Your Letters

Ignoring electoral fraud is criminal

Letter of the Week: Mr J Allott, Dewsbury

Dear Sir,

Re the postal vote fraud allegations in last year’s council elections.

I can hardly believe that the culprits only received a police caution.

To receive a police caution the culprits have got to admit the offences. These are serious matters and go to the heart of democracy, and a court appearance should automatically follow.

However, the Crown Prosecution Service (commonly known as the Criminal Protection Service), stated a caution would suffice.

Let’s face it, they did not want a court appearance to go ahead as this would have revealed the names of the culprits and their offences to all and sundry.

This would have shown what we have suspected for a long time in Dewsbury in that if it happens in Savile Town, neither Kirklees Council nor the police want to know.

A precedent has now been set into giving cautions for electoral fraud, which could happen in the next council elections. Why not? Because no court action will follow.

Mr Iqbal is right when he says that there are people in Savile Town who think they are above the law, and they appear to be right.

Am I the only one who is fed up to the back teeth with the meaningless phrases given out to us explaining the noncollection of monies due in rent etc, namely not collected due to ‘cultural sensitivity’, or ‘we will not tolerate’ etc etc.

Let us hope that a Parliamentary inquiry will get to the bottom of all the allegations outlined in The Press recently.

We are open and honest about criminality

From: Supt David Lunn, Kirklees Police

Dear Sir,

In recent weeks there have been a couple of articles in the Kirklees media that have reported local councillors’ concerns about the police not informing the public about crime in their area.

I would like to take this opportunity to add to the comments that we have already given in response to these stories and to hopefully better inform readers of the considerations we need to make.

Let me start by being very clear, we do not cover up crime, it is not in anyone’s interest to do so.

Local crime figures are made readily available and in the public domain at – a crime statistics website that allows people to enter their postcode and see what crimes have been committed in their area. 

Local councillors are in regular contact with their local Neighbourhood Policing Team Inspectors, and discuss crime issues in an area. 

Equally, any members of the public who want to know what is going on in their community can also speak to their local NPT, either over the phone or by attending their local PACT meetings, which are regularly held and advertised on the NPT websites.

Being the victim of crime is a traumatic experience and we will always take into consideration the wishes of the victims. 

Some people ask us not to publicise a crime they have been involved in and we will respect that position.

We issue appeals for witnesses in the media when officers need to attract more witnesses to a crime.

If this is not necessary, when for example an officer has spoken to all witnesses, or has made arrests, we do not always need to issue appeals in the media.

We continually take all opportunities to make people safer through issuing crime prevention advice, often through the media, which we would hope people use regularly and not just when crime occurs locally.

What is fact is that by working together we have reduced crime in Kirklees in the last year by over 4,000 crimes. 

In the case of burglary, which has been the focus of these recent articles, we have seen just over 900 less victims of burglary in the last 12 months.

We strive to drive this down even further and continue our close working relationship with the public and media.

Such lies over immigration

From: Roger R Stansfield, Cleckheaton

Dear Sir,

If I were a metal thief, I’d do quite well weighing in the ‘brass necks’ of the likes of Ed Balls, Jack Straw and David Blunkett.

What cheek to criticise this government’s efforts on the thorny issue of immigration.

A whistle blower, Andrew Neather, a Blair speech writer, sat in on secret meetings where Labour’s top dogs actually planned opendoor mass immigration, knowing most newcomers would vote Labour over benefits, and to ‘rub the right wingers’ noses in it’.

Moreover, they deceived the general public with spin, saying things like 13,000 Europeans would come, when in 10 years we had nearly three million.

In my opinion, this must be one of the biggest acts of treachery and deceit that any government has ever perpetrated on the country’s peoples, and everyone should know about this fact.

Heaton going to the dogs

From: Name and address supplied

Dear Sir,

I would agree 100 per cent with the letter last week regarding the appalling amount of dog mess in the Hanging Heaton area.

As a regular walker along High Street, Bennett Lane and the side roads off Bennett Lane, it would be lovely to be able to walk leisurely without constantly having to look down at the pavement to make sure you don’t tread in the piles left by irresponsible dog owners.

It’s bad enough when it’s left on the grass verge but I often see it in the middle of the pavement.  

Last week there were five piles between the junction of Croftlands and Langdale Road alone, which is only a short distance, all on the pavement for people to tread in. 

Is there anything the council can do other than put up signs which don’t appear to do much good?

Library is a force for good

From: K Lockwood, Dewsbury

Dear Sir,

To Councillors Akhtar, Stubley and Mayet – doubts about the future of Batley public library are causing deep concern in the town.

Some time ago there were vigorous protests against proposals to transfer some Kirklees administrative services from Batley Town Hall to the library. Decisions were postponed.

The library is a key element of town centre services, drawing footfall into the town centre, whereas the peripheral band of supermarkets, despite offering jobs, has drawn jobs and customers out of the high street where there are shops and a good library, a nucleus to work with.

What is needed is town centre business drawing workers and people into the main street, instead of threatening the library. 

Why not lease town hall space to businesses bringing jobs and people in – a few might even use the library.

Batley library is unique in this area. Purposebuilt many years ago, it is still fit for purpose, having proved adaptable. Anyway, where else could we put the clock?

Funding is a real lottery

From: Valerie Elson via email

Dear Sir,

Once again the headlines in The Forum relate to the downgrading of Dewsbury Hospital and the threatened closure of A&E along with reductions in other areas of treatment, including funding. 

Yet looking back at letters published 4/1/2013 one letter headed Lottery Money Waste relates to a Heritage Lottery Fund total of £30,000 given to investigate the history of Bhangra dancing!

Perhaps try reading about it or look it up on the web or enrol for a Bhangra dance course, which I am advised includes the history of this dance.

Plus £7,110 allotted to ‘Inspire’ from the Big Lottery Fund?

Kirklees – who decided the alloting of this money? Any consultation? What is the criteria for this? How was it agreed? What was the case presentation? Justification?

Meanwhile, back in the real world, Dewsbury Hospital is in a desperate situation and Dewsbury itself is almost closed down from lack of investment. 

Priorities, Kirklees? Best not buy any lottery tickets, there’s no consultation as to where it will be distributed.

Priorities are totally wrong

From Tom Hinchcliffe MBE, Birstall

Dear Sir,

Re the Council budget. 

I find it somewhat puzzling that at a time when councillors are considering a budget which will see Streetscene services cut and up to 85 people in children and young people’s services facing losing their jobs, the council can find part of the money to put into the refurbishment of the pavilion and cafe at Batley Park.

I know that the people who use this facility will say it is money well spent, but will the overall electorate see this? 

Especially the people who face losing their jobs?

And what saving will the cut in children and young people’s services make, as I assume that will mean a cut in youth and community staff, so voluntary groups will not have the support they so need and, more than likely, youth provision will be cut.

Young people will have fewer activities to take part in, and this could lead to vandalism and antisocial behaviour, thus costing more money, and this will put more pressure on the few voluntary organisations to try and fill the shortfall free of charge.

Maybe the councillors should get stuck in themselves and set up a project led and run by them, in their own time, and they will then realise the importance of these groups.

Our patience is being taxed

From: Mr RS Phillips, Mirfield

Dear Sir,

We hear a lot about equality and discrimination nowadays.

Well, the majority are beginning to realise it is them being discriminated against.

– Having to pay for criminals and enemies of our country in subsidised luxury;

– Devout people and church goers seeing the Bible being rewritten by politicians;

– Made to pay the TV licence. The Royal Charter states the BBC must not be politically biased. The upper echelons are crammed with leftwing, champagne socialists influencing viewers, on giant salaries.

They are also supposed to “exercise rigorous stewardship of public money” – ie licence payers’ cash.

Is an £8m contract to Jonathan Ross, or £1m per year to Gary Lineker and Alan Hansen (Match of the Day) “rigorous stewardship”?

– Top fares and car fuel. Been to London lately? It’s amazing the difference between people hustling to get to work, and those who emerge around 10am onwards on the underground. It’s like the League of Nations.

Their taxes are going to keep nonworkers and their huge families while citizens who’ve lost their jobs through mass immigration have no say on the matter.

Do not betray Carnegie 

From: Ruth Robson, Leeds

Dear Sir

On my recent visit to the art exhibition at Batley Library and Art Gallery I was gobsmacked to learn that Kirklees Council is considering selling off the building in a costcutting exercise.

Although I am not a Kirklees resident I have visited the library and art gallery many times, not only to view the wonderful art exhibitions held over the years but also to observe the different groups that use the library, from preschool toddlers to men and women in a variety of Muslim dress.

This gave me the feeling that the building serves the wide divergence of inhabitants who now populate the area.

The building not only serves as a library but also as a gallery and place where that part of human endeavour, beyond the everyday life of ‘acquiring and consuming’, makes and enriches as more than creatures of this earth.

Many of your readers will know the ragstoriches story of Andrew Carnegie, whose trust gave funds to establish the library, not only in Batley but in 3,000 places throughout the world.

He emigrated to Pennsylvania at the age of 13 in 1848 with his parents and initially worked in a bobbin factory. 

An astute and clever young man he eventually amassed a fortune in the railways and steel industry around Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Arguably he became the richest man in the world in competition with John D Rockefeller. 

When he amassed all this wealth he viewed his origins and devoted his later life to philanthropy, with special emphasis on libraries, world peace, education and scientific research. The Carnegie Library in Batley is a testament to his endeavour and wishes.

Kirklees has a large Muslim population which came to work in the nowdefunct textile industry. 

Councillors Shabir Pandor and Peter O’Neill should give deep consideration not only to the legacy of Andrew Carnegie but also the legacy they will leave to future constituents should the library building be closed and put up for sale.

Come and see our Pork Pie

From: David A Wood, Heckmondwike

Dear Sir,

Many thanks for the lovely article on my home village Gomersal in The Press. 

Good to see the old place promoted and many of the businesses and attractions highlighted.

May I, however, mention one of the hidden gems not covered – the Pork Pie Chapel on West Lane. 

It is a beautiful building and setting with over 150 years of history and we would love even more of the locals, indeed anyone, to come along and enjoy our Methodist church.

This Sunday at 10.30am our own Minister Graham Edwards will be taking the service, and though a Liverpool football supporter we do not hold that too much against him.

As becomes his youthfulness his worship is full of innovation, interest and much of what today is all about. 

Be it the the use of a tablet or costume to aid the various quizzes, competitions and performances he gives; his sermons also have still not seen me nod off – yet!

But if Sunday morning and church is still not quite your thing, how about coming along to one of our social gatherings? 

Early next month, on the Saturday afternoon of March 2, we have our famous afternoon tea. The last Saturday in June sees either our summer fayre or a 60s evening – not quite sure which we will do as yet. 

September 28/29 is the weekend of our flower festival with our now legendary brass band concert with a 40s theme on November 9. Our Christmas fayre ends the month on the 30th.

Just a few of the mouthwatering attractions put together by our few with an average age of around 103!

But God loves a trier and we are very fortunate that our lot are very trying. Those that have attended in the past will tell you that the Chapel events are some of the best you could attend – anywhere.

Hope to see you one day, you won’t be disappointed.

What gives God tinkering rights?

From: Heather Turner, Heckmondwike

Dear Sir

Peter Moreland asked (Feb 15): What right has any government to tinker with God’s laws?  This leads me to pose the question: What right has any god to tinker with the rights of an atheist? Or an agnostic, or member of another faith for that matter? Perhaps some do not wish to be governed by a set of laws which they inherently disbelieve?

Since noone is to be forced to have a samesex marriage, and religious groups are to be protected from conducting ceremonies, I cannot understand why religious belief has so deeply penetrated the argument.

I can only assume that objectors (religious or otherwise) are simply not pleased to know that others will be permitted to do something with which they themselves disagree; as the change in law will not affect the way they choose to conduct their own lives in the slightest.

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