Lapse must not outweigh service

Longfield Road,

Todmorden.

HOW can I fail to accept your invitation to comment on David Chaytor’s jailing?

He is a close friend, and his lapse must not outweigh his decade and a half of conscientious public service and countless kindnesses beyond the call of duty, many of which could bring him no personal benefit.

It is mitigated in that it stemmed from the Parliamentary “bush telegraph” from the Thatcher era, to the effect that the hoped-for rise in MPs’ pay was not viable but that they could adopt laid-back attitudes to claims for expenses - hence the Prime Ministerial wisteria, the pornographic DVD and countless well-laundered major claims for accomodation.

David’s wasn’t; so to some degree he’s a scapegoat, and a distraction from the vastly greater trouserings of greedy bankers.

The last word must be Jesus’ “Let him that is without sin cast the first stone”, so I’ll end with two peripheral comments.

Calder Valley did not opt for an all-women shortlist for the 1997 election, it was imposed by the national party.

And can Olwen Jennings say if she has yet foregone the four per cent rise in councillors’ pay, accepted at a time when Calderdale kept its employees on around one per cent?

FRANK McMANUS