At our recent meeting the conversation shifted towards the people who seem to spend most of their time protesting about things.
You’ve got the anti-fracking, the anti-HSR, the anti-social benefits reform, the anti-nuclear power, the anti-genetic crops, the anti-badger cull and the anti-Bernard Ingham brigades.
Throw in politicians who are against anything the other party do, even if it’s what they did when they were in power, and you’ve got an awful lot of antis, relatively speaking.
But what are they for we wondered?
It did come as a bit of a shock when someone pointed out that maybe, just maybe, we Old Grumpies could be just the same and we ought to spend more time saying what we are for.
Luckily, it so happened that we had a guest who had extensive knowledge of how situations had developed in the area that needed rectifying action urgently.
So it was suspend the jokes briefly, listen to an outline of the problems and think on how we could support those fighting for positive action.
Demolition sites: All agreed that something should be done about them, especially in Todmorden.
We applaud anyone who is attempting to answer the problems of ownership, Calderdale policy (or lack of it), of contractual covenants, of compulsory orders availability, and lack of suitable surrounding fencing. Unhelpful suggestions from the Hebden Bridge contingent that Todmorden should do what they do with their unused areas, and grow cannabis on it, provoked a round of verbal retaliation which included remarks about gender liberation and the need to always have a spare set of handcuff keys.
Flood Alleviation Scheme: All agreed that it would be a good idea and those with extensive local knowledge outlined the need for three stages.
Firstly, get the water off the hillside through organised channels such as gulleys, culverts and drains and keep them open. Don’t let the water find its own way down, picking up silt and rubble and rampaging through gardens.
Second, clear the riverbeds of silt and rubble and, thirdly, build up the river sides at appropriate places.
But wait a minute; they’ve already done the third stage. At least while we wait for the completion of the first two stages we’ll be safe from any heavy drizzle.
We prefer local knowledge to computer models.
Recycling Site Closure: Unless a convenient temporary site is allocated we all know what will happen. Some people find it difficult to go to Eastwood.
They certainly will not be going further afield.
Cycling on pavements: Everyone should know that it is an offence but enquiries to the police regarding the number of people in upper Calderdale who have received a fixed penalty needed three letters and an e-mail to be told the answer — none. Apparently it is not a priority. We’ll just have to wait until someone gets killed.
So, what are we for?
Well, we are for the lovely people in the area who don’t speed, don’t use mobile phones when driving, don’t drop litter and clean up after their dogs.
They are polite and have a great sense of humour and respect other people. We are for the people who are doing their best to improve our area and overcome the obstacles placed in their way. We are for the people who keep reminding Calderdale Council that we exist.
We would like to help, and individual letters are on the way asking for justification for their inaction, but when asked for volunteers to protest outside the Calderdale Council offices, the words horse and flogging were used and we had many “I would like to but…” followed by a list of excuses ranging from arthritis, doctor’s orders to avoid excitement, shrapnel movement from a war wound, domestic chores and too busy house-training dogs.
In many ways we feel quite impotent.