Thorny topic was a conversation-killer
Letter of the Week: Steve Cass, Mirfield
I was on my way back to the car the other Saturday after an expedition for supplies to Cross’s charcuterie on Dewsbury Market when I came across a group of men attending a stall advertising the Conservative Party.
“How do you differ from Labour?” I enquired.
“We’re like chalk and cheese,” came the reply.
I asked for an example of this supposed difference, and the one I was given kind of confirmed my belief that it’s not so much a case of chalk and cheese as it is one of cheese and cheese.
And instead of the ‘contrast’ between Labour and Conservative being illustrated by reference to the serious issues facing the country, which is what I’d expected, I was told that Labour-controlled Kirklees is fining people £75 for dropping litter but a Conservative-controlled Kirklees wouldn’t!
I may as well have been told that the Conservatives wear blue rosettes whereas Labour wear red.
I said: “Relative to the problems facing the nation, littering is a trifle.”
“It’s not a trifle to those who’ve been fined,” he replied.
“But it’s a trifle when compared to the great issues of the day. I want to know how the Conservatives differ from Labour on the economy, on the NHS, on immigration - how do you differ from Labour on immigration?”
Oops – once again the thorny topic of immigration proved to be the ultimate conversation-killer and my friendly local Tory activist quickly shuffled off to busy himself rearranging the leaflets on his stall.
What is it about the subject of immigration that turns these establishment politicos to jelly? Lib, Lab or Con they'll talk about anything but.
I think I know why.
Out of all the gross incompetence that the Libs, Labs and Cons have served us up over the years, their incompetence on the matter of immigration has had the most serious consequences.
And we’ve got to the point now where it's no longer possible for them to pull the wool over our eyes.
The threadbare reasons, excuses, and justification they've used in the past and their stories about the beneficial effects of mass immigration just won’t wash any more.
The evidence is all around us: Mass immigration has been a disaster and only the willfully blind fail to see it.
The positive spin can’t be spun any more because it flies in the face of readily observable reality – immigration has had a negative effect on our quality of life, in so many ways.
But of course the politicians and their supporters can’t afford to admit the truth because they’re responsible for it, so when confronted by it they do a runner.
They make the mistake of ignoring reality in the hope it'll go away - it won’t.
Don’t lose someone who cares as MP
From: Phil Andruchow, Dewsbury
It is a long time since I wrote to your newspaper but I think there is a need for people of Dewsbury to consider this.
On the 8th of June the people of Dewsbury have a decision to make – this being do they vote for Paula Sherriff to continuing fighting for Dewsbury or do they vote for another candidate?
Do you remember the last Conservative MP (the vanishing one)? The only time I recall seeing him he was picking up litter as an election stunt. After his selection the only ‘picking up’ was his MP’s salary whilst doing other work, not in Dewsbury.
The present Member of Parliament fights for her constituents of Dewsbury. Paula Sherriff has raised numerous issue in the House of Commons on behalf of all of us, and due to her passion has been told by the Speaker to sit down and be calm, but she still carries the fight on and is not put off. This is the type of MP we need.
Rightly or wrongly, I can disregard the national policies of all the national parties because during the election they promise the world.
When elected, strangely enough, things change. Vote for Dewsbury’s fighting MP Paula Sheriff, she has a proven record committed to fighting for her constituents.
Don’t lose someone who cares, they are rarity in politics today.
Think of environment when you vote
From: Adrian Cruden, Dewsbury
It is worrying that in all the debate around the election, one vital issue has been largely ignored both nationally and locally by most politicians apart from the Greens – our environment.
This is even although the Government admitted a few months ago that pollution is killing around 40,000 people a year nationwide, with around 300 of these deaths in Kirklees, the majority of them in built-up areas such as Batley, Birstall and Dewsbury.
Many others, the young and old especially, suffer from related breathing problems.
If these deaths were the result of terrorism or massive road traffic accidents, there would rightly be an outcry about them.
But because much pollution is invisible and the deaths slow and indirect, the issue is not a priority, it seems.
Locally, our roads are clogged up for hours at a time with commuters and longer distance drivers, with many HGVs perhaps mistakenly thinking a diversion through our area is a handy shortcut from the M62 to the M1, and vice versa.
We need to see action to stop this invisible slaughter – reductions in car emissions are welcome, but we also need better public transport and actual controls on bigger vehicles, as well as cleaner energy production generally.
While the Tories accept donations from oil companies and, with the Lib Dems in the Coalition, changed the law to open up nearby areas like Kirkburton and Denby Dale to possible fracking, countries like India are now closing coal mines in favour of solar energy and China is investing more money in clean energy technology than the rest of the world put together.
Britain is at risk of being left behind.
So when people go to vote, I hope they will think about the environment – it’s not a luxury option to tack on when we have some time; it is absolutely key to healthier and happier lives everywhere.
Not just local issues to consider in election
Name: F Alan Graves, via email
The Labour representative in Parliament for our area, Tracy Brabin, has done a very good and enthusiastic job on behalf of the electorate.
However, in this election more than any other, we have to look beyond local issues and local personalities.
We must consider the leaders of the parties and their abilities to lead.
Jeremy Corbyn is concentrating his entire campaign on domestic issues with promises of throwing billions at education, social care, the NHS, pensions, minimum wages etc, etc.
His intentions are to impose an ‘ambition tax’ on anyone earning over £80,000.
What will be the incentive to get a good education, leading to a good job or to take on new and challenging opportunities at work?
This will affect many in our society on whom we all rely – our doctors, higher-paid local government officers, headmasters in our schools, senior police officers and care worker managers etc – the very organisations he says he is going to throw billions at.
Does Jeremy Corbyn actually know how much a billion is?
Again he is promising to raise Corporation Tax. This will affect companies who employ you and I.
Some will fold because they simply cannot cover the extra taxes and the increase in the minimum wage, others will consider reducing staff and the bigger companies may even move abroad, with more job losses.
Some workers will be better off but others will lose their jobs.
Also, the personalities and their leadership qualities need to be examined.
The biggest challenge over the next two years and probably in our lifetime, is going to be our negotiations with Brussels.
Who will make the better negotiator? Jeremy Corbyn cannot even muster the support of his own MPs, who have repeatedly shown that they have no confidence in his leadership abilities.
He has never had any responsibilities in any post within any Labour government.
If he found he had to form a coalition with the SNP to grab power then he would stand no chance against the bully from north of the border and he would just become her lapdog.
Whatever your political views you must consider not just local issues or even domestic issues but on who can stand up to Europe, negotiate with strength and experience and then to work for the future of Britain post-Brexit.
I’m voting for Beth
From: Barbara Harrison, Mirfield
I am a retired resident from the area. I have lived in Mirfield all of my life, and I for one am very pleased to say that we have a local young lady, namely, Miss Beth Prescott, who too is locally born and bred in Dewsbury and therefore knows the area very well.
I am pleased to see Beth has been out campaigning hard to become the next Conservative MP for Dewsbury. She is totally dedicated to her work as a candidate, she also knows the issues that are in Dewsbury and Mirfield, and if elected I know will do her best to work with the residents and business people to get these issues sorted out.
I will be voting for Beth and Theresa May, and hope you do too.
Extra Bank Holidays would be a nightmare
From: Kevin Hirst, Heckmondwike
On reading that a certain man in power wants more Bank Holidays, I wondered if it was a new method of dive-bombing the economy!
As a rep having to travel on the Thursday and Friday before the holidays, I’d like to see him trying to get to Scotch Corner, on the A1(M) road, from both the south and north.
Here, traffic turns off for the Lake District and Scotland, or South to the M6, and the other way to Teeside and the Yorkshire Coast.
Other obstacles encountered were:
A tractor crawling along pulling a high load of hay at school run time, holding up a half mile of traffic;
A gypsy horse-trap followed by a dirty black Transit van with its hazard lights on ‘for safety’ with about a mile of cars held up;
But, worst of all, a tractor on the road with extended cutters doing the grass on the verges!
Thank goodness I was going the other way.
Do these people ever think they just might be holding up miles of holiday traffic?
Finally, there is a saying: ‘Politics is showbusiness for ugly people’. Well Batley, you’ve only to look at Angela Merkel and her cronies to know it’s true.
Debt could be reduced
From: Name and address supplied
In reference to the council’s £2.7m overspend. I would like to point out to council leader David Sheard that this could and should have been reduced by £300,000 if they had in my estimation collected the debt from the rental of Dewsbury Cemetery.
I cannot think that anyone in Kirklees has been allowed to incur such debt without payment.
Also, in reference to the letter by the nurse, Mrs Lister, who points out how good the Labour Party have been with the NHS.
As a 75-year-old I remember that over the years all Labour governments have left the country worse off than when it came to power.
This is highlighted with their exit in 2005. Who sold our gold reserves? Labour. Who deregulated financial services? Labour. And who took us into what I consider two illegal wars? Labour.
I hope she remembers the sacrifices people have made since 2005 and it seems everyone has forgotten this.
Jeremy Corbyn is a pacifist, not a bad thing unless it means we leave ourselves open to attack from anyone and everyone.
They win if we let them divide us
From: Ms A Rawat, Batley
I am so sorry that we have had another attack. My heart bleeds for everyone. I have been sobbing my eyes out, and if I need to say the obvious, I will, I condemn the attack vehemently.
Good, ordinary people do not go around bombing anyone, let alone innocents. But, also good ordinary people do not condemn innocents for the actions of mad, deranged people whose motives we can’t even begin to understand.
They win if we let them divide us. There must be, has to to be, bigger powerful people behind these stupid young attackers, who cause so much carnage.
The Batley Vintage Festival was very enjoyable. The entertainers did a brilliant job, the flyover was a wow, and it was amazingly wonderful that so many people made the effort to dress up in vintage clothes.
They looked fabulous and smart, but I also saw such pride on their faces that it quite choked me up.
I wonder if the organisers should give out prizes for best outfits in different categories next year?
Re the election: I would like to urge people to go out and exercise their right to vote. I can’t understand why so many people don’t.
It only takes five minutes. If you are not happy with any of the candidates, then spoil your ballot paper like I do.
If more than one per cent did this, then it would be considered as important to be talked about.
By spoiling your ballet paper, you are giving a message; by staying away, you show that you just don’t care and you can be ignored.
I spoil my ballot paper by putting a big cross on the whole page.
All the main political parties care more about votes than policies: I have seen them go against their own policies to do the bidding of people who are active and vote, and thus make themselves powerful.
I have suffered personally as a result, and I will not let them forget.
I have no congratulations to offer for their promotions up the political ladder as they were gained without integrity.
I will either vote for the Green Party which, like Labour, has caring policies for the non-privileged and, where I am concerned, is fresh and has a clean record round here in their behaviour.
Or, I will spoil my ballot paper again. I may decide at the last second when I am in the voting booth.
I would also like to remind people that they do not have to give their details of their voting cards to the people standing outside the polling station: They work for the political parties and they are usually Labour people.
You only need to give your details to the poll clerks inside.
Can I also remind the party members and polling officers that only the party agent is allowed inside the polling station. The rest have to be outside, no matter what the weather, and well away from the doorway so as not to be intimidating.
Cost and benefits
From: Tony Kelsall, North Kirklees Green Party
As Green party candidate for Dewsbury East in local elections since 2011 I always made reference to the Energy in Deprived Communities Scheme for the Yorkshire and Humberside region, which cost £14m for the period 2010 to 2013 and received £7m towards the cost from the EU and benefited some residents in Chickenley and other areas of the ward.
Unfortunately, the scheme ended in May 2014 because the Liberal Conservative Coalition negotiated an agreement to reduce the contribution to the EU raised through taxation so that tax cuts for the rich could be afforded.
As well as benefiting people in deprived communities by reducing their home energy costs (for example through home insulation) the adverse affects of environmental pollution have been reduced for everybody else.
This has also meant those hard-pressed local councils such as Kirklees, which include some deprived areas, have needed to fund existing schemes in their totality instead of sharing the costs and benefits with wealthier areas that lie in the London-Milan-Frankfurt Triangle.
This has been achieved by diverting money from other much-needed local causes.
For example, in Kirklees the weekly collection of clinical waste in yellow bins has been abolished recently and is now collected with other waste every two weeks.
When the UK leaves the EU I feel very strongly to commit ourselves to reduce the international effects of environmental pollution and that its cost should be shared throughout different countries and regions, instead of the burden of schemes like this falling on councils which include some deprived areas.
Pension answers please
From: G Harrison, via email
Dear anyone who will listen,
Seeing as the elections are coming closer, I wondered if anyone could explain to me why the minimum living wage is about £7.50 per hour when pensioners like myself (and all others) are paid the equivalent of approx £4 per hour?
We have the same things to pay, utilities, food, transport, clothing, etc on half the pay of the workers.
Quite a lot of my era didn’t have enough pay in our working days to be able to “save for the future” and so are dependent on their pensions.
On the subject of money, why do people who have never worked and don’t intend to, end up with more benefits than most pensioners?
All this boils down to is, I would like the pension to be comparable to the living wage.
Does anyone know the answer?
From: Colin Walshaw, Scholes
Brabin for Corbyn. It has a nice ring to it for a campaign slogan doesn’t it; I wonder why Tracy Brabin isn’t using it?
Remember, both her and her predecessor were ardent Remainers, and Brabin only voted for Article 50 under the Corbyn directive.
So what choice do we voters have?
Vote Liberal and you do not get cuddly councillor Lawson, but Tim Farron, friend and ally of Tony Blair, both whom had the audacity to suggest that we, the uneducated proletariat did not understand the issues.
How arrogant can they be to show such contempt for the British people?
So no UKIP, who have stood down to give the more powerful Brexit supporters a chance to dislodge the Remainers.
The only two parties supporting Brexit are the Conservatives and an independent – Aleks Lukic.
A vote for either of these protects against the Corbynisters.
Also remember that Kirklees voted overwhelmingly for Leave in the referendum.
Therefore the most important thing is to get out and vote again, make no mistake this is another mini-referendum!
Time for a different government approach
From: R Spreadbury, Liversedge
Over the last year or so we’ve been treated to some lacklustre performances by our politicians.
Some of my favourite moments have been Natalie Bennett and more recently Diane Abbott. Both of whom gave a fine impression of being absolutely useless.
It brings to mind that in the past, a career in politics was an acceptable occupation for the dimmer offspring of the moneyed elite.
It was only during the war years when we got politicians of integrity and foresight and leaders with backbone.
Then we saw the UK stand up as a lone beacon against a fascist megalomaniac, the birth of the NHS, and the development of a welfare state.
Sadly, when it comes to recruiting the current crop of politicians, we seem to have reverted back to the 19th century.
We have the same moneyed elite bankrolling their offspring into unpaid internship in Westminster. Here, once ensconced, they can brush up on their Ladybird Book of Economics and can then become one of an army of influential Special Political Advisors and perhaps even graduate to being an MP.
Or alternatively, we have MPs recruited from the party faithful who can readily espouse vote-winning weasel words based on variations of the themes of “milk the rich”, “squeeze the poor” or “feed the world” depending on the colour of their rosette, and with no regard of the consequences or ramifications of such utterances.
Perhaps it’s now time we had a more ‘professional’ approach to our governance and recruited the masters of our destiny from the ranks of those who have actually had some success in working in the real world.
Your choice of leader
From: Graham Turner, Gomersal
Thanks to Mr Cameron offering a referendum on whether we stay or leave the European Union, I worked with people from all parties, and we surprised ourselves by winning the Leave vote.
The election on June 8 is not only about who will govern our country for the next five years, but who will be the right person to negotiate the best possible deal for the United Kingdom in the Brexit negotiations, which will affect our country for future generations.
These negotiations commence on June 19.
Your choice, Theresa May or Jeremy Corbyn.