Your Letters – Friday May 3, 2019

A tangible link to the past

Letter of the Week: Ben Marshall, Liversedge

Sad news regarding the historic but seemingly unimportant Shears Inn.

Realistically, business-wise it is struggling, but why should such a building be levelled?

Can it not be modified into flats etc despite the glaringly obvious change of use?

You only need to think of the recently-demolished Pack Horse and Westfield Hotel at Wyke to see what we have lost.

The Shears’ eradication would make the Luddite statue at Knowler Hill a silly reminder, like the dumb steeple at the Three Nuns, with no centre point or story.

A building you can touch from that time helped me as a junior school pupil aged 10 to relate to something from the past.

Thank you Mr Spencer and Headlands Road J&I school.

Let’s clear up Station Road

From: Len Gardner, Batley born and bred

I love Batley – and have done for 84 years. I’ve seen it and lived it in its prosperous 1950s/60s and part of the 70s years. 

I’ve seen the roller skating rink burn down, seen the rise and fall of the world-famous Variety Club and the best town market reduced to five or six stalls.

I’ve seen the ‘Alfreds’ Way’ shops (brand new) empty for 20 years.

I’ve cried to see that beautiful Co-Op building pulled down and replaced with a concrete box.

But I still love Batley.

So why do I despair when I drive or walk up Station Road? Because no matter how I promote this fine Victorian textile town all over the county, I cannot condone the pile of litter, trees growing out of walls, filth and vermin-infested places, all in what could be our most beautiful Victorian area.

The buildings here are magnificent edifices of a bygone age – an age which brought prosperity and growth to my town. There are no domestic dwellings (I believe), so who makes the piles of debris, filth and unacceptable eyesores in this area?

If businesses wish to encourage growth in tourism, future business ventures and entrepreneurship, clean up the mess.

As for the cobbled road (which must be maintained at all costs), come on Kirklees Highways, do your bit.

It could be a World Heritage Site – aim for the top. Remember, this is the home of shoddy cloth for the masses at a reasonable price.

Finally, I implore those business caretakers of my Batley to do something with the Station Road area.

Many bury heads in sand

From: Heckmondwike Hector

I can fully understand why some people will disagree with Danny Lockwood in last week’s Ed Lines (The world is falling apart), for there are many who haven’t yet been faced by the ‘great awakening.’ 

Once you step outside the PC (or BBC) matrix the world suddenly becomes a frightening place.

I can also fully understand why some people thought I was playing a late April Fool’s joke when I told them that, because of religion, the triumphant winners of this year’s FA Cup Final will not be allowed to celebrate with the usual toast of champagne.

The reason being – it contains alcohol, and this of course could offend players of ‘other faiths’ (even though there is no intention of forcing it down their necks).

If that is not bad enough, it gets even worse. To avoid splashing ‘players of faith’ with dreaded alcohol, some non-descript bubble mixture will be sprayed over the winning team using a ‘let’s pretend’ champagne bottle. How patronising.

Well, it had to happen didn’t it? And let’s not be too surprised if Silverstone is the next target in the firing line. 

To me, this proves that we are now living in a dangerous world where pervasive religion is becoming the greatest challenge to those who simply want to get on with their lives without it. 

It is surreptitiously changing those lives by influencing the erosion of established values and traditions using the powers that be; in this case the FA. 

It does it by stifling opposition and by linking any disagreement with bigotry or some kind of ‘phobia.’ How clever, how cunning, how deceitful.

To explain my point further I feel it useful to quote the author Vitaly Malkin, from his latest publication, Dangerous Illusions. 

The author likens the world’s religions to Chimeras – mythical beasts composed of disparate parts which are perceived as wildly imaginative and implausible.

Malkin says that “Chimeras are dangerous illusions because they are imposed on people by ethical standards that are contrary to common sense and biological nature”. Precisely the point I am making.

Compared to Malkin’s intellectual analysis on religion, my example of how its influence has now spread to football might appear simplistic, but I am trying to demonstrate how his thesis translates at street level, and how the one-time innocence of a FA Cup tradition has now become anathema to a new unchallengeable orthodoxy; and this, backed up by supposedly rational beings.

It makes for great foreboding as to what might come next. Will we see the day when alcohol, its sale and consumption banned on days of ‘religious observance’? 

If this becomes the case, what other changes are we likely to endure at the hands of these doctrinal obsessives?

We could bury our heads in the sand, but passivity has a price. 

You may not be interested in religion but unfortunately, as the above example demonstrates – religion, apparently, has an interest in you!

Concerns over latest NHS plan

From: Name and address supplied

An open letter to my GP:

I am writing to you to express my concerns regarding the new NHS Long Term Plan, with which you are presumably at least partially familiar. 

The promotion material makes it all sound wonderful – a new integrated primary care system for all that claims to provide “the most value for patients out of every pound of taxpayers’ investment.”

This is a misleading claim and totally misrepresents the reality.

This plan is to be implemented through a system of Primary Care Networks (PCNs) which will be the vehicles for a Directed Enhanced Service (DES) – the word ‘Directed’ rather gives the game away.

Your Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) will be required to offer this service to you but if you choose to avail yourself of it you will have to register with your local PCN by the 15th May 2019 (a bit of a rush). This will have legal force as you will at once become contractually bound.

The PCN will then effectively take over your professional life.

It is envisaged that each PCN will have a minimum of 30,000-50,000 patients (though as high as 80,000 has been mentioned) on its list.

This is because regardless of whether you decide to register or not, your patient list will nevertheless be handed over to your local PCN, as will those of all the other practices in your PCN area.

Under the new plan you will only be required to see patients with complex needs. The rest, when making appointments, will be diverted away by a “care navigator” to a pharmacist, physiotherapist, paramedic or other non-doctor substitute, none of whom will be doctor-trained, thereby endangering the need for a good, early diagnosis.

Myself and other patients will be seeing someone with a lower qualification who will be entirely independent of you (my notional doctor) and who will be unfamiliar with the particular intricacies of my medical history.

This will result in a complete lack of continuity in our doctor/patient relationship and a consequent deterioration. I will effectively cease to have someone I can properly call my doctor.

Not only will you lose your patient list but also control of your budget and decision-making options, because the PCN will be in charge of all this.

You will become increasingly reliant on the contracts negotiated by your local PCN, which will leave you largely marginalised. Further, you will be discouraged from sending patients – me in other words – to hospital (including out-patients) regardless of clinical need in exchange for a system of financial benefits.

This will totally undermine your clinical efficacy and demean your professional integrity. Do you really want this? It is certainly worrying for me.

The document issued jointly by the BMA and NHS England and which sets out this plan and so-called ‘reforms’ is only for a “five- year framework”. What happens after that?

Stopped from helping others

From: Name and address supplied

The seemingly increasing scope of financial ‘scams’ has rightly resulted in a tightening of security around a variety of monetary transactions, from online sales to international money transfers, but has it gone too far?

I am a 75-year-old pensioner who just happens to have a Christian conscience and a heart for the poor and underprivileged. However, Moneygram International would not appear to share my concerns.

For the past 15 years I have been sharing my modest pension of 115 pounds a week with people in the Philippines, various African countries, Nepal and Bulgaria.

I have felt honoured to have ensured people do not go to bed hungry, do not have to look forward to a future without education and do not have to go without medical care when faced with life threatening illness.

However, Moneygram International has put a stop to all that by blocking my account on the grounds of suspicious behaviour, presumably for sending too many transfers/helping too many people.

The attitude of their customer advisers has simply been “Tough, them’s the rules!” Although there are alternatives like Western Union, there is no WU office nearby.

It has needed a call to the FCA to advise me on how to approach a challenge to the account blockage – I would have thought their advisers would have been in a position to do this.

Because of their action there are two families who have gone to bed having had no food this week. In all humanity this surely cannot be right when there are people in this world who care enough to help.

If the sums involved were in the thousands or even hundreds I could understand their being some suspicion, but for sums of 10, 15, 25 or 50 pounds the action seems illogical to me.

What is the world coming to when you can’t offer a helping hand to those in need?

Do all you can to help the hedgehogs

From: Ruth Yates, Gomersal

Hedgehog Awareness Week, May 5-11

Hedgehogs are beginning to wake up following their winter hibernation. They will have lost weight and will be hungry. 

You can help them by putting out meaty cat or dog food, crushed peanuts or cat biscuits. Please do not offer fish-based food as they cannot digest it and they are lactose intolerant, so no milk please.

Hedgehogs are nocturnal so it you see one out during daytime it is probably in trouble.

Contact British Hedgehog Preservation Society on 01584 890801 or visit www.british for advice and details of a carer in your area.

If possible put the hog in a high-sided box on a towel and offer water and a small amount of food until you can get help for the animal. Keep it away from flies as they will lay eggs on any wounds it may have.

Please only use slug pellets or insecticides if absolutely necessary. If you have a garden pond put chicken wire over the edge or stones which the hog can use to escape from the water.

They can swim but will become exhausted and drown if they have no way of climbing out of the pond.

A hole the size of a CD box cut in a garden fence will allow a hedgehog to go from garden to garden on their nightly forage during which they can walk up to two miles in search of worms, slugs and other delicious food!

Please do all you can to help these lovely iconic little creatures. 

Thank you.

So many have died

From: Peter Moreland, Heckmondwike

At last a journalist speaking out about Muslim atrocities carried out on Christians – thousands killed each year but not a peep out of the mainstream media to report or condemn.

Christians are persecuted in many Islamic-majority countries, as they were by the Romans after the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but eventually after the conversion of Emperor Constantine the Roman Catholic church emerged triumphant.

Well done Danny Lockwood, not afraid to say it as it is.

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