AddThis SmartLayers

Council reporter lets rip on retirement day

Michael Peel

A political journalist who interviewed both Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair but retained a “soft spot” for his local councillors has called for the restoration of the death penalty in a farewell column.

A self-proclaimed Liberal-minded radical left-leaning Conservative, the Halifax Courier’s local government reporter Michael Peel called it a day after 40 years in the industry.

And on his final day,  he put aside journalistic impartiality to reveal exactly what he thought of some of the stories he has covered over the years – and the people behind them.

Among those who came under fire were councillors who broke the law, the state of a local high school – and murderer Peter Sutcliffe.

“It sickens me to think that I’m still paying for the Yorkshire Ripper to reside at Her Majesty’s pleasure – bring back hanging,” he wrote in his final opinion piece for the title.

He also revealed he had “a soft spot” for local Calderdale councillors and officers – “until they ended up on the wrong side of the law.”

Michael started out at the Hebden Bridge Times in 1973 before joining the Courier in 1979 – where, not long afterwards, was given the grisly task of heading to Savile Park where he saw the body of Ripper victim Josephine Whitaker half-hidden under a sheet.

Despite that unpleasant beginning, however, he said he had enjoyed his four decades serving the community in which he lived.

“I must be one of the luckiest people in Calderdale. For the best part of 40 years I have been paid a little to write a lot of stories about people, places and events occurring in my own backyard,” said Michael, who describes himself as Calderdale’s number one fan.

“I am proud of what I have done and the slight difference I might have made to the area I call home by bringing interesting issues to the attention of others.”

He included in the piece – entitled My True Colours: A Parting Shot – a call to councillors to create more youth clubs, reopen Halifax Industrial Museum, and ban temporary traffic lights, among other things.


You can follow all replies to this entry through the comments feed.
  • January 15, 2013 at 8:57 am

    A happy journalist, makes a change from some of the ramblings in this column!

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(0)
  • January 15, 2013 at 9:54 am

    “A self-proclaimed Liberal-minded radical left-leaning Conservative”? Oh please! Typical of a local reporter. A national political reporter would never be so tiresome.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(0)