BARRY Gibson, in his entertaining weekly column, bemoans the failure of Huddersfield campaigners to turn up at McDonald’s last week to protest against the Government’s Workfare scheme after he had received a tip-off on Twitter that they would.
He suggests that campaigners’ numbers are dropping and morale dipping.
As to the numbers and morale on the left, numbers are indeed far too small, as they always have been, but my observation after 40 years is that they are rising rather than falling at present.
Attendance at Huddersfield Socialist Workers’ Party weekly meetings has been buoyant in 2012 so far with an excellent standard of discussion and debate covering such subjects as ‘How can we get rid of Capitalism?’ ‘The Roots of Women’s Oppression’ (this week) and ‘The Electricians’ Dispute against the big construction companies and the growing power of the trade union rank and file’ (March 14).
Contrary to Barry’s fears, morale is excellent, because we know that most ordinary people (including a few Tories by the way) agree with us in being angry at the corruption and lies, privatisation, workplace bullying, cuts in basic public services and pensions, scapegoating of vulnerable minorities and international warmongering that characterise ruling classes round the world and in the UK.
It seems to me careless to suggest a decline in campaigning when less than a year ago about 300 people from Huddersfield travelled to London for what was probably the biggest demonstration of English trade unionists (as well as many others) in history.
On November 30 last year Barry himself witnessed and reported a march through Huddersfield of more than 2,000 people – his estimate – involved in or supporting the strike against public sector pension cuts which was itself the biggest one-day strike in Britain since 1926.
I suggest that the left, and united working-class resistance which is what the left stands for, are now growing in Huddersfield, the UK and round the world, and long may they.
Vive la Revolution!
Religion and wars
TONY Sosna (A Place for Belief, Mailbag, February 29) is correct in saying that there have been evil secularist regimes in modern times, citing Stalin (atheist) and Hitler (probably atheist, but many Nazis were Christians and he had the Pope on side).
One could also include Pol Pot and Saddam Hussein, though the latter exploited the martyrising beliefs of Muslims to the full in the Iran-Iraq and first Gulf wars.
To quote Richard Dawkins – whether one agrees with his general position as arch-atheist or not – ‘The difference is that individual atheists do evil things, but they don’t do (them) in the name of atheism.
‘Stalin and Hitler did extremely evil things in the name of, respectively, dogmatic and doctrinaire Marxism and an insane theory of unscientific eugenics tinged with sub-Wagnerian ravings.
‘Religious wars are fought in the name of religion and they have been horribly frequent in history. I cannot think of any war that has been fought in the name of atheism.’
To wars could be added atrocities committed in the name of religion not only by terrorists, but by recognised regimes today, including amputation, stoning to death, flogging and other barbaric forms of execution and punishment for such as theft, adultery, witchcraft and homosexuality.
To return to the original issue, the UK does not need an established church to be a good regime and it does not need Christian or any other religious rituals, to be bound up with its governance.
It can promote its liberal policy of tolerance of all religions and beliefs much more fairly when the political structure is neutral, with a view to eliminating all possibility of religious or any other dogma gaining ascendancy to the detriment of others.
Blame for the cuts
A GOOD week ago I challenged Labour about its claim that the cuts in council spending being the fault of the Coalition policies. No reply to that yet.
I looked up the Examiner reports for September, 2009 and there we have further proof of my accusation that it’s Labour to blame.
A Labour government told a Labour-led Council that £250m to £400m would be chopped from their budgets over the next few years. More than 1,500 jobs would have to go. We had Labour politicians telling us then that they were not to blame.
In retrospect we can see that the Coalition have actually not cut by the threatened amount. The number of jobs lost has not been as massive as feared.
Is there any chance of Kirklees Labour councillors thanking the Tories for preventing the threatened economic disaster? Will they praise the Government for making sure that Labour’s economic follies have been rescued by the wicked Tories?
I know there is not much chance of either of the above happening. I ask the electorate though, which party has been straight with you? Which party can you trust to put the country on a sound economic setting?
I would guess it would not be the Labour Party.
Private – keep out
MICHAEL Fay from Beaumont Park (Mailbag, March 1) sounds almost as if he is threatening the Colne Valley Beagles.
I quote: “It’s not too late for the hunt to reconsider (the use of Butternab/Delves Woods for war games) and they should be urged to do so.”
Do the residents think that they have the upper hand on the hunt and can tell them what they can and can’t do with their own land?
Yes, you all have a right to voice an opinion, but let’s get one thing straight, public right of way does not exist through the private woods. The public footpath runs alongside the woods, not through it.
These woods are and always have been private. The hunt has tried for years to keep the public out by blocking the woods off from the public footpath but it has been to no avail.
Whatever gets put up gets ripped back down so people can just take it upon themselves to walk through, letting their dogs foul everywhere.
And that’s not to mention the fly tipping of tyres, fridges, microwaves and so on. It’s disgusting.
Where have you all been if you are supposedly great friends of the hunt? Do these residents understand they have been trespassing for many years?
I am sure that anything that should be addressed by the hunt to the residents will be in due course.
I think any scheme to raise funds in this day and age is a good thing when it’s their land to do with as they please – it’s not desperate measures.
As for the noise, residents omit the fact that there is an airfield a stone’s throw away where planes come in to land and take off.
Believe me, they are louder than a combat game!
Co-op building ‘shame’
I AGREE fully with John Avison’s article ‘Writing on the wall’ (Examiner, March 1) regarding the disgraceful state of the former Co-op building on New Street.
Over the last six months I have called repeatedly for action to be taken to tidy it up pending longer-term action to restore it to its former glory. This building is in a prominent position and its rundown state gives a negative impression to locals and visitors alike.
Huddersfield is blessed with some wonderful architecture and it shames us all when the council cannot find the funds to protect and enhance our historic buildings.
I therefore call on residents concerned about the state of this building to make their feelings known by writing to the council and their local councillors, calling for action to be taken now.
Almondbury ward councillor
Fears for Sure Start
AS the mother of a young baby I am very concerned about proposed changes to Sure Start in Kirklees.
The council proposes to provide fewer services at each children’s centre, but the same range of services across each locality as a whole. They also aim for Sure Start to focus on more vulnerable children and families.
While the most vulnerable families should always have support, the danger is that ‘less vulnerable’ families will struggle without intervention and support.
I also feel that more remote locations could end up with limited provision. Many families in Kirklees would not have the means or ability to travel to other children’s centres.
On a personal note, the staff and parents at Slaithwaite Children’s Centre have provided me with invaluable support during a very difficult time. My personal circumstances meant I could not travel to any other children’s centre. The help of my local children’s centre has enabled me to give my baby a positive start in life.