What an amazing day!
Letter of the Week: John Appleyard, Liversedge
How many events can keep you riveted to the big screen for four hours, as it did for me in Cleckheaton Memorial Park during the Tour de Yorkshire?
With police estimates of 2.2 million people lining the streets of Yorkshire over a three-day period, a million alone on Sunday, and with the beauty of Yorkshire for all to see in over a hundred countries, money could not buy such advertising.
The event brought people from our communities together and showed a spirit of internationalism.
It was a huge success for the organisers, local businesses, spectators and the cyclists who all enthused about the Yorkshire public.
Thanks to all concerned for making it a great success, and by the way Cleckheaton Memorial Park was left spotless.
No UKIP candidates for either constituency
From: Colin Walshaw, Scholes
In accordance with UKIP general policy it has been left to individual branches to decide whether or not to field a candidate in the general election.
To this end, the membership have decided not to contest the constituencies of both Dewsbury and Batley & Spen.
Whilst this may be a disappointment to many UKIP supporters, the party feels it is the best policy not to stand in contest against committed Leave-supporting candidates.
Consequently we are suggesting that those who voted Leave in the referendum vote for the Tory candidate.
As a member of UKIP for almost a decade this grieves me severely, but in the national interest I feel it better to put country before party.
However if you are a committed Labour supporter and would rather lose your right arm than vote Tory, there is an independent Brexit candidate.
Whatever the media say, this election is about Brexit and if you voted Leave in the referendum it is vital you vote again this time, regardless of party loyalties.
This does not mean the end of UKIP as a force for change, we shall return when our country needs us, but first and foremost Brexit means Exit.
Children’s art was a sight to behold
From: A Fan, Dewsbury
Re: the Tour De Yorkshire in Birstall. The Oakwell Arts Group’s stall in Birstall Market Place on Sunday, allowing kids to colour and crayon outlines of bike racing gear, was remarkable not only for the standard of work, but for the number of them who were left-handed.
This is reckoned to be a sign of superior intelligence, as many of the great composers and scientists were thus endowed.
The Oakwell Art Group is shortly moving to new premises at the community centre beneath the library in Birstall and, if sufficient interest is shown, maybe it would be possible to open a children’s drawing and painting group on Saturday mornings to further develop this interest.
Now is the time to reasses foreign aid
From: Ian Fitton, via email
With the General Election looming, now is the time for a leading politician from each party to explain and justify the promise to donate 0.7 per cent of Britain’s GDP (approx £16billion) to foreign aid, plus the cost of the department overseeing it.
At the present time with the government unable to fund social care in Britain and local councils having to raise council rates to plug the gaps, the NHS in a funding crisis and also looking extremely likely that the triple lock on pensions (a paltry 2.5 per cent) becoming unaffordable, it is time to reassess this unrealistic foreign aid commitment.
At present we are only one of six countries in the world to meet this UN-defined target, with none of the other five being in the G8.
To make an analogy it is like a householder having to borrow money to look after his own family whilst giving his neighbour money to upgrade his kitchen or buy a new car – totally ludicrous.
In the latest report on fraud in the foreign aid budget it was quoted at 2.5 per cent, but even experts have rubbished this figure as absurdly low.
Surely now is the time to suspend the 0.7 per cent lock and concentrate on our own citizens in need firstly, then any surplus directed to areas in the greatest need.
At present India, a nuclear power with a space programme and one of the fastest growing economies in the world, is in the top 10 countries who receive the most aid from the UK.
This foreign aid is also in addition to the millions of pounds donated via registered UK charities. Now is the time to reassess this promise.
Nursing profession needs more support
From: Peter Claydon, Dewsbury
Whilst the decision by local Clinical Commissioning Groups and by the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust to keep beds open, that were earlier earmarked for closure, will be widely applauded by those concerned about the future of Dewsbury & District Hospital, the wider question is will there be enough nurses to maintain safe staffing levels on wards in two, five or 10 years’ time?
The present government’s attack on the nursing profession, in particular the one per cent cap on salary increases and the introduction of bursaries for trainees, is damaging morale, encouraging existing staff to leave, NHS employers to go and work for agencies and discouraging potential new recruits from entering the profession.
When Brexit actually happens, or in the run-up to Brexit, these problems could be compounded by an exodus of EU nationals from the NHS and the UK.
If the Government is prepared to consider u-turns on income tax and National Insurance charges and on the pensions triple lock, then it should immediately take action in support of nurses by abandoning the one per cent cap on salary increases.
As the Royal College of Nursing has pointed out nurses have suffered, in real terms, a 14 per cent cut in pay since 2010.
This is not a record of which Theresa May and David Cameron should be proud.
Parking nightmare at health centre
From: ‘An Annoyed Pensioner’
For some months I have attended the doctors at Dewsbury Health Centre on a regular basis, two or three times a week at varying times.
This usually entails crawling round the car park two to three times in a queue of four or five cars looking for a parking space.
If this doesn’t materialise you then have to go to the Wellington Road car park next to the old library to pay for an hour’s parking.
This Monday it was aggravated by the ticket machine being out of order, so anyone wanting a ticket had to go across the ring road to bring one back to the car park – a total time of 15 minutes and I almost missed my appointment. This was repeated on Thursday.
On entering the downstairs you then find the place empty of patients. I have heard that commuters from the station use the car park as a freebie to avoid paying at the station and have been in there before the staff turn up for work.
I also believe that staff members use the free car park reserved for patients as I have seen the same cars in there week after week – obviously not patients.
Surely it is not beyond the ability of someone in Kirklees to devise a pass for staff to park free in the pay car park and leave space for the patients.
I also feel this problem has increased since patients have to bring their prescriptions into the surgery to get them processed, where before they rang the pharmacy and didn’t have to park.
Electorate could be voting away the NHS
From: Christine Hyde, Dewsbury
Some local Conservatives, whatever they know to be true in secret, like to tell people that the only reason the NHS is in trouble is the expensive PFI deals that the Labour Government brought in.
How anxious they must be right now. Just before this election was announced the boss of NHS Improvement, Jim MacKey, called for huge borrowing from investment capital and hedge funds to make up for the shortfall in government spending for health.
How tempting for the government to get Health off their books and off the deficit in the short term.
If they are re-elected, expect this to happen through the Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs).
It will be first seen locally in a new PFI building for Huddersfield as an Urgent Care Centre on the Acre Mill site.
On past performance evidence, a local Conservative or Liberal Democrat MP will wave through any legislation needed to fund health through investment capital in the same way they all waved through the Health and Social Care Act.
The new figure for health spend that the Government will use is just out. It adds in social care, including out-of-pocket fees and private insurance to produce an unrecognisably large total figure.
In the dash for Brexit, people could inadvertently vote away the very essence of what they voted Brexit for, including more state funding for the NHS.
I will work even harder for you than Labour
From: Ednan Hussain, Dewsbury Liberal Democrats Parliamentary Candidate
This week, we all had a glimpse into the bizarre world of a Corbyn government as Diane Abbott struggled to give the details of the Labour leader’s new and entirely unconvincing policies about the police.
Every time Abbott opened her mouth during her LBC interview she came up with a new figure for the cost of the new police officers Labour would recruit.
The only problem was – every single figure she quoted was wrong.
In the leaflet currently dropping on door mats in the constituency, Paula Sherriff is keen to emphasise her record as a local MP. She doesn’t mention her leader or his shadow cabinet team once.
But once re-elected to Parliament, Paula would support Corbyn to be Prime Minister. And his choice as Home Secretary, Diane Abbott. Sherriff has no choice about that as a Labour Member of Parliament.
Sherriff will want voters to forget these inconvenient facts in the run-up to polling day.
But I have no intention of letting her get away with this. It is an evasion too far.
If you have no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn as PM, but want a government that is committed to social justice as well as a strong economy, you do have an alternative – the Liberal Democrats.
Born and brought up here, I will work even harder for you than Paula does.
And I won’t be lumbered by having to support a leader whom even the majority of Labour voters don’t want to be PM.
Spend, spend, spend from Jeremy & Co
From: J Colins, Dewsbury
God help us all if ‘wooden top’ Jeremy Corbyn and his crew get in. The Conservatives are still clearing up the mess from the last Labour government, after they did a ‘Viv Nicholson’ – spend, spend, spend!
They must believe in fairies, where do they think all the money comes from, the money tree?
No, it comes from us, and we have been suffering ever since.
Corbyn says he will make the rich pay more. No he won’t, the very rich are untouchable, it will be the poor workers who cop it as usual and, if by some miracle, the wooden tops do get in, the Brexiteers will demand another election, just like Jimmy Kranky (Nicola Sturgeon) and the remoaners are always harping on about.