Your Letters

Why do they need my number?

Letter of the Week: Steve Oliver, Heckmondwike

Dear Sir,

Another election passes and we voters in Heckmondwike are again having to “run the gauntlet” at the entrance to the polling station on High Street.

Once again we had Labour Councillor David Sheard, (our Council Leader and also a candidate) in the doorway asking voters for their voting number.

This procedure is both intrusive and meddlesome and voters should NOT have to be harassed at the entrance to the station.

Political activists (and candidates) should not be allowed to interfere with voters and should be barred from hanging around the entrance.

Some voters think that it is a legitimate procedure and willingly give their number on the way in.

If Coun Sheard is happy to continue, or justify, this annoying method, then perhaps he will also be happy to give us an answer to the question – what is the reason for asking for our voting number and what do you subsequently do with that information?

A believable answer only please.


Coun Sheard responded: “The process of taking numbers at polling stations has been common practice, to my knowledge for well over 50 years and we do make it clear to everyone that you are not obliged to give your number and never press anyone who objects.

“We are also quite happy to explain why we do it to anyone who asks.

“It is obvious that any party is interested in getting as many of its supporters as possible to vote, to do that we go knocking on doors of the people that told us they would or might vote for us.

“Obviously we don’t wish to waste our, or their, time if they have already voted, the only way we can get an indication of who has voted is by asking for the numbers.

“We obviously can’t ask who people are voting for so we have to ask everybody.

“At the end of the day the numbers are destroyed, but as they are only a list of numbers they are not personal information.”


I will continue to work just as hard

From: Jo Cox, Labour MP for Batley and Spen

Dear Sir,

Can I take this opportunity, through your letters page, to thank everyone who supported my campaign to become the Member of Parliament for Batley and Spen.

It would not have been possible without the help, advice and commitment of Labour Party members, volunteers and supporters not to mention my wonderful family and friends.

Finally I’d like to thank all the people who voted for me. My campaign was positive, inclusive and engaged with local people and local issues.

This will not change and I will work just as hard as your MP as I have during the last 15 months of campaigning.


I voted for girl power in Batley

From: Pat Crisp, Batley

Dear Sir,

I would like to congralutate Jo Cox,  our new MP. She worked very hard these past few months. Congratulations also to councillors Marielle O’Neill and Amanda Stubley.  Great, girl power!

As usual we’ve not seen any of the other candidates in our area. So we voted for these girls because they do work hard, even if they’re Labour, and I will be working closely with them over the next few years.

But I’m so glad that we don’t have the Labour Party in office in Westminster, though.


Jobs for the boys in national race

From: John Appleyard, Liversedge

Dear Sir,

What contempt for the electorate!

Nigel Farage, a member of the European Parliament, failed to also become a Westminster MP and says on TV he is taking the summer off, not bad for some is it?

Presumably he’ll collect his MEP salary while he idles his time away?

Meanwhile Boris Johnson becomes a Tory MP on top of his job as Mayor of London and David Cameron also made him a member of the political cabinet.

Three jobs! What must the people of London think of this overpaid, part-time buffoon?


Heartfelt thanks from the Greens

From: Adrian Cruden, Green Party candidate for Dewsbury and Dr Ian Bullock, Green Party candidate for Batley & Spen

Dear Sir,

We would like to say a heartfelt thanks to everyone who voted for the Greens on Thursday May 7.

Our local votes in both Dewsbury and in Batley & Spen constituencies were substantially increased to the highest General Election votes we have ever polled, while on the same day over 7,000 people voted for Green candidates for the local council elections in the same areas.

This was in spite of a big squeeze on our support by the Labour Party in particular, yet again proving that our first-past-the-post voting system is denying citizens the right to vote positively for what they believe in.

Our congratulations to Paula Sherriff and Jo Cox, the new Labour MPs. Although we do not share Labour’s policies or views on a wide range of issues, not least our wish to see investment in public services rather than more cuts, we hope that they will represent progressive values in their new roles in Parliament.

With the Tories back in power to continue the divisive and counter-productive policies of austerity, Greens will continue to argue for another way, one of social justice and environmental sustainability.

In the years ahead, these values will be needed more than ever and Greens will not give up working for them.


Battle for 2020 has already started

From: Mark Eastwood, deputy chairman political, on behalf of Dewsbury County Conservative Association

Dear Sir,

On behalf of the Dewsbury County Conservative Association, I am writing to send commiserations to former Dewsbury MP, Simon Reevell, on his narrow defeat in last Thursday’s General Election and to thank him for his contribution during his five years in charge.

Everyone within the organisation wishes him well with whatever he decides to do in future.

I would also like to congratulate Dewsbury’s newly-elected MP, Paula Sheriff, on her victory after putting in two years of hard work into her campaign.

The battle for the Dewsbury seat was hard-fought, but overall a fair fight, which suggests the area is going someway to ridding itself of the much maligned reputation left behind by the last Labour MP to win this seat.

On a personal note, I would like to thank everyone who voted for me in the local election for Dewsbury East.

I was happy to finish second again after finishing a disappointing third to the UKIP candidate last year. Congratulations to Coun Eric Firth on his win.

In Dewsbury South, we lost Salim Patel as a councillor. Again, the association sends commiserations and its thanks for several years of contribution to the area he represented.

Naturally, as an association we were all disappointed we lost the Dewsbury seat, but at the same time absolutely delighted at David Cameron’s re-election as Prime Minister on the back of a Conservative majority.

Congratulations must also go out to our local candidates, Kath Taylor in Mirfield, John Taylor in Kirkburton and Michael Watson in Denby Dale who all won by significant margins.

Much could depend on proposed boundary changes, but with only a 1,451 Labour majority, the battle to win back the Dewsbury seat starts now and as an association we will be working hard to ensure a continued presence in and around the constituency throughout the next five years, not just in the short run-up to 2020.

Dewsbury Conservatives and councillors will continue to hold monthly street stalls in all parts of the constituency and we would encourage anyone with any issues to come talk to us.

We haven’t gone away and we will still be around to assist anyone in need of help in relation to any local, or national matters.


Tragedy that the Tories won power

From: David Honeybell, Heckmondwike

Dear Sir,

The election results are a tragedy for the people of the UK. The Conservative Party now has a clear mandate to dismantle the whole welfare state. And they will take great pleasure in doing just that.

They have already made a start, with their plans to privatise our NHS.

They set up the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and appointing senior management teams and governing bodies, who, over the last two years, have consistently and purposely handed out contracts to private companies that should be carried out by our NHS.

They now have five more years in which to spoil everything that is good and of real benefit to the majority of people in the country, and envied by the rest of the world, just to fund tax cuts for the richest minority.

The richest are in line to become richer, by paying less tax, while the poorest get poorer by paying more tax to fund them. The bedroom tax is a shining and really disgraceful example.

But what of the Labour Party? Until they get back to their roots, supporting the trades union movement and  the working class, they are in danger of following the completely discredited Lib Dems, just another protest party to maybe vote for at by-elections.

Until they commit to proper socialist policies, and say yes, we will spend more, we will look after the vulnerable, we will educate our children, we will have a NHS to be proud of, they will lose what little support they have left.


My door is always open to public

From: Ednan Hussain, Liberal Democrat candidate for Dewsbury

Dear Sir,

I would like to say thank you to the people of Dewsbury, Mirfield, Denby Dale and Kirkburton for the support that was given to me and the Liberal Democrats.

I would also like to congratulate Paula Sherriff on being elected as the Member of Parliament. I hope that the MP is now able to deliver on the promises made.

Top of the list will be protecting services at Dewsbury Hospital and ensuring that the hospital remains in Dewsbury.

Even though I have not been successful this time, I will continue to campaign on the issues that matter to the people of the constituency. My door is open and will always remain open to the public.

The Liberal Democrats have already started to rebuild and I am pleased to confirm that over 5,000 members have joined the party since Thursday night.


Why isn’t count held over here?

From: Philip M Key, Dewsbury

Dear Sir,

After casting my vote at Manor Croft Academy in Earlsheaton, Dewsbury, on election day morning I asked one of the polling station officials where the count was taking place.

To which three officials came back with a chorus of “Cathedral House”.

Expecting the count venue to be within the boundaries of the constituency, I asked where Cathedral House was.

St Thomas’s Road, Huddersfield, came the reply.

Before I’d picked my jaw off the floor the officials hit me with the reason why. “It’s because of the car parking”.

I wondered if it is common practice for election counts to be conducted away from the constituencies they represent and if car parking is a valid reason when we have a sports hall, half-empty office block and Pioneer House in Dewsbury?

All of which I’m sure would make good venues with plenty of parking spaces when the traffic wardens are in bed.


Day was hectic but pleasing 

From: Coun Darren O’Donovan, Dewsbury West

Dear Sir,

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank people in Dewsbury West for putting their trust in me and re-electing me to Kirklees Council.

I’d also like to thank the other candidates for the challenge – Shehzad, John and Simon.

The day was hectic but pleasing. Kirklees Council Electoral Services and West Yorkshire police should also be thanked for maintaining the smooth running of the day.

My first term was extremely enjoyable and many things were achieved across the ward.

With a £110 million cut in central government grant during 2010-2015, times have been tough. That reduction from the Conservative government will continue from 2015 onwards and the face and scope of services offered by the council will need to change alongside our grant cut.

I am confident that we can fight for the best for residents in Dewsbury West.


I wish successor all the very best

From: Former Coun Salim Patel, Dewsbury

Dear Sir,

May I please take the opportunity to convey my gratitude to the many residents who have supported me since I was first elected as a councillor to represent Dewsbury South in 2007.

It has been a huge honour and a source of great pride to represent our local communities, to fight for their interests and those of individual residents, young and old, for the last eight years.

I fully accept the process of local democracy and I hope I can be as gracious in defeat as in victory.

I genuinely wish my successor the best of fortune for the next four years and I hope they will work as hard as I believe I did for all our residents, irrespective of their political views.

I always tried to rise above politics when representing the residents of Dewsbury.

I would also like to place on record my thanks to the many council officers who have helped me perform my role, along with the support I have received not only from Conservative colleagues but also from councillors of all political parties, not only in Dewsbury South but also in the wider Dewsbury area and across Kirklees.

I remain committed to my town and I hope to see the continued enhancement of our area for everyone.

May I take this opportunity to thank the many people who have supported and voted for me.


Labour lot don’t look up to much

From: RS Phillips, Mirfield

Dear Sir,

If the Tories do not keep Labour out of government for the next 10 years at least, then they should ‘eat their hats’.

Look at the list of Labour’s leadership candidates:

Andy Burnham – tainted by his role in health, and the disastrous Mid Staffordshire Hospital scandals.

Chuka Umunna – yet another lawyer! Circulates socially with London’s millionaires; name sounds more like an Indian cricket fast bowler than British Prime Minister.

Yvette Cooper – wife of Ed Balls, but keeps it quiet. Exposed as two of the most blatant expenses claimants at Westminster, who ‘flipped’ their address three times, saying their ‘main home’ was in Yorkshire, even though their children went to school in London, near their home.

Tristram Hunt – an ex-public school millionaire.

Others – a collection most people have never heard of.

Labour altered the electoral boundaries to give them a 20 to 25-seat advantage.

The Tories will make them fair again, after Nick Clegg in coalition put his spoke in to stop that. Now he’s got his comeuppance.

They will also investigate the BBC and the licence fee, which is chock-a-block with trendy, biased, metropolitan elite lefties, such as Andrew Marr and Evan Davis.


Sherriff’s got big shoes to fill

From: Coun David Pinder, Mirfield Town Council

Dear Sir,

Firstly, I should like to thank all those who trusted me with their vote in the recent Mirfield Town Council elections. I should also like to congratulate (with some reservation) Paula Sherriff on becoming the MP for this constituency.

She starts with a clean sheet, however her ungracious ‘victory’ speech suggests she will find she has bigger shoes to fill than she realises.

Ed Balls, a politician who, whatever his faults, is of infinitely greater stature than her, showed even in defeat far more dignity and grace.

Simon Reevell may not have suited everybody but she will be pushed to equal his non-partisan casebook record; his first-class barrister’s brain was able to absorb and analyse vast amounts of detail in the time most of us would take to read a single page (as anyone who has worked with barristers knows); and he was not afraid to vote against his own party when he felt the occasion demanded it.

There is a lot of nonsense spouted about being a full-time MP.

Over several decades I came into contact with MPs and the House of Commons – at one time going there, on average, once a week to brief individuals or committees.

A back-bench MP is not a full-time job! A certain kind of person can always expand the work to fill the time – many civil servants are expert at it.

MPs are not social workers, they are not local councillors (and constitutionaly cannot interfere in many local government matters).

They should be people we have elected because their knowledge, wisdom, judgement and experience makes them fit people to debate and pass legislation which dictates our internal and external affairs.

The work they do for individual constituents is extremely important but not as important as their primary responsibilities to the country.

That is the ideal, however the reality is that if they are just a back-bench MP, they are expected to file in and vote as ordered.

I question why they need to be in London the whole time, either scurrying self-importantly from one meaningless meeting to another, or filling the bars and restaurants with gossip and plotting.

For me parliament should meet several times a year – perhaps one week every two months, For the rest of the time – let them clear off and earn a living elsewhere!


No party I feel represents me

From: Ms A Rawat, Batley

Dear Sir,

Shock. Shock. Shock. What have the people of Britain done?

Even Cameron looked shell-shocked. He has taken three scalps on the battlefield; I don’t think he quite wanted that.

He must feel a huge burden of expectations.

I do feel sorry for the leaders who felt they had to resign. They had all worked so hard.

A government that has won so successfully can be a dangerous one.

They can feel that they can do anything. How harsh will they be in their welfare reforms?

Are they really going to abolish the Human Rights Act? Can’t they just reform it so that it is not abused?

I voted for the Greens, for MP and councillor. Not wholeheartedly, as I don’t agree with many of their policies, but I wanted to vote for someone rather than spoil my ballot paper again, so opted for the nice, honest, educated people.

But there is no party that I feel represents me.

No surprises at all that Labour won in Batley & Spen and Dewsbury.

I know the politics that won them their seats: As they celebrate, I hope they will bear in mind that more people voted against them than voted for them.

In the end, the real winners are the individuals themselves, as they have got themselves a spanking new, well-paid job, and for the next five years they can do as they please.

The other winners are the small group of people around them who will be given jobs and/or have positions of influence on policy and practice.

And I know, through bitter experience, that their special positions won’t always be used honourably.

That’s politics ... and it has always been murky.


I can carry on the job in Batley

From: Coun Amanda Stubley (Lab, Batley East)

Dear Sir,

I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who chose to vote for me last week at the local election.

I care passionately and sincerely about the residents here and now I can now carry on doing the job I was elected to do.

The residents in this ward came out in their masses to vote in this election. This is down to the excellent team behind me and the hard work what we have done.

I appreciate the level of support and thank all of 5,321 voters who chose to vote for me.

I have now got a second term to serve you all and I am honoured and humbled that I have been re-elected to serve everyone in Batley East.

I also look forward to working with our newly-elected MP Jo Cox and would like to congratulate her on her magnificent victory

I would like to thank my super election agent Coun Shabir Pandor for all the support and hard work he has put into my election and the general election.

His commitment, hard work, knowledge and wisdom is unbelievable. He kept me and everyone focused on what we had to do and remained positive.

Thank you to everyone in Batley East Labour Party, you know who you are, I could not have done it without you.

I also want to thank my two colleagues Coun Mahmood Akhtar and Coun Hanif Mayet for their support over the last four years and I look forward to working with you both for the next four years.

None of this could have been done without the support of my partner, Stewart.


It’s a privilege

From: Coun Kath Taylor (Con, Mirfield)

Dear Sir,

I would like to thank everyone who voted for me in last week’s election for the Mirfield ward.

It is a privilege to be re-elected after 14 years and I will continue to do the best that I can for my home town of Mirfield and its residents.

I would also like to thank my wonderful team of deliverers, as well as my election agent, as elections are always a team effort.

Finally I would also like to thank all the candidates that stood against me, especially Nick Whittingham for the Greens and Patrick Dennehy for Labour for a good and clean campaign.


Thanks for all the good wishes

From: Chris & Janet Wilby

Dear Sir,

To customers and friends on Dewsbury Market, we would like to say thank you for all the heartfelt good wishes we received on the news we were closing our curtain business on the market.

We were overwhelmed by people expressing their sadness and concern that such a long-standing business, like ours, had to move to new premises. Our last day was quite emotional, and we will always be grateful to our loyal customers and our fellow stall holders.

It was a big decision for us to relocate our business but, hopefully, we can make it a success; it would be nice to see some familiar faces visiting our shop on Horbury High Street.

Just to set the record straight, we never asked for a rent reduction on our unit in the market, initially all we requested was a meeting with the market manager, which was ignored.

Time to move on.

Please come and see us at 24 High Street, Horbury. We have an extensive selection of soft furnishings, consisting of custom made and ready made fabrics and blinds.

Thank you once again for all your support.


An unbelievable council service

From: David A Wood, Heckmondwike

Dear Sir,

May I pay thanks and a very big appreciation to our local Kirklees Council for a job very well done. On Friday teatime nearing 6pm we contacted the Bulky Waste disposal number to ask for advice on the disposal of a suite. Following this we duly emailed our requirements on the council webpage.

At 7.24am on Monday morning (May 11) our suite and carpets were duly collected and despatched, an unbelievable service and one we are very grateful and appreciative of. Thank you to all concerned at the council.

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