Please keep fighting – and being realistic
Letter of the Week: John Sheen, Dewsbury
Is Martyn Bolt the only councillor with the guts to stand up and be counted?
Some 4,000 new houses and schools proposed in an area that suffers appalling gridlock every day.
The absolute misery of thousands of drivers is being completely ignored in the pursuit of yet more properties, which will only compound the problem.
Members of Kirklees Council have no concept whatsoever of the bumper-to-bumper journey between Dewsbury and Mirfield.
A journey that once took 12 minutes can now take up to 30 minutes.
A Ravensthorpe bypass was discussed years ago but has never come to fruition.
Kirklees can’t even fill the number of potholes let alone fight for a bypass.
However, they can disregard the infrastructure priority and throw up 4,000 new properties on the same land.
How do they expect to encourage new businesses into the region when customers, and indeed employees, have great difficulty getting in and out of the area?
Martyn Bolt also spoke realistically about merging Mirfield and Ravensthorpe railway stations together and building a brand-new state of-the-art facility fit for the 21st century and beyond.
This would greatly serve the ‘visionary’ Northern Powerhouse.
We see Wakefield with two new stations.
Leeds with plans for a fantastic new station.
Big deal for Dewsbury with new barriers being installed.
Investment in road and rail for this massively deprived area is greatly lacking, and I call upon the 69 Kirklees councillors to start to look at the basics before building thousands of new properties in Ravensthorpe.
People trying to pass through Ravensthorpe are sick and tired of the major holdups, which have been ignored for years.
It’s the biggest bottleneck between Dewsbury and the M62.
We pay the council to represent us and work for the best interests of the district.
Unfortunately, there’s little thought for the electorate until election day. Even the face-to-face local meetings have been scrapped.
Martyn Bolt appears to be one of the few councillors who cares passionately about his community and its residents.
He needs the support of the rest of the Kirklees Council to achieve any significant change to current thoughts on our road and rail network for a much brighter future.
Keep fighting, Martyn.
This is why the NHS is in crisis
From: Diana Lauder, Wakefield
As a retired nurse and NHS campaigner, I would like to explain why we have the current problems in our NHS and hopefully address issues raised in the January 5 edition of The Press.
Prior to 2010 the NHS had the highest customer satisfaction ratings and the lowest waiting times for cancer care/ surgery since records began.
This was as a result of increased spending on health from 2000 until it became comparable to that spent in other EU nations, both per head of population and as a percentage of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.
Since 2010 that has been steadily falling in real terms. Since it began in 1948, the NHS has had increased funding year on year of four per cent, partly because of population increases but also because of advances in medicine, new and more powerful drugs being developed etc.
Since 2010 that increase has been just over one per cent per annum, so effectively a three per cent reduction each year.
Coupled with this, in 2012 Andrew Lansley introduced the Health and Social Care Act.
This Act removed the responsibility for the nation’s health from the Secretary of State for Health, currently Jeremy Hunt and it now rests with Simon Stevens, head of NHS England.
Simon Stevens is a previous high-ranking employee of United Health Global, a US health insurance giant!
This Act also made it compulsory to have a market in healthcare with the competitive tendering that goes alongside this.
Management consultants, lawyers and accountants with all the bureaucracy, accompanies this type of system. The money spent here is then no longer available for care.
Government has also decimated the funding to local councils making it impossible to provide adequate social care.
With regard to the ambulance service, the delays getting to patients that we have seen of late are as a direct result of these funding cuts.
Elderly and frail people often cannot leave hospital because there is no social care for them.
This ‘blocks the beds’, though I hate this term. Blocked beds mean patients requiring admission from A&E have nowhere to go.
A&E then becomes full until ambulance crews are unable to unload their patients needing A&E.
The ambulance crew are then not free to answer other emergency calls. Regarding the 111 service, this was downgraded several years ago from NHS Direct to save money by employing fewer professionally clinically qualified staff.
I fully understand and share the frustrations that money is wasted on management consultants and higher management pay, but this is systematic of a market-driven ideology that now resides within our NHS.
This has to go. I am against PFI which was initially introduced in the mid 90s and increased under Blair/ Brown, but I do support Jeremy Corbyn in that he has promised to remove PFI, remove the market from the NHS and restore it to a publicly-funded, publicly-provided, equitable and universal system as it was several decades ago.
Top-down reorganisation was never a manifesto pledge in 2010, 2015 or 2017 but we have it nevertheless.
You don’t have to splash out
From: Andy Pearson, Roberttown
How to be in debt for the rest of your life:
If you are one of those people who like ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ and impressing people with the latest car, try to snap out of it quickly. It is all very expensive and has bankrupted many a person.
• Depreciation on cars – latent losses going into thousands of pounds.
• Caravans – rapid depreciation. East Coast sites for statics are now £2,000-£4,000 annual rent.
• Houses – take great care with your choice. Beware of areas deteriorating.
• Holidays – a brochure came through the letterbox for short breaks. The cost was £320 for four people. We went on the exact same holiday, and date, for £38 for four from a national newspaper promotion and had a great time; although they tried to sell us a caravan!
• I’m not being a ‘wet blanket’, but jewellery and most watches shoot down in value. You are lucky to get a third of what you paid if you fall on hard times and have to pawn them.
• Perfume – a bottle priced at between £10 and £60 costs only £2-£5 to produce. FACT.
You don’t have to splash out like a madman to enjoy yourself.
Plastic promise from Tories
From: John Appleyard, Liversedge
The Tory party general election manifesto of 2017 contained nothing about plastic, and now in an attempt to capture the young voter Theresa May has pledged to deliver a plastic-free coastline.
Her timescale of 25 years is not good enough, in that time a further 300 million tonnes of plastic pollution will enter the oceans.
Labour however did have a commitment to plastics in its election manifesto which included safeguarding habitats and species in the ‘blue belts’ of the seas and oceans surrounding our island, setting guiding targets for plastic bottle schemes and working with food manufacturers and retailers to reduce waste.
Yachtswoman Ellen Macarthur, who sailed solo around the world, said she realised on her journey how small our planet is and how heavily polluted our oceans are.
We should heed her concerns.
There’s still a disconnect
From: Steve Cass, Mirfield
John Appleyard (Forum 12/01/18) took care to avoid my point (Forum 5/01/18). The issue I raised had nothing to do with the frequency of Tracy Brabin’s utterances in Parliament and everything to do with the disconnect between what she says and what she does.
And she was at it again last week. Writing in The Press ‘two-homes Tracy’ made a commitment to cut down on household waste – presumably having two homes she’ll be able to make twice the savings.
If only everyone was as environmentally conscious.
What next? Perhaps Ms Brabin plans to take “this heartless government” to task for the housing crisis.
Changes have been made
From: Name and address supplied
In reply to Jon Croxford’s response to my letter in last week’s Press about the bus route changes; Instead of his lame excuses about engaging customers and simplifying route numbers, it would be nice to be given the option of one or two buses every hour that still make the cross-Dewsbury journey.
I doubt this will happen, the changes have been made now.
Why Labour want teens
From: MK Percival, Mirfield
A strange aspect of life is that you make the most important decisions when you are young, naïve, inexperienced, gullible, lacking life knowledge, and still wet behind the ears; not entirely the best attributes to make the right choices on further education, career and marriage.
This is why the Labour Party are crying out for votes for 16-year-olds.
They know surprisingly little, to say they’ve been at school for the last 10 years, and won’t even know that the last five Labour governments have all left the country bankrupt, leaving others to sort out the mess.
An ex-local MP was partly responsible for the failures of the last one – Ed Balls; who has resorted to gaining popularity by dancing like an idiot on ‘Strictly’.
‘Britain’s Future’ won’t even remember Tony Blair preaching ‘education, education, education’, resulting in thousands of our youth going to third-rate universities, and coming out with a useless degree, and £30,000 of tuition fee debt.
Sadly, most have little knowledge of what they are voting on, apart from the propaganda fired at them by high-earning lefty professors.
The only things worth knowing are never taught in schools, but do they want Jeremy Corbyn, Emily Thornberry and Diane Abbott telling them what to do?
Everything has a cost sooner or later
From: Name and address supplied
This is another ‘comment’ letter about a subject which concerns all of us.
In 1948 the then true Labour Government introduced the best scheme or law it’s ever done – the National Health Service.
Unfortunately the Government did not introduce restrictions on items and services available on the NHS.
I know people in the early days who had extra spectacles, extra sets of false teeth; called the doctor for a headache, dizziness and all manner of unnecessary items and services.
Human beings do silly things when they think something is for nothing; but let’s face it, everything has a cost sooner or later!
We are now finding the cost is enormous.
If, in the past, successive governments had put a copper or two on income tax and ringfenced it for NHS only, it might have saved this generation now having to work extra years to generate income to pay for it.
The words ‘common sense’ are now, apparently, dirty words, as in my view it’s common sense that if you introduce a system which is likely to enable people to live longer, and also introduce birth control, which means a smaller workforce, and therefore less income for the country, there will be an imbalance of money!
I speak as an ordinary person – not a financial wizard, not a shareholder living on the sweat of others.
Perhaps all governments thought raising taxes might, just might, lose them votes.
And now to the mechanics of running one of our largest employers.
I worked as a work study engineer for 30 years. Some of those years in the NHS attempting to streamline it.
I found that ‘grassroots’ staff, ie nurses, hospital doctors, sisters and matrons were, and are, frustrated by stupid, top administrators and rules and regulations, by people who read figures and records as people.
I am not impressed with our Labour leader, but, it is correct that this Tory Government will destroy our NHS, and make the well-to-do people the only ones able to afford health care.
I believe this comment will raise a few replies. This Government believe that money cures everything – but money must be combined with – yes, common sense and people thinking!
Care in the community should always have been in conjunction with hospital aftercare; I’ve never understood why it hasn’t been.
I admired the Prime Minister’s acceptance speech, yet if we are the fourth or fifth richest country in the world, why has Sheffield got 16 food agencies, Batley has two, and for the first time in my life I saw a person begging outside Sainsbury’s last week?
I am sad about my country, the world – yet I will have to make the best of it.
Report didn’t seem to be particularly thorough
From: Ms A Rawat, Batley
I watched Newsnight on the catch-up channel after learning that our own Danny Lockwood was on it to speak on the Demos report ‘Citizens’ Voices’.
I have just read the full report and though Danny was impressed with it, I am not.
It is basically just asking people what they feel about various subjects and the report, as it is called, simply presents those comments without any discussion or looking at facts. How can this be called a report?
It is simply a section of people mouthing off, which they have every right to do, but it is hardly a fact-finding investigation into people’s feelings with in-depth discussion, questioning and analysis.
I also note that the short Newsnight discussion did not include quotes from people wishing they could change their leave vote on EU, or quotes regarding Britain becoming rich through pillaging other countries, and how they feel ashamed of it.
Newsnight should not have covered this so-called report if they were only going to include the racist element of it.
I don’t understand anyway, why people keep saying that they can’t fly the England flag. Fly it, be proud of your country, but don’t fly it as a form of showing aggression to others.
And, who is telling you that you can’t say Happy Christmas in your Christian country?
Another usual moan. I don’t think anybody is. It is just another moan to get at others.
Celebrate your festivals. Celebrate Christmas. Celebrate your Christian religion and go to church: We, the so-called foreigners, will respect you for it.
When I was young I did all sorts of work, because work was better than being on benefits, even if the pay was low.
It was better for my morale and better for working my way up. A lot of the EU migrants are doing the same; why can’t you?
You are part of a nation, small in size, but big in ambition, who went round the world developing other countries (maybe), and bringing back the riches, so why are you now moaning?
Stop moaning, develop your lives and let others develop theirs too. It can be done. You just have to want to do it, rather than blame all the ills on others.
I did want to write about Burma and Aung San Su Kyi but got waylaid by Danny’s TV appearance.
If I may, in brief, I learned on The Big Questions that it was Britain who put the Rohingya Muslims in Burma to work on the land when Burma was a British colony.
I always wondered what took them there.
I also learned that Aung San Sui Kyi is very anti-Muslim.
I kept making excuses in my mind for her that she can’t help the Rohingya Muslims, as her position was precarious, but I learned, again on The Big Questions, that she ran out of the room and refused to be interviewed by Mishal Hussein, just because she is a Muslim.
I wasn’t before clamouring for the Nobel Peace Prize to be taken off her, but I am now.
A woman who once pleaded with the world to use their freedom to help her get hers, is now taking a persecuting position on others.
Knowledge, good knowledge, is everything.
No to NHS ‘colonisation’
From: Name and address supplied
Contrary to what many people believe, the British Empire was not won by the state, but by mercenary armies paid by joint stock companies like the East India Company.
It ruled with an iron hand, mercilessly exploiting everything it could. Profits went to shareholders in the UK.
European money ran the slave trade with unrestrained market forces. Unchecked capitalism has killed millions out of cold indifference coupled with greed.
The winter crisis in the NHS marks the beginning of the commercialisation of health provision in England.
Quango NHS England is enacting plans so that multinational corporations have a leading role in deciding and delivering who gets what health provision in Europe.
England’s NHS is being colonised by ‘joint stock’ multinational health and management consultancy companies and the Finance Industry.
Profits are going abroad and to tax havens.
The NHS was inaugurated for the population's benefit, but is now being transformed in devious ways.
For example, the creation of solely owned subsidiaries of hospital Trusts for the benefit of shareholders, ie the Trust!
Personally I do not want my NHS colonised in this way.
My ill health should not be a commodity to be selected or rejected in a 21st-century Medicare/NHS.