I don’t expect any answers
Letter of the Week: John Jennings, Dewsbury
I have recently heard opposition MPs state more than once that there are 14.5 million people living in poverty in this country. As a ‘privileged pensioner’ I would like to see some figures of income and benefits in kind published so that these claims can be verified.
My generation’s recollections of poverty are of a war time childhood and food rationing until our teens.
Eventually some of us raised the deposit for a house in our middle age, paying a mortgage of up to 15 per cent interest. We paid that off around retirement age, 65 years old, after 50 years of work.
Now in retirement, on our average income, we pay income tax, council tax, dental fees etc. We get no help from the state apart from a bus pass and a television licence, neither of which is edible.
Most of the examples we hear of are of single mothers. Where are the fathers? What do they pay? And where are the facts supporting these claims of poverty? Any chance of answers? I doubt it.
‘Nice guy’ Eric walked out
From: Coun Aleks Lukic (Independent, Dewsbury East)
I have much respect for Liz Exley and her many years of service to the community, but I cannot agree with her contention that Eric Firth is ‘a man of great integrity’ (Forum, 22/11) following a recent interaction I had with him.
When Mr Firth lost to me at the local elections in May I took over his work supporting a local amateur sports club who were applying for a grant from the Dewsbury Endowed Schools Foundation Trust. The schools trust is a registered charity managed by Kirklees Council and Mr Firth retained his chairmanship of the advisory committee that reviews grant applications.
At the end of September Mr Firth arranged to present a giant cheque for the awarding of the grant.
The club invited me to attend this presentation as they were grateful for my support with their application and for assisting them with an additional grant scheme. When Mr Firth arrived at the presentation and saw me, he immediately said: “You’re not in this, you know.”
I pointed out that the club had invited me there, to which Mr Firth immediately picked up his things and stormed out with his giant cheque.
Mr Firth’s actions that night as advisory committee chairman risked bringing both the schools trust and the council into disrepute.
He set a very poor example to the children who were present, and club volunteers expressed concern about applying for future grants.
It appeared Mr Firth may have intended to use the presentation of charity funds for personal publicity.
It would be illegal for a charity such as the schools trust to support a particular political party or candidate.
I was going to keep this incident private, but as Mr Firth is now standing to be reinstated as a councillor I feel that the public have a right to know so that they can make an informed choice.
My personal recommendation for this local by-election is that Dewsbury East residents support my Dewsbury Borough Independent colleague Chris Stoner, who would always put the needs of local constituents first.
Editor’s note: The Press contacted Mr Firth for comment but has not had a reply.
No chance of utopia now...
From: J Scholes, Morley
Many great writers, economists and social reformers of the past, such as Sir Thomas More and Robert Owen, had many ideas for a utopian society.
One idea was on the basis that human beings are, in general, naturally good if allowed to follow their requirements and desires.
Workers should be assured an adequate income with any surplus shared on an equitable basis. Necessary work should receive the highest pay. Useful work, the next. Pleasant work, the least.
‘Parasitic’ occupations, such as stockbroker, banker, middle-man, politicians etc. should only get the crumbs. The gap between rich and poor continues to rise, starting with Brown and Blair’s ‘socialist’ governance (the latter said to be worth £60m).
All the rules for the utopian society have been reversed. Does anybody wonder why there is such disillusionment, drug problems, crime, depression and resentment when ‘necessary’ workers are on a minimum wage and unproductive people are amassing fortunes? Typical examples are some news readers and TV presenters, such as Graham Norton, Jonathan Ross, Zoe Ball and Claudia Winkleman.
Unemployed university graduates would be happy to do these jobs for £20k a year.
Simon Cowell has been reported to be worth more than £200m!
Key issue lost in election fog
From: Robert Cowan, Sandal
You can only imagine the shock and horror of the mother of Helen McCourt (pictured) when informed recently that her daughter’s convicted murderer Ian Simms is soon to be released from prison after stubbornly refusing over three decades to reveal the whereabouts of her daughter’s remains.
Officials confirmed that Simms had now met ‘the test for release’, having failed on six previous occasions to secure parole.
The unfortunate mother of the murdered young lady has worked tirelessly to urge the government to introduce a new bill called ‘Helen’s Law’ which would deny parole to killers who choose not to disclose the location of their victims’ bodies.
The bill was going through its various stages in parliament but was then necessarily abandoned when the general election was called.
Understandably we are all so preoccupied with the economic measures that the next government will take, as well as of course the burning question of Brexit, that it is easy to overlook other issues which require urgent attention from parliament. I feel strongly that this is one such issue.
A murderer who plunges a victim’s family into grief initially through his or her heinous crime and then compounds that misery by refusing to say what became of the body, thus denying the family closure, is perpetrating acts of extreme cruelty which should automatically deny that murderer the right to even apply for parole.
To do otherwise would be totally unacceptable and provide yet another example of how the powers that be often seem to put the rights of criminals above the rights of the victim and the victim’s family.
Promises need to be kept
From: BC McErlain, Birstall
By now we must all be sick of election promises.
It is all well and good that our local candidates can agree to play by the rules, and not insult one and other. But how about the electorate, don’t we deserve a promise from them?
How about if each and every one of them takes whatever holy book they believe in, and swears on it, that they will keep the promises that they make, and the ones included in their party manifesto?
And should they find for whatever reason they are unable to abide by this promise, they will instantly resign their seat, no crossing the floor, or claiming to be an independent.
They should give the electorate the chance to either re-elect them or choose another MP to represent them.
Takeaway? They should...
From: Dean Mitchell
Yet another takeaway has opened in Ravensthorpe. Just what’s needed, to go with the other 50 that are there already.
Who is in charge of giving permission, I wonder?
Ravensthorpe, once a lovely clean friendly place, now a much-littered dumping ground.
Pity the street cleaners.
Thanks for a great show
From: Steve Brahan, Norristhorpe
My grandson took his dad and I to see the Christmas Lights switch-on in Heck-mondwike town centre. Despite the poor weather it was a great evening.
Thanks to all involved, the organisers, lighting and display technicians, you put on a wonderful show. Thanks to the fun ride operators and stall holders for braving the weather and sticking with it.
Special thanks to The Firm Band Baja, I’m not sure I’ve heard Christmas classics played in that particular style before, but you sounded brilliant.
It was an excellent turn-out which will hopefully encourage the organising team for next year.
Use your vote and remember
From: Harry Teale, Dewsbury
If you don’t vote, you don’t have the right to complain about the mess we’re in.
When you vote remember: Tracy Brabin (when a Labour MP) betrayed her oath of allegiance to HM the Queen and 59.63% of Batley & Spen voters!
Paula Sherriff, when a Labour MP, betrayed her oath of allegiance to HM the Queen and 57.15% of Dewsbury & Mirfield voters!
Unfortunately due to the corrupt politics either Labour or Conservative will form the basis of the next Government!
Whilst Independent MPs are desirable, there would be insufficient numbers to make an impact in Parliament.
We have short memories
From: Colin Walshaw, Scholes
We now have Mr Corbyn’s dynamic plans for the country, and a “fully costed” spending formula. One question: If all these exciting changes are needed, why did Labour not institute them during their 13-year reign from 1997 to 2010?
The revolutionary ‘New Labour’ Party under the dynamic Tony Blair and the not-so-dynamic Gordon Brown, managed to dramatically overspend, despite saddling us with a proliferation of hugely expensive NHS Private Finance Initiatives, (which they strenuously attacked when a Conservative government first introduced them in 1992), for our children to pay off.
Corbyn’s new fan club of students were politically unaware eight to 11-year-olds at the time, and oblivious of the mess Labour left, and the infamous letter left at the treasury by the then Chief Secretary under Gordon Brown and Chancellor Alistair Darling, Liam Byrne.
It stated: “I’m afraid there is no money left”.
Will we be in danger of going back to the dark days of the 1970s? Why am I now getting a feeling of déjà vu?
Independence is the future
From: Alan West, Batley
As old as I am (over 80 years) I like to think I have seen something of life. I have never voted Conservative and I admit I used to vote Labour until I became disillusioned by their policies. Oh yes, ‘LD’ who are they? Now I vote Independent.
My pipe dream is that all members of parliament will be Independent and be able to vote as their constituents want them to, with the speaker deciding the acts to be voted on. Perhaps then, that whenever an act is passed or rejected we will have some common sense in the decisions.
After the council voting the Remainers did not say ‘let’s have another vote’, I wonder why? So come on you voters think hard before you put your ‘X’ on the ballot paper.