MAKING cuts in services does not go hand in hand with increased commitments (or claims of ever-increasing "efficiency", for that matter) and the latest services to feel the pinch are the armed services.

Whitehall's spending watchdog the National Audit Office says the forces are over 5,000 men and women below strength and for the past five years have been operating, under strain especially in some key sectors, at a higher level than had been planned for.

Think Balkans, think Afghanistan, think Iraq. Whatever the rights and wrongs that we can see more clearly with hindsight, these were all occasions when the UK felt it had to act and for the best of motives, however misguided that reasoning later turned out to be.

Recent rumblings at all levels in Afghanistan and Iraq where the tension is greatest, show that the strain really is beginning to show.

Time for some deep thinking from a Government that is more noted for jumping in first and doing the thinking afterwards.


LOCAL pride will not take too kindly to Huddersfield being considered as a satellite town in the orbit of Leeds as West Yorkshire's major city.

But there will be local interest in the 25-year "transport vision" the Leeds City Region Development Plan which was launched today, curiously in Halifax.

The mixture of tram trains, rail electrification, better road links, rapid bus transit, bus and rail-based park and ride schemes, new transport interchanges and an extension of many people's good friend the Metro Card, will effect every family in Huddersfield.

And we can only support the plea for a narrowing of the gap between the £600 a person the Government spends on transport in London and £200 per person in the Leeds City Region.


FINALLY, again on the subject of local pride, let's all get behind the plan for a team of 25 ambassadors to promote Huddersfield around the world.

We already have lots of people in business, at the university, in music, in drama and in sport constantly showing the amazing talent that this town of ours possesses.

But a little extra thrust from Patrick Stewart's latest star trek will not go amiss.