Your Letters

Aged 92, Jack’s changing sides

Letter of the Week: Jack Bunn, Hanging Heaton

Dear Sir,

At the age of 92 and slowly and regretfully approaching my sellby date, I have decided to nail my colours to the local election mast.

After all these years voting for, and physically helping, various Labour councillors, I have come to the conclusion that I have been backing the wrong horse. 

I and all my neighbours along the Hanging Heaton High Street, despite numerous complaints to various Batley, then Dewsbury East councillors, have still to put up with a racetrack down the High Street.

Our community centre is a derelict bomb site and we do not have a play area for our kids. I am afraid Coun Firth is spending too much time in other parts of Kirklees opening various places and getting his name in all the local press, along with his photograph.

Coun Kane is mostly concerned with that Second World War bomb site we call Dewsbury and, also of course, we have another Dewsbury East councillor. What’s her name? Of course, Scott. We call her the Tea Lady. I do not think anybody along the High Street has seen her.

I do not expect everybody to agree with me but having given six and half years of my life fighting and getting wounded, I am entitled to my opinion, and I am going to give Mr Eastwood, the local Dewsbury East candidate, a trial.

Send him ‘home’

From: Arthur Carruthers, Dewsbury

Dear Sir,

The media have been on regarding the deporting of Abu Qatada to Jordan, because of his antiBritish activities, but he is still here, at our expense.

Both France and Italy are supposed to abide by the same rules that apply to the UK, but no, they deport anyone, like him, straight away and no messing about.

When is our Government going to adopt the same practice and deport him, as he deserves to be?

To my mind, they are pathetic and weak, to say the least.

Luddite history, not myth please

From: Alan Brooke, Honley, Huddersfield 

Dear Sir,

In the Press (April 20) Mr John Holroyd, of Spen Valley Civic Society, makes the strange claim that the “only connection” Liversedge Luddites had with Huddersfield was that “some of the Luddites came from there.”

Sadly, the Civic Society does not understand that without the Huddersfield Luddites there would have been no Luddism in Liversedge and no attack on Rawfolds Mill.

They do not comprehend that their refusal to recognise the contribution of Huddersfield is both historically wrong and offensive to the memory of the Luddites.

Liversedge’s claim to fame as a centre of Luddism stems from the Rising of the Luddites by Frank Peel, which is a mixture of fact, folklore and fiction. Because he was from the Spen Valley Peel focused on events in this area. 

Yet his account makes it quite clear that the impetus for Luddism came from Huddersfield.

According to Peel, William Hall from Liversedge came into contact with the Luddites while working at Longroyd Bridge near Huddersfield.

Hall brought over two Huddersfield Luddites, John Walker and Thomas Brook, to the meeting at the Shears Inn and it was they who persuaded the Liversedge men to destroy Carwright’s shear frames at Rawfolds Mill.

The largest contingent in the attack on the mill was from Huddersfield. Eleven men, all from the Huddersfield area, were charged with the attack and five subsequently hung.

Three more would have been hung had they not been already been executed for the assassination of Huddersfield mill owner, William Horsfall.

Only one Liversedge man, John Hirst, was arrested for Rawfolds and he was acquitted. Another, William Hall, turned informer and was instrumental in sending many Luddites to the gallows.

Of over 60 men arrested for Luddite related activities, most were from the Huddersfield area. 

Without the Rawfold attack, Liversedge would have remained just another area on the fringes of Luddism. 

The new Luddite cenotaph at Liversedge is a splendid achievement and the Spen Valley Civic Society deserve acknowledgement for their hard work. But if they really intend it to be a monument to the Luddites, then it should be to Luddism as it really was, not to a narrow minded, parochial, distorted and mythical Luddism. It is historical truth, not personal pique or civic pride, which is the issue.

Parade praised

From: Peter Makin, (exKOYLI), Oakenshaw

Dear Sir,

I attended the 88th AGM of the KOYLI Regimental Association at Minden House, Pontefract on Saturday April 21.

Brigadier Roger STC Preston said the 3 Rifles Freedom Parade of the town in Dewsbury was the best yet, more so than parades in Leeds, Wakefield etc.

Many thanks to Mayor Eric Firth for his help putting on the parade, along with Major Alan Howarth.

Also praise for Coun Paul Kane for putting on a veterans’ dinner at Hanging Heaton Cricket Club. Thanks also to Margaret Watson, Maureen Tierney etc for the invite for the KOYLI Association.

Also many thanks to Major Alan Howarth, Maxine, etc for a superb lunch. He pulled out all the stops, regimental cups, silver place mats, crockery, cutlery in solid silver – try to beat that!

Thanks also to Col Brian Denney, Maj Michael Deedes and Capt Gerald Fitzpatrick for their support. 

Vote to fight for green fields

From: Marlene Chambers, Mirfield

Dear Sir,

It is beyond belief that Kirklees Council are planning to build houses on the only green fields in Thornhill Lees, 2,300 from the old Eddison & Wanless works all the way down to Ravensthorpe.

Kirklees Labour Council diligently supported by the Liberal Democrats have a plan and they are very determined. They have decided that these fields are just what they are looking for to meet part of the estimated housing needs (4,300) in the Dewsbury South ward.

At one of the very well attended local public protest meetings, someone asked who was going to buy all these houses because some already built were unsold. 

The official answer was the South Asian population. This is not true. Ask councillors Khizar Iqbal and Salim Patel. They will tell you that the houses already built and planned for, plus the available brown field sites, are adequate.

There is no need to sacrifice our green fields. The local Conservative and Green parties have pledged not to encroach on the green fields until all brown field sites are used up, and never to build on greenbelt land.

There is a lot of money involved if this Local Development Framework goes through. The councils get paid a premium by the government for every house built, so it is in their interest to produce exaggerated figures, and there is huge financial gain from the sale of the land.

Do you think any of this financial bonanza will reach Dewsbury?

The 2,300 houses is double the present housing stock in Thornhill Lees. Imagine the road congestion and pollution, the pressure on health services and schools, the strain on gas, electric and water services and drainage and sewage.

If you value the countryside, you must make sure you vote for the candidate who is working to protect it.

Look at Dewsbury town. We know where the council’s priorities are.

The only way we can stop this happening is to alter the balance of power in Kirklees. That must be now. There are no elections next year.

There are brown housing options

From: Adrian Cruden, Green Party candidate, Dewsbury South

Dear Sir,

In the local elections, the Conservatives repeatedly claim that if the current LDF is voted down, that will put an end to the threat of building on Green Belt. 

However, it is the declared aim of the Coalition Government in its National Housing Strategy to build over 230,000 new houses in England every year for the next 20 years. 

This will inevitably put further pressure on local authorities to build more new homes and Kirklees will be no exception.

The new Localism Act supposedly provides local communities with the ability to stop unwanted development, but this is only as long as this fits in with the local authority plan which in turn must fit in with the Government’s national strategy. 

Locally, there is little real need for much of the new buildings planned by both Kirklees and the national government. 

In Dewsbury, we have large numbers of empty town centre properties which should be redeveloped before any new building is permitted – as well as doing much more to bring empty homes back into use.

Yet even worse, Kirklees are using totally incorrect data to support their LDF case. 

They claim that the Office of National Statistics predicts a rise in the working age population in Kirklees of some 37,380 over the lifetime of the LDF; but in fact the real ONS figure is just 19,800 – meaning that the LDF’s assessment of the types of new housing and future job needs are plainly wrong.

So our town continues to face a double threat – the immediate one is the current LabourLib Dem backed LDF – but given the declared aims of David Cameron’s ToryLib Dem Government on housebuilding, stopping the current LDF will not necessarily be the end of the story.

Not a Naz fan

From: Abubakar Fadia, Dewsbury

Dear Sir,,

Last year Naz Hussain was happy to stand as a Lib Dem in the local election. Today he says he is an Independent who opposes the government’s cruel and unfair cuts.

If he is so disgusted by the policies of the Lib Dems today, why was he more than happy to defend them only 12 short months ago?

A true independent stands by their principles no matter what is politically convenient. They don’t change direction 180 degrees and hope nobody remembers. How can local people trust this man? Then again, judging by the scale of his defeat to Labour last year, it’s doesn’t appear they do!

Misleading over Labour help

From: Michael Hutchinson, Mirfield

Dear Sir,

The Tory election leaflet in Mirfield is a disgrace. In it they again make false and misleading claims.

For example, they say Labour has not supported the Safe Anchor Trust. When I was the only Labour member of Mirfield Town Council, I urged the Tories to grantaid that worthwhile organisation.

At the time, they refused to do so. I am delighted if they have since changed their minds, but it is wrong of them to suggest Labour would not support that, or other local organisations.

In fact, when Labour controlled Mirfield Town Council, we gave grants to many local bodies.

Labour states some of its achievements in its election address, but we do not go on to try and unjustly cast our political opponents into some outer darkness.

Presumably, the Conservatives feel able to try and gather blessings unto themselves and allocate any curses going to someone else, because Labour currently has no Mirfield councillors.

Such a blame game is not appropriate when they were the only ones in a position to take a decision. Yet, they do this with more than one organisation. If I was a member of one of those organisations I would feel soiled by their shabby tactics.

The Conservatives’ willingness to be economical with the truth in this respect throws doubt on their other claims and statements. It also degrades the conduct of public affairs. It should not be impossible for them to make improvements.

Kirklees rules

From: Andrew Hutchinson, Westborough

Dear Sir,

There are misleading Tory posters and leaflets around asking people to vote to split Dewsbury from Kirklees. We are not having a referendum. The purpose is to select the candidate voters believe will best represent them and their ward.

I believe the Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has already said it isn’t a priority, so splitting Kirklees up is on the backburner at best, and even then it would take years. 

Dewsbury shares many services with other towns under the Kirklees umbrella and there will be huge costs in rebranding, relocating services etc. which would take many years to recover, even IF savings were made. 

If Kirklees needs to economise, why not simply share some services with Calderdale or other councils, as some councils already do? 

I’ve seen firsthand through the Chamber of Trade and Town Team that Kirklees has recently made Dewsbury regeneration a priority. I don’t want to lose that momentum, after waiting so long for it to come. 

I can’t see how the Tory proposal would favour Dewsbury. Imagine councillors from Kirklees squabbling with Calderdale councillors and add into the mix the MPs who might also have a stake in the new territory. 

My suggestion is for Dewsbury’s Area Committee to be given a larger budget and greater autonomy. 

Who better to do it than Dewsbury’s nine elected ward councillors? And if the councillors fail to deliver, we simply vote them out of office at the next election. 

Split decisions

From: Keith Sibbald, Mirfield 

Dear Sir,

I must take exception to the misleading letter from Hazel Byard (April 20th). Splitting Kirklees into two separate councils and giving Mirfield a greater say in its affairs will not be too costly to implement. 

It has been costed out by the Conservatives and it is the Kirklees officers, who have a vested interest in retaining the status quo, who are telling the gullible Labour/Lib Dems otherwise. The Government’s “Localism” proposals make it possible for a break up.

The UDP and the LDF were both produced by a Labour controlled Kirklees Council. The former allocated the Mirfield 25 site for industry and the latter allocates industry at Cooper Bridge. The Lib Dems supported Labour AND in both instances the Conservatives spoke and voted against. 

When I read Hazel Byard’s comments on housing land I questioned what she knows. 

I can identify sufficient land in Mirfield to meet the proposed housing targets without touching one square foot of either Green Belt or Urban Green Open Space. Only Brown Field and unallocated and unused land would be included. 

This would ensure that Balderston Hall Fields and the land off Dunbottle Lane would remain as Green Open Lungs in our town and ensure that the Gilder Hall Community development will go ahead.

Rather than producing a ‘Red Herring’ Coun Bolt is telling it as it really is unlike the ‘Red Mist’ that Hazel Byard and her Labour cohorts are attempting to draw across the truth – that they could not care less for Mirfield and its residents.

Care concerns 

From: Bruce Illingworth, Mirfield

Dear Sir,

I agree with last week’s letters from Mike Booth and Hazel Byard, two different points of view. Both are making the point of not voting for councillors who ignore our wishes.

I too got a canvassing leaflet from Martyn Bolt for Mirfield. Coun Bolt has totally ignored the wishes of the most vulnerable frail and disabled people of Mirfield, he has not been to listen to our concerns over Kirklees withdrawing all 350 homecare carers, and replacing them with private agencies.

These are the people that are left and classed as the most vulnerable and complex of cases needing care, something that our carers have vast experience and training for. Now the vulnerable will be faced with strangers coming into their homes who are not as well trained and do not know the complex issues of each person. 

Kirklees Council has also increased their charges to the vulnerable by over 33%, if this had been done with anything like energy costs there would have been a national outcry.

Whereas Coun Bolt has chosen to centre his attention on issues with the planning of the new Tesco in Mirfield something he knew nothing legally could be done about. 

He has been involved with the LDF issue, maybe a worthwhile cause for many, and it puts Coun Bolt into the limelight for future votes, whilst the most vulnerable are left on the sideline who aren’t in a position or able to campaign for themselves.

This is not about the colour of rosette, I’ve been to council meetings where the attitude of the cabinet towards the deputations from the LDF and the homecare campaign has been appalling. It is about the local councillors we have.

Not too clear

From: Confused, Chidswell

Dear Sir,

Is it me? I have received an election leaflet from Paul Kane, the allegedly strongest candidate to save the Green Belt.

He opposes the LDF as it stands and will prepare a new one if elected on May 3, 2012. He urges the Conservative and Lib Dems to support him. Why? His party already have an alliance with the Lib Dems. It’s their Local Development Framework.

I have just received a card detailing Paul’s priorities for 2012 ... no.3 “Fighting for more homes in Dewsbury East.” Chidswell is in Dewsbury East and your party plan to build 500 homes and 35 hectares of industrial units. No need to fight – you’ve got Labour’s support.

So “straight talking” Paul Kane (your words) your party ratified the LDF on March 6, 2012, next stage the planning inspectorate.  How is a vote for you going to stop this? Why are you urging the Conservatives to support you? For all those as confused as I, let’s hope Paul Kane can put us straight.

Poor showing

From: Peter Vertigan, Chickenley

Dear Sir,

Given the misleading leaflet that was put out by the hypocritical Chidswell Action Group, I would have thought that they were extremely disappointed by the turnout on Saturday. More of a damp squib than a rally! I think they have been found out. That Green Belt is only safe when it is in their back yard.

Honest battle

From: K Williams, member of Chidswell Action Group

Dear Sir,

Thank you to all the people who turned up for our meeting at Shaw Cross rugby ground. Thanks to all councillors and our MP Simon Reevell.

How low can you get Mr Kane – copying off our leaflet, word for word, by Cathy Scott.

If you had stayed with our group we would have respected you more. But we could not trust you, and you have really shown your colours. If we win, we have been honest. If we lose, we have been honest.

To you Mr Kane and Coun Khan, it is time for change. Give someone else that chance on May 3. Mark Eastwood – he is an honest, family man and cares about local people. Please give him your support.

Paul Kane’s response:

Never in the 17 years that I have been on the council have I heard and read so much vitriol and nastiness in either leaflets or letters. I am saddened by the depths that some of this correspondence has stooped to. I WILL NEVER attack another candidate personally.

I am quite surprised that the Chidswell Action Group feel fit to criticise that I have put right their leaflet with facts that I am proud of, that of starting the opposition to the LDF and arranging the first public meetings.

It has become increasingly obvious to me that the group have politicised themselves, something I said at the first meeting I would never do. Some things are more important and I sympathise totally with the dilemma the community in this area feels.

Having attended the meetings and assisted where possible, I was in fact requested not to attend any further meetings by the very same Mr Williams, who now says that I should have stayed with the group. You can’t have it both ways Mr Williams!

I would also remind the group that they did not invite me to attend the meeting they had last week either. It is saddening as I am still against the building on the Windsor Site, will fight to stop this happening and am happy to work with the group even after what they have said.

No help here

From: Details supplied

Dear Sir,

With reference to Mrs S Blane’s letter in last week’s edition of The Press, praising Coun Paul Kane.

Let me say that as a Leeds Road resident, my wife and I were never offered help or compensation when the gas went off, indeed not advised that it was available until after the event. 

As far as the games area, to which she refers on the Leeds Road Playing Fields (built on green belt land), its opening last year has led to a large increase in antisocial behaviour, with the police and fire service having to be called out on numerous occasions, something which Coun Kane has failed to address.

With regards to the LDF, Coun Kane seems to be rather uncertain of his position, in that he fails to support the Chidswell Action Group, saying that he feels it to be a political group.

Surely the LDF is a political issue? If Coun Kane is so opposed to the LDF, perhaps he should have the courage of his convictions, resign the Labour Whip and stand as an independent candidate.

Kane delivers

From: B McKinnell, Dewsbury

Dear Sir,

I feel a little confused about the election. I thought we were supposed to vote for someone who represents us and brings much needed investment into the area. I am confused because the only person at this election who has done this is Coun Kane, and has promised to continue his fight against building on green belt in both threatened areas of his ward. Keep up the good work Paul.

Quick thinking

From: Paul Quick, Manor Park, Dewsbury

Dear Sir,

It’s that time of year again. The beautiful red, blue and yellow colours shining bright , the smiling faces beaming down upon residents and the endless clatter of our letterboxes. Yes it’s time for another election.

I prefer to vote based on the person and their policies, so my decision this year has been rather clear. It was further reassured when I received the ‘Election Rose’ on my doormat. Mr Red Tie, Blue Shirt (Coun Paul Kane) as he became known in our household due to his similar attire on 7 of his 9 pictures, again failed to detail what he would do for Dewsbury.

Why won’t candidates just tell us what they will do to benefit the town, not what the opposition can’t do, or how they are perceived to be not up to the job?

Mr Kane had four pages to sell to me his message yet all he did was attack the Conservatives nationally, again. His sixpoint ‘budget bombshell’ had me chuckling as he blamed the Tories for fuel duty, price of booze, road tolls and the price of cigarettes. When Tony Blair became Labour PM in 1997 petrol was at 58p. When Gordon Brown lost power in 2010, petrol was £1.11p. Cigarettes in 1997 were £3.08, in 2010 £6.29, the M6 road toll was introduced by Labour. Need I go on?

Can I suggest that you focus more on regeneration, road repairs, antisocial behaviour rather than detailing how you can help unemployment, women and their families. 

You know that you can’t do a thing about this. If that’s your desire, stand for Parliament in 2015, if not get on with what for 16 years you have supposed to have been doing. I want more ‘Can Do’ rather than ‘Kane’t Do’ hence my support will go to one of the other candidates. Dewsbury deserves better!

Paul Kane’s response: 

I am somewhat surprised by the inference of Mr Quick’s response to my leaflet, he must have been selective in his reading as I laid my thoughts out for everyone to see. However – Quick by name, not very quick by nature! He seems to attack me personally without knowing anything about me. I am proud of my achievements and he must have been living in a cave without seeing the improvements in our ward. Or is it that he doesn’t want to accept this?

I will say again that I cherish the assistance I have given to help women and their families and no, I am not sorry about attacking this government for their attack on working people. What he forgets is that national politics inevitably effects local politics and the lives our people.

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