Your Letters – Friday February 7, 2020

Surprisingly, life has continued as before 

Letter of the Week: 'Heckmondwike Hector'

So Kirklees decided not to celebrate the departure from the EU, seemingly with a random number of excuses (The Press, January 31).

Strange as it may sound, I too adopted the ‘Kirklees spirit.’

At the time when the country was out celebrating I was sat in my tarpaulin-covered dug-out which I constructed at the bottom of my garden.

At first light of dawn I peered out and saw that life was continuing as before. 

The “possible war with Russia” uttered by failed former Premier David Cameron as one of the consequences of Brexit had not happened. Perhaps Mr Putin has more things to think about than the price of fish. 

Later in the day I walked into a local pharmacy and noticed a distinct lack of panic over the predicted crisis in obtaining pharmaceuticals.

Simplistic as it might appear, these were just two targeted examples of the remainers’ ‘Project Fear,’ the most insidious form of psychological warfare ever launched on the British public. 

Their intention of course was to defy democracy and rob over 17 million people of their rightful inheritance. 

I always believed that the ballot box (rather than bullets) was the way forward as opposed to the loathing and hatred which exists between polarised political views. The anti-Brexiters destroyed all of that and much of my faith in the political process.

Their campaign was carried out with slander, disinformation and character assassination along with threats and other forms of political misdemeanour. 

Every trick in the book was thrown at us in order to keep the country bound to the European shackles; laughably, whilst ‘respecting the decision of the British people’. 

On the other hand, I admire those who voted to remain with Europe and voted accordingly but nevertheless respected the outcome of the referendum. 

I and many other people would have done the same had the decision gone the other way. Tragically, a large majority do not hold to such principals. Seemingly, there are some in Kirklees Council who fall into that category. 

In my view these people should refrain from shaking their head at the televised carnage in countries where democracy has been defied in the face of self-interest and personal gain. 

Throughout the campaign anti-Brexiters galvanised themselves into something that became the epitome of such divisions.


Fighting a losing battle

From: Cheryl Tyler, chairman Save Mirfield

As you may know, Save Mirfield and the Granny Lane Area Action Group (GLAAG) have been fighting the Miller Homes application to build on the water meadow close to Sheep Ings Farm here in Mirfield. 

We failed. 

I wonder how many people know that if an application is refused, a developer can appeal and often not be challenged, whereas a community is not able to appeal against an approval.

Our one last desperate attempt to stop it was to make a ‘call-in’ request to the Housing Minister but sadly we were unsuccessful.

We have together spent hundreds of hours and a great deal of money trying to convince Kirklees planners the folly of building on this field. 

It acts as a natural soak-away from the hills behind and yet, on occasions, still floods onto the road. The residents have to deal with this as well as the River Calder flooding, and at times Granny Lane is impassable due to flooding.

It is true that the field was allocated in the Kirklees Local Plan, which was adopted last February, but it is our contention that the due diligence on the site was not properly done. 

Not only regarding the flood risks but also the dire state of the highways in the area, especially Steanard Lane which runs to the east of the site. 

We were unable to convince the planners of these issues and local residents are fearful of the possibility of water which will not be able to soak away naturally, finding its way into their homes.

It is unlikely that the new homes will flood as they will be raised and not in the actual flood zone but at times, access to their homes, for them and emergency vehicles, is likely to be compromised as the proposed entrance will be in flood zone three. This is one of the highest grades of flood risk.

We employed professionals to help us, and the wrangling went on for several months. 

Then suddenly, we were told it would go before the Strategic Planning committee on December 19, just before Christmas.

At this point we decided that we had to get a flood risk assessment done privately since we were not being listened to as regards the problems with drainage and flooding. 

So at great expense and thanks to generous supporters, we engaged a company to look at this for us. 

A very detailed report was produced confirming our own findings that “The incorrect conclusion from the flood risk assessment has been taken forward by Kirklees Council and forms the basis of planning officer’s report on the site. The planning officer’s report is therefore based on an unsound assumption”.

There are a number of other points raised that should have at least been properly considered by the committee.

This report was sent on the last day of the public consultation period. 

However, the planning officer’s report was written prior to the end of the consultation period. 

In our view this means that the flood risk report we commissioned could not have had proper attention since the Strategic Planning Committee met just two working days later. 

Our planning lawyer told us that what they did was not unlawful but was “preposterous”. The application should have been deferred on December 19 to at least allow time for all parties to properly review the report we commissioned.

It is true that if a site is allocated in the Local Plan the presumption is in favour of development. 

However, each application is supposed to be looked at on its own merits. It is not meant to be a ‘rubber stamp’ exercise. 


Putting my faith in you

From: Mr G Dennis, Birstall

Dear Boris Johnson, Dominic Raab and your Conservative colleagues. 

As a life-long socialist and having voted for you, I am now putting my total faith in the likes of you two plus the Conservative Party to negotiate the UK’s rightful and long-awaited future outside the EU. 

At 69 years of age I remember how Edward Heath took us in to the EEC without a referendum and how two years later under Harold Wilson we unfortunately decided to stay via a national referendum.

Taking that aside, my initial wishes remain despite the likes of EU individuals like Juncker, Barnier and Varadkar etc, plus our own poisoned UK opposition including Sturgeon and Blackford of the SNP, the pathetic Liberal Democrats plus the dead-in-the-water Jeremy Corbyn who has recently had the complete gall to nominate John Bercow for a peerage despite the fact the latter is a Tory, and last but not least the self-proclaimed senior Labour statesman John McDonnell.


Is this really austerity?

From: Harry Teale, Mirfield

Would you ‘Adam and Eve’ it! A new government of the UK actually fulfilling a major pledge within days of taking office! Unfortunately, due to the behaviour of Europhiles in previous governments of the UK, although the UK is no longer a member of the EU, the UK is still subject to rules and regulations of the EU.

With regards to the ‘moaning minnies’ and ‘wailing wallies’ who are bleating on about austerity, how many are old enough to recall the aftermath of World War Two when the majority of items were rationed? 

How many of the people using food banks have cars, smoke, drink and gamble? How many have a wardrobe full of clothes and shoes? How many have children in pre-school care paid for by the taxpayers? 

When they experience the hardship endured by those still around from the 1940s, then I will credit them with a just claim to having experienced austerity.

To end on a cheerful note – I actually heard an EU politician acknowledge the debt owed to the UK and allies for rescuing the nations of Europe from the tyranny of dictators on two occasions. Perhaps leaving the EU, the UK may have started a third occasion!


Actors have some diverse principles

From: Alec Suchi, Bradford

The actor Joaquin Phoenix took the opportunity at the recent BAFTA awards to criticise the film industry for its apparent lack of diversity and the supposed ‘systemic racism’ which underpins and sustains it.

It has unfortunately become routine for members of the acting profession in particular – and those in the public eye in general – to declare their unequivocal commitment to diversity and in the process reveal morally-superior values.

The danger is that within the entertainment industry and the arts, work which could be considered substandard and undeserving may be given accolades merely to fulfill diversity requirements and thus politicising the whole process.

Knowingly or otherwise people like Phoenix are accepting the tenets of egalitarianism which presumes that all people are equally talented and that differences in attainment arise from unfair advantages enjoyed by one group over another. 

Thus, according to this doctrine, unless there arises an equality of outcomes between different groups then the less successful group has suffered undue disadvantages and discrimination, systemic or otherwise.

According to the egalitarians ability arises largely from favourable environmental circumstances, rather than from inheritance and that anybody can aspire to whatever they choose as there are no limits other than those artificially imposed.

There is no doubt that a favourable environment will improve the circumstances of the disadvantaged but will not produce an equality of outcomes. 

Rather than accepting that some people, or groups of people, may be more talented than others the political climate is to perceive this difference as arising from discrimination.


Proud that I was there

From: Colin Walshaw, Scholes

Don’t be fooled, the remainers have not given up. The BBC (Brussels Broadcasting Corporation) coverage of Friday night’s Brexit celebrations was pathetic, other channels were not much better.

Granted that it was not politically correct to rub remainers’ noses in it, particularly when we know “it’s not over til it’s over”.

However, the miniscule coverage of the crowd numbers and many featured speakers  was pathetic. 

Comments of “hundreds of people, some with flags”, was a gross misrepresentation of the actual numbers. 

I was there and although it is difficult to assess, friends and I estimated in excess of 20,000, with hundreds of police personnel alone. There must have been hundreds at the gates of 10 Downing Street for the pathetic light show.

It was a tremendous night with many sympathetic Europeans in the crowd, no trouble and very good-natured. It was certainly a night to remember and I am proud to say “I was there”.

Let’s hope Boris holds the line and we can say “Roll on December 31st!”


Flight of fantasy...

From: Martin McFadden, Drighlington

It’s unbelievable that the bosses of Leeds Bradford Airport choose to spend £150million on a new terminal building.

No regard for the punters who will still be getting soaked walking from the car park to a swanky new building.

And on return – from swanky new building to car park – soaked again !

What planet are these decision-makers on?  Why do they ignore the important factors of customer convenience and satisfaction?

A trainline right up to the airport, with covered walkway/travelator straight into the check-in hall would be a good start.

And for the minority arriving by private car or taxi, a drop-off point that is also under cover – straight onto the same walkway/travelator.  

Make the airport a joy to use, travellers will soon forget what the M62 looks like and the  profits will soar!

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