Your Letters – Friday August 30, 2019

Different cultures coming together
Letter of the Week: Len Gardner

On Bank Holiday Saturday on the lawn outside Bagshaw Museum we were treated to a nostalgic variety of songs from the 40s, 50s and 60s by a solo singer.

In the glorious sunshine we dined outside with assorted fancy sandwiches, various tempting cakes and buns, lovely scones with cream and jam and gallons of tea and coffee.

This food extravaganza was supplied by ‘Friendlees’ – a group of people who can be justly proud of a job well done. 

Because of the heat we moved into the shade under the beautiful trees. 

The entertainment was further enhanced by poetry and performances from the Batley Poets.

So we had poetry, good food, songs which many of us knew the words to and a gathering of people with different religions and cultures, but with one aim – to enjoy a lovely event in lovely surroundings. 

I saw all sorts of people laughing, talking, singing and dancing.

My thanks, and I believe the thanks of all who attended, go to all the people who organised it and to the Bagshaw Museum staff for another very successful event.

No answers to my questions
From: Steve Cass, Mirfield

Sometime in February this year The Press reported Kirklees Councillor Peter McBride saying that the Thornhill Lees Riverside housing project will benefit the area. 

Curiously no facts were offered in support of his assertion.

I’ve learnt not to take politicians at their word. This country is in the state it’s in because people have been too willing to accept the word of the politician. 

I make my mind up only after reference to the facts, if that’s okay with the politicians that is, which, as it turned out, appears not to be okay with Coun McBride. He doesn’t want people to know the facts.

I must have left a dozen messages on his council answer-phone during February. 

My question was straightforward; what benefits and what costs had Coun McBride taken into account in reaching the conclusion that ‘Riverside will benefit the area’? But for all its straightforwardness my question seemed beyond him – he ignored it.

So I dropped the answer-phone route and turned to email and eventually Coun McBride responded: “Mr Cass, The rational(sic) for all aspects of the plan have(sic) been publicly available for months...”  

Clearly a great mind at work.

McBride is now deputy leader of the council and he holds the regeneration portfolio (incredible, I know); it shouldn’t have taken him more than five minutes to list the pros and cons of the plan, after all, he was instrumental in conceiving and actualising it.

So why so shy?

Anyway, I searched for the rationale he mentioned, but even with the assistance of one of my local councillors I found nothing.

I emailed Coun McBride explaining my difficulty and asked him to point me in the right direction. 

No reply. It was late March and still I’d heard not a whisper of support for Riverside from the ‘Riverside champion’. How very odd.

I emailed again. No reply. I emailed again, this time including the addendum: “There is another matter that I’d like to raise with you ... I note that the Riverside development in Thornhill Lees is to have at its centre a mosque. 

“Does this mean therefore that the development is to be exclusive, and if so, how then is this consistent with the council’s commitment to diversity, to inclusivity and integration, and indeed to equality?”

Quick as a flash McBride fired a reply into my inbox: “I have redirected your enquiry to an officer who might reply to you with more knowledge than I have.”

Was it something I’d said?

So I sat back and waited. And waited. It seems that the only time you don’t have to wait for Kirklees to get in contact is when they think you owe them money.

By the end of April I was beginning to think I might have to wait forever. I was expecting to receive some form of communication from the council employee whom Coun McBride had (or so he said) given the task of answering my query.

It was like waiting for Godot. Why McBride couldn’t answer it himself goodness only knows, his allusion that he lacked the knowledge to reply was utterly absurd, not to say disingenuous – he ran the Riverside show. 

I emailed him saying I’d heard nothing from the ‘delegated officer’. No reply. 

I emailed him to ask for contact details of the ‘delegated officer’. No reply. I emailed him to cast doubt on his word – I said I was beginning to suspect he’d not passed my query on as he said he had done. No reply.

Mid-June I contacted the council’s monitoring officer to make a formal complaint about Coun McBride’s behaviour. 

The monitoring officer found that there is no case to answer – according to the council McBride is beyond reproach. What a surprise. This issue is ongoing.

Meanwhile at the behest of the monitoring officer Kirklees emailed me going on a hundred pages of local government pc-speak gobbledegook, presumably as an answer to my simple question. 

This is so idiotic it could be a parody. What are these people afraid of? Talking of which, there’s no mention in all those pages of Riverside’s centre-piece, its mosque. 

How was this decision made? Did the council discuss it? If it did where can I access information about that discussion, or if it didn’t, why not?

Book scheme is taking off
From: Tony Dunlop, on behalf of the Little Book Club

On behalf of the new Little Book Club I would like to thank, first, the staff of Birstall Library, and then all the people who attended the launch of this new project and idea.

The concept was extremely well received and over 80 books were sold at that first meeting. 

Since then the number has increased to over 150 books and we have ordered a new print of all the seven books launched.

This project provides the chance for anyone to write a little book on a topic of their choosing and get it printed free – the only requirement is a belief that such a book would sell over 50 copies. 

So local knowledge of experiences of the past or local history that should be recorded are just what the project seeks. 

The books sell at £2 each; or three for £5 or all seven for £10. Postage has to be added, if required. Use the email below to find out the books on offer.

The great news is that at the launch we had offers of help and promises for three new books.

The books making up the next release will be announced in late September for availability in October. 

Send your name and email address to TheLBC2019@ to be added to the mailing list for the LBC newsletter. 

As of today we have 21 titles being researched. Thank you to all.

Get to grips with violence
From: Name and Address Supplied

I am appalled at the level of violence I am seeing in Thornhill Lees and Ravensthorpe.

Footage of the thugs in Thornhill Lees was seen by many people on social media.

Sad to say people are living in fear. I am asking our councillors and MP what they are going to do about this and end these gang-related acts.

This will escalate, as we have seen before in Dewsbury. 

Let’s see our councillors and MPs on the streets with a strong show of policing.

Act now as the majority of law-abiding Dewsbury people are fed up and can see where all this is leading.

Sad to see Spen Pool go
From: Ben Marshall, Liversedge

I’ve just visited Spenborough Baths for the last time today with my six-year-old daughter, we both wanted to visit just one more time. 

Whilst I’m sure the new facilities will be very nice, as ever when an iconic building has to depart for ‘progress’ more than a tinge of sadness is felt. 

I remember happy childhood times visiting Spen, with long passed and present family members (as will many others), school swimming sessions and the ‘Nova’ coach from Headlands Road School, and all my four children learning and enjoying a superb local facility. 

My final thought for the place is the opening plaque in the entrance, which as a bored kid in a long queue to pay I used to read.

For me this represented something Her Royal Highness the Queen had ‘approved’ for me to use! 

I sincerely hope Her Majesty will officially open the new baths in two years’ time as it will be a nice but also historic moment 52 years apart.

Kirklees, please note, in the words of our local celebrity Sir Patrick Stewart’s Captain Jean-Luc Picard: “Make it so.”

A well-meaning but naive trip
From: Alec Suchi, Bradford

Notwithstanding the unfounded assertions that increasing carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere are causing world temperatures to rise, Greta Thunberg’s decision to attend a United Nation’s climate conference in New York by crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a yacht has attracted a certain derision.

Whether entirely of her own volition, her decision to cross in a solar-powered yacht will actually involve a higher expenditure of energy than if she had flown on an ordinary scheduled flight. 

It is understood that the crew making the outward journey will be flown home, while a new crew will be flown to New York to sail the yacht homewards.

In fact it would have been more appropriate had Greta remained at home and spoken to the conference by video link if  she was serious in her intentions to demonstrate how to minimise energy consumption.

The World’s temperature had been much higher in the past, even in recorded history, for example during the Roman Period and the present hysteria that irreparable damage would arise if temperatures increased by 1.5 degree Celsius is clearly nonsensical. 

Discussions appertaining to the environment need to be pursued rationally and free from the absurd antics of the discredited and despicable environmental movement who are cynically manipulating a well-meaning but naive girl.

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