IN THE light of Tesco’s bid for a Holme Valley supermarket, Examiner readers should know that a clear and positive alternative exists to counter the rise of a few dominant, profit-driven global companies on whom we are dependent for essentials such as food, energy and communications.

Co-operative action – in which independent individuals and groups or small firms get together – is already a small but significant feature of the Colne and Holme Valleys and deserves to expand.

In the original Co-operative movement, ordinary people, bullied by 1844’s version of monopolistic business (in this area, textile mills) responded by getting together, each putting in what they could afford, and starting their own shop.

They all had a vote to be sure of a fair deal that put their community first and they jointly decided how to use any financial surpluses. Thus began the co-operative movement and it developed the values and principles that co-operatives continue to work to today.

New co-operatives, which already employ significant numbers locally, have started in the Holme and Colne valleys in sectors as diverse as baking, pig farming, Fairtrade retailing, fruit and vegetables retailing, and organic box schemes.

Local co-operative members collaborating with the Transition Town movement and other local organisations and business have identified opportunities in education, manufacturing, agriculture, recycling, health and social care, tourism, and renewable energy.

Most of these projects involve volunteers with money, experience, or specialised skills taking responsibility and working together in solidarity with younger people contributing energy, imagination, and flair.

Other co-operatives elsewhere are already operating successfully in these areas and are ready and willing to help. Consultancy, legal and financial support is available through the co-operative movement structures.

This approach has a huge positive effect on local youth employment, on climate change and local poverty, and offers an alternative to political apathy and short term, vote-for-me, political policies.

Though the views here are entirely my own, anybody interested in contributing to a different future for us all should check out The Co-operative Group: ; The Fair Traders Co-operative: and the Wooldale Co-operative Society:

Mark Lewis


Black Stuff Part Two

LIKE others I was interested in the review of The Boys From The Black Stuff last Saturday in the Examiner article ‘Proof Telly isn’t as good as it was’.

Indeed, not remembering all the episodes, I was inspired to search them out and watch them on YouTube. I found them to be a dark, humorous and powerful portrayal of life in the early 1980s.

This series was set at a time when manufacturing industry in Britain had been asset-stripped or moved abroad to maximise profits without a thought given to the communities that relied on them for employment.

Old George’s last journey to the decayed docks before he died was a view of a smashed world as he reminisced about the heyday of British industry now gone.

The most gripping, almost nihilistic portrayal of the effects of unemployment is in the character, Yosser Hughes. The one in the gang who had aspirations to make it big, Yosser’s fall is cataclysmic. He loses his job, wife and kids in a powerful depiction of the collapse of a life.

Yosser is of course best remembered for his catch phrase ‘Gizza job’ but less remembered is his repetition of the phrase ‘I am Yosser Hughes, I am’, as if he had nothing else left apart from his name.

It was a time I remember well and was intimately acquainted with the dereliction of Merseyside in the 1980s. The destruction of industry, jobs and communities spawned many of the social problems that we face today including the plague of drugs.

Yet even now, not content with their predecessors having destroyed the industrial base of the country the current government is intent on butchering public services, again on the altar of private profit without a care to the human cost.

The Boys From The Black Stuff was a chronicle of human solidarity and survival in the face of social change and indifferent politicians. It was also a portrayal of the impact of change on the individual and relationships.

It was dark and depressing and we must now struggle to prevent the destruction of lives that the government and bankers seem intent on meting out to ordinary people today.

Ian Brooke


Land ‘catastrophe’

IN the Examiner’s two-page coverage of the development proposals for 642 acres which Kirklees Planning invited Thornhill Estates to put forward, there is no mention that the whole of this 642 acres between Huddersfield and the M62 is Green Belt land.

Having been the highly-effective (if unsung) guardians and protectors of the British landscape for over 50 years, I am astonished by the way in which the planners are prepared to throw all this overboard in order wholeheartedly to embrace ‘Presumption in Favour of Development’, the most suicidally-catastrophic policy ever devised by the Conservatives.

This is despite the fact that the planners’ supposed masters are of the opposite political persuasion.

I am sure readers would like to hear first-hand from a senior Kirklees planning officer why their work over the past 50 years has been wrong, and why they now feel able to encourage developers to let it all rip, anywhere?

Arthur Quarmby


Help for sufferers

ON behalf of the Huddersfield Epilepsy Group (Epilepsy Action) I would like to thank the trustees of the Andrew Spencer Trust for organising an Andrew’s Night event at the Cedar Court Hotel.

They raised enough money to buy four epilepsy alarms worth £1,000 for the work of Dr Dafalla’s epilepsy clinic at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary. Chris Burton, who is an epilepsy specialist nurse working with Jenny Kelly, the Sapphire Nurse, (epilepsy specialist nurse) attended the function.

These alarms will help with the diagnosis of the patient’s type of epilepsy and enable the correct anti-epileptic drugs to be prescribed to control the epileptic seizures.

Joan Gorton, secretary


Reunion success

ON September 30 we attended the reunion at Kirkheaton School.

The turnout was very good. We had the opportunity to look round all the classrooms as well as talking to people we had not seen for many years.

It was good to have a catch up after 54 years. I would like to say a very big thank you to all the people involved in setting it up and making it a night to remember.

Brian and Christine Pinder


An £890 harvest

WE would like to thank everyone for their donated produce and buying of the auction lots which helped make our first harvest auction at the White Horse, Jackson Bridge, a success.

It raised £890 to support Hepworth brass band and the Help for Heroes charity.

Thank you all once again.

David and Sarah Hadfield

The White Horse

They’re all mad

THE country has gone mad! Mr Vant’s letter of October 4 asked me where I’d heard about the Arts Council grant of £500,000 for a stone to be floated across the England from Scandinavia.

If I recall, this was in the Daily Mail – now, alas, in the recycling bin.

Turning to the question of the apparent lunacy of this country, let’s look at the Afghan war, 10 years old, hundreds of our soldiers dead, thousands wounded, billions wasted – for what?

To prop up the corrupt Kharzai regime and its drug dealer warlords.

Or how about the Human Rights Act, a godsend to foreign criminals, terrorists and especially their lawyers? Why should European judges tell us what to do?

How about Europe, a major factor in the destruction of our agriculture, fisheries and industries?

Or billions spent on foreign aid, when we have enough problems at home to solve. Can’t we ever mind our own business?

No wonder we have so many ‘asylum’ seekers. This is, after all, a madhouse!

Barry Fowler

Berry Brow