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Report from Cllr Dale Smith, Chairman of the Shipley Conservative Association

My heart goes out to all those who have lost loved ones during this crisis and I wish to express my deepest condolences.
Being a local councillor for more years than I care to remember (46 – but with an 8 year gap) I learnt long ago that you were (and should be) always open to scrutiny and in the public eye.

For this reason I have isolated, not for frailty but because of age – and so as to lead by example! In any case our children and grandchildren repeatedly re-enforce the message Stay at Home – Protect the NHS.

As a hands-on man I find this excruciatingly frustrating so I have to find new ways to contribute to my community in their time of need. Margaret feels the strain even more than I do as she so misses her grandchildren and their hugs, her friends and bridge.

I occupy myself by learning new IT skills and dashing off innumerable emails, both within Menston, Bradford District and further afield.

I was closely involved in the setting up of Coronavirus support in MENSTON and issuing upwards of 500 emails regularly of village news. It is so important to maintain as far as is possible normality so protecting people’s wellbeing.

I bombard Philip Davies MP with emails about the Care System and Business. The Telegraph and Argus published my recent letter, which can be read HERE.

As Captain Moore tells us better days will come!

You may be sure that all my Conservative Councillors are no less involved in supporting your communities.

Meanwhile, Stay Safe, keep smiling.  Dale Smith.   Chairman of SCCA

Update from Dale Smith, Chairman of the Shipley Conservative Association

I have spent nigh on 50 years championing the youngest and most vulnerable in society who, as we all know, always suffer the most in any crisis. That is why I have served across the District as a governor at over 20 of the most disadvantaged of schools and had the privileged of being a former Deputy Leader of Bradford Council and an Education Portfolio Holder. I am passionate about Early Years intervention and levelling-up life chances. My mother and grandmother were teachers in the District and what they taught me was that Education, Education, Education is the gateway to life chances so for the sake of those most disadvantaged the community must open its schools on a phased and controlled basis as soon as possible.
I am astonished that Bradford Labour-controlled Council, Imran Hussain MP and some Trade Union leaders have so easily forgotten their previous campaigns for the vulnerable and forgotten and are ducking-out of giving true leadership in this time of crisis.

Clearly the council and schools have a duty, to the best of its ability, to protect pupils, staff and parents/carers but nothing in life is certain and no guarantees can be given, not even crossing a road is always safe.

A return to “normality” as soon as possible is essential so that our most vulnerable young can enjoy the safety, learning and well-being provided by the school environment.

Most schools across the District are currently giving succour and support to key-workers, children and the vulnerable and I am pleased to learn that primary schools across the District seem to be reopening over the next couple of weeks.
May all Stay Safe.    Dale Smith   Craven Park, Menston
Conservative District Councillor for Whafedale Ward.

Update from Dale Smith, Chairman of the Shipley Conservative Association

This was something I said in March 2007 and I think is still relevant today.
Abolition of Slavery act 1807
I would like to start by reminding us of a most remarkable person – a member of the Ibo nation named Equiano who was born in the interior of Nigeria and at the age of eleven, he and his sister were captured by slave traders and sold to British slavers bound for North America where he became a ship’s steward and sailed under several Mediterranean commanders and Caribbean traders.
He was sold to Michael Henry Pascal, an officer in the Royal Navy, brought to Virginia and renamed Gustavas Vassa, after a sixteenth-century Swedish monarch. After many maritime adventures and a harsh human betrayal, the determined, highly literate Equiano purchased his freedom in 1766 and continued traveling throughout the Caribbean and the American colonies.

Fearing harassment and recapture, he relocated to England where he worked for Dr. Charles Irving, a scientist experimenting with salt-water purification. Equiano then travelled to Italy, Turkey, Portugal, and the Arctic, and studied opera and architecture.

In 1789 he published in two volumes, his autobiography entitled The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African, Written by Himself (1789), which is hailed as one of the finest slave narratives,” In it Equiano recounts “his experiences aboard the slave ship, chronicles his mastery of navigation, his naval service in Canada during General Wolfe’s campaign, and his labour in the Mediterranean as a gunpowder carrier, this is learning to be a barber while continuing as a sailor.

With his diverse and unsurpassed talents, he emerged as one of the first community leaders and intellectuals of the age.  Equiano’s two-volume autobiography has remained a classic of the slave narrative genre, as well as in the global genre of autobiography.

Clearly a much mistreated and abused but a quite extra-ordinary human being!

I grieve and mourn when I acknowledge and remember the enormity of the injustices and atrocities of human being against human being, since the beginning of time and across the globe.

The Vikings, Alexander the Great, Boudicca, Hannibal, Attila, Genghis Khan, Tamerlane, Tojo, Stalin, Hitler – across Europe, Africa, Asia, South America, North America, Australia, China, Japan, Iraq, Afghanistan, North Korea.

The list of atrocities and abuse is endless – indeed everywhere and every time that human being has tried to dominate human being.
Let us all learn from our past mistakes and commit ourselves to a Shared Future.

We all have the Right to expect Respect from all – and we all have the Responsibility to show Respect to all.
Dale Smith.

Update from Dale Smith, Chairman of the Shipley Conservative Association

Lockdown has been a mixture of opportunities taken as well as those missed! Covid-19 hit us all smack between the eyes – by surprise and unprepared.

It has brought home to us in spades how reliant we are upon others, from carers, shoppers, neighbours, friends and families; to say nothing about local shops, the phone, broadband, Zoom, the postman and the newspaper boy!

Leaving aside for now the reaction of government, councils etc. I want to reflect upon lessons we should learn.

People need people.
We need to interact to give and get support.
We need to respect people with their complex and amazing differences, diversity and skills. Look deep into their hearts before judging.
We must not forget this utter dependence upon others and continue to strive for a fairer society, always levelling up rather than down yet promoting opportunities and individual responsibility.

One  Nation Conservatives.

Stay Safe     Dale 

Update from Dale Smith, Chairman of the Shipley Conservative Association

Lockdown is continuing to be a mixture of doing – and not doing!

Doing emails, Facebook and Zoom meetings galore; trying to respond and influence for the better outcomes and actions for individuals, schools and the community. Not doing enough exercise, gardening or housework!

Time-a-plenty watching Discovery channels. Reading-a-plenty newspapers, Private Eye and thought provoking books:-

1. Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race – by Reni Eddo-Lodge A fascinating insight into other people’s experience and reflections.

2. The life of the cosmos – by Lee Smolin, hard going but how science has changed since I did A-levels!

3. John Newton – from Disgrace to Amazing Grace – by Jonathan Aitken. I am finding the book absolutely riveting – both pace and content.

Books I highly recommend as each gives a thought provoking aspect on life and times, each different yet connected.

All of which confirmed my suspicions that:-

The more you learn the more you realise how much more there is yet to learn!

The answer you need to know is to the question you did not even know to ask!

As “new normal” opens up – and it will be quite different – I will try to adapt, push on and cherish fellow human beings all the more.

Stay Safe Dale

Stop Press!

It is no secret that Philip Davies MP and I do not always see eye-to-eye! I regard this as a strength of the Conservative Party that we can as necessary have an honest and respectful dialogue exploring our differences.

I emailed Philip to compliment him on his persistence and the power of his lobbying for which I have no doubt that almost everyone living in Shipley Constituency will be grateful for their freedom – even those senior politicians living in Windhill and Wrose!

I would have argued the case somewhat differently, but with a similar but wider outcome across Bradford where some wards have similar figures and similar demographics and no doubt many of their residents resent being Lockdown.

Philip asked ALL the Shipley Constituency District Councillors before his meeting with the “Bradford Outbreak Board” last Thursday for their views and I replied to ALL as follows:-

I do so hope that you and the other Bradford District MPs can reach a sensible agreement with CBMDC and the Government.

I do not know enough of the current figures by ward or over time so I cannot comment in detail. I understand that there is something called the “Outbreak Board” which is far better informed than I and has more detailed and up-to-date figures. If these were available to a wider audience perhaps it would lead to a better debate and understanding of the issues. I can find no evidence of the number of tests taken on a daily basis and surely even Trump was right when he said “the more you test the more cases you will find”.

I hope there will be other Wards apart from those in Shipley Constituency which meet a criteria for a fair and balanced appropriate unlocking, in which case excellent.

I subsequently emailed my Conservative colleagues with the following information:-

For example perhaps Wyke, Bolton, Bingley, Craven, Wharfedale, Windhill, Clayton, Queensbury, Ilkley, Keighley East, Worth Valley, Baildon, Bingley Rural, Idle, Keighley West, Shipley, and Tong (17) could be unlocked.

The remaining wards could then be reviewed in another week for Manningham, Bowling, Little Horton, Bradford Moor, City, Eccleshill, Wibsey, Keighley Central, Royds, Great Horton, Heaton, Toller, Thornton (13) – some of which are more challenging than others.

There will still be issues with lines drawn on maps as clearly so many do not know the Ward (or District or Constituency) in which they live so perhaps the figures and trends could lead to an all-out.

We must be extremely careful to maintain cohesion across the District and to take regard to the impact of any such decision and be able to justify it. The issue of spreading the virus is predominately due to large multi- generation households, poverty and failure to comply with PHE advice. As all political parties are committed to narrowing the gap we can all reaffirm our determination to do so.

The pandemic is NOT over and getting on top of it must remain our priority. “Don’t kill Granny (or Grandpa)” is a sound slogan – but then I must declare an interest! Stay Safe Dale