I HAVE been thinking of writing a book called Clowning Street. It is a story of a group of multi-millionaires who meet up every week in their private club in the street of the title.
Their main goal in life is to ‘balance the books.’ This essentially means transferring money from the pockets of the multitudes (the have-nots) to the wallets of the few (the have-lots). The beneficiaries include cousins in India, Russia and China.
The servants of the Members of the Clowning St Club are kept in luxurious splendour in servants’ quarters nearby called ‘The Palace of Yes Minister.’
To keep these ‘wannabe have-lots’ happy and servile the bars are open 24 hours a day and there is a works canteen serving subsidised cordon bleu repasts at knock down prices.
It is apparently a tradition or possibly condition of employment that before passing any legislation from Clowning St through the Chambers an appropriate number of inmates have to take part in a ‘lock-in’ at one of the subsidised bars.
It is reported that to keep themselves entertained many of the members recently re-enacted a scene from Les Miserables, playing the part of Anarchists.
This time instead of building a barricade they stormed the Public Gallery and shouted abuse at the members remaining in the chamber. This is a clever reversal of roles to the original musical version where the poor and destitute rebelled against the rich and prosperous. The subject under discussion at the time was of course MPs’ expenses.
The event was apparently overseen by the squeaker of the house. The thoughts of Cameron Mackintosh are not known – the possibility of copyright infringement is no doubt under review.
I would like the opinions and advice of Examiner readers. Am I writing a tragedy, a farce, a comedy or a soap opera?
Festival of Music
IN response to the letter from Ivan Shaw, of Kirkburton (July 15) I would like to put an end to certain incorrect information relating to the presentation of the first Yorkshire Festival of Music in the Royal Albert Hall, an event which was promoted by the Huddersfield Committee of the Yorkshire Cancer Research Campaign.
I became associated with Leonard Moore through my work as features editor of the Examiner. Leonard, then chairman of the committee, often phoned me seeking publicity for some big event which was being planned.
One of those events was a massed concert in Huddersfield Town Hall when the four male voice choirs of Huddersfield – Colne Valley, Gledholt, Honley and Skelmanthorpe – appeared together on stage for the first time. The proceeds of that concert, together with the sale of 3,000 double vinyl records, totalled £9,000.
Sadly Leonard Moore, a man of some vision, died in July 1983, and Graham Harris, the consultant at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary who was president of the Huddersfield Committee, asked if I would consider taking over as chairman of the committee. This I did two or three months later.Š
It was some time in 1984 that I suggested to the committee that, following the huge success of the Town Hall concert, we plan a massed event in the Royal Albert Hall. This event was held in November 1987. The success was repeated in 1991 and then in 1994.
After the 1991 Festival I had stepped down as chairman in order to concentrate on the 1994 Festival, after which event I resigned from the committee.
Stanley Harrowby, treasurer of the Huddersfield Committee, accompanied me to a business meeting in the Royal Albert Hall when, on leaving, he stood transfixed as he watched The Squadronaires rehearsing for their evening show, with laser lights flashing around the magnificent building.
Sadly, Stanley also missed the massed events we had planned, as he passed away in April 1986. Leonard and Stanley, friends for many years, had both missed the first Yorkshire Festivals of Music when we had on stage 1,000 Yorkshire male voices and the Brighouse and Rastrick Band. Sellers International Band were also part of two later Festivals.
The fact that the then chairman, Syd Harris, later chose to change his allegiance from the Yorkshire Cancer Campaign in favour of Cancer Research UK is for him or the head office of the Yorkshire Campaign to answer.
All I want to do here is to set the record straight as toŠ the first Yorkshire Festival and to my own involvement in the magnificent three Festivals which I had spearheaded.
Renal unit setbacks
YOUR recent piece on the building of a new Renal Satellite Unit at the HRI is a welcome improvement on current facilities.
It will be a great relief to those patients receiving treatment at the St Luke’s site and also to those chosen to dialyse in the new unit who at the moment travel down the car park known as the M62 for treatment at Seacroft in Leeds three times a week, 52 weeks a year.
Unfortunately, however, because of the time it has taken – more than two years due to various reasons, mainly financial ones – to get to such a stage it will not open until March/April at the earliest and not December as reported, leaving the patients and staff alone and quite vulnerable, open to problems such as vandalism etc in the middle of what will be a building site.
St James’s Kidney Patients Association
Shooting the guard dog
THE coalition Government’s planned closure of its sustainability watchdog the Sustainable Development Commission (SDC) is directly counter to PM David Cameron’s pledge to lead the ‘greenest government ever’.
The SDC’s brief is, through advocacy, advice and appraisal, to raise sustainability at the heart of government. Its current role involves independent advice to the Prime Minister, as well as the devolved administrations in Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast.
The Commission has been a vital source of well-informed scrutiny of government policy. It managed throughout the life of the Labour government to be critical of ministers in an authoritative and constructive way that ensured it retained its credibility.
It is ironic that with 60 staff, part of its role is to advise government on reducing its carbon emissions and other resource use. Its closure makes no sense as it has been responsible for saving far more money that it costs.
I have contributed occasionally to SDC’s work and consultations, as a member of the UK Panel. I have always been impressed with the thorough, original work it has produced on issues like energy, health, transport and well-being.
I fear the new government is acting to prevent effective scrutiny of its actions. It is threatening a source of advice that will help government recognise what is required to make the shift to the low carbon economy – and to plan for energy and food security, and sustainable growth.
IN defence of Peter Carr and the Picturedrome (‘Woman left fuming’, Examiner, July 20) I have always had prompt and courteous replies to emailed enquiries and any tickets booked for shows there have always arrived within a couple of days.
The facilities are never going to be comparable with arenas but neither are the shows put on there. If I want to go and spend £50 for a ticket to see over-priced bands with over-priced car parks and catering I will go elsewhere.
In the meantime as long as Peter keeps putting on the legends from my youth such as The Stranglers, The Christians and Roy Wood he has one firm supporter at least.
AS a Town fan of 50 years, I hate the appalling noise of vuvuzelas which is ruining the enjoyment of the game for most supporters, and kills the proper atmosphere which we should have at the game.
Please can someone organise a vote or petition against these wretched things?
Day care dismay
I AM the parent of two sons with learning disabilities and I am disgusted by the huge price hike in day care fees.
Clr Molly Walton and the rest of Kirklees Council Cabinet who voted this through should be ashamed of themselves for approving this massive increase. I wonder how many of them, if any, are carers themselves.
It’s no good Clr Walton trying to blame the Government for these increases when it was a Labour government in power when the country got into this mess.
Kirklees the ‘caring’ council have targeted the most vulnerable people because they think there will be little resistance from them.
We all know the country is in recession and that everyone will be affected one way or another but how can this size of increase be justified? I can foresee some parents deciding to keep their young adults at home.
Day care is often the only respite some carers have and it is also so important for the users themselves.
We don’t want to see a return to the dark days when disabled people were kept at home, out of sight and out of mind – or is this exactly what you have in mind, Kirklees Council?