I HAVE just had to renew my passport. The guidelines on what constitutes an acceptable photograph are quite complex and stringent.
For example, “the top of your head without hair must measure between 29mm and 34mm” and “your eyes need to be in an even specific location”.
Thankfully, the Good Lord blessed me with not too disproportionate a forehead!
In my youth, I was always encouraged by family, school, church to display a smile – give a smile and it is contagious and makes for a happier world.
Now, the strict regulations imposed upon us by the insane paranoia of the times means I must needs effect a stern, rigid and severe expression.
My spectacles, which I have selected to give me dignity and gravitas in my declining years, must not interfere with a clear view of my eyes.
So that now, as I look manically straight ahead, eyes insanely wide open, lips clasped tightly shut, I fear I look like a terrorist.
As I travel to foreign countries, the border officials are surely going to look at this glum stark, perhaps intimidating photograph and think ...well, what are they going to think?
How are they going to reconcile the image they see in my passport with the cheery, smiling, bespectacled jovial would-be tourist before them?
And what are they going to think of a nation of grim-faced, grumpy, humourless miseries?
What is the world coming to if we are no longer allowed to smile and pervade a cheery disposition anymore?
A COUPLE of years ago a national survey had more than 6% of middle class people admitting they were dishonest.
This was no surprise to me. As a self-employed tradesman some years ago I did a lot of work for the middle classes.
I’d thrust my hand in the cage of an angry hungry tiger more than trust the British middle class.
Another survey taken many years ago among businessmen in the US had more than 90% of them admitting they had been dishonest in their business practices.
So why are we surprised that politicians are so dishonest?
I’m not. British politics is dominated by the middle classes, with a few business types, and, worse, lawyers, although all major parties are controlled by the upper classes via the media they own.
The only genuine working class person in politics recently was John Prescott, and look how the media hated him.
Now he’s gone they need some more working class bad guys, which leaves only the BNP, guilty of the crime of being almost totally working class. Watch the middle and upper class alliance go for them.
TO the ‘Concerned Grandparent’ who wrote to this letters page.
Why don’t you take the children to Beaumont Park – the toilets are first class there?
My grandchildren prefer to go to Beaumont Park and my husband and I both went as children.
Keep crescent safe
OH no, not again. There's another to plan demolish Somerset Crescent at Almondbury and build on the rough ground between Wakefield Road and the bottom of Somerset Road – as reported in the article “Green light for 380 more student flats”' in the Examiner, April 17.
A similar fate was promised for this lovely crescented terrace when the now defunct ‘Armadillo’ development scheme was earmarked for the same site.
Despite the best efforts of Kirklees Council, roof thieves and a world that doesn't care, Somerset Crescent still manages to stand proud.
I appreciate there is a need for more student accommodation blocks, but surely an opportunity has been missed here?
Civil engineering and architectural undergraduates could have been given this as a project, whereby the Victorian terraced crescent facade is cleverly incorporated into a new building.
Their brief: “Using your wit and imagination create a plan for 380 student flats without destroying Somerset Crescent”.
Wishful thinking, I’m afraid. A sad, sad day for Huddersfield when this historic building is inevitably and carelessly torn down.
Where’s Huddersfield Gem and English Heritage when you need them?
ON Thursday, April 16, I, along with other residents of Linthwaite, went to a council meeting about the proposed building in our area.
What a fiasco! Apart from less than 20 minutes when we spoke, we had to keep silent, which is very difficult when listening to all the trash.
Apparently extra houses will benefit our area. Who says so?
I say it will benefit someone’s pocket. That is all they care about.
It doesn’t seem to matter about the wildlife, trees and fields. They are going to ruin a beautiful area and clog already narrow busy roads and fill our already full schools and nurseries.
But, of course, we should be used to councils etc doing exactly as they like.
It’s time we stopped calling this a free country – it is anything but.
Get young voting
I WOULD like to thank reporter Natalie Mullin on her article ‘Make your voice heard – go to vote!’
I agree with what the young voters said. I’m 20 and in my school and college days, I can never recall politics being mentioned at all.
I am sure all parties would agree that this should change.
I remember having plenty of tutorials but quite a few were boring to me and to my classmates.
I am sure the majority of teenagers now and my ex-classmates would have been interested in debating which parties polices are best with regards to education, hospitals, jobs, police, immigration, ID cards etc.
I congratulate Clr Jim Dodds for his involvement in the Youth Council but I think parents should be given more encouragement to mention to their children about the importance of voting and how people sacrificed their lives to have the right to vote.
I am sure more young adults would consider registering to vote if they knew the benefits.
I must also congratulate Huddersfield University on its recent Student Union election.
There were two groups around university for a week encouraging people to vote for them.
Students wanting to vote were given a special code via email and had to vote online. I am sure voting online is one of the big answers to getting more young people voting at local, national and at EU elections.
The reason I believe this is because millions of young adults are on social networking sites such as Facebook.
I am doing my bit in encouraging young people to make their voice heard, as I am standing up as a Conservative Candidate for the Greenhead Ward.
I am hoping to start a Conservative Future group at Huddersfield University.
Our plan is to run events, activities, host discussions, social gatherings and some campaigning.
Anybody up to their early 30s interested in this can email at email@example.com
Don’t develop here
I HADN’T realised that building was still on the agenda around Castle Hill until I read the letter from Lynn Heeley in last Saturday’s Examiner.
I decided to check and with some difficulty found the proposals on the web.
The map www.kirklees.gov.uk/business/planning/pdf-maps/6.pdf shows the area between High Lane and New Laithe Hill, Newsome as Provisional Open Land, extending to within a few hundred metres of the Castle Hill Site.
I remember reading in the Examiner that the council intends releasing virtually all Provisional Open Land for building under the Local Development Framework (LDF); so it seems they could intend to build there.
Taking the matter further, I eventually found a further reference on the web.
Although it’s now too late to comment officially, there is a section called ‘Local Distinctiveness’, which is designed to ‘retain and enhance the features – historic, architectural and landscape – which give Kirklees its distinctive character.’
Well, if Castle Hill and surrounding area doesn’t meet this criteria I don’t know what does!
Therefore, even if it’s officially too late to comment, I will be writing to my councillor via the town hall to ask them to object to any proposed building work and I encourage everyone else to do the same.
P D SHELTON
Road not to blame
THERE are undoubtedly some dangerous roads in the world, some may deserve the title, ‘Road of Death’.
Usually, these are in far off places where road travel is decidedly risky. A mountain road with extreme drops unprotected by walls, or perhaps an area prone to rockfalls or earthquakes.
However, the road from Huddersfield to Wakefield hardly fits into this category.
True, there have been some tragedies over a number of years, but are these truly down to the stretch of road?
Any serious analysis might suggest that there are other factors, which should not be disregarded, not least that many thousands drive, or ride along this road without incident, in all weathers, at all times of the day and night, throughout the year.
With few of the usual distractions such as heavy population, children playing, school entrances, side roads, and parked vehicles, the road currently under the safety spotlight is potentially safer than most.
The sad reality is that our roads are blighted with poor, bad, and downright dangerous driving and riding standards – not necessarily displayed by all those who have been victims on Wakefield Road.
There is a plague of mobile phone use, not wearing seat belts and only obeying speed limits at speed camera sites.
Fear of prosecution is virtually nil amongst the serial offenders, whilst many who claim to be law-abiding flaunt the rules habitually.
The much-vaunted cameras are now predominantly viewed as a revenue generator rather than some sort of safety device.
After all, they do nothing to prevent anything, simply punish after the event.
So, what’s to be done about our so called ‘road of death’?
How about enforcing existing traffic laws?
Death on the roads is tragic and sometimes unavoidable, because accidents do happen.
However, this will not happen until those with no sense of responsibility for their own safety and that of others believe that there is a risk they could be caught and dealt with severely.
No camera, or traffic calming, is going to save you from the folly of some uninsured, driving under the influence, on the mobile, straightening their hair, or who should have arrived at work half an hour ago.
I WOULD like to congratulate our MPs for awarding themselves an 82 day summer break – seven more than last year.
There are claims MPs are out of touch and just feathering their own nests, but luckily we all know this is not true.
Hopefully, this government cannot do any more damage to the country while it is on its 82-day holiday.