ALL this reminiscing about the Titanic has brought out the sailor in me. We are, after all, renowned as one of the great sea-faring nations.
Our history is full of great nautical heroes and achievements so I thought I would look at how the ship of State has been doing lately.
A few years back it was full steam ahead with Margaret Thatcher doing her Kate Winslet impression, standing proudly astride the railings overlooking the front bit, shouting defiance as we ploughed forward, barking out orders to the attendant ship’s officers over her shoulder.
This Lady was not for turning. On hearing the shout ‘iceberg’ from the lookout above, one of the officers said “Who is he calling a vegetable?”
Hardly in the same memorable league as “I see no ships” or “Kiss me Hardy” is it?
Moving on to the present day, the European Commissioner/Prime Minister now in charge has done so many U-turns he can no longer distinguish between his arm and his elbow and the ship’s Sat Nav has had a nervous breakdown.
The ship of State has apparently steered a course too close to Europe, run aground on the rocks and is tipping over.
Unfortunately, it is so long since the officers and the crew had any meaningful discourse that no-one on either side has any idea how to refloat it.
When asked for orders the captain and his mate allegedly said: “More champagne and a bucket of caviare for table seven. We’ll be down for lunch in a minute.”
Traditionally, as all movie buffs will know, it is women, children and the rich and famous into the lifeboats first.
Unfortunately, on this occasion, there aren’t any lifeboats as they were sold off in the last round of public spending cuts.
Tories v Labour
MR R Vant asks me to research 1997 and look at how well off Huddersfield was then.
He is very good at asking questions but does not have the same resolution in answering them.
Anyone that wants to have an in-depth analysis of 1997 has, let’s face it, too much time to spare.
I would gladly match 1979 with 1997 to compare how well the Labour party governed and left the nation.
In terms of number of strikes, number of patients left in corridors, amount of rubbish piled in the streets and corpses left unburied, Labour would surely win that number game.
If we compare 1997 with 2010, again Labour win with a record deficit.
The Conservatives always seem to come in to sort out Labour’s mess.
When the local election is over I might find time to go into detail but if I was him I would not hold my breath.
I would rather look to the future where a government actually keeps to its promise to cut the deficit and get the conditions right for the manufacturing base to create the wealth necessary to put the country on its feet again.
This election should be about bread and butter issues.
To answer another critic, the Conservative-led Coalition has increased the spending on health and increased the numbers of doctors and nurses.
It was the Labour party that deskilled teaching by creating classroom supervisors and higher learning teaching assistants.
Labour has made no commitment on spending on many areas of government activity that the Coalition, led by the Conservatives, has pledged to defend.
It suits the Labour party to be in opposition now when the hard decisions have to be made.
As for the local Labour party, they could have increased the Council Tax rate if they wanted to.
Of course, they took fright at the backlash they would have got in the election.
Better for them to hide behind the skirts of the Coalition Council Tax freeze and forget about the cuts that were planned under a Labour government three years ago.
Huddersfield Conservative Association
For the record
TODAY I have received a letter from Christine Stanfield (Lib Dem councillor and candidate) asking me to vote Lib Dem because “a vote for anyone else just helps the Tories.”
Through your letters column can I let your readers know that in the 2011 election result the Lib Dems got 1,650 votes and Douglas Morgan for Labour got 1,487 votes.
And it is the Lib Dems that are in coalition with the Tories. Thanks to their co-operation, Kirklees people suffer heavy cuts to their services.
Labour Agent for Lindley
It’s getting warmer
THE Huddersfield Weather Station continues to quote an average day/night temperature for each month and compares this to previous years.
But we do not live in average temperatures. The meaningful figures are the average daily high and the average nightly low.
The average high for this March was 12.6°C, the warmest March ever recorded.
In fact, this is the first March ever to go over 12°C. The Bradford weather centre publishes a continuous record of these monthly temperatures from 1908 to the present day.
There is no commentary, no sermon, just a list of figures, but what a story these figures tell.
You may believe that spring arrives earlier in these modern times and winter arrives later and you are right to believe this.
The average daily maximum for April for the 20 years from 1908 was 10.5°C, for the middle part of the century 11°C, and for the last 20 years 12.5°C.
For the month of September the corresponding figures are 15.5°C, 16.3°C, and 17.5°C.
And when some old geek like me is talking in the pub about the wonderful summers when he was nobbut a lad, tell him he’s talking rubbish.
The modern July averages just one and a half degrees warmer than 60 years ago.
The centre of Luddism
MR John Holroyd from Spen Valley Civic Society has made the strange claim that, the ‘only connection’ Liversedge Luddites had with Huddersfield was that ‘some of the Luddites came from there.’
Sadly, the Civic Society does not understand that without the Huddersfield Luddites there would have been no Luddism in Liversedge and no attack on Rawfolds Mill.
They do not comprehend that their refusal to recognise the contribution of Huddersfield is both historically wrong and offensive to the memory of the Luddites.
Liversedge’s claim to fame as a centre of Luddism stems from the Rising of the Luddites by Frank Peel which is a mixture of fact, folklore and fiction.
Because he was from the Spen Valley Peel focussed on events in this area yet his account makes it quite clear that the impetus for Luddism came from Huddersfield.
According to Peel’s account, William Hall from Liversedge came into contact with the Luddites while working at Longroyd Bridge near Huddersfield.
Hall brought over two Huddersfield Luddites, John Walker and Thomas Brook, to the meeting at the Shears Inn and it was they who persuaded the Liversedge men to destroy Carwright’s shear frames at Rawfolds Mill.
The largest contingent in the attack on the mill was from Huddersfield.
Eleven men, all from the Huddersfield area, were charged for the attack and five subsequently hung.
Three more would have been hung for the attack had they not already been executed for the assassination of Huddersfield mill owner, William Horsfall.
Only one Liversedge man, John Hirst, was arrested for the attack on Rawfolds Mill and he was acquitted.
Another, William Hall, turned informer and was instrumental in sending many of the Luddites to the gallows.
Of over 60 men arrested for Luddite related activities, most were from the Huddersfield area.
Without the Rawfolds attack, Liversedge would have remained just another area on the fringes of Luddism. It’s main claim to fame, therefore, is a result of the initiative and sacrifices of the Huddersfield Luddites.
The new Luddite Cenotaph at Liversedge is a splendid achievement and the Spen Valley Civic Society deserves acknowledgement for its hard work.
But if they really intend it to be a monument to the Luddites then it should be to Luddism as it really was, not to a narrow-minded, parochial, distorted and mythical Luddism.
It is historical truth which is the issue.
A real musical treat
I WOULD like to share my thoughts of the Saturday evening concert at Huddersfield Town Hall given by Slaithwaite Philharmonic Orchestra.
To fully appreciate the music you need to be in a building with the acoustic qualities of our town hall.
However good the quality of a person’s hi-fi system, their front room was not the place to be able to be stunned by the sounds the Slaithwaite Philharmonic Orchestra produced for the audience.
The guest trumpeter played beautifully and powerfully along with the orchestra.
The power and sound level of the orchestra was not to be described as loud – tumultuous was a better description for me.
A superb evening of music much deserving of a larger audience which, in turn, would have been able to give the musicians great appreciative applause they so deserved.
I would encourage people of Huddersfield to treat themselves to the superb musical treats Slaithwaite Philharmonic Orchestra offer us and long may they do so.
MR G TODD