Council’s short of cash, but why?
Letter of the Week: Philip Haley, Liversedge
For those who didn’t already know, or for those who steadfastly have buried their heads in the sand, it is now clear that Kirklees Council is Huddersfield alone.
The Labour group’s local election promise to spend a ridiculous amount of money on Huddersfield is shameless.
They are constantly at pains to remind us that the council is so short of money due to central Government cuts that it can’t run our libraries (except of course when it comes to spending £45m centred on the Huddersfield one!), can’t supply care to the elderly, can’t keep roads clear in wintry conditions, blah blah blah ...
Dear local elector, dare you ask yourself why central Government can’t keep ploughing nonsensical amounts of money into local councils?
Go on, I’ll give you a couple of minutes to think ... that’s it, you’ve got it!
The little matter of a note left by the outgoing Labour Chancellor in 2010 on the desk of George Osborne, wishing him luck as ‘there’s no money’!
To return to the point: how can Kirklees Labour Party find £45m to spend when it can leave the likes of Batley and Dewsbury to fail and die?
Clearly, Labour councillors from the said towns couldn’t give two figs about that, as long as they toe the Labour dogma lines about uncaring Tory governments.
Remember voters, when you cast your (hopefully) legal vote in these elections, that Kirklees Labour Party cares nothing about you, only about scoring points.
I hope that voters in other parts who don’t support this shower turn out in sufficient numbers to change the balance of power on Kirklees Council.
They have spent and spent and spent, granted and granted and granted, which all flies in the face of their claims of central government austerity, which is all down to their party’s failure in the first place.
The fact that a third administration is still having to deal with the fallout of the Labour 2010 bankruptcy of the country eight years later should give you an indication of the severity and size of the hole which was dug by them.
It wasn’t just a couple of quid missing from petty cash! Trust David Sheard and you are still digging that hole!
Think before you feed them
From: Jane Hicks, Batley
This is a difficult thing to talk about as there can be very few of us who have not fed wild ducks and geese with bread, either when we were children or when out with our own children and grandchildren.
Probably the amount each family gives birds is not a problem, but when all of these amounts are combined it can result in a serious problem for the birds, Angel Wing, which prevents them from flying and results in early death as they are less able to escape predators.
Excessive carbohydrates, such as bread, are believed to be the root of the problem.
Recently the Friends of Wilton Park, Batley, have noticed that people actually seem to be dumping unwanted bread in the park in such large amounts that the majority of it is not being eaten by the birds.
This is leading to two further problems – pollution of the lake and an increase in the number of rats who are delighted to have this easy access to food.
Feeding the birds is a lovely thing to do, but it is important that we do it right – sweetcorn seems to be the most popular with both ducks and geese, but defrosted peas are also popular as well as kale (especially for geese) and seeds.
Differences in planning
From: Mr B Marshall, Liversedge
As a professional driver who travels all round the district, I have always wondered about these well-organised anti-development groups and their success.
I see they are digging up the fields between the Old Fountain and Taylor Hall Lane (A62), and arguably this site is similar land to Chidswell. I’ve also seen the looming sign on the next set of fields towards Whiteleys.
I am confused a little with the placards at Chidswell as the only view to me ‘spoilt’ (granted it’s green belt) seems to be the houses facing the lovely views out of their back windows from the bottom of Baghill to the top of Chidswell as the “view” from the A653 is blocked by them, which originally must have been built on green belt themselves!
Was there such vehement opposition then? I’m sure they have a good case but NIMBY springs to mind!
Further down Batley Road though the nice greenfield sites are slowly being developed for housing, seemingly unopposed.
I see the proposed development on the Ringway in Heckmondwike has been stopped.
The only brownfield alternative site that seems to be good ‘on paper’, disregarding extra traffic/ pollution etc, seems to be on Hightown New Road in Cleckheaton, ironically right next to the Low Moor branch line (aka the Greenway).
With the exception of Batley Road in Alverthorpe/ Kirkhamgate, the sites I’ve mentioned are all in Kirklees arent they?
It just goes to show planning differences throughout the area.
Social media could help
From: R Spreadbury, Liversedge
I have noted in this week’s papers articles concerning the inexplicable and, to me, incomprehensible rise in attacks on our brave fire crews.
This is just another area where the authorities, who are paid to look after our welfare, have lost control.
I prefer the more accurate, phrase ‘lost the plot’.
The cure is very simple for all to see if they bothered looking, – name and shame on social media.
There is currently a massive debate over the bad influence social media has on our lives. This concentrates on the headline-grabbing, vote-catching problems of trolling, cyber bullying, harassing, sexting, etc.
All things guaranteed to get the media baying for legislation and control. They have completely missed the obvious point.
Such problems have a beneficial side, the very same actions can be used to great effect against rogue corporations, polluters, etc, so why not use this power against the the ASBO brigade?
A simple Facebook page where CCTV, camera phone photos, or video footage, can be uploaded by the public of these morons caught in the act?
It is there forever, to be displayed and commented on.
Then all it needs is for the public to identify them and the school they attend. Much like a Crimestoppers for anti-social morons.
No-one likes being shown up and embarrassed, and be open to ridicule.
ASBO kids are no exception, and in fact, because of the very nature of the offence, are more susceptible to ridicule. The exact opposite of what they are trying to achieve.
However the leftie luvvy brigade, who live for the most part in their leafy middle class suburbs, will hold their hands up in horror and howl with self-righteous indignation: “You can’t possibly do that!” Citing breaches of human rights, privacy, individual freedom blah, blah, blah.
And their alternative? More of the same.
It will really work, honest, you just need to throw more money at it. It’s the fault of Tory cuts, and in no way a reflection of the complete lack of new meaningful ideas.
Tough health care choices
From: Christine Hyde, Dewsbury
At the CCG governing body meetings on Wednesday April 11, the terms of reference for the new Kirklees Integrated Commissioning Board were detailed in one of the reports.
Many people do not realise that the NHS policy mandates that councils and NHS become this single body to ‘integrate’ local health and social care provision. Councillors are certainly not aware of it.
But never mind, it looks like there will be no democratic involvement on the board. So that leaves the public with a conundrum. What do you call a marriage between a quango and a council?
It also means that the Health and Social Care Scrutiny Panels have a serious task, scrutinising all the new models of ‘care’ that these things are set up to produce.
The Scrutiny Panel for Kirklees the same week, heard an outrageous report by the CQC for dentistry. Councillor Fazila Loonat’s excellent question was met with absolute silence from the CQC!
I read today that NHS England only commissions dentists for 56 per cent of the population. This is obvious in Dewsbury, where there are still no NHS dentists.
What happens if the ‘new models of care’ turn out to be physical healthcare for 56 per cent of the population?
When you look at programmes like the BBC’s Hospital, you can see that is quite within the range of future possibilities.
Hard choices. But not the National Health Service.
Still lots to do to combat racism
From: John Appleyard, Liversedge
Racism was rife in the UK during the 1960s, with a colour bar and discrimination in housing and employment.
The 1968 Race Relations Act was brought in by a Labour Government to counter this.
Fifty years ago Enoch Powell spoke against Immigration and Europe at a meeting of Tories in the West Midlands in what became known as his ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech.
He was sacked by Tory Prime Minister Edward Heath and even today there are people who argue that ‘Enoch was right’.
Powell’s speech made racism look respectable and in 1968, shortly after his speech, the far right National Front marched through Huddersfield and according to their organisers gained eight new members on the back of Powell’s speech.
We then saw an upsurge of violence against immigrants.
Powell was an opportunist who was hoping one day to lead the Conservative Party. He failed miserably.
Racism still exists among some people but we have made advances in race relations by being far more tolerant with each other than we were in the days of Enoch Powell.
Mass murder should have been tackled
From: Peter Moreland, Heckmondwike
The action taken against Syria last week was about 10 years overdue, and not enough.
Despots like Assad should not be allowed to murder their own citizens.
I don’t know why we have the United Nations, they are like a wet handshake and should get a firm grip on dealing with the world’s trouble spots.
Bosnia, Rwanda and the like should never have been allowed to happen.
Remember St George’s Day?
From: Tim Wood, Old Colonial, Mirfield
Growing up in and around Dewsbury in the 50s and 60s you could see that there wasn't much brass about, the Second World War had bled the country and its commonwealth almost dry.
The mill towns of Dewsbury, Batley, Mirfield, Heckmondwike and Cleckheaton, once the mainstay of the heavy woollen production of cloth in the world were now in decline, synthetics and cheap imports were starting to take their toll.
One of the morale-boosters of the day was pride, civic pride, local pride in our parks and gardens and a sense of pride in all things good about Britain.
We were proud of our nation, our towns and their achievements.
During the 60s I was a member of the 14th Dewsbury Cub Scouts. On St George’s Day or the nearest weekend to it, we and other groups and associations would parade to All Saints Parish Church (now the Minster) for a service of thanksgiving to our patron saint.
The church was packed and the town centre came to a standstill. Later on in time I joined the First Ravensthorpe Boys Brigade and also paraded with many other organisations to mark St George’s Day.
These traditions are still carried on in some form, but not on the scale of yesterday.
I have never taken much notice of all this politically correct nonsense, and each St George’s Day and a bit before I always trim up my pub and put on some sort of offering.
A few years I wrote on my advertising boards a traditional message, adding to it ‘Dragon friendly’. Later that evening a couple turned up who had obviously had a refreshing afternoon in someone else's hostelry.
The lady was massive, she looked a bit like the actor Arthur Mullard and could have made Grendel look like Mother Theresa.
For the next two hours she ripped into her poor old docile hubby, who sat there and nodded dolefully, much to the amusement of my customers, some of whom stayed later than usual to enjoy this spectacular dragon-pecking.
Like all St George’s Day celebrations we shall be putting on a free supper, all we ask is for a few coppers into our local Remembrance Day fund.
Good luck and enjoy your day on Monday April 23.