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Voting should be free from party eyes

Letter of the Week: Ms A Rawat, Batley

Dear Sir,

I think the Electoral Commission should ban candidates, and their helpers, from being in polling stations during voting times.

I, like many others I imagine, feel completely alienated from the political and decision-making processes in our area.

Going to vote seems to be the only privilege that I have left.

I haven’t voted for anyone for the last few years, preferring to spoil my ballot papers instead, as I feel that there is none that deserve my vote.

Yet, I go to the polling station every time to practice my right to vote, and it infuriates me then to see the Labour Party candidates there every time with their helpers, at a place where we go once every few years to take part in our miniscule way in our great so-called democratic process.

It is my privilege to be in the polling station, and the likes of Gwen Lowe, which this time it was, and her three helpers should not be there.

Imagine what it would be like if the other candidates and their helpers also turned up? It would be pretty intimidating, and there would be no room for us voters.

The chance of that happening is not great, I accept, as the other parties’ activities in the Batley West ward are practically non-existent, but if they chose to do so, they would have a right to be in the polling station along with the Labour lot who are always there.

So, I make a recommendation to Kirklees Council and the Electoral Commission to bring in a ruling to ban these people from the polling stations, and keep it as a privileged place for the voters only.

I also recommend that the voting booths do not face the poll clerks, so that we can have complete privacy when we are deciding who to vote for, or not to.

I yearn for some new people and new parties to shake up our area with great idealisms and inclusions for all.

I congratulate the UKIP successes, if only that they have woken up and got people involved who would not normally be.

Somebody said that if a donkey stood for the Labour Party, he would get in.

Of course he would, because the Asians in this area loyally vote for them, presumably because they are getting what they want from them.

I did not get what I wanted from Mike Wood, Gwen Lowe and their team, who shunned me when I took issues to them about discrimination and corruption within Kirklees Council.

But, you see, I am just a woman, and it is the Asian men who have the power within the Labour Party.

But, I fear it is the Asian men who have clasped hold of the other major parties too, and are determining the way forward in our Kirklees region.

Gwen Lowe has got in again, and with a huge majority, but would she if more than a third of the population bothered to come out to vote, if the other parties were more active and if issues affecting us all were more widely debated, and politicians were made to work for us all, and not just the powerful few?

But, as this is not going to happen on its own, a change needs to be made to happen in the process of deciding who represents us, with a view to more of us being happier in who ends up representing us.

A three-horse race again

From: Mark Eastwood, Dewsbury

Dear Sir,

I would like to congratulate the Labour Party on winning the Dewsbury East seat at the local elections, albeit with a substantially reduced majority, thus making it a three-horse race in future elections in the ward for the first time since the Lib Dems and the BNP contested it several years ago.

I was very humbled that more than 1,100 local residents turned out in the pouring rain to vote for me on the day and I would like to once again thank them for their support.

I was particularly pleased by the amount of votes we took in Hanging Heaton, Shaw Cross, Bywell and Eastborough.

It gives me great heart that although there was a strong bounce for UKIP in all areas of the country, my vote managed to hold up strongly compared to my Labour opponent.

As the political chairman for the Dewsbury Constituency, I would like to congratulate Mirfield candidate Vivien Lees Hamilton, Denby Dale candidate Jim Dodds and Kirkburton candidate Bill Armer for their comfortable victories against Labour and Green opponents.

A special mention must also go to Dewsbury West candidate, Shehzad Hussain, for tripling the vote from the previous local election in 2012, giving the Conservatives their best result in the ward since the high turnout of the General Election in 2010.

With only 11 and a bit months to go until the General Election, these tremendous results put the Conservatives in a very strong position locally and I look forward to running the Dewsbury area campaign for the party to ensure that Ed Miliband doesn’t become Prime Minister in 2015.

My election promise

From: Coun Cathy Scott (Lab, Dewsbury East)

Dear Sir,

I would like to thank all the people who came out to vote in Dewsbury East in such bad weather last week.

I want to also thank the other candidates for their input, irrespective of the outcome and offer them my encouragement.

On the election trail I listened to the concerns of my community and have promised to get back to everyone who raised an issue, this is a pledge from me.

I finally want to thank the election services staff for their hard work on the day.

I look forward to representing my community for the next four years.

The more things change...

From: David Honeybell, Heckmondwike

Dear Sir,

I don’t usually read the Yorkshire Post, but while visiting relatives at the weekend, I had a glance at theirs.

The following are some of the most interesting articles.

(1) “Overspent council loses another £500,000”. This related to a council making big loses on capital contracts when money was tight.

(2) “Synod’s finance chief urges boost in giving”. This was a threat from the finance chief saying if some churches income didn’t increase, they might lose their vicar.

(4) “MPs get 10% and more in pipeline”. MPs are to get a 10% rise, backdated to April, and another rise is expected after the next general election.

(5) “Nurse shortage could cause deaths – doctor”. Patients in many hospitals are at risk because of the shortage of trained nurses.

(6) “Mortgages likely to remain hard to get”. This was a report from the building societies. The amount lent to buyers is falling, but house prices keep rising.

There were two railway stories, a petition of over 2,000 people asking for suburban stations to be re-opened, and the second story related to a union leader who wanted tougher action taken on his members who joined racist parties.

Any of these stories could be in today’s paper, but in fact the paper I looked at was dated July 12 1978.

The paper was found while replacement windows were being installed.

We don’t seem to have progressed very far since then.

Debate must start now

From: Coun Paul Kane (Lab, Dewsbury East)

Dear Sir,

In response to Miss Smith’s Letter of the Week last week.

I welcome her comments and to an extent her complaints and have to say that she articulated her words excellently and would suggest at the age of 23 she thinks about entering politics and would gladly sign her up as one of our team.

Her comments are valid and justified and highlight the demise of policing in the town centre.

This issue both stifles any regeneration and makes people think the town centre is a no-go area after dark.

We have been working with agencies and the town centre manager on this issue, but more emphasis should be put into this problem by the police to return the town centre to benefit the retailers making their living there.

With regard to this and other concerns, I encourage all the recent electorate who voted and didn’t vote at last week’s election to join in and let’s work together to sort out some of the issues which caused people concern when it came to them putting their cross on the ballot paper.

Dewsbury and our communities deserves better and when services and budgets are devolved we need everyone to take part in the decision-making process.

This will include where and when we develop land. I am aware that these comments may create responses but this debate MUST commence.

Priorities are all wrong

From: C Appleton, Birstall

Dear Sir,

The ineffectual leader of the Labour Party, Ed Miliband, doesn’t think that Europe and immigration are in the top four issues that people are concerned about.

Instead, he thinks the important topics like the cost of living and jobs are.

However, these are directly linked to immigration.

There are too many people wanting a share of the cake, with hundreds of thousands coming in and not lifting a finger, apart from signing for their generous benefits.

Also, with one million youth unemployed, why do we need more mouths to feed?

Ed Miliband and Ed Balls were at the centre of Labour when they planned mass immigration.

They love telling us they have a strong vote in London. The reason is because it is block solid with incomers.

Fighting for Mirfield

From: Coun Vivien Lees-Hamilton (Con, Mirfield)

Dear Sir,

I would like to thank all the people who took the time to vote for me in the local elections last week.

It is a privilege and a pleasure to once more represent the town I was born in.

I will do whatever is in my power to preserve Mirfield’s heritage and I will fight alongside my colleagues to maintain the integrity of our town.

Your priorities are my priorities.

I would also like to extend my thanks to everyone who was involved in the election process, the tellers and the counters, the staff who manned the polling stations and everyone who delivered for me and offered words of support during my canvassing.

It was muddy but goody

From: Donal O’Driscoll, Festival Stage Events

Dear Sir,

Thankyou to everyone who came to the first ‘M’Fest. Some people have dubbed it MUDFest.

The first festival certainly presented more than its fair share of challenges, however I really appreciate all the kind and supportive comments made during and after the event.

Although I took advice from others who knew the Showground better than me, in hindsight I would have cancelled the event due to the excessive softness of the ground in places.

When expressing that regret, people have still said they are glad it went ahead and it hopefully marks the start now of another great annual event on the Mirfield calendar.

Mystery supermarket 

From: Helen Marr, Mirfield

Dear Sir,

Just to advise you that I have just read your article in today’s Press only half an hour after receiving and reading the letter to local residents from St James Securities.

Not exactly impressed with the ‘public relations’ handling of this proposed development just over the road from my house.

They’re so out of touch

From: Arthur Roberts, Dewsbury

Dear Sir,

The general public have voted NO to further immigration and European Union membership, which offers an unrepresentative out-of-touch ‘gravy train’ for politicians, and a bill to the UK of £50m a day.

Regarding the referendum offered in 2017, only if the Tories win the 2015 elections; at least it’s better than Labour and the Lib Dems, who say NO to a referendum.

• Another two to three million Europeans could be in our country by then (2017).

• Expect a stampede at the last minute if it looks as if voters will decide to ditch the EU.

• More time for Tories, Labour and Lib Dems to ‘soft soap’ and brainwash the public into thinking the EU is marvellous, in spite of ruining the economies of Spain, Greece and, to a lesser extent, France, Italy and Portugal etc; and the Euro is in trouble.

• Good people are leaving the UK; a lot of dodgy people coming in.

• Immigrants pay taxes – how can they pay much tax on less than £200 a week?

• New arrivals must be in the country for three months before they get benefits – they could sleep on a friend’s couch and watch TV all day while awaiting their windfall of benefits. It should be three years.

Hospital’s up for sale

From: Wendy Senior, Dewsbury

Dear Sir,

On Saturday I was reading the paper when I came across a headline saying that part of hospital site is earmarked for homes amid the services shake-up.

Swathes of a Yorkshire hospital site will be sold off for new housing in the wake of controversial plans to cut key services.

So, the Bronte Tower and Staincliffe wing are to be sold off. Thank you Stephen Eames, chief executive of Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, for all your words at meetings in our area.

The report also says the trust ran up a deficit of £19.2m in 2013-14, and is expected to be £17.1m in the red in the 12 months to March amid predictions it will not move into the black until 2016-17.

Dewsbury Hospital is central to our plans for healthcare and is central in the report. Yes, it definitely is. We are paying for the 88 extra beds at Pinderfields Hospital.

If people remember, we had no debt at our hospital before joining the Mid Yorkshire Trust.

Last Wednesday (May 21), our group ‘Keep Hospital Services Public’ held a stall in Dewsbury. We had petition forms and lots of people signed them.

I came across quite a few nurses and midwives, and a doctor signed.

I did meet a few people who said the trust board needed shooting for what they were doing to Dewsbury Hospital (which was laughable, but the trust and CCG board have not a clue what they are doing).

We are holding a meeting on Tuesday June 3, 7.30pm, at the Women’s Health Clinic, Wellington Road, Dewsbury, to discuss the outcome of this decision.

It’s not their fault at all

From: Colin Auty, Dewsbury

Dear Sir,

It is not so difficult to understand the rise of UKIP in the recent elections, apart from immigrant overladen London.

UKIP as we know went from strength to strength, in the aftermath the Lib-Lab-Con leaders spoke and in reality have NOT learned.

We must listen appears the thread, pity for them they haven’t done.

Nick Clegg says he’s proud of his pro-Europe stance, really!

Cameron says his party have got to change Europe for our benefit – he may get a chance now so many anti-Euro MPs are in.

Miliband (god, why do people front a party with these kind of people, and leave the likes of Paul Kane in local politics? Headshake...!) anyway Miliband’s first answer when asked for his reaction to the right-wing rise across Europe incredibly turned the question into why the Conservatives’ failure in government had given rise to UKIP.

Answer the question properly, it’s not difficult to see why the anti-European stance is rising,

Please let me make this point, it is NOT the immigrants’ fault, they are NOT to blame for British people’s stance against against immigration.

It is the mainstream political parties’ fault that for the last 20-30 years those in power have allowed mass unchecked immigration into the UK.

My belief is that a little bit of what does you good is beneficial, and this includes immigration – as long as we have a system that tells you how many immigrants are allowed in, what line of work they do, are they healthy and do they have housing to come to and a few bob in their pockets to sustain themselves for a set length of time.

Yes, immigrants in fear of their lives (proved!) need to be seriously awarded compassion, this is not too much to ask from the average Brit.

The infrastructure has never been put in place to accommodate mass immigration,

The people of this country are now feeling the effect of failing services, housing, jobs etc, and many point to mass immigration as the main cause of this.

They believe politicians are not dealing with their questions and in turn vote for someone who just may listen and stop the madness.

The majority of UKIP voters have no dislike of an immigrant personally, it’s the situation they do not like.

I hear the left bleat the NHS would fall apart without immigrants, but they never tell you how many immigrants use the service, or a doctor or a dentist.

Who does one blame for UKIP’s rise? The left-wing politicians in my view, NOT the immigrant!

Homes are a better idea

From: Christine Sykes, Mirfield

Dear Sir,

Kirklees wants houses. Planning permission for a supermarket on Station Road should be refused so that some can be built there instead of on the few green fields left in Mirfield.

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