Lots of goodies - but only for the rich, again

Conscience: Dr Sentamu     Picture: Anna Gowthorpe
Conscience: Dr Sentamu Picture: Anna Gowthorpe
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MIcrosoft founder Bill Gates has stuck his two penny’orth in.

Then it was the turn of the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, to poke his sceptre into the murky mire that lurks in the growing chasm between rich and poor.

In an article in the Courier’s sister paper the Yorkshire Post, Dr Sentamu (right) called for greed to be made as socially unacceptable as racism and homophobia.

Fat-cat bosses came in for some stick over their inflated salaries and Dr Sentamu warned that increasing child poverty would be just one consequence of the widening gap between the wealthy and the very poor in our society.

Even some Calderdale Council department heads - such as the second highest paid, suspended director of young people’s services, Janet Donaldson, on £144,000 - earn sums most of us can only dream of.

The rich can secure other benefits in addition to accumulating wealth, of course. Children in Need is a fantastic cause - but yet again, those with the most cash are the only ones who can afford to scoop top auction prizes on the Weekend Wonga - sorry, Wogan - BBC2 radio show.

Next Sunday’s programme will have some superb lots on offer, including a makeover and style weekend with Gok Wan and a trip for two to Le Mans next summer. But only those with literally thousands in spare cash to fritter on these luxuries stand a chance of success. Is that fair?

Maybe a lottery, rather than an auction, would be a better system.

* In Saturday’s Courier it was reported that former England international footballer Frank Worthington was fuming over a speeding fine.

He was hit with a £60 payment and three penalty points for travelling at 36mph in a 30mph zone as he approached West Vale.

If it’s in the same area at which a friend of mine was similarly caught, I have every sympathy for Frank. There are no houses, the road is straight and wide and there is no indication that a 30mph limit applies - in fact, experienced drivers could happily do 40mph or 50mph and not think they were exceeding the speed for the road conditions.

If Frank had been caught with drugs in a Halifax alleyway he might have merely been cautioned, as happened to two lads who featured in yesterday’s Courier. Why is it that drivers, already hammered with hefty insurance, tax and fuel costs, always end up being the cash cow?

* Not many good things come out of a recession but it seems that sales of noisy fireworks have taken a tumble this year.

Often the beginning of November - and sometimes the end of October - has been marred by the sound of bangers that reverberate like mortar bombs being let off in Calderdale.

This year, however, the earth-shattering noises seem to have subsided, while the number of pretty, colourful sparkly varieties has remained constant.

Hopefully it means that those with limited brain cells have worked out that buying fireworks to frighten and annoy others is an expensive and ultimately futile exercise.

Luckily, Calderdale seems to have enjoyed a fun weekend of firework festivities. But we should spare a thought for those affected by the M5 pile-up, where a bonfire and a fireworks display close to the motorway may appear to have spelled tragedy for so many families.