Feast on Wadsley

Hook a duck
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I suppose you could regard, the recent Wadsley Arts Festival, centred around Wadsley Parish Church and the Church Hall, as a sort of reaffirmation of an identity or a locality or community against being swallowed in the great maw of Wisewood.

The difference between it and the long gone Wadsley Feast, held in a field off Studfield Hill now depressingly covered in semi detached housing, is remarkable, sedate and family orientated as opposed to the Feast with its straw, lights, music, waltzer, hook a duck (below), shies, cocoa nuts, unlucky goldfish etc., which drew in the whole area, until its last year 1968? The year when the village itself was shortly to be demolished against the wishes of many. How that protest has been forgotten is remarkable. Tony’s tours round the churchyard are always well attended, but he deserves a decent sign advertising them. How about it Beks? And those who minister to the churchyard as Rev Dan in his blue and white (sorry Rev, I know you are a proud Blade), ministers to his flock - keep it up in that cool little church with its memorials and white arching windows - please keep that identity and spread it further. Least we forget.

Ron Clayton

Sheffield, S6

Draconian big stick

I read the Court Order printed in the Star on the 25th with growing disbelief. I had not appreciated the scale of the civil injunction taken out against tree campaigners despite the many reports that it had been extended to un-named persons. There are nine named defendants and then a tenth identified as ‘persons unknown’ and that means all of us. So what? As many of ‘us’ have no intention of breaking the law its not going to affect us is it?

But I worry about this for three main reasons.

Firstly, the tenth defendant (you or I) was not represented in court.

Secondly, it implies that we all have criminal intent because we are told we ‘must not from 26 July 2018 until 23:59 on 25 January 2020 do any one of six actions described in some detail.

Thirdly, and in some respects the most concerning is that ‘service of this Order shall be effected on the Tenth Defendant by one or more of the following three means:…’ namely affixing a copy of the Order at a prominent location at any safety zone; by giving notice of the Order in any newspaper in circulation in the city or by putting it on the Council’s website.

At the moment, this issue is fresh in people’s minds but what happens a few months down the line when the copies have been damaged, removed or just blown away? I only read the Order because of a letter written by Cllr Shaffaq Mohammed (Lib Dem) in the same edition of the Star regretting the Labour councillors’ rejection to halt this renewal of the injunction, which meant it caught my attention. But I suspect many Sheffield residents will be unaware of it and I doubt that the Order will be reprinted in a local paper each time Amey has scheduled tree removals. It also assumes that the Council website is navigable and that people have the foresight to check it.

I’m sure those contemplating action against tree felling will be clear about the limits of actions they choose to take. I fear more for the accidental protester who is not aware of their need to know the details of the Order. How many of us are aware that we can inadvertently contravene the Order if we ‘encourage, aid counsel, direct or facilitate anybody else’ taking some form of action… ‘including by posting social media messages.’ I’m sure we’re reassured that ‘this prohibition does not include any general words of support or approval for the tree campaign.’ I’m not so sure of how we would prove our intent if we were to make a posting.

Conciliatory words have been spoken by Coun Lewis Dagnall who has taken over responsibility for this issue. Yet this action of the Labour administration, of which he is a part, smacks more of a draconian big stick than a carrot.

J Dryden

Heeley, Sheffield, S2

MP needs new manifesto

I read Nancy Fielder’s very interesting article “Same MP but new attitude”, Star, July 13, together with the open letter written by Jared O’Mara to his constituents informing them of his resignation from the Labour Party.

Emphasis has been placed on Jared’s disability, for which I give him great credit in “carrying out” his political duties in spite of this, even though after a year he only recently made his maiden speech in Parliament. As reported in the Star there are and have been several disabled MPs elected to Parliament. To me, the one I admire the most is our own David Blunkett. Of all the body senses, the one I would least like to lose would be my sight. David has coped with this from an early age and deserves every praise for achieving what he has done in his political life and for the work he has done for the benefit of Sheffield and its people.

Nancy says that she was planning to ask Jared after his suspension by the Labour Party whether he would stand as an Independent candidate. For a sitting MP to leave one’s party and stand for re-election as an Independent - and be elected - is a rare occurrence in Parliament. I strongly believe that if Jared stands as an Independent after resigning from the Labour Party his prospects of re-election would be nil. If David Blunkett had resigned from the Labour Party and stood as an Independent candidate for his Sheffield constituency, such is the man, his local popularity and achievements, that to me he would have been certain of re-election.

Jared has stated that it is his intention to stay on as an Independent MP for Hallam until the next general election, with little apparent consideration given for the Hallam voters who elected him to office, based on his initial Labour Manifesto promises. I believe this intention to be a financially selfish one and not in the best interest of his constituents who to a large degree elected him as a proponent of it. What is your new Manifesto Jared now that you have denounced the Labour Party?

As a matter of principle he should resign his elected office and stand as an Independent candidate in a by-election, telling the people of Hallam what he can offer to them now that he has eschewed his Party and alleges that “Labour has no place for a working class disabled man”. Jared is certainly disabled but he can hardly be classed as a working man in the traditional Labour sense. It is reported in the media “that he has a business interest in the West Street Live bar and music venue in Sheffield’’. While correctly being described in the press as a disability campaigner, his “day job’ prior to election to Parliament is at this hugely successful business.

Cyril Olsen

Busk Meadow, Sheffield, S5