As Ken Creek (Letters, Wharfedale Observer, October 8) and everyone in this area knows, if they can be honest just for one moment instead of all this early cynical electioneering: we have a first-class MP who has shown himself to stand up for the area and led campaigns on things that matter – Greg Mulholland led the successful campaign to keep Otley police station open to the public, got 5,000 people to say no to cuts at Wharfedale Hospital, led the campaign against post offices closures and has campaigned for road safety (this year he actually won the road safety charity BRAKE award as parliamentarian on the month).

As ever the facts, don’t seem to matter to Mr Creek. For his information, Mr Mulholland was on local radio and television calling for both sides to get talking and actually saying he would act as a broker to try to get a solution. He also has own working extremely hard getting the council to come and empty bins during the strike. But, as ever with Mr Creek, it is speak first, worry about the facts later.

Mr Creek says his Conservative party will campaign on issues. That would be welcome, especially considering the Conservative Party hardly has a policy. But if he thinks that local people will take seriously a candidate who lives on the Lancashire border, doesn’t use the services we rely on, including our hospital, doesn’t send her children to local schools, doesn’t use local buses we travel on, he is even dafter than he looks. The Conservatives were arrogant and out of touch at the last General Election and asked us to vote for a candidate who lived in Lancashire. Amazingly, they have done the same thing again.

The last thing this area needs is a faceless Tory or doing what David Cameron tells them to do any more than we want a Labour MP who would follow the disastrous Gordon Brown. We need a local champion who will put this area first regardless of party. Luckily we already have Greg Mulholland who is a fine MP. Someone should tell Mr Creek that writing silly letters to the paper attacking him isn’t going to make people vote for a out-of-touch out-of-town Tory.

Peter Jackson

The Oval, Otley

To whom does the term carpetbagger apply?

I was quite amazed at the tone adopted by Greg Mulholland towards Julia Mulligan, the prospective Conservative candidate for the Leeds North West Constituency at the next General election (Letters, Wharfedale Observer, October 8). As Ken Creek so correctly pointed out, the public are seeking a clear and balanced debate on the issues.

However, as a matter of interest, in Mr Mulholland's letter, he refers to Julia Mulligan as an “over ambitious ‘carpetbagger’”. Wikipedia defines the word ‘carpetbagger’ as “a term to describe a politician who runs for office in a place to which he/she is not originally from and/or has only lived for a very short time”. This is hardly correct, as Mr Mulholland knows only too well. Julia's maiden name was Garnett, she grew up locally, and her family is well and truly from these parts. On the other hand, Mr Mulholland, who is originally from Cheshire, moved to Otley when elected in 2005, and spent a prior short time as a Headingley councillor.

I wonder whom the term ‘carpetbagger’ best describes now?

Tony Kirby

St Davids Road, Otley

Efforts to hijack hospital for political purposes unacceptable

I don’t know whether to be flattered or dismayed that Greg Mulholland twice referred to me in his letter (Letters, Wharfedale Observer, October 8).

Certainly it is true that I am a neighbour of his or, as I prefer to put it, a near neighbour, but that’s through no fault of my own. While I have lived in Otley over 40 years, Greg has yet even to complete his five-year probationary period.

In February I received a letter from him giving me two days’ notice of the launch of his Support Wharfedale Hospital Campaign. As it happened, I was unable to attend as I was working. That’s probably just as well as the so-called launch turned out to be little more than a photo opportunity for the MP, who was shown handing over a letter of support at the hospital.

For my part, I have always supported not only Wharfedale Hospital but also our other local hospitals and hospices, indeed who wouldn’t? What I and many others find unacceptable though is our MP’s blatant efforts to hi-jack the issue of the hospital for political purposes.

Greg would do well to read and understand the headline as the top of his own letter last week. “Stop using hospital as party political game.” What more needs to be said?

Councillor Gerard Francis

Otley Town Council

If I had not acted, passengers might have had no service

I write in response to Bryan of Otley (Letters, Wharfedale Observer, October 8) who claims that I had nothing to do with the 653 bus replacement services. This is not true.

As soon as I received the service cuts from First Bus earlier this year I noticed that one was the 653, a service which I occasionally use, so I immediately made a point of travelling on the service for a week. Indeed, I took my daughters on it, too, so that I could assess the level of patronage for myself. I counted enough people to make it commercially viable and was amazed at First’s decision. I spoke directly to the managing director of First about it, but he refused to back down. I then got Metro officers to produce official figures with a view initially to see if an alternative operator could be found, the other option was to fund it from Metro.

In a public meeting First Bus said they would resume the service if Metro were to pay them to do so. I turned down this offer as by this time Harrogate Coach and Travel Service had that day registered a new service from Harrogate to Guiseley and Ilkley via Otley. I pressed officers to try to find a way of running the missing part from Otley to Bradford via Shipley and shortly after TLC from Bradford registered a route.

Yes, they are commercial services as they should be, but when First Bus choose to abandon the route I worked quickly to ensure that there was no gap in service for passengers when the change came. If I had not done so there might have been months of Otley and Harrogate to not be connected by public transport. If that had been the case some passengers would have permanently found other solutions, thus threatening the commercial viability of the service. Without my intervention the other two operators might not have been aware of the decision by First Bus and thus left the passengers stranded, which I was not prepared to stand by and watch.

Councillor Ryk Downes

Liberal Democrat for Otley & Yeadon

Chairman of Metro

Encouraging a new generation of beekeepers

On behalf of Wharfedale Beekeepers Association, I wish to respond to several of the comments and advice given by Ken Pickles, a beekeeper from Addingham, in his recent article in the Wharfedale & Airedale Observer (September 10).

Ken is a long-standing member of WBKA and has helped many beginners in the past, but the report is his ‘opinion’ and not that of the association.

The historical facts are by and large correct. That 89,000 colonies of bees are lost is cause for concern and as responsible beekeepers it is up to us to do something about it, and to reduce the number of beekeepers is something we would not consider.

On the contrary, we are putting a lot of time and resources into encouraging the general public to learn more about our craft and hopefully become the future generation of beekeepers – many of us are now in our twilight years!

It is discourteous to liken a colony of bees to an unexploded ‘bomb’. By far the majority are gentle and docile. Occasionally a rogue hive may be vicious (not unlike mankind) but is easily dealt with.

The soothing hum of a contended hive on a fine summers’ day is a rewarding experience.

Like our neighbouring associates we run beginners courses in early spring and any of your readers would be welcome to our meetings. The 2010 programme is complete and April 20 will be an excellent evening for anyone interested in becoming a beekeeper. For further details, contact me on the number below.

Allan Thompson

Honorary Secretary, Wharfedale Beekeepers Association

Tel 01756 753062

We are like turkeys voting for Christmas

Oops! Have the Conservatives shot themselves in the foot or are we so indoctrinated we can do nothing to prevent the inevitable.

We are now to be subjected to a £8,000 retirement tax, retirement age is to be increased, and incapacity benefits and pay will be cut. That is, except for the bankers who created this mess and continue to receive their bonuses.

Are we brain dead for tolerating this?

How does Cameron’s assertion they are the party of the poor stack up? Hypocrisy? Naivety? Deception?

It makes no difference whether we vote Conservative, Labour of Liberal Democrat. They are all under Establishment control. Policies have merged so we have the ludicrous situation of politicians arguing over policies they agree on. This is all part of the pantomime to give the illusion there are differences when there aren’t. Whatever Cameron’s intentions are, they will come to nothing as he is just an Establishment glove puppet.

So how can anyone vote Conservative, Labour or Liberal Democrat? Are we turkeys voting for Christmas? It would seem we are.

The mentality of the public is difficult to fathom because although many can see through this deception, they still vote for one of the big three.

They know that one of them will get elected. It matters not which. So the Establishment still hold control. The rich will continue to live in luxury whilst the rest of us are enslaved all our lives to pay for it.

Let us hope there is a glimmer of understanding dawning in the minds of the electorate that there are other choices we can make. We still have means to change this and must do so before it is too late. Boycotting all three major parties would give this country the shaking it needs.

Malcolm Naylor

Grange View, Otley