Letters - December 24, 2019
True reason for the season of Christmas
I am writing to say my views of what I think Christmas should really be about - the true reason for the season.
I believe it’s to celebrate the birth of our dear Lord Jesus Christ. He was born into this world perfect. He was born to give us a new life, a life free from sin, to save us, to redeem, to give us love. He was born in a cattle shed, no cosy room or bed to lay His head.
This is what Christmas should be about, not rushing about and spending on gifts for people, gifts which are not often wanted. We are too focused on eating and spending, drinking and parties, things that we can have any time of the year, but sad to say some people don’t even think of Jesus and how much He cares all the time about us all.
As churches everywhere tell the story of the nativity, let us hope that this season of goodwill and peace to all mankind will stay with us for the whole year.
Cost of houses is much too high
It would appear that one of the problems with shortage of housing in rural areas is not the lack of it, but the cost of it.
More and more properties are being purchased by affluent ‘outsiders’ and turned into holiday accommodation which, in turn, is let out at very high rents that local people can ill afford. The purchasers regard permanent residence with indifference.
In the small hamlet where I used to live, there were five properties out of 18 which were holiday lets – the cost ranging from £450 to £3,000 per week during holiday seasons and the festive season.
How can families living on, or below, average wages, get on the housing ladder or rental market?
When all the rental properties are let out, the population in the hamlet more than doubles with the added complication of parking and the noise created with reunions, hen parties etc.
You will hear it said that visitors bring money into the area.
From what can be seen, they call in the big supermarkets who deliver within one hour of them arriving, the only thing they leave locally is rubbish (lots of it) and dog excrement.
We have a need for bungalows
I have heard there is a scarcity of bungalows and they are the fourth highest priority for people seeking to buy a new home.
A few weeks ago, house builder McCarthy and Stone slammed current planning rules, claiming they restrict the number of one-storey homes being built by prioritising high-density, high-rise developments.
The company was calling on the Government to consider making it mandatory to provide bungalows on large-scale developments.
Industry figures for UK showed there were only 2,418 bungalows built in 2018.
Of the many developments being built, I doubt if any bungalows are being built. Regarding viability, the additional area of land required for bungalows can be balanced not only with the premium price they attract, but also offering a similar number of apartments taking up a lesser proportionate area of land.
With the ageing population demand for bungalows at an all time high, living on one level would make it far easier, especially for people with mobility problems.
Labour Party needs a moderate leader
If Labour has decided that the party lost the election due to poor leadership and extreme left wing policies, then the last thing it should be doing is aiming for more of the same.
The Labour front bench was stuffed with Jeremy Corbyn’s cronies, so how can they consider the likes of Rebecca Long-Bailey, Angela Rayner, Sir Keir Starmer or Emily Thornberry?
What is needed is a sensible, intelligent, moderate and experienced MP. It’s a shame Caroline Flint lost her seat, she would have been the perfect choice. However, perhaps we should look no further than Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves.
The first time she stood as a Labour candidate in a General Election, I was the presiding officer at a polling station.
I remember her introducing herself and chatting about all the different polling stations she had visited that day. She was the only candidate to do that and I was highly impressed.
I often read her articles in The Yorkshire Post, and whilst I rarely agree with her, she is passionate in what she believes in.
Many MPs are reluctant to shoulder the burden of responsibility that high office demands. I have never voted Labour, nor am I likely to do so, but I believe that Mr Corbyn’s successor should come from the moderate backbenches, otherwise Labour will find themselves in the political wilderness for a very long time.
If Labour go for more of the same, then I think Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings will be laughing their socks off.