Your Letters – Friday July 5, 2019

Give the people a chance to buy Red House

Letter of the Week: ‘Concerned of Cleckheaton’

The £250m agreed for a ‘cultural centre’ in Huddersfield town centre is an insult to the rest of Kirklees and North Kirklees in particular. ‘Silk purses’ etc come to mind.

Yes, it is a good idea to improve HD1 but £250m from a cash-strapped local authority seems beyond belief, whilst the heritage in the rest of Kirklees rots and falls into disrepair.

What about Red House, former museum, Grade II Star Listed – in the top eight per cent of all listed buildings nationally – just left to rot or sold off with no thought for its heritage?  

Three asset transfer bids were turned down, one failed by only a single point and no discussion was allowed. Then the Community Bid to Buy was so bungled – sent to the disbanded ‘Friends of Red House’ (nothing happened), and the opportunity was lost. What a mess of incompetence and heritage destruction.

Red House has massive Bronte links. The home of the Taylor family, it provided the basis for ‘Shirley’ – one of Charlotte Bronte’s early novels – much admired in the early 20th century.  

With Bronte and Luddite connections and links to the Wesley family it is a treasure trove of heritage. Surely Charlotte Bronte and her sister Emily must be in the top five of classic English writers?

Other nations cannot understand why we do not value this amazing heritage site.

We call on the leader of the council to give the people a chance to undertake the Community Bid to Buy (at a reasonable price) which was so badly bungled in 2018.  

Red House is now up for sale for offers over £1m and due to have houses built on the grounds, if the planners have their way.  

Surely this international site should be given another chance – let the public show their support – let us have the opportunity for a Community Bid to Buy, denied through apparent incompetence.  

See the petition on change.org, Save Red House, Yorkshire. 


Fisher’s will be ‘Good’ again

From: J Halford, Dewsbury

It is a great shame that Ofsted reports do not tell the whole story about a school.

My three sons attended St John Fisher Catholic Voluntary Academy, with the youngest leaving last year. 

They were taught by a great number of outstanding teachers, many of whom are still at the school. 

These teachers inspired and challenged my sons to get great results. 

But if an Ofsted inspector does not happen to drop in on these teachers’ lessons it is as if they don’t exist as far as the final report is concerned.

Many local schools have had bad Ofsted reports over the years but are now rated ‘Good’. This will surely be the case with St John Fisher.


Bigots trying to destroy liberty

From: ‘Heckmondwike Hector’

What an absolute disgrace, Mr Brian Leach sacked from his post as a greeter at Dewsbury Asda stores for re-posting a video of Billy Connolly’s ‘Religion is over’ routine.

In my mind, the store’s name now stands for All Secularists Dismissed Automatically.

I only hope that the Secular Society keeps its promise to support him. I certainly do.

For generations we have accepted religious satire and banter as the norm. 

Now, in our so-called enlightened age, the shackles of religiosity return to threaten the very foundations of our freedom of expression.

Looking back, one of the leading comedians who exercised such freedoms was Dave Allen, who spared nothing for the priests and cardinals of the Catholic Church. 

They loved Dave Allen in Ireland. His kind of humour remains an indulgence for many. Me included.

I personally have no desire to ridicule people’s belief in God or for that matter, a desire to challenge their own particular faith. 

As for the ritualistic rigmarole that revolves around it, that’s a different matter and if it’s enough to get my store card cancelled (if I had one) then so be it. 

I have no ecclesiastical favourites. On one occasion, I answered a knock at the door and was asked if I wanted a Watch Tower; I said, “No thanks, I’ll stick with the bedroom window.”

I have not been unknown to ask the local butcher if his pork sausages are Kosher. For me, banter like this makes the day go round.

My favourite will always be the 1980s BBC satirical show Not The Nine O’Clock News, with Rowan Atkinson and co. 

Besides being a star of stage and TV, Atkinson was a fervent campaigner against parliamentary moves to criminalise religiously-based comedy.

In one particular sketch, Muslim worshippers were shown in a mosque bowing to the ground. 

A voiceover announces: “And the search for the Ayatollah Khomeini’s contact lens goes on.” It was a masterpiece. 

There was also hilarity when the Pope visited the USA. 

A soap company over there produced a brand of Pope-on-a-Rope soap. The Vatican threw a wobbler at the connotations regarding its anatomical usage.

The banter goes on. Ask me about Mecca and I will tell you all about Wakefield Tiffany’s in the 1970s, or the ice skating rink in Bradford. 

Different things have different meanings to different people. 

That’s the way it is and some of the pious and the pontificators need to grow a thicker skin, rather than screaming for blood at every perceived slight.

As for Asda and their self-promoting-so-correct fawning to the obnoxious prevailing political wind; they can take a run and jump. 

Good luck Mr Leach in your claim for unfair dismissal, for we must always oppose the bigots who are trying to destroy our liberty.

That said, I might have to exercise a degree of caution myself if I pop into the store for an occasional carton of milk. 

The last thing I want is a blazing headline on the front page of The Press, announcing ‘HECTOR HANDED ASDA FATWAH’.


Risks of folic acid overdoses

From Trevor Whitehead, Mirfield

The government at www.gov.uk has launched a public consultation, ending on September 9, 2019, on its proposal to add folic acid to flour. 

Fortification is expected to significantly cut the number of neural tube defects in the newborn, such as spina bifida.

Government admits failing to persuade enough potential mothers to take the recommended 400 microgram daily supplement, or voluntarily fortified food.

Online references claim overdosing of food in the USA, with unmetabolized folic acid found in the bloodstream in many cases.

The British Medical Association’s New Guide to Medicines and Drugs and the NICE website agree that 500mcg/daily, and over, needs a prescription. 

The safe maximum dose for fortification is to be set at double that; 1mg (milligram) per day, “reflecting a lifetime’s exposure that would avoid folic acid masking the diagnosis of pernicious anaemia”. 

Other concerns are dismissed.

Documentation with the consultation says that the public must be protected from overdosing on the synthetic folate and that the dose of folic acid presently voluntarily added to my favourite breakfast cereal could be reduced accordingly.

How does 500 micrograms compare with the amount of folic acid to be expected in my daily, three large slices (more in working years) of home-baked bread, containing 60grams of flour each, taking into account that 29 per cent of women are estimated – in the documentation – to consume less than 10grams of flour from bread daily? 

It will not be known until after we have voted.

Bread is a staple food for many; this type of mass medication, with a “prescription amount” of folic acid, may fail in its expected public upper-safety-limit if the total amount of the various treated foods consumed by individual “patients” is not also controlled.

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