s Questions to see both my MP Tracy Brabin and Paula Sherriff going in to bat for our hospital.
Paula Sherriff got into a spot of bother for protesting too hard, but good on her, Tracy Brabin was getting no joy from the PM about the problems we’re facing at A&E and they need telling. It’s good to see two local MPs actually care about their constituencies enough to have a go and get stuck in.
Some of the previous incumbents would have just sat on their hands or fiddled while Rome burned.
I’ve voted Tory several times in the past, and may do again if the right candidate stands locally, but Tracy Brabin has hit the ground running and shows that she’s passionate about the district we all live in.
Well done, and keep up the good work.
It’s another panto triumph
From: Malcolm Haigh, Batley
The tremendous showbusiness talent which exists among the ranks of Carlinghow Theatre Company triggered huge bouts of applause when they presented their annual pantomime, Mother Goose, several times at Batley Town Hall over the weekend.
The connection was magnetic as various stage characters forged vocal interchanges with the sizeable audiences and won voluminous applause for their acting and singing abilities.
But the outstanding star-studded talent as afar as many people, including myself, were concerned was the superbly professional displays delivered by the 20-plus dancers of all age groups whose numbers completely captivated the audiences. The dancers, many of them schoolchildren, were impeccable not only in their movements and interplay but also in their enthusiastic performance of intricate numbers and the way in which they created connections with the audience.
They helped set the scenes for such talented artists as Fairy Fortune Melanie Harrison and Demon Discontent Iain Harknett to exploit the good and questionable shades of any pantomime to the full.
In between the opportunities to probe human frailties and fortitude were undertaken by Silly Billy Gareth Jones, Bumpkin Chris Hall, Bogtrotter Lisa Cockroft and Squire Moneybag played by Alan Sykes.
The effects of such confrontations were magnified magnificently by the timely performances of Adam Schewtschuk as Mother Goose, Jessica Bellas as the lovelorn Jill, the plotting duo of Bumpkin Chris Hall, Bogtrotter Lisa Cockcroft and Squire Moneybags Alan Sykes.
A softer, concerned side was portrayed by Amanda Marsden as Colin, Jenny Alexander as Queen Goosegog and Olivia Griffin as Princess Goosinder.
But as the characters competed with each other to gain importance and glory the vital difference proved to be in the power of Andrea Carter who played the giant sized goose Priscilla and, in very clever fashion, used her intimate skills to provide precious differences.
The panto was moving and effective throughout thanks to the talents and passion of director Jane Griffin, choreographer Amanda Marsden and a party of talented helpers who ensured this was another triumph.
A lucky escape, perhaps...
From: John Appleyard, Liversedge
In 2010 Labour’s Mike Wood defeated the Conservative Janice Small at the General Election in Batley and Spen.
Janice Small quit the Tories and joined UKIP, before being expelled over accusations of alleged expenses fiddling.
She is now known as Janice Atkinson and stands as an independent member of the European Parliament.
She also flew to the US offering support for Donald Trump during his election campaign.
Atkinson sits in the European Parliament with the Front National’s Marine Le Pen, who together have formed a ‘Europe of Nations and Freedom bloc’.
By joining the group Janice Atkinson has provided them with an MEP from an all-important seventh member state, giving the Front access to millions in EU funding for a recognised party grouping.
Methinks Batley and Spen had a lucky escape.
We’re all individuals
From: R Spreadbury, Liversedge
Below is part of a statement from Andrew Haldane, the Bank of England’s chief economist, on the fact that his economic forecasts appear to be little more than guesswork (you could easily add opinion polls to this).
It says: “It’s just that the models we had were rather narrow and fragile. The problem came when the world was tipped upside down and those models were ill-equipped to making sense of behaviours that were deeply irrational....”
What a revelation!
That humans are in fact emotional beings, and not automatons whose behaviour can be predicted by some sort of algorithm.
Are these the people who are masters of our destiny?
They are borne out of the same mould as the computer geeks who ran the IT departments, and probably still do, when I were a lad.
These types were generally overly-logical, obsessive, and socially-inept individuals, who no-one really wanted to interact with unless forced to.
Humans function on an emotional level.
They may initially assess things in their heads, but in the end they generally rely on the old “gut” feeling to make a decision.
Sometimes we can even be reckless!
This behaviour cannot be translated into computer code, much to the dismay of Zuckerberg, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, et al.
I have a horrible feeling that this is the driver behind American-dominated social media’s attempts to cocoon and categorise us into a safe, predictable World of likes and sameness, all policed through the blogosphere.
You can’t like some opera, and some heavy metal, it’s just not logical.
This drive to reduce humanity into some sort of homogenic, predictable, easily controlled, consumer drones is further exacerbated by the rise of orthodoxy and Political Correctness.
This incessant drive to try and convince us that somehow we are all the same is totally misplaced.
Where is the similarity between a Mongolian herdsman, a Porsche-driving City slicker, an ISIS murderer or an Aborigini, etc.
Isn’t it about time we just embraced the differences, race, culture and gender, and taught our kids to be masters of their own destiny and not puppets in someone else’s theatre of life? It’s okay to fail, this is how you learn.
It’s okay to do something which seemed like a good idea at the time, but with hindsight probably wasn’t.
The confidence to rely on their own judgement, and not having to resort to Google or the blogosphere for any decision making.
The wherewithal to navigate their way through life by making their own personal risk assessments, and appreciate that this will be very personal, and will not necessarily apply to all.
Basically, to reclaim their humanity and individuality.