Your Letters – Friday October 6, 2017

Division of Kirklees evident again

Letter of the Week: D Hirst, Dewsbury

Yet again we get that division of care between Dewsbury and Huddersfield by the Almighty Kirklees Council.

This time the upkeep of Dewsbury and other crematoria has raised concerns highlighted by the highly-respected funeral firm George Brooke of Dewsbury.

I became acquainted with this firm in the 1960s when I was a coroner’s officer and highly respect their views subject of your front pages.

It is interesting to note that should bereaved families not wish to delay their funerals, Huddersfield Crematorium is available. Now fancy that.

What kept that upkeep so good? 

Keep going Helen Wilson and hopefully you may get some honest answers, but do not hold your breath.

What cuts will we see next?

From: Christine Hyde, Dewsbury

In a letter signed by more than 250 people including from Dewsbury and all over West Yorkshire, campaigners for transparency in the new NHS have urged a Joint Health Scrutiny Committee to investigate the five-year plan to re-organise health services in West Yorkshire and Harrogate. 

So far, there has been no response. We believe you cannot cut £1.07bn over five years from West Yorkshire and improve services, especially as a Wakefield Council boss told a representative from the LGA, that ‘integrated working’ is difficult because of all the different terms and conditions in the many and various contracts of organisations involved.

So we want to know, what sort of cuts, closures and further overarching privatisations are we going to see and how can they be ‘good’ for us?

We need a new system

From: Garry Kitchin, Batley

I write in response to the Corbyn’s socialism vs May’s capitalism debate.

In 1945 the UK emerged from World War Two broken economically. The post-war consensus was born, and provided a stable system that served well for decades. 

This was not to last, and by the 70s was creaking. The world had changed.

Born of Friedman, Hayek and the Chicago School of Economics, neo-liberalism was unleashed and became the dominant ideology, via Thatcherism. 

New Labour essentially chose to accept and retain this direction, using policies like tax credits to paper over the inequality gaps that it created. 

However, this was to fail as they did not fix the underlying problems.

The financial crash a decade ago saw this system collapse. Quantitative easing to the tune of £375bn and further billions in loans, share purchases and guarantees have kept the system on life support since – all from public money.

There is no answer to be found looking back, either to neo-liberalism or the post-war consensus. They were solutions to different times and different worlds.

We need a new approach for the world we live in. Big government is as inadequate as big corporatism. 

Public services need to well funded, but run with the needs of local service users in mind. 

They need to be democratically accountable to the people they serve, and not run from Whitehall. 

A new system needs to take into account globalisation, yet understand people need to feel they are not overwhelmed, but in control of their lives. 

The pressing nature of the ecological threats to the planet and humanity, and the scarcity of resources has to be central.

I look forward to a national debate on this, and hopefully we can develop an economic system that is fit for today and many tomorrows.

Tour tarmac needed here!

From: John Scatchard, Batley

Kirklees Council made a very good job of re-surfacing the road through Birstall Market Place for the Tour De Yorkshire.

Could we plead for the 2018 tour to be routed up Healey Lane from the junction with Mayman Lane and through the village of Healey?

It needs the same treatment as Birstall...

Doomed to two choices

From: R Spreadbury, Liversedge

Having had my fill of the love-fest that was the Labour Party Conference, I feel I must inject a bit of realism (cynicism?) into the proceedings, mainly for the benefit of the newly fired-up young socialists.

It sort of starts with a bit of a history lesson. Sounds patronising, that’s because it is. Thatcher had two flagship policies:

1: A share-owning democracy. This was fronted by the ‘Tell Sid’ campaign. Basically she flogged off public infrastructure assets to the public (nationalised industries) on the cheap.

2: A home-owning democracy. Basically she flogged off council houses to tenants on the cheap. Both have been abject failures. This is because she ignored the fact that we are all basically greedy.

So, at the earliest opportunity, the great British public flogged off their newly-acquired assets for a quick profit.

Now most of our infrastructure is owned by foreign companies (state and private), or hedge funds (whatever these are).

And a lot of council houses are now owned by buy-to-let landlords, and have been rebranded as social housing.

The consequence is that the UK now pays the highest prices in Europe for all manner of life’s essentials, from energy to transport to water to rents, etc.

We are all rightly unhappy about being ripped off by profit-driven companies.

A while ago we saw one of the rail franchises being temporarily brought back into public ownership and turning in a profit for the state.

Sounds like a great idea. Let’s bring all service industries back under state control.

However, this was not nationalisation. It was just civil servants managing the status quo, a profitable private monopoly. The incumbent workforce and operational management structure was retained.

Nationalisation on the other hand is a completely different beast. It is an over-regulated, unionised behemoth, where there is a culture of job entitlement, no matter how rubbish you are.

Everyone gets rewarded the same, no matter what effort you put in. No-one gets fired, no matter how rubbish you are and politically-correct process takes priority over results.

And now, to add to this dysfunctionality, we have anti-discrimination legislation. Here, a representative selection of every disparate minority group, from ethnic to lifestyle, will have to be employed. No matter how rubbish they are.

I’m sure most of us just want capitalism with social responsibility and a social conscience, I suspect, much like Germany, but I doubt if we’ll ever get it.

We are doomed to a two-party state and have the choice between the ‘Nasty’ Party and the ‘Deluded’ Party. Hey ho.

What rights after Brexit?

From: John Appleyard, Liversedge

The turmoil at Ryanair and failure to give passengers proper information about their rights is to be debated in Strasbourg.

Hundreds of EU citizens have been affected and many have lost money.

It’s good news that the Civil Aviation Authority is now acting tough and threatening court action unless Ryanair complies with EU law.

But for us in the UK, that begs the question of what happens after Brexit?

What rights will we have then? Another issue where we need guarantees from the Government.

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