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Jubilee and Hebden Bridge image

From Lizzie D

Monday, 20 June 2011

So our Town Council seeks not to fund any form of celebration for the Queen's diamond jubilee. Delivering the message that once again all of the hebdenites anarchists doth shout 'Bah humbug' to the establishment. The Courier reports that this is the same town that held "an anti-royal wedding street party".

The Guardian produces an article mocking our quirkiness/seediness and pretentiousness, whilst dragging up the whole drugs and 'that' documentary debate.

This persistence in drawing attention to ourselves is wearing very thin. What I find worse is this labelling that we are somehow one huge group who because we live in Hebden think-act-behave in a specific way.
We are being seen by wider soicety through these pyschadelic spectacles, like bloomin laboratory rats, performing to order. Whilst wearing tie-dye organic cotton and plastic (non toxic, biodegradable) sandals. It drives me nuts!

Does anyone else feel that like the little boy in the story of The Emperors New Clothes, we should shout "But look they really have nothing on"

From Andrew B

Monday, 20 June 2011

Lizzie, I'm glad you started this discussion as I just came on to do so if no one had already.

I was shocked to read that it was Labour councillors opposing any plans:

"All we wanted was the chance to discuss how the council could play a part in the celebrations," said Christine Bampton-Smith.

"But the Labour councillors, who are in the majority, would have none of it," (Taken from the Courier)

Is the Trades Club a Labour club? It certainly has the 'Vote Labour' signs in the windows around election time, so were these Labour councillors also involved in the 'Not the Royal Wedding Street Party?"

You are merely managing tax payers money councillors, maybe you should carry out some local consultations to see what people want? You're quick enough to turn up on doorsteps with flyers when you want a vote, then distance yourself to do as you please for your term.

From Graham Barker

Monday, 20 June 2011

Hear hear, Lizzie. Many journalists these days are lazy and Pavlovian, and will always look for ways of recycling the same familiar themes rather than do something original that requires hard work and a bit of risk. Accuracy and truthfulness don't come into it. It's an easy way to earn a few quid, so we've probably all got to live in an alternative Disneyland for some time yet.

From H Gregg

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

The 'Not the Royal Wedding Party' didn't receive any funding from the Town Council either. It was organised and funded by the Trades Club (formed in 1923 by 'locals'). If you want to celebrate the occasion - go for it (please don't send me an invite though).

If you want to change the image of HB - same applies - do something. To me the 'image' doesn't matter, it what happens here that's important.

From Lizzie D

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

I did know that the not the royal wedding party was not funded by our council. Not having a strong opinion either way on our Royal family is not a crime, I just don't care enough to be bothered to celebrate nor publicly oppose any celebration. I don't care either that members of the Trades chose to demonstrate their principles in their anti-establishment way. What I do find objectionable is the way the press portray all Hebdenites in this (for want of a better word) 'quirky' way. Many of our elderly residents (and I am not far of that label being semi retired), were genuinley upset to be publicly portrayed as anti-royal by the press during the Royal wedding.

Like Andy I do think our town council should have sought the views of all of the electorate rather than being influenced by their anti-royal members. I am not a whinger, and I too believe that if you want to change things - get off your butt and try. But the persistent determination of the press to emphasies our 'tree hugging' credentials places obstacles in our paths. Hebden Bridge is fast becoming known as that odd little town trying to be 'above its station'. I agree with Graham that the press are Pavlovian in their reporting as they seem to pounce on anything that illustrates such images. Instead of burying heads in the sand and declaring that 'we don't care about our images' a quick read of the comments on the Guardian article might alter that view. I care passionately about Hebden Bridge and feel embarassed that our public persona is one that is very often ridiculed.

From Coun Susan Press

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

It is an old adage in journalism that you should never let the truth get in the way of a good story and so it is with this one.

As one of the nine Labour councillors who voted not to fund Diamond Jubilee celebrations, I would just like to set the record straight.

Firstly, the Trades Club "Not The Royal Wedding" event was nothing to do with anyone on the town council. It was organised by the Trades Club and I understand enjoyed as an event by those who went. The Trades Club is entirely autonomous and runs its own events. The Labour Party has two offices on the ground floor - hence the election posters.

At the Town Council meeting which was misconstrued in the Courier, we said that it was entirely appropriate that anyone who wished to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee with bunting/ street parties/whatever should do so.
But with a small budget and other priorities, Labour councillors did not feel it to be appropriate use of public money.

I would point oput that Calderdale Council has already agreed to spend £25,000 on the Jubileee so the faux outrage from Coun Bampton-Smith is mis-placed and disingenuous.

As she is quite well aware, there will be no shortage of opportunities for people to celebrate if they want to. And if they want to, then fine.
But the consensus on the Labour group was we would rather spend public money on community groups in need, schemes to improve the environment, keep services local and concentrate on those in Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd who needed our financial help the most.
I find it extraordinary anyone should find that "shocking."

From Rev Tony Buglass

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

"You are merely managing tax payers money councillors, maybe you should carry out some local consultations to see what people want?"

I thought the votes cast in the election were supposed to say what people want? Isn't that what democracy means? What you're arguing, Andrew, sounds as if you want a referendum on any decision which involves the spending of public money.

The Trades Club has always been a seat of radical politics - it was formed by trades unions, and it is currently owned by the local Labour Party and run by its membership; its membership form requires applicants to declare that their "political principles are consistent with those of socialism and common ownership." None of that should be news to anyone in Hebden Bridge.

Personally, I am not especially anti-royalist, and I am quite happy for there to be celebrations to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee - she works harder than most of us, and I'm happy to affirm that. However, when we're facing a period of unprecedented cuts, and economic policies which will disproportionately affect the poorest and most vulnerable in the community, I do not wish to see public money spent on those celebrations.

I don't know what conversation actually took place in the council chamber, rather tersely summarised as "the Labour councillors, who are in the majority, would have none of it." I suspect at least some of it was in tune with what I have just written. And that will be in tune with the feelings of many in the community who are counting the pennies now, and don't know for sure how many pennies there will be in the near future.

If people want to have street parties, let them have them. Nobody is preventing any celebrations. Just saying the council doesn't have the money or the wish to pay for them.

From Cllr Richard Scorer (Fairfield ward)

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

As a newly elected Labour town councillor my understanding was that we were voting on whether the town council should give additional financial support to diamond jubilee celebrations , which are already going to be supported financially to the tune of £25,000 from Calderdale Council. As with other Labour councillors I did not consider it a spending priority in these particular circumstances.

Speaking personally I am not anti monarchy nor am I seeking to use the town council to propagate republican views. I daresay some in the Labour group have republican views but that was not the reason for the decision.

The whole situation is rather ironic as nationally the Lib Dems are implementing savage public spending cuts involving the closure of libraries, swimming pools, cuts to disability benefits, etc, yet locally they seem to be attacking us for not granting additional funding to diamond jubilee celebrations which are already publically funded.

Any spending decisions inevitably involve choices between competing priorities. I am a new member of the Community Funding Committee and I am sure that we will have to make decisions in favour of some groups rather than others. Those who lose out will not be intrinsically undeserving but the need, and the community benefit, may simply be greater elsewhere. I hope that we are not going to have a situation where if the Community Funding Commitee decides to make a grant to Group X but not Group Y, we will find some Liberal councillors issuing press releases saying "Labour opposes Y". I hope councillors of all parties will be more grown up than that and acknowledge that choices are sometimes necessary and that councillors can have reasonable disagreements about them, without impugning each others' motives.

I do think that as spending cuts start to bite, the town council will need to think carefully about how its money is spent and to ensure that we do what we can to support those who are most affected by cuts. This approach was very explicit in Labour's local election literature so it can hardly be attacked as disregarding voters. Sadly it may mean from time to time, turning down otherwise meritorious cases of lesser need. As far as the diamond jubilee is concerned I hope those who want to celebrate it, do so and as mentioned funds have been earmarked by Calderdale MBC for just that purpose.

From Paul D

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Returning to the original post, I'm not sure we are constantly drawing attention to ourselves. The Guardian article was just lazy journalism (bowling pensioners?) and isn't the Halifax Courier now printed in Sheffield? Very local that is.

The Trades is a members club, so like the con club its members can choose how to celebrate events such as a royal wedding. The fact that nobody locally or nationally reported on what the con club did on the day says more about the media's current obsessions with diversity than our self regard, we're just a diverse and quite tolerant comunity getting on with things. If that gets up the noses of poor journalists then fine. The fact that they're culling material from websites closer to the community than they can ever get says it all really. It's mostly written at a distance and of low grade. And as for Calderdale - give them a straight choice between 25 grand more on home care or putting bunting up for a day? Hmmm... no wonder we just laugh and do our own thing.

From Andy M

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

I would echo Cllr Susan Press in that if people want to celebrate the jubilee then they're welcome to. However, in these times of austerity, and the much vaunted Big Society, surely this is something the Government would want to see local (royalist?) groups taking the initiative on rather than overburdening an already stretched local council?

Or perhaps it should come out of royal funds if they want a knees-up?

From Chris Day

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

You wrote, Graham: "many journalists are lazy and Pavlovian." Pavlov rang a bell each time he fed his dog and found that after a while it salivated even when the bell rang without food. This is called classical conditioning. Many journalists do salivate at the sound of a sensational story whether or not it is true and whoever is ringing the bell. Pavlov's work has since been developed into a radical movement called 'activity theory' where people actively choose what they practice and allow to become automatic- much in the way a Buddhist will practice virtue in order to become virtuous and therefore happy. There is no need to try to live in the Disneyland the media create. It is quite possible to look beyond superficial images (a process they would call dialectics) to discover a more truthful account. You can just switch off the tv and look for alternative sources of information. Take the superficial media reporting of proposals on changes to the NHS bill for example. There are already plenty of people working hard to present the truth with accuracy. For example:

Unite national officer for health Rachael Maskell has written: "The way that David Cameron and health secretary Andrew Lansley will interpret the Future Forum's recommendations is that the pace of the privatisation of the NHS will be slowed down, but not abandoned."

Professor Allyson Pollock has written that: "the bill, as designed, will allow commissioners (purchasers of healthcare or insurers) to pick and choose patients and services. It would thus abolish the duty to secure or provide comprehensive care? It heralds a return to pre-1948 arrangements of inequitable charitable and private provision, mixed funding ? and a return to fear."

Wendy Savage, of 'Keep Our NHS Public' has written: "I think the absence of confidence is because he (Lansley) has not told us the truth about what his plans aim to achieve which is turning the NHS into a commercial market."

With such serious problems facing us all, actively seeking the truth is a job for everyone.

From Jenny B

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Personally, I am just glad of another extra day off work (despite the grumbles about the cost to the economy).

Those who disagree with any proposed celebrations could always forefit the day off and go into work?

Whilst I wouldn't expect our town council to fund any knees-up that might be planned to celebrate the jubilee either, I do wonder why a debate about how the press portrays Hebden, or indeed many of the debates on here, turn the forum into a political soap box for our councillors to have a snipe at each other.

I have read the Guardian article. At best it is regurgitated news, at worst it does portray us as outlandish and odd.

On the whole it is probably accurate though, as in my opinion, there are plenty of odd people in Hebden. Especially those who have street parties on a day that wasn't the royal wedding day (or even a bank holiday) and call it a 'not the royal wedding party.' Now that is going to draw the attention of the press.

From Andrew B

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Apologies for not making myself clear in my previous post- although Lizzie's interpretation was correct- in my opinion (and clearly hers) the Town Councillor's, or particular councillor's, are making decisions based on ones own preference, not necessary representing the views of the electorate.

I am not suggesting that a referendum each and every time public money is spent, however if a community group wants to organise an event in celebration of the Jubilee, surely the same pot of money that is used to fund other events, be it a celebration of the Arts (HB Arts Festival), could be used for a group wanting to arrange a celebration for this.

Overall I personally feel that Councillor's should speak to people, be it their neighbours, or even spend half an hour in town occasionally asking for peoples views on various issues- seek the views of those you represent, instead of diving in feet first and voting with your own (possibly, on occasion) biased opinion.


From Cllr James Baker

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

The local Liberal Democrats wanted to do something for the Jubilee because people in Warstein our twinned town expressed an interest in coming over to celebrate with us. They had enjoyed the Royal Wedding and assumed we would be doing something next year together as a community. It would have been a fantastic opportunity to bring people together to celebrate our country, identity and traditions. Who knows what they will think when we tell them we are not having any official celebration in the Town.

I personally spoke in favour of the Town Council marking the jubilee next year. Not because I'm a devout monarchist, but because I know many of the people I represent would have enjoyed a celebration. I believe that these people deserve to have the Town Council supporting them. The Town Council also represents Mytholmroyd, Crag Vale and other rural areas. It's not just meant to represent the views of the Trades club membership.

There was no proposal on the table to spend tax payers' money. I made this point in the debate - that it need not cost much or anything. Marking the jubilee could have been something symbolic the council did such as fly the flag or write a letter congratulating the Queen on her 60 years on the throne. It would have shown people who care about the Jubilee that the Council was there for them.

This year the Town Council has a budget of £60,000 to spend on grants. In previous years this has included grants for local celebrations, for instance last year the council spent money on the 500 celebrations. Such celebrations are an essential part of any community, but not every event appeals to everyone. I think a Jubilee event would have appealed to a different group of people that are often forgotten and left behind, and who deserve to have some money spent on them too.

Despite the lack of help from the Town Council many of us will still try and organise something. Maybe St. Michael's square in Mytholmroyd could play host to a celebration or street party? People can also still put in a grant request to the Council for their own events.

From Lizzie D

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Cllr Barker you have hit the nail squarely on the head. There are too few people having their say on everything that happens in our town. My mum used to say it was always a case of "those as shouts loudest shouldn't allus get" - meaning it is often unfair that the polite ones stand back quietly and get ignored. We certainly have lots of shouty people around here. This who use their very loud voices to get what they want, and not for the good of all of our community.

Whether we are monarchists or socialists never mattered when celebrating town events. we are a Pennine village for goodness sake, we still have traditional events like maypole dancing in our schools and dock pudding competitions. Our children should be having a Jubilee party not being told that royalty is a dirty word.

I do think that you are right in that a lot of local people would expect some sort of town council event, albeit at low cost, but at the least an acknowledgement of the event out of respect for those who do care. Or at least as Andy B says ask the electorate.

Meanwhile those who don't care what others think, seem to care very much about publicising their opinions, which then allows the press to assume that their view is everyone's view, and mock our quirky/ funky/ alternative stance.

This whole argument is yet another illustration of how those who think that this attitude is the right one. They revel in living in a town with this label and sek to monopolise things, and shout down those who disagree. And if they occasionally lose an argument or find their views challenged (as is happening on here these days), then they either shout out loud 'ya boo we don't care what people think we only care about us', or they blame the Tories/Liberals and usually those old stick in the muds 'thick' locals for not wanting anything to change.

And god forbid you are a royalist round here, they would have you in the stocks outside the Trades and pelt you with organic rhubarb.

From Rev Tony Buglass

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

"Who knows what they (ie Warstein) will think when we tell them we are not having any official celebration in the Town?"

So you're saying that none of the £25,000 set aside by Calderdale to celebrate will be spent in Hebden Bridge?

I think you're jumping the gun a bit - there will be celebrations in the town, I reckon (and like Jenny, I will enjoy an extra bank holiday), just they don't need to be funded by the Town Council. In these times of cuts and financial stringency, the Town Council budget will probably have more urgent demands to meet. Like new signs saying "That used to be so Hebden Bridge, but it isn't any more, 'cos they don't like it."


From Cllr Richard Scorer (Fairfield ward)

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

There will be Diamond Jubilee celebrationsin Hebden Bridge and there is public money available to fund them. That is the true situation but sadly it probably won't stop those who are determined to say that Labour
wants to prevent such celebrations, from repeating that myth.

Whilst I realise this is going off topic, in response to the earlier mention of NHS changes and where does the truth lie, I would simply comment that Prof Allyson Pollock has been consistently right in her warnings about the effects of introducing private providers into the NHS. Based on
her track record, she is a good person to listen to now.

From Cllr James Baker

Thursday, 23 June 2011

I don't know how Calderdale will spend the £25,000 put aside for the celebrations. I did make it clear in my first post there was no request for additional money from Hebden Royd Town Council. Whether money is available elsewhere is missing the point, this is about the image it gives out.

The agenda item that we discussed was: 'To consider marking the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II'. This could have been something symbolic such as flying the flag at the Town Hall (If the flag pole wasn't coming down due to Health & Safety concerns).

People in this area will still have a celebration I'm sure of it, but they would have liked the Town Council to mark the occasion in some official capacity. Doing so is a basic sign of respect for our shared value, traditions and heritage. It shows people that the Town Council thinks it's important to mark this historic event that the whole nation shares. To vote against marking the Jubilee sends out the message, 'look at us we are quirky & anti-establishment' and 'we don't support the Jubilee, you locals that do are on your own.'

I personally have nothing against using tax payers' money to help those that need it the most. However If folk look at what the grant committee chooses to finance this year then they will soon discover that it's happy to spend tax payers money on all sorts of other festivals, events and celebrations that are no more worthy then the Jubilee.

From Stephen C

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Some things are bigger than politics and the people expect politicians to rise above prejudices when national milestones are reached. OK Royal weddings are one thing to snub and they are quite frequent historical events. (Perhaps less significant because of their lack of long-term success rates) But the Queen's Diamond Jubilee is one of those occasions that is unique in the history of our nation. Not only should people not be denied funds to celebrate the occasion but we should have some leadership in encouraging us to mark such an amazing achievement in public service to the country.

I'm not a royalist either but I recognise an historic moment. In years to come it and QE2 will be marked in the History books alongside Henry Vlll and Cromwell, and the decline of the relatively short experiment of communism and possibly socialism.

We are told that as we are in a time of hardship it does not feel right to spend tax payers money of such celebrations. Well, below is a small section from a diary by a Japanese visitor to the town in 1935 during King George V's Silver Jubilee.

To put things in context at the same time unemployment in the town was reported as 748 by the Hebden Bridge Times. (Nationally unemployment was running at about 20%). Also reported was the down-turn in the trade of the velvet and cord manufacturers. Thus it was a time where economic and trade confidence was very low. Did the town council deny the people a chance to pick themselves up for a day? Of course they didn't, they found the resources and got on with it! The event was reported in the HB Times as one of the town coming together for a day of joy.

May 2nd 1935 - I went for a walk alone and stopped at the hatchery to kill time. I saw the Jubilee Day's flags on the hatchery's roof.

May 4th 1935 - In the town, now that the Royal Silver Jubilee is just around corner on next Monday and "Flag raising" was very beautiful.

May 5th 1935 - I heard about my tomorrow work's plan from Mr Lumb on the way to take a walk. He said that tomorrow is the holiday for the Silver Jubilee.

May 6th 1935 - "Today is the British Royal Silver Jubilee the day and a public holiday. I got back home about at 2pm and I had lunch. I went to listen to the brass band the square in front of Watson's Hatchery. There was very crowded with good weather. I took a walk to the town and strolled in the town from about 7pm.The town was crowded with people from 9pm. At 9.25pm, after a man (Coun, R A Parker - Chairman of the Council) made a speech, the blinking lights he turn on the bridge. And I went to Bonfire on the hill. I got back home at about 11pm and I went to bed".

The Queen's visit to Ireland was historic and even the Irish felt it lifted them despite the heavy financial cost to their tax payers. I wonder what the HB Times readers in 75 years time will make of the current council's stance and the "Image of Hebden"? Historically it will probably be filed under the "Loony Left" category. Make all the arguments you like, but it's petty posturing, bad PR for the Labour Party and will draw more adverse and questionable reporting about the town.

From Cllr Matthew Talbot

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Whoa, whoa, whoa! Can we keep this debate in persepctive before it all gets out of control? I'm a Labour councillor and I don't count myself as 'quirky' or 'anti-establishment'. I'm an accountant for heaven's sake! And I'm also by no means a republican. I'll be celebrating the Queen's jubilee next year, making the most of the bank holiday with my family and, no doubt, a good meal. But do I need public money to help me do that? Not really, no.

Lizzie D, I've enjoyed your recent posts. There are many images of Hebden Bridge. Those images in many cases bring visitors and employment to our township. But, as I've said before on this forum, I remain concerned if people feel left out and I'd like to address that. Are there substantive problems here that we can deal with? For example, is there a shortage of housing or a lack of opportunity for young people? Let's all work together on this!


From Cllr Richard Scorer (Fairfield ward)

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Well said Matthew, I agree with your sentiments in all respects. Let's try to move beyond this issue. Whatever occasional disagreements arise my strong sense is that all town councillors of all parties are very committed to trying to do the best for our area and trying to reflect what local people want as well, so let's try to move the discussion forward as Matthew suggests.

From Cllr Tony Hodgins

Thursday, 23 June 2011

I find myself having to comment on the Diamond Jubilee fiasco, it seems the Hebden Bridge Labour group scream austerity and government cuts whenever something doesn't fit in with their views, and yet spend willy nilly in areas that they like, things I can't mention here, but projects that the community as whole would not necessarily support.

A diamond Jubilee is a very rare occurrence and I feel it should at least be acknowledged by Hebden Royd Council even if there is no money to spend on it, we could make some kind of symbolic gesture.

I think the towns we are twinned with will find it hard to believe the intention is to do nothing! There is also the loss of trade by not recognising the event I bet the towns traders will love the council for that, mind you the trades club could do alright by holding an anti Diamond Jubilee event.

I feel the problem is that the silent majority will stay that way and the few activists that are fairly easy to muster will have their way.

I do hope that the fair minded people of Mytholmroyd will be able to mark the event in some way, we will have to wait and see.

From Phil M

Thursday, 23 June 2011

"Especially those who have street parties on a day that wasn't the royal wedding day (or even a bank holiday) and call it a 'not the royal wedding party.' Now that is going to draw the attention of the press."

Am I losing the plot here (I do from time to time :-) )?
If you are referring to the Trades, Friday 29th April was the Royal Wedding I believe? That was the day the Trades club had the 'Not the Royal Wedding' street party?...and that day was a bank holiday?

Love the fact that the day outside the Trades got sooo much flac... all it was in essence was an alternative use of a bank holiday for people not bothered about watching the Royal Wedding, local bands and local people getting together to raise some money for a wonderful club and music venue. Similar days went off across the country..

On the general topic. Because some people spend so much time banging on about how disgraceful it is that Hebden Bridge has this perceived image is part of the reason it self-perpetuates and pops up on the media radar..

Bring on the 'Not the Jubilee street party' next year I say!!

From Cllr Richard Scorer (Fairfield ward)

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Without wanting to prolong this debate.... Flying the flag over the town hall for the Jubilee strikes me as a nice idea. If that is prevented by "health and safety" then it would be a real shame.

Regarding Tony's comment about community funding, I am new to the council so I don't know about previous decisions, however, at last night's community funding committee meeting the approach and decisions taken all had cross party support.


Andrew Hall

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Oh Councillor Talbot, you miss the point completely! Yes indeed, we can all celebrate the Jubilee in whatever way we like. We can have a jolly good meal, we can have a nice bottle of wine, we can go for a long walk over the moors. We can, each and every one of us, do our own thing to celebrate the Jubilee.

But surely what we're talking about here is civic respect, and dare I say it, civic obligation, to celebrate a quite remarkable achievement. A previous poster mentions Hebden Bridge's celebrations in 1935 to commemorate King George V's Silver Jubilee.

1911 coronation

See larger version of this photo
on the Hebden Bridge History website

Previously, on George's Coronation in 1911, a massive arch was erected at the junction of Bridge Gate and New Road. This was illuminated on one side by electricity, courtesy of the local Council, and on the other, by gas from the Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd Gas Board. There were bonfires, festivities and celebrations. The bonfire alone had 2 tons of coal, a ton of coke and half a ton of tar on it. The arch, nicknamed the 'Marble Arch', was so popular, the council left it standing for the rest of summer. It was a focal point. It brought people together.

A hundred years later, and what do we have? Well nothing as it happens! No pride, no community celebration, no sense of belonging, just an observation from one of our elected representatives that we can celebrate the event in our own individual ways. It's rather sad and short-sighted, and is somewhat reminiscent of Margaret Thatcher's comments that 'there is no such thing as society'. And sometimes, Councillor Talbot, you have to look a bit further than 'the bottom line'. Sometimes a little money spent gains a lot in community spirit and cohesion. It may even provide a bit of positive publicity for the town (which, let's face it, would be a pretty good thing at the moment).

We run the risk of being branded a town of cynics. I know of nowhere where the culture of contempt is so prevalent. Can't we just try to break this awful mould? I'm not particularly pro- or anti-monarchy, but I know a bloody good opportunity to have a really good knees-up when I see it!

From Stephen C

Friday, 24 June 2011

Cllr Scorer's third post "lets move the debate forward"...Cllr Scorer's forth post "Not wishing to prolong the debate"...Er? make your mind up Richard! How about moving the debate backwards and reflecting on the criticism you are getting from the community and support you are getting from anarchists? You have only been in post for a month and Labour control for that time. Such a short time to bring shame on the town. U turns are not impossible, Blair, Brown and Cameron have all managed them. Don't let the old guard socialists dictate the local party line to you. Even without the debate about the money, the stance of choosing, as a council, not to mark this historic occasion is, in anyone's eyes, a petty snub you and Cllr Talbot should have washed your hands of. If you think flying a flag on the community's Town Hall will make a difference to our perception of the Labour administration then, you as lawyer find a loop hole in the apparent health and safety law and I'll buy the blooming flag for the town! You can even have a Red flag too so long as it say "Danger 1980's Labour council" at work!

From Paul D

Saturday, 25 June 2011

When Andrew talks about civic respect he seems to ignore that this looks very much like one group imposing their values on another. I think supporters of the monarchy are genuinely offended that others don't share their acceptance of the hereditary principle. Perhaps we should have North Korean style forced parades with weaping children throwing rose petals to form a union flag in the square?

We live in a democracy that unlike most developed democratic states retains a monarch. Civic respect is the tolerance of divergent views about the role and usefulness of such a monarch. To associate any lack of support for the monarchy with socialism is also simplistic, some of the most radical early republicans were not sociialists at all and would have found more common ground with the libertarian wing of the current Conservative party.

The past is also no guide to the present, we don't have to do what was done before, it's called change. Today we have more free thinking individuals who don't take their cultural cue from Coronation Street, it's not only possible to have an opinion at variance with the majority, it's essential in a functioning democracy to protect those expressing such alternative views. Or perhaps we just waterboard anyone who fails to buy some cheap memorabilia?

To me and many many others the memories of Charles and Diana are like nylon cardigans, dated and uncomfortable. We won't be dragged into the street by those who find our non-conformity offensive, by people who can't see the link between fascism, communism and them foisting their own values on others. So on the day in question I'll be enjoying the freedom my ancestors wrested from kings and that we've protected from dictators to do otherwise than clap like a seal at the queen on telly. I hope it's sunny though and maybe the Trades put on a bit of a do.

From Graham Barker

Sunday, 26 June 2011

I think Andrew's post is absolutely brilliant - particularly the last paragraph, which is right on the money and loops the thread back to Lizzie's original point about the increasingly negative image of Hebden Bridge in the bigger world.

And then, if proof were needed, along comes Paul to give us an object lesson in cynicism and skewed reality! Lots of things to go at, but to take two examples: 'the freedom my ancestors wrested from kings'. How? When? The biggest wresting was done by barons in 1215, joined later by wealthy merchants who could have the monarch over a barrel by granting or refusing taxes and loans. Unless either of us has monied blood, neither Paul's ancestors nor mine ever got a look-in.

Second example: during the 'protected from dictators' period, which I assume is WW2, George VI was a necessary and personally courageous symbol of popular resolve not to let that Nazi blighter win. He and his posse could have bunked off to the safety of Canada or the USA, but didn't. He did his fair share of 'protecting'.

Back to Lizzie's original point though: like her and Andrew, I'm neither a monarchist nor an anti-monarchist. Whatever I might feel about the institution, QE2 has always been decent, level-headed and a real grafter. I respect that and think it's a desirable civic courtesy for Hebden Bridge to mark her Diamond Jubilee in some ungrudging way. It needn't be expensive or obsequious (how about a special edition of the Handmade Parade?) but as Andrew says, it can help generate both community spirit and a much-needed breath of positive publicity. The accountants among us might think of it as a worthwhile investment.

Having witnessed, and been surprised by, the popularity of the royal wedding, I'll bet that most people hold broadly the same middle-of-the-road, live and let live point of view. Which is why it's so irritating when lazy media types portray Hebden Bridge as a hotbed of republicanism, based only on the disproportionate loudness of the relatively few genuine republicans.

Good luck to them too, even though most republican movements simply shift power from one set of undemocratic fixers to another. But at Hebden Bridge level, let's aim for a modest little Diamond Jubilee bunfight that we can remember happily for what it was as much as for what it celebrated, and that the media will really have to struggle to distort.

From Jonathan Timbers

Sunday, 26 June 2011

I think this debate is getting lost in some pretty nasty personal comment directed at Labour town councillors (and trades club members) and the issue is being blown out of all proportion by people who seem to me to have a quite different agenda than outrage on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen.

In 1935, the council which ran local services in Hebden Bridge clearly spent quite a lot of money here on her grandfather George V's jubilee during a period where the coalition government of the day was deepening a financial crisis into an economic recession. Nothing has changed.

The council which runs services in Hebden Bridge will be spending money on Elizabeth II jubilee too i.e. Calderdale. The town council doesn't run anything here these days except for the sandpit in Calder Holmes Park. It might be able to run up a flag on the day, as Cllr Scorer suggests, but only if one of its 2 1/2 employees happens to be in town. Perhaps they could sow the bunting themselves in a town council meeting. Thankfully, the rest is left to the district council.

However, over the next year, the town council is going to change somewhat and take over the cinema (i.e. we as local precept payers in HB and Mytholmroyd will bear the costs and the risks of paying for this huge and well-regarded facility and its staff). I think the town council should be focussing all its efforts on getting that right, so I agree that it should be concentrating funds for that venture. Good luck to it! It'll need it!

Perhaps it also might like to see if it can find ways of celebrating the jubilee at minimal cost. But I wouldn't spend too much time on it: the Big Society comes at a big price to us local taxpayers, so you'll have to be on your mettle councillors!!!!

And, I'm afraid, on what is for me a very personal note: I find Liberal Democrat councillors blathering on about community a bit rich, seeing as they are partly to blame for the redundancies which will so hurt families in the coming months and years. Shame on them! No wonder they want to change the subject and focus on a storm in a teacup!

From Molly Sunderland

Monday, 27 June 2011

The Queen's Diamond Jubilee doesn't necessarily need to cost the council a lot of money. Why not organise a window dressing competition like either the Council or Hebden Royd Business Association (I can't remember which) did when it was Her Majesty's Silver Jubilee - almost every shop owner took part and both Mytholmroyd and Hebden Bridge shops looked great. I seem to remember that there was a 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize so that isn't going to break the bank!

From Paul D

Monday, 27 June 2011

I should point out that I'm really not a cynic, I just exist happily and anonymously outside the big tent of party politics and as such might occasionally utter something of relevance, but mostly I'm busy doing things my own way and wondering why others don't.

This gift of independent thought leads me to question why there is more media and political interest in something that isn't going to happen than there is in something that is. That is, there seems to be a sort of creepy obsession with this in some quarters and on reflection I can only see this as some sort of a political desperation.

What we do in our free time is our business, as long as it remains within the law. Whereas what the authorities do with public resources is all our business and they've made a decision not to add to the already significant budget for these events. My humble advice to their opponents would be that their tactics look unseemly and desperate, even a little bizarre. Why don't they do something that would be more effective? Such as raise money from local businesses and the community for an event to mark the Jubilee? Then they could claim to represent popular opinion and have the support of the town, cutting off their opponents claims to popular support at the same time. To be honest, they don't seem very bright, so will probably just keep sniping at Labour. But if they want to change the image of the town they need to get of their backsides and work at it.

From Jenny B

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Like most fair and open debates this one is allowing all of the people to have their say. If that means taking a pop at the Liberal/Labour/Tory Councillors then so be it. I don't think that the comments are 'pretty nasty or personal' at all. Anyone who goes into politics be it a local town council level or higher, surely has the ability to cope with criticism be it constructive or otherwise.

As for criticism of the Trades Club Members; they chose to call their event 'A Not the Royal Wedding Party' (and produced T-Shirts to confirm that). So despite Phil M's protests, IF ...".. all it was in essence was an alternative use of a bank holiday for people not bothered about watching the Royal Wedding, local bands and local people getting together to raise some money for a wonderful club and music venue..." Then why not call it a fund-raising event? Instead of deliberately courting publicity, (and back to Lizzie's point - courting what was bound to be reported as fairly adverse publicity, about Hebden Bridge). So why didn't the Trades promote it as a Bank Holiday Bash for those who would prefer not to sit in and watch TV? Because they wanted to be seen to be yet again pushing the alternative stance that is sooo Hebden Bridge.

What I think Lizzie is saying is; that by all means all do your own thing, but go about it in a way that allows the wider society to understand that this is not a majority view of all Hebden Bridge residents.

Despite my neutral royalist stance, I can accept that maybe a lot of people would like to celebrate such an event. A Royal diamond jubilee will only occur once in most peoples lifetimes (unlike Royal weddings that are ten a penny). After taking heed of both sides of this debate, I am gradually coming down on the side of favouring some sort of event. Something that all the town can choose to take part in if they wish to do so. I am not saying I would attend, but I would like to be able to consider my options and also consider whether or not my children/ parents/ neighbours might like to do so.

Whether Calderdale Council choose to distribute their meagre 'Jubilee fund' into this end of the valley or not, Hebden Bridge does not deserve to be en route to be seen as holding a 'Not the Diamond Jubilee Party'.

From Stephen Curry

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

The 'gift of independent thought' leads some people to actually challenge those in the 'big tent of party politics'. It is wrong to assume that those challenging Labour councillors are the main political opposition. Whilst I think the Labour councillors were making a political decision here, the allocation of money is perhaps secondary, to the seeming lack of willingness to show civic leadership. Why should they? Well, forget the Royals as such, forget Elizabeth II as the Queen, it is however, I think it is right and proper to celebrate (small C) i.e. acknowledge that our head of state has served the nation for sixty years (repeat.. sixty years!) and given invaluable counsel to every prime minister since Churchill.

No other country in the world has such an experienced head of state. In those sixty years thousands of other civic councillors and public servants have been acknowledged by government and head of state for their service to us. I merely ask, is it really too much for Labour councillors to recognise this?

I'm not sure who has made nasty personal comments about Labour councillors? If challenging their political decisions and mentioning their names in response to their posts is deemed so, then someone is exaggerating a bit I'd say.

I'm not a royalist, or monarchist as previously mentioned. Neither am I a LibDem or Tory. So what's left? Ahh yes, an 'Independent thinker' and yes, one who did 'get off his backside', took on the 'big tent of party politics' and campaigned delivering thousands of leaflets against the electoral odds. And I will continue to do so, not just relying on the limited scope of this forum to challenge the mind set of party politicisation of local government from which this discussion derived its source. And because, like Lizzie D, the instigator of this thread, I care about the negative image and attention such politics brings to the town.


From Phil M

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Jen, I'm not 'protesting', I'm just telling you what it was, thats all. There was no underlying media-seeking agenda, it was just a good excuse for a good community knees-up. A very well attended knees-up for people who didn't want to watch the telly! Come to the Trades Club and enjoy Not The Royal Wedding.. Something the Trades Club needs more and more of as it struggles to remain a viable entity!

'by all means all do your own thing, but go about it in a way that allows the wider society to understand that this is not a majority view of all Hebden Bridge residents.' ...

How do we do that then? Should we have a disclaimer on all such events - 'Other less alternative and less quirky viewpoints are available!'

Does the 'wider society' care? Probably not!

Who actually cares what the 'Wider society' thinks anyway? Not me... guess that must be you then!

From Lizzie D

Monday, 4 July 2011

As the starter of this particular debate, it has been interesting to se how the discussion has at times gone beyond the subject matter and then been pulled fairly neatly back on track.

For me, the issue was about how we are seen by wider society, and that the decison to not celebrate the Jubilee presented a negative image of Hebden Bridge which is not good for the town.

The image being that the Queen's Jubilee was being viewed as something that Hebden Bridge doesn't want to be associated with. Whether this is because of the alternative stance of the town in general or because the views of councillors are rooted in socialism I don't know. All I said was that this is not everyone's view and should not be allowed to be presented as such.

We have had people saying that events like the handmade parade that could possibly have been run with a 'Jubilee Theme' for next year, we had suggestions that we could have bunting on the streets, a shop windows display, a flag flying, etc. We had the usual responses of baah humbug to the Queen and anyone who dared to rock the boat by arguing against a proposed 'not the jubilee bash' at the Trades was quickly shouted down.

I think our town council should have asked the people, maybe via the Bridge Times, or library, but they should have asked what the people want.

And as for the views of those who dont want to celebrate; that's fair enough, have your say. But the view of Phil M who 'doesn't care what wider society thinks' is sadly part of the problem of why our town is being negatively labelled. Those of us who do care are far too often being shouted down by those who don't. So, for the councillors that bothered to contribute to the debate. Take these views back to your fellow councillors and ask them to ask the people of Hebden Bridge what they want to do to celebrate the Jubilee.

From Em F

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Phil M, thankyou. In my opinion you're a wonderfully reassuring voice of reason in a very bewildering thread.

From Jonathan Timbers

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Like Em F, I too find this thread bewildering, but I think that's partly the fault of those who started it, largely it seems to me for political/ personal reasons rather than anything to do with either fact or logic.

Two quite different issues are confused in the thread: the decision of the town council not to allocate additional funds to the Jubilee celebrations for our Head of State and the Trades Club's 'Not the Royal Wedding' street party.

As I understand the issue, Calderdale has identified money to celebrate the Jubillee so if any of you feel strongly that the town should be celebrating you should be spending less time blogging and more time ensuring we get our fair share of the cash and use it appropriately. This is especially true of town councillors. Hebden Royd is not Calderdale; it is more like a voluntary organisation where if you want something done, you get out there and do it yourself.

When I was a town councillor, I organised a project to promote car sharing, applied for external funds (with help) and then converted my attic into an office at my own cost. I personally recruited volunteers to undertake the survey. I didn't do this because I'm a great person; I did it because I was a town councillor and that's how you should be working. If you want a jubillee celebration, stop making political points and organise one.

The town council ought to provide administrative assistance and advice on how to do it. If anyone with republican views tries to stop it doing that, then you and I'll have reason to be annoyed, not otherwise.

Do you honestly think that because we have a town council we should be paying twice over (through the council tax and the town council precept) for what others without a town council have provided through Calderdale?

Well, if you do, I can only respond with a favourite saying of my father, 'Liberals? Yes, liberal with our bloody money'.

From Stephen Curry

Friday, 8 July 2011

Now I'm bewildered! Is Jonathan surprised that the people who started the thread did it for political or personal reasons? What's left? Religion I guess! And of course those innocent Labour Councillors made their (non political?) decision to reject even the offer Jonathan suggests, of advice and (civic?) support for a celebration. Did they do that for religious reasons? Er? they are a political party in control, so maybe, just maybe they are a tiny bit political in their decision making. Therefore it follows that the other party might make a political point and raise the matter with the community to debate. Which we have done here.

I can see by Jonathan's last comment, (which is pretty political) that our fathers might have seen eye to eye. But personally if it had been said that, 'the sad thing is that at this local level, party politics has too much negative impact on our town' I'd agree! That's why I didn't follow in my father's footsteps and go into party politics. I'm guessing ex Cllr. Timbers did? Is this another of those who joined a party they felt least uncomfortable with to get elected, so that they could serve the community in the way a councillors should?

Fair play on the car initiative but join a party and you'll have constraints on the decisions you'd like to make for all the community. You can't tell me there's not at least one labour councillor who if they were independent might have taken a different view of this Jubilee issue.

It might have been appropriate if Lizzie D had been left to round off the thread in the way she tried to. But hey! obviously the topic won't lie down. Such is the feeling created by politically biased decisions! Which in this case has, as Lizzy D, wanted to point out, was a decision which "presented a negative image of Hebden Bridge which is not good for the town".


From Phil M

Friday, 8 July 2011

Cheers Em! I have contemplated responding to this thread further but wasn't entirely convinced that some contributors didn't live under a trip-trap bridge and feed on goats (or veggie goat substitute) so didn't bother.

Jonathan makes a very valid point, get out there and do it yourself!!!

No-one on this thread has said there should not be a Jubilee celebration. If people want one of course there should be one, it'll be a great community event!! Get together, plan some fundraising, maybe have a jubilee themed river race, the duck one and the pig one are both successful, we have lots of river!! Then organise the space, food, stuff and hay-presto!!

I hope the Trades do one as well, if they (alright, 'we', I'm a volunteer there) do it on a 'not' the jubilee theme and theres a big 'wahay for the jubilee' shin-dig going on in town as well . . . then everyones catered for, everyone has fun, maybe some money is raised for charity and the day is memorable . . .


From Lizzie D

Friday, 8 July 2011

Jonathan - rather than starting this debate for political or personal gain, I did in fact wish to seek the views of others about negativity. As part of that debate it was perhaps timely that the town Council had decided not to fund a local celebration for the Jubilee and this widened the issues discussed. The fact that councillors did at times turn this into a political argument didn't confuse the issue for me.

Far from spending my time blogging (I dont know what that means but assume it means doing this?) I also work quite hard at local level in voluntary work, so can assure you I do get off my backside and contribute by going out and doing something. It is not about us ratepayers paying twice it is about what the public want. If the local townsfolk dont want to celebrate then fair enough that would be a majority voice. In my view we live in a democratic society and shouldn't be represented by those who seek to force their views as majority ones.

And to get back to my point, present this anarchist view as being all of Hebden Bridgers.

From Jonathan Timbers

Friday, 8 July 2011

Lizzie, I'm not saying you have anything to gain personally from entering the debate. I don't think you're dishonest - quite the opposite in fact - but I do think you have a bone to pick. And you've gone beyond what the facts merit in this case.

I am a little disappointed because when you first started writing it really struck a chord with me. I do think that Hebden Bridge is full of cliques which can turn nasty if you challenge their views. Sometimes I don't say what I think on this site for precisely that reason. I also agree that it is full of the sort of middle-class lefty who in practice has no time for real working people because they're not actually interested in being the vanguard of the revolution or radical politics/ fashionable causes etc. Let's be frank, left wing politics can be just another form of snobbery - well-concealed in Fairtrade clothing - where comrades engage with the admiring imagined masses rather than the people who do actually live around them.

However, the fact is no one has been prevented by the decision of the town council from organising a publicly-funded celebration of the reign of Elizabeth II, if they want to do it. The question I asked is, do they? Or do they just want to make some points on a website?

Personally, I'd like to see a celebration of some sort in town. My suggestion is renaming the park 'Calder Homes Jubillee' park because the main entrance from Station Road already contains a dedication to her father, King George VI, and her mother, Queen Elizabeth, erected by the town council, so it rounds off a piece of history nicely. However, all the town council can do to facilitate this these days is write to Calderdale and ask because they no longer own the park, Calderdale does. The same Calderdale that has put money aside to celebrate the jubillee which if we don't apply for soon, we might not see any of because we're arguing amongst ourselves on the basis of a misunderstanding.

I'm offering to draft the letter.

From Lizzie D

Monday, 11 July 2011

No bone to pick and no hidden agenda I assure you Jonathan. Just the hope that this forum will allow the views to be presented from a few more members of our local town. My views might not always be in agreement with yours or others, and I might not be the best at wording what I mean. But now more of us have t'internet, we can hopefully continue to agree or disagree as the case may be.