Mailbag: Why is Stout so bitter over Shay?

shay stadium conference facilities in use
shay stadium conference facilities in use

My father used to say that Guinness was a special drink because it was a cross between bitter and stout.

In Calderdale we have another unique phenomenon, a councillor who is both Stout and bitter, at least where the Shay Stadium is concerned. I emailed him a couple of weeks after he had his annual rant in your paper but have still to receive the courtesy of a reply. Perhaps his ghost writer is away? The problem around the Shay is not solely about the use of a football pitch, it is about the use of the offices and hospitality areas seven days a week. The prices are ridiculous. Would you pay £7 for a jug of coffee if you held a meeting there? I know of several groups who are taking functions elsewhere. I also consider councillors who take home over £20k per year each to be a bigger drain on the public purse.

David Fleming

Time to end constant sniping

In response to Councillor Stout’s article “It’s ludicrous for council to own the Shay”, its about time Councillor Stout spent more of his time highlighting more important issues within Calderdale and stopped moaning about the Shay Stadium. I was astonished to read that the Shay Stadium “isn’t fit for purpose” but I find this difficult to understand as FC Halifax Town and Halifax RLFC have managed to stage fixtures at the Shay Stadium without any problems.
The Shay Stadium has also hosted Super League matches on behalf of the Huddersfield Giants and the Shay Stadium is hosting a Rugby League World Cup Game in 2013 which the Council were fully supportive of. The East Stand has a potential to be hired out but once again the Council messed up and employed EMC to do the catering, who charge sky high prices which companies aren’t willing to pay to hold events in the Banqueting Suite. Even though you mentioned that the Shay is bleeding the Council dry, why does the Council see fit to waste money on pathetic projects such as the bookmark project where £2,478.35 was spent to produce bookmarks, postcards and pull up stands with pictures of leading councillors.
Also the sound system which was planned to be installed at the Town Hall would have cost a further £75,000, and only around 50 people would have made use of it. At least the PA system at the Shay is beneficial to a greater amount of people. Within recent weeks it was announced that the Shay Stadium would be home to a new training centre for the Council, however Councillor Stout would be happy for the Council to rent premises elsewhere than to make use of the resources they already own.
I guess when the Council spend money there is discussion and voting systems to determine whether money should be spent on the proposal being put forward. Many other councillors must not have the same opinion as Councillor Stout regarding the Shay Stadium otherwise money would not have been invested into the Stadium and it would have probably been sold by now. It’s time to move on Councillor Stout and make significant changes to Calderdale which the electorate voted you in for, instead of having a constant snipe at the Shay Stadium.

Thomas Greenwood

Smith House Lane, Lightcliffe

Keeping alive proud culture

The one hundred and fifteen people who went to see the young Palestinians dance on the stage of Calder High School last month were richly rewarded. It was a truly inspirational experience.
At the end the audience rose to their feet to applaud those dedicated young people whose dancing was a joy, the more so because it was informed by their visible commitment to keeping alive Palestinian culture and traditions, as manifested in Palestinian music and dance. Dressed in their distinctive Palestinian national costume, they performed beautifully and tirelessly. None of us was left in any doubt that, whatever privations and degradations are visited on them by the ruthless Israeli government they will not allow themselves to be cowed into losing their fierce sense of identity.
In amongst the dancing there were two films showing what life is like in the Aida Refugee Camp in Bethlehem on the West Bank. They were measured, even matter of fact, accounts of the crippling lack of water, the huge wall that imprisons them and the ever expanding illegal settlements which deprive them of more and more of the land that used to be theirs. All our political leaders have shamefully ignored what has happened to these people for over sixty years, and is still happening with scarcely a word of criticism from the outside world. Jews and Palestinians can live together, but they must enjoy equal rights in that currently troubled land. They did so in the past when it was the land of Palestine and with goodwill and help could again, but time is running out.
Be very sure that failure will sooner or later have catastrophic consequences for the world. We all of us do indeed “reap what we have sown”.

Barbara Green

Smithwell Lane


Reminder of flood dangers

The world is sleepwalking into ever increasing disruptive weather patterns due to climate change. At the recent Rio+20 conference the world’s nations decided it was business as usual and very little was done to challenge the old dirty carbon industries that are causing climate change.
Green Peace called it, ‘polluters’ charter that will cook the planet’. WWF said, ‘the text fails to commit governments to actions, targets, time-frames and finance to which we can hold them accountable’, and Friends of the Earth added, ‘World leaders stick heads in sand at Rio+20.’
If ever we needed to be reminded locally of the dangers of climate change the floods of 22/23 June rubbed it in without doubt but with fury.
Our own Government and its agencies have to stop talking about flood threats in terms of one in 30 or 100 years, with climate change it could happen next month again. Here in Calderdale we have been building on flood plains and next to rivers for centuries; this practice can no longer continue. There are at least two planning applications in or pending on schemes in Hebden Bridge that are on or next to the flood plain; one at Mytholm and the other at Mayroyd. Calderdale Council must turn them down. Down in Copley, Halifax, instead of building 200 houses next to the river at Sterne Mills the site must be cleaned of the industrial pollutants and re-engineered back to flood plain.
Our two local MPs must seek from Ministers unequivocal support for not building on flood plains in the area.
The floods also demand that our emergency services are capable of responding to the situation. Cuts in public expenditure can only undermine that response.
Calderdale Green Party has for years been arguing against building on flood plains, the events of June 22/23 unfortunately proved our case. What we need now is action from those in power at both the local and national government level.

Charles Gate

Green Party candidate Warley, Willowfield Crescent, Halifax

A friendly, welcoming nation

The European Football Cup 2012 tournament has been a success for Poland and Ukraine as both countries have been able to raise their profile in Europe and the world. At the beginning, Poland and Ukraine were given a bad press over racism. In particular the BBC’s Panorama programme, “Stadiums of Hate” focused on unrepresentative Neo-Nazi groups in Ukraine to imply that they were representative of the entire country. The general feedback from those who travelled to Ukraine and from journalists, as the weeks went on has been one of a hospitable nation and friendly people who were more than welcoming. Ukrainians have a strong history of opposition to Nazism and Communism. A brief glance at Ukraine’s history shows the heroic stand taken by the football players of Dynamo Kyiv. In winter 1941 the German Nazi’s were in full control of the city. They decided to hold football matches as propaganda of their Aryan superiority. Some of the professional players from Kyiv Dynamo, who had fought against the Germans, were formed into the team Football Club Start. Throughout the season they were undefeated. A revenge match was planned between soldiers of the German Wehrmacht and F.C. Start. Before the game an SS Officer made it clear it would not be in their interest to win. They won 5-3. Over the coming weeks they were arrested by the Nazis, tortured and sent to a concentration camp.There is a monument to these brave players at the Kyiv Stadium. They became a symbol of the nation and defiance against Nazism that belies the myth that Ukraine is a hot bed of Neo-Nazism.

R. Suchyj

Norton Tower

Bumper Courier top class

As a long time subscriber to the Halifax Courier I am writing to congratulate you and your staff for the new Weekly edition of the paper. It was such a nice surprise and what value for money too, a great bumper edition. My Julia and I, both originally from Ovenden, left England in 1970 for me to take up a teaching post on this island, where we have resided for forty-two years. Throughout this period we have always saved a space in our hearts for good old Halifax, paying occasional visits back over the years. Each week we look forward to the arrival in the mail of our Courier. This enables us to keep up to date with the life and new developments in Halifax. Best wishes to you and all our old friends and family in our Home Town. Keep up the good work at the Courier, it is a really top class publication.

George and Julia Dyson


Good show - and a pretty poor show

I wanted to say a big Bravo and Well Done to the good people of Mytholmroyd and Hebden Bridge who managed to run their Galas last weekend in spite of so many shops and properties being flooded out the previous weekend due to the torrential rain.It was a joy to stand in the sunshine and watch the Hand Made Parade go past, full of fun and jollity.So much effort had gone into the costumes, some more elaborate than others and all ages were represented from the very young in buggies and back-packs to the more mature participants and it was a delight to see whole family groups joining in. But on a sadder note, only 3 days later I heard of another side of Hebden Bridge which really upset me.
A man(a house-husband) had taken his very little daughter to a singing and activity session but later that day he received a phone call to say they would not be welcome to go again as someone from the group had complained about a man joining in. If there is anywhere in our region where alternative lifestyles are welcome, surely it’s Hebden Bridge? So what is going on?When a Dad is not able to enjoy activities with his daughter, it’s a pretty poor show!

Sue Plant