THE census day will be with us soon so I would like to appeal to those who have no religion to say just that on the census form.

There is a box that you can tick, for the first time, to make just that statement. The Government has been reluctant to give us this opportunity so we should take it – and for very good reasons.

Census information is used by very many people to make important decisions about demographics. Sales people and opinion formers use the information for their own ends and so does the Government. That is why the ‘No Religion’ box should be ticked by those who do not profess to have any religion.

Religious groups use the figures on the census form to impress on the Government their particular strength and the Government listens where votes are at stake.

It is believed that over 70% of people in this country pay no heed to religion and yet claims are made, on behalf of all faiths, that this is a religious country.

There is a big difference between atheism and ‘no religion’. True atheists are not a common occurrence but, ‘people of no religion’ are everywhere and need to register that fact on the census form.

Why is it important? Look at the education policy of all governments since the Second World War. Religious involvement in the education of our young people has increased dramatically, especially under the Blair government, and is increasing even more under the Coalition, and, at taxpayers’ expense.

Some may feel this is no bad thing because ‘faith schools’ get better results. This is largely an illusion. The catchment areas of most sectarian schools are leafy suburbs and not many poor areas so the religious ethos makes no difference.

People may think that religious education does no harm and that the Church of England is a benign influence. This may be so. But what about others who are opening sectarian schools under the Academies and Free Schools schemes?

What happens when a school teaches that evolution is wrong and the world is much younger than geologists claim?

What happens when very young people are told they will go to Hell if they are not good and the gory description frightens them silly and that thought stays with them for life?

The Church of England runs very many of our schools, especially junior schools. This has caused many liberals to complain that this is not fair on other faiths – and I agree.

As a result, the last Government threw it open for others to propagate their own brand of religious indoctrination and we have seen a mushrooming of sectarian schooling which can only be bad for integration.

We need to move to a tax funded secular education system where students of all faiths can mingle freely. We do not need a tax funded sectarian system where students are instructed in the true faith, whatever that may be.

If parents want their children to believe as they do then it is their duty to teach their children those tenets, not to abdicate responsibility and leave it to others.

This census form is a first chance to prove to Government that religion is not important to the vast majority of people in this country. Let us use it. If you are not religious please say so on the census form.

John Matthew Bostock


Senseless census

EXAMINER correspondent R Fisher says that people who don’t comply with the census form should be fined (Mailbag, March16).

What happened to freedom of choice? Isn’t this extra paperwork just a senseless and costly waste of everyone’s time? My father’s generation fought the Second World War in an attempt to preserve some form of freedom of choice and, of course, to prevent the invasion of a country by a ruthless dictator.

However, it seems that their efforts were in vain for the administration that now presides over us seems a far more daunting proposition than those who would have been in charge had we not triumphed all those years ago.

This Government is denying us the right to choose and will actually impose a fine on us if we refuse to complete a piece of paper which only discloses information about us.

It seems they never miss an opportunity to gather revenue.

And why is it so vital to the powers that be to know everything about us.

My father’s generation who gave their lives for their country so unselfishly and exhibited bravery beyond comparison would, if they were alive today, be ashamed to be associated with such a meek and spineless nation of people!

Peter A Ellis


Way too early

GOING to a local (admittedly small) postbox, I could hardly get my letter in due to some individual having mailed their Household Questionnaire nine days too soon.

Let’s hope they continue in good health until the 27th! Now I understand why talent show presenters continually stress ‘Do not call yet as lines are not open!’ Plus ca change ...

Leymoor Lad


Turbines should stay

KIRKLEES Council should not ‘scrap the wind turbines on top of the Civic Centre’.

I have been in conversation with the Environment Unit for many months with regard to their relocation to productive sites where they could benefit local schools and enhance their income in this time of financial stringency.

These machines have a great deal that they can contribute to the curriculum over and above the financial benefit to the community where they are sited.

Think of how children can be shown physics, mathematics, engineering, aeronautics, art, meteorology, poetry, history and so on in real time.

To be fair, the council has worked really hard to do this, but as ever bureaucratic hoops have caused impediments.

Happily, a technical problem with the maker of the turbine in question is, I believe, close to being resolved and, having excited both critics of, and apologists for, their existing location it seems that there will be, in time, a beneficial outcome.

The council should be praised, not vilified, for being an early exemplar of safe renewable energy albeit inexpertly in this instance. Š

John Berryman


Safety on Bradley Road

IT will be of interest to those living on or near Bradley Road – or who travel along it regularly – to know that it is to be resurfaced and improved refuges placed along its length over the next three years.

Work on one stretch, with the poorest surface, is to be done this spring. Ward councillors have long expressed our concerns and those of people living in Bradley so this is a very welcome investment in the safety of pedestrians and drivers on one of our busiest roads.

Again, following pressure from ward councillors, work is to be done on Lightridge Road in Fixby, another route serving a large area, where the surface has been deteriorating for some time.

People living on Alder Street in Fartown have expressed concern about speed of traffic and dangerous driving, including a very well-supported petition to the council. The newly installed plateaux and cushions have already significantly reduced speeding.

Road safety for all of us is very important, especially for our children and older people, and I will continue to do all I can to provide the best we can for the people who live, work and travel in the area.

It is to be hoped that the kinds of fatal accidents occurring over the years on roads such as Alder Street and Bradley Road can now be avoided through measures like these.

Clr Cath Harris

Ashbrow ward

Another bit of tripe

COLIN Vause asks where to buy tripe (Mailbag, March 14).

Well Colin, climb on your bike and pedal down to Quality Butchers in the market and Nigel the owner will sell you as much tripe as you want.

Nigel has supplied me with 4lb+ of the mouth-watering white stuff at short notice (as seen on TV and national and international papers) in my champion tripe eater days, but these days I tend to buy normal amounts.

Enjoy your tripe, Colin. Some folk don’t know what they’re missing.



Keep our history

I READ about the find of the time capsule at Stile Common School during the demolition project (Saturday’s Examiner) and feel the ‘find’ should be given to Tolson Museum.

It is a part of our local history of a Huddersfield school which has some famous pupils and should be on show for past and present pupils, teachers and historians.

If presented to Hillside Primary School, Newsome, as suggested, it has no relevance to their new building as they have a capsule of their own. The old capsule was for the duration of Stile Common School from the beginning to the end of its era.

I feel it will be forgotten in years to come and that is why it should be officially logged and kept on show at the museum. I was fortunate to be shown the carved out cylindrical hole in a huge stone at the site where the time capsule had lain for all those years. No grinding drills in those days. It was all done by skilled hands.

Christine J Battye