You’re out of touch with local people
Letter of the Week: Coun Cathy Scott (Labour, Dewsbury East)
It’s not often that I respond to the onslaught of political attacks made in your paper by Tory activists and supporters against me personally.
I am neither apathetic nor indifferent when representing and campaigning for the Dewsbury East community. I remain passionate and committed.
The Dewsbury Hospital campaign has been one of the main areas of my campaigning work in the last year, while our part-time Tory MP Mr Reevell supported the cuts and his government rubber-stamped the down grading of Dewsbury Hospital.
This campaign was supported by over 30,000 local people who signed our petition and attended street stalls, meetings and demonstrations.
In addition, I have attended almost weekly meetings and made numerous representations to Dr David Kelly, the chair of the committee in charge of the cuts.
I have also been working with Dewsbury members to support a variety of community groups via the Area Committee and working hard to help the regeneration of Dewsbury town centre with Coun Kane and others. The list could go on and on.
With respect to Chidswell I voted for 500 new homes and was pushing for any new development to take place on the Grange Road side where there is already an industrial estate.
The reality is this; the Tories, headed by Mark Eastwood’s friend Mr Pickles, have relaxed planning laws and will want significantly more houses, maybe 5,000. How can this be a victory for local people ?
With respect to campaigning, I and my campaign team have spent the last four months door-knocking and helping people with a host of problems.
We have knocked on almost 3,000 doors and distributed leaflets and cards to every house.
Local people will have seen this and question the honesty and integrity of many of the letters recently sent to your paper attacking me.
Perhaps the real author of letters felt the need to use other people’s names to hide behind.
The reality is you are totally out of touch with local people, local issues and only find a voice at election time.
We ALWAYS keep it clean...
From: Simon Cope, Green Party candidate for Dewsbury West
It came as a surprise to us at North Kirklees Green Party to read of the Conservatives’ ‘Keep It Clean’ pledge in your paper last week.
Not only had they neglected to contact us beforehand, but their pledge seems at odds with their previous actions.
At a candidates briefing at Dewsbury Town Hall last Monday Mr Iqbal denounced the Local Code of Conduct introduced by Kirklees Council this year, telling the room he wanted nothing to do with it, even though local party leaders were involved in its creation.
Similarly at a national level the Conservative-led Government has had ample time since the 2010 election to implement real reforms to our democratic system by adopting recommendations put forward to it by the independent Electoral Commission.
For some reason the Tories seem happy with the status quo, as the majority of these proposed reforms have not been implemented.
Perhaps Mr Iqbal and friends should be channelling some of their zealous reforming energy upwards within their own party.
Meanwhile, your local Green Party candidates across the whole of Kirklees will of course be signing up to the Local Code of Conduct, and – as always – keeping it clean.
I know who to trust, thanks
From: Ray Holderness, Dewsbury
I refer to the recent letters in your paper attacking Coun Cathy Scott.
I find these very unkind and partisan, considering two have been from a young lady who stood for the Conservatives last year, and was due to stand again this year, until she was offered a post with the Tory party nationally!
Hardly an independent voice.
I ask voters to consider the devastation being wrought on local services by the Tories nationally, with £129 million being stolen from the budgets at Kirklees Council, the unbelievable position of our MP on the removal of essential services at Dewsbury Hospital, and, let’s not forget the tax giveaway to the super-rich.
I know who I can trust with my vote on May 22.
They’re as bad as each other
From: Name and address supplied
Three or four weeks or so ago you printed a letter from Mirfield Labour Party man Michael Hutchinson in which he wrote “It looks hypocritical when Tory councillors express concern about the downgrading of local hospital services ... (because) it is their government that is causing all these problems in the NHS,” and he suggested that if that’s how they felt they should maybe consider resigning their party membership.
And he had a point. Tory councillors are an integral cog in the party machine that helps power the Tory (and Lib Dem) government in Parliament. If they don’t like what their government is doing why do they continue to support it?
But curiously Mr Hutchinson doesn’t employ the same logic to his own Labour Party that he applies to the Conservatives. I wonder why that is.
Last week I received an electioneering pamphlet from the Labour Party that featured Mr Hutchinson and Labour’s candidate for the forthcoming general election, the super-enthusiastic Paula Sherriff, making a lot of noise about protecting the NHS from privatisation.
That’s the same Paula Sherriff who is currently employed by a private company that provides services that were once provided by the NHS.
And that’s the same Labour Party who, when in government, introduced the ‘private finance initiative’ which has crippled the NHS with debt.
To paraphrase Mr Hutchinson: It looks hypocritical when Labour politicians express concern about the funding and management of the NHS because it was their government that caused many of the financial problems that the NHS now struggles to deal with.
But the hypocrisy of Labour politicians doesn’t stop with the NHS.
The Labour Party shouts from the rooftops about ‘creating a more equal society’ – pull the other one. What’s so equal about the Labour Party shoe-horning the sons of Labour grandees into safe Labour seats? It’s enough to make you throw up.
Recently we’ve had Labour expressing concern about immigration. Can you believe it! This from the party that when in government flooded the country with immigrants in the belief that immigrants are more likely to vote Labour. So much for Labour’s democratic credentials.
I could go on. The hypocrisy of Labour politicians knows no bounds. Not that the Conservatives are any different – remind me again, what is it they are trying to conserve?
The combined incompetence and malevolence of the LibLabCon lot has brought this country to its knees.
Ultimately though the electorate is to blame. Come election day the same empty heads will be voting for the same empty heads in the belief that things will be different this time. And then the day after they’ll be wondering where it all went wrong.
Democracy, the collective wisdom of individual fools. I don’t know who said it but they had it just about right.
We just don’t know enough!
From: Pat Crisp, ‘community rights campaigner’, Batley
It’s election time again.
Ten candidates have been put up in Batley, only two we know. How can we compare these people if we don’t know anything about them?
Don’t say look on the internet. Not everyone has that.
Over the last few weeks only Labour called to see us, we never know the other parties. No wonder people don’t vote.
I’ve no idea what to do about the EU election. Lots of people are asking the same question.
Tories ‘mean more houses’
From: Harry Drake, Hanging Heaton
Never believe a word these Tories put into writing.
It is disgraceful that they have been allowed to spread these untruths in the letters pages for the last two weeks.
With regard to the planning at Chidswell, at least Coun Scott persuaded the council to reduce the numbers to 500 properties.
With the introduction of the Minister, Eric Pickles, at the request of the Conservative candidate, Mark Eastwood, there is now the possibility that there could now be 5,000 new homes allocated for Chidswell.
Thank you Mr Eastwood!
Why I won’t sign this new fraud pledge
From: Shaun Maddox, English Democrat council candidate, Dewsbury South
I feel that as candidate for Dewsbury South in this year’s local elections I must give my reasons why I will not be signing the Conservative pledge.
When I entered the local elections many years ago in order to represent the residents of Dewsbury South, I did it to fight for investment, pro-active maintenance of our local infrastructure and to help make Dewsbury what it once stood for. A place of prosperity with job-creating investment, a thriving town centre and residents feeling safe in their communities.
When I mentioned to my Thornhill neighbour and ex-councillor that I was going to stand as an independent many years ago, his reply was “You could put a donkey up in Dewsbury South and they would get in as locals follow family tradition of voting”. I was told by a party agent that politics is a very dangerous game! And yesterday I was told by another party agent of his frustration of getting local councillors in under their party banner to see them do nothing constructive for that community!
You could say I came into politics late in life as I had no real political persuasion growing up.
I was guilty of not even voting some years as I was busy in my own life. Starting out in a loving family, then having to sleep rough through family breakdown.
Being given that first council flat that enabled me to start building my life then falling in love with my wife and building a home for our family and a future for our children.
Then one day, like most of us, driving to work and not taking note of our community’s decline as we drive through our estates and avenues, I stopped and saw the neglect and lack of investment.
I stood up to be counted and got involved in local decision-making.
Petitioning the council on behalf of residents, holding parties and fairs with the help of locals, we put locals first no matter what party politics.
Then I started to see the > party political hatred between the parties that make up the council, quite evident at some meetings.
So if you don’t mind I will stay out of signing up to a pledge that has no legal justification, as I have already consented to the Representation of the People Act 1983, passed by a Parliament made up of different parties, not one political party.
I will put my trust in the Kirklees Electoral Service whom over the years have conducted the elections within the rules of this act and are so helpful, a credit to the council.
I also trust the police will collect any evidence if allegations of voter fraud are reported to a police constable, and they will follow their oath to keep the peace come election day.
With three warnings at the last elections and no prosecutions I see no evidence of widespread voter fraud and I will not be drawn into labelling a whole community just by the actions of a small minority. Neither will I be embroiled in party finger-pointing.
People first in a local election, politics second.
Hopes for a clean election
From: Safiq Ali Patel, Dewsbury
It was reassuring to read in last week’s Press the Conservative Party candidates have declared their desire for a clean campaign in the forthcoming elections.
In Dewsbury South elections have the added complication of allegations of postal vote fraud. Conservative candidate Khizar Iqbal has in the past fought against postal vote fraud in Dewsbury South and he has worked very hard exposing this corruption of democracy.
It takes courage to speak out when faced with complex problems but Khizar Iqbal has had the courage to alert local people about issues facing them like postal vote fraud and the Muslim burial scandal and dozens of other issues including trying to save the Walker Welfare Centre.
I’m not a natural Conservative voter but I admire Khizar Iqbal and his committed work for local people.
I wish all candidates well in the elections. And I hope people all round will make the forthcoming elections clean and safe.
I hope the elections will return a council that fights corruption and delivers the leadership we need to get our towns and people up and running again.
Don’t waste your vote
From: John Sheen, Dewsbury
The forthcoming elections on May 22 are extremely important. Many people will look to the past and say “What’s the point, they’re all the same”.
But our ancestors fought and died for our freedoms and our democracy. This is the time to make your voice heard.
I’ve given much thought recently to events locally, nationally and internationally. On the European front things appear to go from bad to worse.
The Euro continues to flounder, we’ve created major unrest between Russia and Ukraine by encouraging the latter to join the EU and NATO.
This incredible shortsighted stupidity by EU bureaucrats, devoid of any historical understanding of eastern European politics, has alienated our sensitive relationship with Russia.
We sell less to 27 EU countries than they export to the UK and there’s so much fraud and corruption that the EU accounts have not been audited for 20 years.
So, the choice for my representative within the EU must go to UKIP’s Nigel Farage and his team. He will be my voice for the UK’s exit.
The national scene is somewhat different. Whilst I disagree vehemently with David Cameron on the vast sums of foreign aid (our taxes) we give to corrupt governments (it should be in goods and services and directly to the support agencies on the ground) His team do appear to be on the right track to turn the country round.
However, his member of Parliament for Dewsbury, Simon Reevell, has let the people who voted for him down appallingly.
Over 30,000 North Kirklees residents signed a petition to maintain vital services at the Dewsbury Hospital.
Our MP is a practicing barrister and could have used his legal background positively to support the cause.
This wasn’t to be. His plan was not only political suicide but from a different planet to his constituents.
With ‘friends’ like this who needs enemies.
I’m pleased to say from a local perspective the Conservative candidate, Mark Eastwood, does put himself about.
It’s refreshing to see a prospective councillor not only out in all weathers banging the party drum but always prepared to spend time discussing local issues
The Conservative plan to split Kirklees into four local governing bodies could have a major positive impact on our town.
Whilst not taking us back to the old ‘borough’ days our town’s budget will be used in a more democratic way, giving the power back to the people.
Your vote will be crucial. Please don’t waste it.
Troubled by Lythgo attitude
From: Philip Tolson, Upper Hopton, Mirfield
I am writing in support of all three Dewsbury Conservative candidates and their ‘Keep It Clean’ initiative.
For many years at election time, Dewsbury has been blighted with reports of postal vote fraud and voter intimidation, so it is quite right that these issues should be taken seriously in an effort to protect our democracy.
I was troubled, however, by Kirklees Council chief executive and the returning officer for the upcoming elections, Adrian Lythgo’s comments that he had not been presented with any evidence of widespread electoral fraud in his time at the council.
I understand that three people were cautioned by police as part of an investigation into electoral fraud in Dewsbury after the 2012 council election and that Kirklees Council is one of only 16 councils being closely monitored nationwide by the Electoral Commission to try ensure elections are free and fair this time around.
Is that not evidence enough? I feel that Mr Lythgo’s response smacks of complacency and I do wonder if he is the right person to be in charge of overseeing elections if he doesn’t seem to think there is a problem.
It is therefore down to candidates from all parties to show their support for democracy.
I hope that all candidates can put their political differences to one side and sign the pledge drafted up by the Conservatives.
That way, it might make these elections the fairest yet and eradicate the need for future scrutiny by the Electoral Commission.
Hundreds of supporters have signed
From: Khizar Iqbal (Conservative council candidate for Dewsbury South), Mark Eastwood (Conservative council candidate for Dewsbury East) and Shehzad Hussain (Conservative council candidate for Dewsbury West)
Following last week’s widespread coverage of our ‘Keep It Clean’ initiative, we would like to thank the hundreds of Dewsbury residents who showed their support for our campaign for free and fair elections by signing our petition last Saturday in the town centre.
Regardless of political persuasion, Dewsbury residents made it loud and clear that they want what we want, which is for these local elections to be carried through without any controversy, or serious incident.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the chief executive of Kirklees Council and returning officer at these elections.
We were surprised and disappointed when he reportedly said he had not been presented with any evidence of widespread electoral fraud in his time at the council.
His comment flies in the face of the fact that three people were cautioned by police after an investigation into electoral fraud following the 2012 council elections and that Kirklees Council is one of only 16 being monitored closely by the Electoral Commission.
We now have major concerns as to whether he will take seriously any allegations of wrong doing during this election period, or future elections, whilst he is in charge of over seeing them.
On a more positive note, already we have received a signed pledge from the UKIP candidate for Dewsbury East and we have heard encouraging noises from other political party candidates, who have indicated that they will be signing our pledge for elections free from electoral fraud and voter intimidation.
We would encourage all of them to sign this important document, so that Dewsbury hits the headlines for all the right reasons come polling day on May 22.
From: Name and address supplied
It’s election time once again and we get bombarded with the usual leaflets from various political parties, but I always take time out to read them to see what each candidate has done or is doing for the local area.
I received one this morning that was all government this, MP that, totally negative and nothing about what the candidate had done for the local people of Shaw Cross where I live.
Imagine my surprise then when I realised the leaflet was from Dewsbury East Labour councillor Cathy Scott and not the Labour Parliamentary candidate standing against our MP next year.
I understand Coun Scott tried to run for the MP’s position a few months back, so maybe she is still in denial about her failure to secure the parliamentary position and still thinks she’s running against Conservative MP Simon Reevell. A quick word to the wise, Cathy.
These are local elections and we want to know what you’ve done locally, not what the government are up to.
Contrast that with the positive LOCAL campaign that the three Dewsbury Conservative candidates are running by trying to make sure all political parties agree to behave themselves at election time, whilst at the same time putting pressure on the police and Kirklees Council to investigate any complaints of vote rigging.
I hope their campaign is successful, that we have elections without trouble and that whoever triumphs on May 22, wins fair and square as a result.
Who can take us back?
From: Jack Bunn, Hanging Heaton
It looks to me as if another civic dignitary has been caught doing what people in charge of societies and boys’ schools etc, are good at these days.
He is dead and gone, but suddenly, we are looking for the people who knew what he was up to and prosecuting them. All should be named and shamed before they die.
I would bring back horse whipping for them, before they creep back under their various logs, like the Jimmy Savile lot have done, followed by the usual whitewash of their cases.
Of course, I have been referring to Cyril Smith, ex MP, and the mob who supported him and knew all that was going on, but kept getting favours from him to further their way of living in a world fit for us ordinary blokes, without being caught.
Is there anybody in this country capable of sorting out the police, MPs, council officials etc, and bringing us back to what we were like in the 1940s, 50s and 60s.
It strikes me we won the war but lost the peace.
Wake up and fight – quickly
From: Derek Cartwright, Soothill
Do you live in Batley, or rather Soothill? Wake up!
Kirklees are planning to give you 2,000 more homes up from the Babes!
That’s SHLAA site reports 213/4 and 223.
Those are the strip of land up from opposite the vet’s and the field at Manor Farm Drive then all the fields from Lydgate to Leeds Road!
Wake up ... respond to Kirklees Local Plan Early Engagement report, don’t wait until you see the planning notices, by then it will be too late as the build will be agreed in principle.
You should know the grounds: Employment (or rather lack of it), population and the SHLAA statement that more than 13,500 houses can be built on brownfield sites that covers next seven years.
Houses here won’t be ‘affordable housing’ they will be executive homes for Leeds workers ... and remember your Labour/ Lib Dem councillors have form, they won’t stop it.
Wake up ... you pay your taxes, if this was an item from a supermarket you would be complaining, not thinking there was nothing you can do ... there is!
They should all support it
From: Christophe Walker, Thornhill
I am pleased to see an initiative has been set up to encourage all candidates in the upcoming local elections to adhere to the law with regards to electoral fraud and voter intimidation.
This is a positive move and is the first step in restoring the confidence of voters in believing the local elections are fair.
Regardless of whether you believe the allegations of electoral fraud and voter intimidation, there is no reason any candidate should not pledge their support.
I suspect there will not be a resident in Dewsbury that would understand why any candidate should not wish to show their support against the undermining of the democratic process.