Your Letters – Friday February 1, 2019

Initiatives to help the less fortunate

Letter of the Week: Liz Exley, administrator for CARE Dewsbury, and David Currie, member of Churches Together in Dewsbury

Following your article in last week’s edition of ‘The Press’, we are pleased that Batley Homeless Project now has premises in Dewsbury from which to improve the provision of food and other essentials to people in need on a Friday evening.

Across the week however, there are other initiatives seeking to provide for those less fortunate than ourselves in Dewsbury.

Churches Together in Dewsbury through CARE Dewsbury is open on Mondays and Thursdays between 10am and noon and offers a hot meal, clothing, toiletries, help with form filling, making appointments and advice on the other agencies available for support.

Clients are assured of a listening ear and a warm welcome. Thirty-eight hot meals were served on Monday.

The initiative was launched over 10 years ago in 2008 and since then there have been 30,668 interactions with people who have called in for support.

CARE Dewsbury is based at Dewsbury Baptist Church’s small hall, staffed by volunteers, with food and other essentials supplied by many different churches and individuals locally and further afield.

Others are busy in Dewsbury providing food to those in need. Dewsbury Minister offer sandwiches, soup and a hot drink between 9.30am and 10.30am every day except Sunday. 

Fusion Housing is open weekdays (except Wednesday) from 10am to 12noon and 1pm to 3pm.

It is a housing charity but also provides emergency food parcels alongside guidance and support. 

We understand that Chart, a free confidential drug and alcohol service for adults, is open on Wednesdays 9.30-11am for a cooked breakfast. 

On the last Sunday evening of each month food is given out to those in need at the town hall.

Universal Credit was rolled out in this area in November 2017 and seems to have coincided with increased requests for help. 

We recommend that people in need contact the Local Welfare Provision (LWP) team at Kirklees Council in Empire House.

The council website states: “If you are in immediate need which will mean serious damage or risk to the health or safety of you or a member of your family, please contact the local welfare provision team on 01484 414782 or

If you would like to find out more about the work of CARE Dewsbury please drop in or phone Liz Exley on 07815 583144.

Politics can be better than this

From: Garry Kitchin, Batley

I have been a keen political observer since watching closely the Miners’ Strike in the 1980s.

I can honestly say I have never known a Parliament so poor and so useless in all this time.

We have a Prime Minister who week by week, shows herself to be utterly ill-equipped to lead the nation, especially at such a critical time.

What does she do when her key policy is defeated by a record margin? 

She carries on regardless. She struggles forward – ‘Brexit is Brexit’ – when she is politically dead.

For some reason her body hasn’t quite got the message that her credibility died a long time ago.

She leads a party that fights like rabbits in a sack, but which realises the Prime Minister is currently on a hiding to nothing, so are happy for her to take the damage, hoping to step into her kitten heels once the difficult decisions have already been made by someone else.

The official opposition is as weak as I can remember.

In normal times, such an appalling Government would have been taken to pieces by the opposition, who would be very comfortably ahead in the polls.

However, despite all the problems with Theresa May’s government, the main parties are neck and neck in the polls. 

The same polls have consistently shown that Theresa May still leads Jeremy Corbyn as ‘Best PM’, and by some margin. 

This is like coming second in a beauty contest to Quasimodo.

May and Corbyn lack what successful Prime Ministers have – a strong political antenna.

Those who occupy Downing Street for long periods, like Wilson, Thatcher and Blair, mostly understood well how the nation was thinking. 

They knew when it was time to push certain policies, as the public mood would accept them, in addition to when to back down when it would not.

I think May and Corbyn are politically tone deaf. They comfort themselves in believing the hype from their own tribes, but beyond their tribes public opinion of them is low.

I really hope we can break out of this Brexit phase, as it is destroying Parliament. 

My only hope is that afterwards our political parties find new, better leaders, and our politics can be better than it has been recently. Our democracy demands it.

MPs should respect result

From: Steven Whitelock, via email

Steve Oliver’s response to my point about the vote at the Referendum, which has now been given the term ‘Brexit’ was well made, thank you.

I pondered about including my source material in the letter published January 18 2019, deciding it may be too much information.

However I feel it appropriate to share the source of the statistics I quoted.

“The referendum was conducted very differently to the European Communities membership referendum in 1975 with a more localised and regionalised counting procedure and was overseen by the Electoral Commission .... This article lists, by voting area for Great Britain and Gibraltar and by Parliamentary  constituency for Northern Ireland.

“Under the provisions of the European Union Referendum Act 2015 there were a total of 382 voting areas across twelve regions using the same boundaries as used in European Parliamentary elections since 1999 under the provisions of the European Elections Act 2002 with votes counted at local authority level: in England the 326 local government districts were used as the voting areas ... in Scotland the 32 Scottish council areas were used as voting areas ... in Wales the 22 Welsh council areas were used as the voting areas...

“On 23rd June 2016 the recorded result was UK voters favoured leaving the European Union, by 51.9% for Leave, and 48.1% for remain with 270 (67.7%) voting areas ... voting to ‘Leave the European Union’ to (32.3%) which voted to ‘Remain a member of the European Union’.”

P Wenman (2019). 

In my view a resounding majority of the ‘constituencies’ which I say my local MP(s) should respect and vote leave accordingly.

Bibliography: Results of the 2016 United Kingdom European Union membership referendum. Accessed January 2019.

D-Day vets can take trip

From: Wendy Storey, vice chairman Batley Branch, Royal British Legion

The Royal British Legion has announced plans to take 300 Normandy veterans to France on a specially-chartered ship for the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

The voyage will take veterans who helped liberate France during the Second World War to a series of commemorative events on both sides of the Channel at no cost to them.

The vessel will depart from Dover and will arrive in Normandy on June 6, exactly 75 years after the D-Day landings.

Normandy veterans interested in taking part should apply by February 4, so please help us spread the word.

If anyone in our local area is interested in this trip could they please contact Peter Brierley, secretary of Batley Royal British Legion on 01924 440832 or mobile  07858 730033.

Opportunity of a lifetime

From: John Whelan, Dewsbury

Whether you are a Remainer or a Leaver, surely the BBC Two programme ‘Inside Europe’ on Monday night, should have convinced you why it is essential for us to free ourselves from the cloying grip of the intransigent EU. 

Their myopic view that their opinion for the future of Europe was all that mattered, was laid open for all to view.

The stoic resistance to Cameron’s (although pathetic) appeal for understanding, should underline the fact that the EU cannot be negotiated with, and to remain would see a complete loss of any influence we might be deluded enough to think we have over the future direction of the EU.

Surely our ‘Remainer’ MPs should at last wake up to the fact that to get out now before the roof caves in, is the opportunity of a lifetime, literally!

Show them we’ve got guts

From: Colin Walshaw, Scholes, Cleckheaton

So now you have it!

The Remainers in Parliament have spoken, the Caroline Spelman motion to stop a No Deal result was passed, although this is non-binding it shows that MPs, our own included, are willfully ignoring the directive of the people who voted them into office to do their bidding. 

They will ultimately reap the wind!

Clinging on to the belief that we did not understand the implications or were bamboozled by the lies of the Leave campaign is both arrogant and insulting.

They forget that those of us who voted in the original referendum in 1975 were most definitely directly lied to, in particular by the devious Edward Heath. 

The vote was to stay in a common market (which we joined without a public vote). 

This was a trading relationship which made good sense, as Britain was in a mess as a result of Labour mismanagement, and was being described as ‘the sick man of Europe’. 

No mention of a political amalgamation! 

It may be also argued that there were also under 18 year-olds who did not have a vote, note that until January 1 1970 the voting age was 21 (and should be again).

Doubtless the EU will reject the proposal of the Brady Amendment passed by Parliament on Tuesday night, thus showing their intransigence and forcing us into our own proposal of trading under WTO rules. 

Bring it on Mrs May, show them Britain has the guts once again.

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