VOLUNTARY Action Kirklees’ wealth of knowledge, experience, advice and the training courses which they have arranged are unsurpassable.

There are hundreds of volunteers working in Kirklees and they do not just work from 9am to 5pm.

The volunteers all have one thing in common – that is, they all rely on the expertise of VAK.

Volunteers work tirelessly for the good of all the communities in the Kirklees area, but they do need the strong support they receive from VAK. Volunteers work with children, the elderly, lonely and disabled, striving in any way they can to make life easier for all concerned.

If Kirklees Council was to withdraw VAK’s funding it would be a massive loss to the area. Their volunteer bureau is responsible for at least 70% of reliable volunteers. It would cost KMC a great deal more than the funding if they had to replace the volunteers with paid workers.

Maybe KMC are willing to let children run riot in the evenings and school holidays and the elderly, lonely, disabled and partially-sighted to sit at home and vegetate. I urge the council to rethink its decision on this matter. Surely there are other ways in which they can cut their costs.

Patricia Plowman

Committed volunteer since 2001

Phone and drive

IT doesn’t matter which way out of Emley I go to work you can guarantee there are people in their cars or vans either talking on their mobiles or texting. Either way, they are a danger to every other road user.

Am I alone in thinking these people should be taken off the road, their licence taken away and made to take their test again before they kill some innocent motorist or pedestrian?

I think it’s time to take some more tougher measures, to stop them using their mobiles.

a concerned motorist


Public versus private

PF’s view (Mailbag, July 5, ) of the private sector as the producer of wealth and the public sector as the spender of that wealth is far too simplistic.

Where would the private sector be without a publicly educated workforce? Where would it be without laws that give entrepreneurs limited liability and which protect patents? Where would it be without a publicly-funded police service, fire brigade and transport infrastructure? Where would it be without public sector contracts? In connection with the last, we may soon find out as the coalition government cuts public investment.

While production is not the public sector’s primary purpose, that does not mean that it never happens. One example is the Beanie Block – the combined kerb and drain – which was invented by a West Yorkshire Council engineer and whose circular entry holes can be seen in Huddersfield’s Shore Head roundabout and in many other highway locations.

That bright idea was patented and has brought an income to Kirklees and the other West Yorkshire councils.

A major flaw in PF’s letter is the absence of any recognition that private enterprise operates in a social context. Society has given the private sector privileges and that should impose a duty on it to act in a socially responsive manner.

The private sector exists to produce goods and services for the benefit of the community, not simply to enrich the owners. That means there must be a system for ensuring those goods are shared equitably throughout society. Wages from employment are not enough on their own to achieve this.

PF stated that the public sector spends national income as if there was something wrong with that. On the contrary, its spending is part of the way in which wealth is used for the benefit of society.

It seems that, because they help to spend some of the wealth generated by the private sector, PF may have a low opinion of, for example, doctors, nurses, teachers, public health inspectors, those who maintain our highways and parks and those who care for people with disabilities.

At the very least he or she will think they should not be paid much. The rest of us know such workers provide valuable services. What is more, their spending power helps circulate and increase wealth within society, a circulation whose beneficiaries include the private sector.

Public service employment often entails a public service ethos which supports its work to improve the quality of life for everyone. Why should those employed in such socially-useful ways be paid less than someone in the private sector who may give little thought to public benefit?

I have barely touched on such considerations as responsibility, training, commitment and unsocial hours that may have a bearing on what people should be paid. Nor have I referred to those parts of the private sector like vastly overpaid casino bankers which perform no socially useful purpose and have the potential to jeopardise the economic wellbeing of all.

Suffice it to say that any crude split into a deserving private sector and an undeserving public one harks back to some of the worst aspects of Victorian morality. Perhaps deep down PF recognises this and that explains why he or she has withheld his or her name.



Dog owner answers back

WHILE I respect the right of freedom of speech I would ask you to consider the equal right of reply.

My main purpose for writing is to redress the untruth which appeared in the letter ‘Dogs Off Leads’, in Mailbag, July 7.

While walking on Longwood Edge I was responsible for two unleashed dogs – one a sedate 13-year-old mongrel and the second a younger, more boisterous Alsatian.

They are both very sociable dogs and, in spite of the Alsatian having a predisposition to go towards people, she doesn’t approach nearer than a couple of yards.

She has never growled at nor bitten anyone and only barks when people try to intimidate her.

I was assailed by loudly shouted orders to “put that dog on a lead” and “I’m going to call the police.’’

I sought not to add to these people’s obviously disproportionate and inappropriate hysteria, aiming instead to keep the situation as calm and controlled as possible.

Therefore, as my witness will attest, I said absolutely nothing.

We went on our way, pursued by more haranguing.

I don’t like being called ignorant nor being alluded to as someone who is old enough to know better as though it were a pejorative term.

Indeed, I do know better than your original correspondent because I knew that responding to such verbal aggression would gain nothing. I was careful to set an example of moderate, mature good behaviour.

Eileen Hirst


A fantastic show

I AM writing to say what a fantastic show we saw last week at the Lawrence Batley Theatre.

The performance was a joint venture between the four small Colne Valley schools also called the ‘Heights Cluster of Small Schools’.

Individually these schools are Clough Head, Scapegoat Hill, Wellhouse and Wilberlee.

The older children in these schools were all sent home with a questionnaire earlier in the year. They were asked to interview a relative or friend who lived in and remembered what life was like in the 1950s. From this information a show was written and arranged.

The schools all had their own individual area to work on and did some work together.

The result was a fantastic display of acting, poetry, humour and music.

The children were extremely well rehearsed and oozed enthusiasm. The boys and girls looked like they had walked right out of the 50s and the audience felt they were actually at ‘the hop’!

The children on stage had obviously learned a lot about the subjects they had researched and enjoyed every minute.

Well done to everyone involved in staging, ‘Fabulous Fifties Fun’.

Nicola Bamforth