Hope to hear opinions on integration
Letter of the Week: Aleks Lukic, chairman, UKIP Batley and Spen
I am happy to address the concerns raised last week by Steve Cass about local segregated communities (Forum, 27/01/17).
UKIP’s General Election manifesto promoted a unifying culture of British values, open to anyone who wishes to identify with Britain.
We argued that different ethnic and religious groups should be encouraged to integrate into British culture.
In her recent review on integration, Dame Louise Casey found ‘regressive practices’ that ‘run contrary to British values and sometimes our laws.’
Dame Casey rightly condemns those public officers and institutions who have failed to protect vulnerable people, particularly women and children.
In Kirklees, she brought to light the levels of segregation in our schools and the large number of women lacking proficiency in English.
I have also examined the survey conducted by ICM for the Channel Four programme ‘What British Muslims Really Think.’
Over 1,000 people were asked about their views, including some from four localities in Kirklees.
It was promising that the people surveyed felt a strong sense of belonging to Britain and their local areas.
Fewer than one in 10 said they would take no action if someone close to them was getting involved with people supporting terrorism in Syria.
But 78 per cent said that no publication should have the right to publish pictures of the Prophet, only a few months after the Charlie Hebdo shooting.
Only 18 per cent agreed that homosexuality should be legal in Britain, and 31 per cent said that it is acceptable for a British Muslim to keep more than one wife.
We do all have much in common with each other. It is however apparent that fundamentally conflicting values and customs exist among a significant number.
These challenges must be addressed by Government, local authorities, public bodies and politicians.
Unfortunately, Tracy Brabin’s remarks have offered no reassurance. Nor do I think President Trump’s latest idea would be best for Britain.
I would argue, for example, that people attending sharia councils and other faith-based tribunals must be informed of their rights and that such rulings may not be legally binding.
Young people might also be better protected if we taught them the importance of registering marriages under English law.
We will only form long-term solutions by mature, open discussion.
I hope to hear opinions from across our communities about how we can better foster integration rather than segregation in our area.
Council don’t have a clue
From: R Spreadbury, Liversedge
Thank you for your recent article concerning the Kirklees Council edict to fell the Shama’s palm trees.
At the time of writing we have over 1,300 signatures supporting our Remain campaign.
Thanks to all who have signed.
That said, back to the point of my letter. I note with a feeling of deja vu the following comment by the council on the planning appeal.
A Kirklees Council spokeswoman said: “The inspector supported this council’s concerns at the harmful appearance of the features and their effect on the predominantly residential character of the surrounding area.”
Just like the Whitcliffe Mount Sports Centre fiasco, it is obvious that this person has not visited the site, just like it was obvious that most of the decision makers concerned with closure of WMSC had never visited the site.
In fact she has just re-quoted the line from a recent reply I received from the Planning Department on this very matter:
As every local person knows, the area round the Shama is not predominantly residential.
The restaurant is on a busy arterial road, and is surrounded by fields (used for regular circus visits), a mobile phone mast, businesses, a takeaway, a pub, a large school, and round the corner a derelict tip site (perhaps the council should do something about this ), on what was once an old working men’s club.
The latter was rented by the Shama before they bought and converted the Halfway House pub.
It would appear that not only do council employees never venture out of Huddersfield, they can’t even be bothered accessing Google Maps to check out some facts before making generic pronouncements.
Basically, our council seem to have forgotten that they are public servants, and don’t understand the concept of public participation.
Councils should be doing all that is possible to be transparent and inclusive, not making decisions through an unaccountable cabal of like-minded people behind closed doors.
Why, in this day and age, can’t a planning appeal be voted for online by local residents who are directly affected?
Easily done, local participants only, ratified by an electoral role reference.
Also, what exactly is the remit of planners? To keep North Kirklees looking like a collection of old run-down woollen mill towns forever?
Look at the City of London skyscrapers. Love them or hate them, they are quite stunning and interesting and help set the City apart.
We desperately need something to set North Kirklees apart, because the council certainly have no interest in doing this.
De Gaulle will be proved right
From: John Appleyard, Liversedge
How times change! For years the UK made applications to join the European Common Market but each time was rejected by the French President de Gaulle, who saw Britain as America’s Trojan horse in Europe.
The Conservative Prime Minister Edward Heath took Britain into the Common Market in 1973 and divided his own party on the issue.
Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson did what Heath failed to do and held a referendum and the people voted in favour of Europe by a 2-1 majority. This too divided the Labour Party.
Last year’s referendum was supposed to sort out the matter but has divided the country and brought down Prime Minister David Cameron and put an end to George Osborne’s ambitions to succeed Cameron.
His successor Theresa May went AWOL during the referendum and now we witness a British Prime Minister sitting at the table with a US president who I consider to be the most racist, homophobic, misogynist advocater of torture in my life time.
Former US President Obama wanted the UK to stay in Europe, Trump is pleased we didn’t. For years America and other countries condemned the Soviet Union for building the Berlin Wall and now Trump is in the process of building a wall on the Mexican border at an estimated cost of £75 billion and the Mexicans say they won’t pay for it.
Meanwhile Donald Trump is rattling sabres with China with the intention of having a trade war.
We live in dangerous times and if Theresa May goes ahead with her support for the US President then the former French President de Gaulle has been proved right about Britain’s subservient position to the USA.
Nothing for me on the box
From: TR Moorhouse, Cleckheaton
Having been in Ireland on business for three weeks, I got up early to get up to date with the news:
First, a trial nuclear rocket headed to the USA by mistake.
Football manager Sam Allardyce was now at Crystal Palace. He should have been banned years ago.
Next, a warning! There may be disturbing images from Yemen. There were!
Hospital bed-blocking, and our ultra-modern BBC showing two men kissing.
That joker on ‘Film Review’ trying to infuse excitement into usually totally boring films, probably to benefit his friends in the film industry.
The ex-president of Gambia ousted and refusing to accept democratic vote.
Fed up of the BBC – Brussels Broadcasting Company (my name) – I quickly changed channels.
Oh no, not again! Protests against Brexit and Donald Trump’s victory! Do they want us to be at the ‘back of the queue’, like Obama said?
An election result they don’t want happens to millions of people all their lives!
It’s democracy, morons! Accept it and grow up! Get some backbone!
It was all starting to get me depressed, so I got the kiddies up for nursery and comforted us all with Noddy, Bob the Builder and Postman Pat for a while.
OAPs can’t afford a rise
From: Name and Address Supplied
I have just received the January 27 edition of The Press.
The article headed ‘Kirklees reveal tax bombshell’ has really angered me.
A 10 per cent increase over two years plus two per cent for the West Yorkshire Police precept means that pensioners like me are going to struggle.
I write to complain about the council because many people, some pensioners in particular, will struggle to pay.
I wondered if the council will allow people who fail to pay to go into debt for £300,000, which is allegedly the amount of unpaid rent by the Muslim men who rent part of the cemetery.
I hope you will print this as I would love a reply from our Labour leader, who with his colleagues is doing his best to destroy Dewsbury and Mirfield.
From: Wendy Senior, Dewsbury
Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust have sent an open letter to Batley & Spen MP Tracy Brabin and Dewsbury & Mirfield MP Paula Sherriff, asking them to make it clear to their constituents that the accident and emergency department at Dewsbury is not closing.
I think everyone will be grateful for the assurance.
What is worrying our MPs are the proposed changes planned for later this year, which include the closure of the intensive care unit and the high dependency ward at Dewsbury, which will both be moved to Pinderfields. This hospital cannot cope already, so how can it cope with more influx of patients?
I know of people being turned away at night in pyjamas and dressing gowns, having to wait outside for a taxi in the rain. Also lots of people are waiting hours on trolleys in corridors for beds.
So where are these extra wards going to be situated in a hospital which cannot cope already? There have been no plans seen by anyone, so these changes cannot go ahead.
There have been no discussions on running Dewsbury Hospital without intensive care or high dependency care.
A member of the Trust told me that if there were problems during an operation the person involved would have to be put in an ambulance and taken to Pinderfields. What would happen if there wasn’t a bed available?
I spent the last 35 years as a nurse working in maternity, 20 years working for Crossroads, and now as a volunteer for a memory loss group.
I am also a member of Keep Our NHS Public. I hear so many shocking stories from people, some elderly and frail.
These people should be treated better, we are going back to the 1960s, things should be getting better, not worse.
The Trust keep changing the date for the intensive care and high dependency ward closures, I hope our two MPs keep pushing to stop the Trust plans because they are not safe.
Thank you all
From: Liz Exley, administrator, CARE Dewsbury
I am writing on behalf of the volunteers and clients of CARE Dewsbury to thank all those individuals, churches, schools and Sainsbury’s store who for the past eight and a half years have donated food, toiletries, clothing and money which have allowed CARE Dewsbury to continue to help so many individuals in need.
CARE Dewsbury is part of Churches Together in Dewsbury and is staffed by volunteers from membership churches twice a week on Monday and Thursday mornings. We seek to help those who come to us with a variety of problems and we could not continue to provide this help without you.
So thank you to every single one who has donated to us.
God bless you all.
Make station accessible
From: P Kirby, Mirfield
All the ‘action’ that is being claimed about getting a bigger, better car park for Mirfield Rail Station is just hot air.
The years people have said things are moving towards a conclusion are too numerous to count.
What should be happening is the people responsible for the station should be forced to build disabled access to it.
Forget the people who commute, or who drive into Mirfield to park up and get the train.
Start making the station accessible to all, get a decent shelter and make it safe.
Then start spending the hundreds of thousands on car parking.
This is 2017 and an act requiring such things came fully into force on October 1 2004, 12 years ago!