Make your vote count
Letter of the Week: Garry Kitchin, Batley
The upcoming elections in Batley and Dewsbury offer the electorate a chance to vote for real change.
Both seats look to be very tight, and could go down to the wire. This means that the candidates need every vote they can get, and gives the opportunity for voters to exert their influence.
I urge everyone who considers electoral reform a vital step to improve our system to take this opportunity. Contact the candidates by email or phone, talk to canvassers and attend hustings.
Make it clear your vote will only be cast for someone willing to actively champion the overturning of our outdated and increasingly unrepresentative system.
If there are enough voters as fed up with the system as I am, and willing to cast their vote tactically, we can make a difference.
Charity should begin at home, not abroad
From: A Foster, Heckmondwike
Re: Ian Fitton’s letter on re-assessing foreign aid. I wholeheartedly agree charity should begin at home.
As we are accepting millions of immigrants into this country, many of whom come with diabetes and other illnesses, all of whom are treated free on the NHS, money desperately needs to be diverted not only to our NHS but our social care system too, as they also bring in extended family, including elderly relatives who need looking after.
Why is this country being made to go on its knees in order to give money away?
Any foreign aid that is deemed necessary should be assessed what it is for and, for example, if a country needs money to build a hospital or a school, we should send materials and labour to do the work and then send the goods to stock the hospital or school.
That way no money changes hands and we know the money is being spent on what is actually needed and not being given to corrupt governments to spend on luxury lifestyles whilst ignoring their people’s needs.
If people need food and water and blankets, again send those goods and people to distribute them, then we know it is going to where it is needed.
If help is needed to rebuild people’s homes after a natural disaster, send people and materials to do this, and then the people will get what is needed and not the corrupt governments, and we will then know we have truly helped people and not just thrown money at a country and walked away.
We should also stop sending money to rich countries, like India; if they can afford to run a space programme, they don’t need foreign aid.
Why should our taxes be raised and our standards of living fall to that not seen since Victorian times, so that we can send money in foreign aid?
When are the politicians who were born with silver spoons in their mouths ever going to take off their rose-tinted specs?
Why can’t we have a good local candidate?
From: Di Goodall, via email
I had an interesting discussion with a very pleasant young man at Batley Bulldogs, Aleks Lukic, who is the independent candidate for Batley and Spen.
I was shocked to be told that the Conservatives have picked a lady from the Lake District who has no affinity with our local area and issues as their candidate.
This is surely making the seat a ‘no-contest’ election yet again! Why can’t the local Conservative party select a high-calibre candidate from our area?
Well done to Aleks Lukic for showing initiative and getting out there and meeting local people.
Note: In a statement this week the agent of Dr Ann Myatt, the Conservative candidate, stated that she has lived in the same house in Yorkshire for 23 years.
Plenty of fat to trim in the House of Lords
From: D Hirst, Dewsbury
The Chancellor of the Exchequer keeps looking for new ways to save money, so may I make a suggestion: Take a look inside that huge care home called the House of Lords.
There are about 600 residents, including many elderly people, some past their sell-by date; retired politicians with large pensions, very rich people still earning large amounts and a large number placed there by friends in past and present government.
To be a resident in a local care home costs an average of £100 daily.
That large care home works different. Just be a Lord, sit in a nice soft chair to perhaps enjoy a little snooze, pay a visit to the home and they will give you £300 per day. £1,500 for a five-day week is not too bad. Multiply that by 600, it runs into a huge sum so there is room for cuts.
If the place is never shut down it will be financed eternally by the public, so why not get rid of the dead wood?
Just dispense with all those above the state pension age, parting with a firm handshake, not a golden one!
Then you can go and sit with your friends in that nearby kindergarten – the House of Commons; listen to the cries, shouts and boos from those members, knowing you will never make a cut in their grossly over-paid salaries.
Can I conclude by giving thanks to my 25p weekly pension rise when I got to 80 years of age. If I put £1.30 to that £13 yearly payment I can pay Kirklees for an hour of home-care.
We are all in danger of losing our NHS
From: Name and address supplied
Five years ago this month I was lying in Dewsbury hospital after a serious, life-saving abdominal operation.
I was anxious because I suspected that in five years’ time we would not have good health treatment, because the Health and Social Care Act 2012 had replaced the National Health Service.
If I had been ill today, I would be less likely to survive due to the long waits for operations.
At the 2010 election the Conservatives had not told us they planned to abolish the National Health Service because, as Portillo said: “people would not have voted Conservative if we had.”
In 2015 people went into the election not realising Osborne had doubled the deficit. The writing is on the wall for the NHS unless we stop it.
It will be a skeleton service like the US. The people of Batley and Spen, Dewsbury, Mirfield, Denby Dale, Kirkburton and Huddersfield need to take control and vote in an MP who will work to retain health services in Kirklees.
Did the Dewsbury Conservative MP we had five years ago fight for the hospital and local services? No.
Next to our life, the most important thing is our health. We are all in danger of losing our right to health. What is May not telling us this time?
Great effort from all who attended
From: Tim Wood, The Old Colonial, Mirfield
Many thanks to everyone who attended our curry, hash and quiz night last Saturday, raising funds for the Mayor of Kirklees Jim Dodds’ chosen charity, the Royal British Legion.
The evening was well supported and was attended by Jim and Carol Dodds, and the Mayor of Mirfield Mr & Mrs Sean Guy.
A ‘battle of the Mayoral Chain Gang’ got underway at 8.30pm, and by 11pm the results were in, counted and declared.
Jim’s team had come second to a team called Salvage E, and the Mayor of Mirfield’s team were delivered a civic bunch of fives from the El Supremo of Kirklees Chain Gang.
Sean’s team had been thrashed into the dunce’s corner ... only joking Sean, but we did expect better from the home team.
Great effort everyone, and a fair old sum was raised on the night, well done all you innquizitors.
We challenged MP on electoral reform
From: Simon Cope, Green Party parliamentary candidate for Dewsbury & Mirfield; Alan Freeman, Green Party parliamentary candidate for Batley & Spen
We are writing to express our regret that the tribal attitude of some political parties is getting in the way of working for a better way of running our country.
The voting system we have is clearly undemocratic. At the last election, over five million UKIP and Green voters were left with just two MPs to speak for them, while a party with a third of that number of votes got 56 MPs.
Our first-past-the-post voting system has given absolute power to Governments supported by only a minority of voters in nearly every case for the last century.
Dewsbury itself is an example of that – only once in the last 50 years has our local MP enjoyed the support of over half the voters.
So we challenged our Labour MP Paula Sherriff, who was elected with just 41 per cent of the local vote, to back voting reform so that every elector’s vote counted equally.
If she did this, we said we were willing to stand down and encourage Green supporters to vote Labour this one time.
But Paula was unwilling to do this, preferring instead to support the continuation of the current system, where votes only really matter in a handful of marginal constituencies.
And even in these marginals, the parties will focus their efforts only on the swing voters, taking their core supporters and their issues for granted. Is it any wonder so many people are disengaged and disillusioned with politics?
This is precisely why we are in the mess we are in.
We are the fourth or fifth richest country in the world, but one of the most unequal.
Our hospitals and schools have been mortgaged off to a rich elite – Dewsbury hospital services are being gutted to pay off Labour’s PFI debts to a private investment firm in the Channel Islands.
Yet Labour are willing to collaborate with the Tories to shore up a system that does not reflect the wishes of the people.
The choice in Dewsbury and across the country is clear – if you are happy with how things are, vote for one of the old, grey parties. But if you want real change, change that brings back local control, local jobs and a fairer society for all, vote Green. And we will be giving that choice full and square to voters in Dewsbury and in Batley and Spen on June 8.
Delusional egotists are running the show
From: R Spreadbury, Liversedge
One thing the Referendum has done is to expose the unpalatable underbelly of politics, and the lack of integrity of some of the key players.
Just some recent examples.
1) Junker, the ex-president of Luxembourg and now President of the European Commission, one of the main institutions of the European Union, and his Brussels henchmen, leaking his negative spin on a recent meeting with our PM.
Luxembourg? What has this insignificant country ever contributed to the world apart from providing a tax haven for multinational corporations who don’t want to pay their fair share of tax in the countries where they make their money?
I assume he got this post on merit and not by undue influence from his multinational corporation mates.
2) Tony Blair heading up a Remain pressure group. I assume he is extolling the virtues of the EU out of genuine concern for the lot of the working man, and not just setting himself up for a job as the next EU big cheese.
3) Diane Abbott, an avid Remainer, who could hold one of the most influential and prestigious posts in the Government, that of Home Secretary.
She thinks employing 10,000 police officers will cost a few million quid.
She has the unequivocal support of our potential Prime Minister. I assume she got the job on merit and not because she was a very close mate of the leader of the Labour Party in the 70s.
We do seem to be saddled with delusional egotists running the show.
But perhaps that’s just politics?