How refreshing to read of a heavyweight politician who now understands the error of his ways.
I refer to Coun Stephen Baines, Conservative leader and sitting councillor for the ward where I live – Northowram and Shelf.
I believe his candour deserves some kind of civil award. He has quite rightly grasped the nettle with regards to car parking and his opposition to the increase of parking charges. He now comprehends the knock-on effect of increased charges to trade and business.
I was trading in the centre of Halifax for 45 years, so I have some idea of what he is talking about. My advancing years are obviously confusing my logic.
Is this the same Stephen Baines who as the leader of the council, because of Conservative ideology, authorised the privatisation of the traffic wardens? There was much dissent by his Conservative colleagues but his strength of character prevailed. The outcome was awarding the contract to the company Vinci. A fine for profit outfit with a multi-million pound turnover. They were employed by the council to take advantage of motorists across Calderdale because it was seen as easy income for the authority. There are now many times more traffic wardens across Calderdale than air raid wardens during the last war. The modern motorist must be seen as more of a threat than the German bomber! To Coun Baines’ credit, I hear his party colleagues in Westminster are against local authorities making money from motorists who could be five minutes late on return to their car. Don’t keep this a secret. Inform your friends in senior local government positions so they don’t get egg on their beard.
Your local UKIP candidate, a lifetime in the ward of Northowram and Shelf.
Apologise for getting it wrong
Like me no doubt you can accept that everybody makes mistakes.
I’m sure you also agree that when you try to interpret statistics you should do carefully. Quite often it is easy to think numbers show one thing when in fact they don’t.
I’m sure you’ll agree if you do make a mistake you would stand up and apologise for it. You can use Latin and say ‘mea culpa’ or go for the modern slang version of ‘my bad’ . I prefer the very simple and understandable ‘ I’m sorry I was wrong’. So I’m waiting for Andrew Tagg’s apology over his misuse and mistakes in trying to quote the OECD PISA statistics that compare the attainment of students in 75 different countries in reading, mathematics and science. Andrew thinks the UK lags behind the entire developed world.
He thinks we are bottom of the league. In fact the last time the figures were out the UK was 20th for reading, 22nd for Maths and 11th for science.
Now when I went to school 20th isn’t bottom of a list of 75. It would be nice to be higher up the table.
There can be no complacency about educational standards.
However when you look at the figures you also find the UK’s scores aren’t statistically different from the average scores and no one should suggest they lag behind the entire developed world.
You need to stop listening to Mr Gove, Andrew, and read the figures for yourself. Take your time over them. Check what has been said about PISA scores and how few people actually hold any faith in them whilst you’re at it.
They are a very narrow measure and the countries that do best (China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Shanghai) all have an education system entirely geared to taking tests. In those very countries they are looking to broaden their curriculum to develop the sort of problem solving and enterprising skills that allow students to succeed in the real world beyond the classroom. After you’ve done that, sit down calmly with Coun Baines and decide which local schools are failing our children.
When you’ve cleared your heads perhaps you’ll express regret at celebrating the destructive and damaging policies of Michael Gove.
Surely you aren’t celebrating his throwing education to the wolves and destroying the chances of thousands of children in this generation? I’m horrified to see schools failing and want to honestly tackle underachievement.
My sincere wish is for every child to have the same educational opportunities whether they go to Harrow, Eton or a state comprehensive.
In the current TV shows like ‘Harrow, a very British education’ or ‘Educating Yorkshire’ we can see the difference in resources and funding.
We can’t see a difference in the dedication and effort of the teachers, so why does Stephen Baines say that our schools are failing?
I’d also love to hear his solutions because free schools that waste money and employ unqualified staff to teach children their own sub-standard curriculum don’t sound too clever to me.
Anthony John Rutherford
Thanks for help in uniting us
Could I say a big thank you to the Courier and staff for their help?
A few weeks ago I asked for a letter to be placed in the Courier in respect of finding my wife’s cousins, Peter and David Foster. Within two days I had an e mail from Canada (Vancouver)from Peter’s son, also called Peter. As they were coming to Halifax this month to visit Peter’s mother, we arranged for him to visit us. He came to see us with his wife and we exchanged information. We gave him photos and a lot of info of his new family over here. He admitted that he did not know any of my wife’s family existed.
I think he went back to Canada with a lot more knowledge of his ancestors. Once again many thanks for all your help.
Ease tax burden and take up offer
Calderdale Council have done very well in developing the Shay with the New East stand, making it into an excellent Stadium. However the Shay is unfinished, with huge spaces unused. The council cannot develop the Shay further, due to the severe squeeze on council spending. It is at present losing over £200,000 a year of taxpayers money, and this loss is likely to increase. Tony Abbot has spent much time in preparing a feasability study to complete the Shay,in order to make it a truly community stadium, open all week, and providing a permanent and secure home for FC Halifax Town and Halifax RLFC. If nothing is done the Shay will become an increasing burden on the taxpayers, and remain underused.
The fact a businessman with keen sporting interests is willing to spend a great deal of money on the Shay must be welcomed by the council.
If his bid for the Shay is accepted it will result an immediate removal of the £200,000 loss and the introduction of 300 jobs at the Shay in the new Reactiv offices.
Putting the Shay for sale on the open market is likely to attract bidders with little interest regarding the sporting tradition of the Shay. I hope the council will give very serious consideration to the Reactiv scheme, ensuring safeguards are in place to secure permanent homes for the two clubs, before letting the Shay stagnate, or, worse still, suffer the fate of the Don Valley Stadium
Roils Head Road
Many good things from our county
Many good things have come out of Yorkshire and I will expand on three of these “good things”.
Firstly there is Christians Against Poverty, which was the idea of a man from Bradford, John Kirby, who started it after getting into financial difficulties himself. Now there are over 230 CAP centres in the UK plus others established in Australia, New Zealand and Canada. The CAP ministry is run through churches. Thousands of people have had their lives changed for the better because of CAP, house repossessions stopped, marriages saved, people on the brink of suicide now living normal lives. The Halifax branch of CAP is run from the King’s centre, Park Road. Also there are the Street Angels started in Halifax by Paul Blakey, who wanted to help people in trouble, especially at night on Fridays and Saturdays. The men and women who make up the Angels go out on these two evenings until the early hours helping anyone in distress. Lastly there is the National Assosiation of Healing Rooms, started here in Halifax by Paul Clift an elder at a local church. People go to the healing rooms for prayer and counselling . NAHR now has 110 centres in the UK and has spread into Europe. The Halifax centre is on St James Street.
All three groups are church based and are life changing ministries. I would also like to add to this list two more smaller groups who help people.
Change of Lifestyle Training, who help anyone with an addictive way of life, is based on Elland Bridge where they have offices and a furniture warehouse. Finally the Crisis Pregnancy Centre, which helps young woman and girls who have problems of any kind during this traumatic time. This centre is at St James Street.
Staff have worked so hard
I am writing as a customer of Gibraltar Road Takeaway. Just recently they have extended the premises.
Their takeaway now has a seating and catering area and it’s much bigger behind the counter. Their food is freshly made to order. Making food to order is cooked in view of customers. All the staff have worked hard to accomplish where they are now.