See just how far your bigotry gets you
Letter of the Week: Tim Conolly, Mirfield
It appears that a ghastly, if not deliberate misunderstanding has arisen as to what the referendum was about in some people’s minds.
The decision made was about whether we should remain or exit the European Union – it was nothing, absolutely nothing to do with repatriation of foreign nationals who live and work here in the UK.
This threat made against immigrants which many of us hear about or witness is racist bigotry of the worst kind which should make us ashamed.
We know that local agriculture would close down without migrant labour to work the rhubarb crop and most other crops are similarly affected – jobs our own home-grown people won’t do.
Those migrants who are better qualified hold down better paid jobs and our National Health Service is held together by migrant doctors and nurses.
It is just appalling that these people are being abused because they talk with an accent or look different.
No-one seems to be spared – even the Polish people who I have viewed as real welcome friends for all of the 70 years of my life.
They provided some very good soldiers to the cause in World War Two and some of the famous fighter squadrons only had Polish pilots during the Battle of Britain .
The Czechs did the same, while India and Pakistan provided more support for the cause.
One of the expressed objectives of the referendum was to put some controls on new migrants to the UK and nothing to do with those folk already here.
Whether you voted in or out in the referendum makes no difference and nothing justifies the situation where our foreign guests feel threatened or are intimidated.
To make it personal and comprehensible to the racist bigots, let me ask them a question – were all the migrants to leave where would you find your Chinese takeaway, the Indian restaurant, the pizza house, sushi and authentic Italian food?
Of course this is to completely undervalue all the other benefits provided by migrants to the UK so get realistic – go and bang your head on another wall and refuse to be treated by anyone who is not a “true Brit” and see how far that gets you.
Best of luck with that one, from a fifth generation Irish immigrant.
United against hate and fear
From: Paula Sherriff MP Dewsbury and other West Yorkshire MPs
The EU referendum result is a shock to the political system – a moment of great significance in our region as well as across the country and in Europe.
In this turbulent time, we need to act to heal the divisions that have come to the fore in our communities.
As we move forward in working for the best possible deal for the UK, the discord that we have seen in recent days poses a real and tangible challenge on our streets.
Whilst there is anger and fear about the future to be found on all sides – we, as the region’s Members of Parliament join together, regardless of our political differences, to appeal for calm and to reassure our communities that we are united in our rejection of xenophobia, racism and the politics of hate.
As elected representatives we commit to future campaigning that will make people from all backgrounds feel that they belong.
We are stronger together and in these turbulent times we call on our communities to unite - now more than ever, it is key that we move forward with love and acceptance for all.
You did not let them down
From: S Crossley, Hanging Heaton
To all people that voted leave, your first job: Pick your children and grandchildren up. Look them in the eye and say I did not let you down.
Then hope you’re still around when they come to the chapter in their history book and ask you were you one of the famous 17?
The 17 million that took a chance for our future. Not only have we saved future generations, we have also again saved the ordinary people of Europe. The Federal State of Europe is starting to crumble.
The German motor manufactures have already broken ranks and demanding we have a free trade deal.
We were told there would be a black future with austerity budgets galore, we were told there will be austerity.
Well, there’s been that for the last eight years. The trouble is the so-called elite are panicking because their chums in the City are at risk.
Nobody bothered about the textile workers, steel workers and fishermen, we know what the Geldoff Remain camp think of them.
Over the last few weeks we have been lied to, threatened and called idiots by people only interested in looking after their interests.
Our MPs on the Remain side have proved to be a total disgrace. Totally in denial of the feelings of the people they are supposed to represent.
Now we have a call that the old guard have betrayed our youth. A youth in which only 35 per cent voted. Well a message to all those in their bedsits, get out of bed and vote next time, don’t wait for it to go against you and then whinge.
Mr President, we thank you for your intervention, it was put in the pile with all the other useless information.
The week Great Britain became great again. For the war heroes that paid the ultimate price, you did not do it for nothing.
What happened this week? The lion woke up and roared and the world shivered.
What you got was democracy
From: Name and address supplied
I suppose it was only to be expected. The ashes of 35 million voting papers were still smouldering when the cry went up from the Europhiles for another EU referendum.
A smirking Tony Blair crawled out of the woodwork to claim that it shouldn’t be ruled out, whilst MP David Lammy, had the audacity to suggest that the government should simply reject the result.
Nice one, David, good to see the democratic principle still burns bright at the heart of Labour.
Remember, this is the guy who accused the BBC of racism when it wondered if the smoke coming from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel, denoting the choice of a new Pope, would be black or white. So much for a Harvard education.
Many on the ‘Remain’ side clearly respect the democratic process only when it produces the result they want.
If it doesn’t, then it should be repeated until the outcome conforms to their view or, better still, ignored altogether.
The guy responsible for the online petition calling for another EU vote (3.5 million at the time of writing) alludes to the examples of Ireland and Denmark who had re-runs of their referendums until they came up with the choice their respective Establishments wanted.
Tellingly, that 3.5 million includes 39,411 residents of the Vatican City which, oddly enough, has a population of only 800, which demonstrates how much faith we can put in that particular exercise.
Alistair Campbell, that beacon of democratic fair play during the time of New Labour, describes the referendum as ‘a bad idea’.
Other political heavyweights have referred to it as a ‘miscalculation’. This seems to represent a barely-concealed contempt for the average man and woman in the street whom they regard as not having the nous to be able to decide the implications of such a profoundly significant decision.
I just wonder if this applies to everyone who voted, or only to those who voted to leave.
Arrogance doesn’t come close to describing the effrontery of those crying out for another EU vote.
The ‘Remain’ campaign held all the aces from the start. They benefited from a huge injection of money and bias from a government that should have remained impartial.
They threw every catastrophic, doom-ridden prophecy they could think of into the pot, each of which was clearly designed to bully and scare the masses into voting to stay in.
They had Obama threatening that we’d be at the back of the line (sorry, back of the queue) in any future trade talks, they had the Notting Hill set, rock stars, authors, actors and sporting celebrities all signing their petitions to the press and given prominence on TV.
Cameron stood at his podium before the doors of Downing Street to give the government’s ‘official’ view, despite half his MPs opposing it.
And then there was the disgraceful ploy by George Osborne, playing on the fears of the elderly, the ones he knew were high on the list of those wanting to leave the EU, warning that their pensions would be at risk were we to leave.
But despite this bombardment of fire and brimstone, they lost the vote. And yet, the ‘Remainers’ still have the brass neck to whinge about the appalling unfairness of it all.
I keep hearing about the young, who claim the older generation have ‘robbed them of their future’ and other misguided nonsense.
What they should realise is that their elders have the benefit of having lived in a Britain which steered its own course long before being suckered into a benign Common Market which they never imagined would evolve into the rampant, contemptible, EU behemoth that it is today and are, therefore, better placed to know which is the better way.
I see demonstrations looming in those hot spots of disenchantment with the decision of the majority, shrieking for another vote because the one they got wasn’t theirs.
I expect debates and Question Time exchanges in which the attitude of those who lost out will be along the lines of ‘You will listen to me but I have no intention of listening to you’.
I fervently believe that future generations will look back on this momentous vote and thank us for extricating us from an increasingly despised conglomeration of disparate nations run by a bunch of faceless, unelected nonentities who struggle to suppress their sneering disregard for everything we stand for.
And if there are those among us who are so enamoured with the EU that they feel they can’t live without it, then maybe they should take full advantage of the unfettered free movement their beloved EU provides and move to a country which offers them that privilege.
I read a tweet from Harry Potter author and remain supporter, JK Rowling, which said “I don’t think I’ve ever wanted magic more”, to which one wag replied “You may have wanted magic, but what you got was democracy.”
I couldn’t have put it better myself and it’s a sentiment those who are calling for another referendum would do well to take on board.
We need to work together
From: Ednan Hussain, Dewsbury Liberal Democrats parliamentary spokesperson
For a second time in a row I find myself writing about extraordinary, unthinkable events.
Last week it was the murder of a much-respected MP in broad daylight in a market town in the middle of West Yorkshire.
Now Britain has voted to leave the EU, the PM has resigned, and Labour is in meltdown.
Many people have used the word “heartbroken” to describe their feelings about the result of the referendum.
That’s because they feel what’s happened undermines Britain’s claim to be an open, outward-looking and tolerant society.
This isn’t about the action of a lone individual but millions of people who seem to have turned their back on our European neighbours.
The majority of our fellow citizens are not racist or even xenophobic.
They are anxious about changes that they fear will leave them behind, and have been mis-led by the worst elements of our political class into thinking leaving the EU will stop them.
Globalisation will roll on regardless, all that has happened is that we have fatally undermined our influence in the world.
Already those same people are back-tracking on the ridiculous claims they have made which they know they can’t deliver.
This is an opportunity for all shades of progressive opinion across the political spectrum.
For once let’s not try to find someone to blame but work together to build the kind of Europe we all want to live in.
As I write nearly 7,000 have responded to these unprecedented events by joining the Liberal Democrats.
That is because our leader Tim Farron has spoken up with such clarity in the midst of chaos and committed our party to campaign for Britain to re-join the EU as soon as possible.
Our fight for an optimistic, tolerant and forward-thinking Britain isn’t over. It has only just begun.
Door opened for Boris
From: David Honeybell, Heckmondwike
So the result of the EU referendum is known. The consequences of the decision to leave the EU will affect all of us, not just now, but forever.
The people have spoken, but when the dust settles and reality dawns, will the Brexit supporters still be singing and dancing in the street?
When the Leave brigade suddenly change the £350m gross weekly payment to the EU to the real £180m net payment, and they don’t have the money they promised to spend on our NHS, when the workers lose the protection of the rights gained by our EU membership, when the promise of a heaven on Earth scenario fails to materialise.
The door has opened for Bouncing Boris, Jovial Johnson, the worker’s friend, one of the boys, to become PM.
The real Boris will show his true colours and a very different Boris will emerge.
Our NHS will face more cuts in funding, and the privatising will happen on a quicker timescale, but money suddenly appears to give the higher rate tax payers yet another tax cut.
But what about the ex-pats who left our shores to live in Gibraltar? Why they had a vote at all I don’t know.
But as they overwhelmingly voted by 96% to 4% to remain in the EU, we should give them their wish and give the rock back to Spain, where it belongs.
And while we’re at it, the six counties of Northern Ireland should be returned to the Republic, and the Falklands given back to Argentina.
Better that we feel in control
From: Ms A Rawat, Batley
The British population voted and they chose to leave the EU.
After feeling dismayed and even a little traumatised on result day, only a day later I began to feel happier with the situation.
There was a lot of dissatisfaction amongst the general public and it’s better to deal with it than stay with the stagnation.
Curiously the win margin was only four per cent, although I thought the dissatisfaction was higher.
After considering Leave, I in the end voted Remain. I felt that I just couldn’t stand the nasty side which some sections of the Leave side were on, and there was that torrid poster that I could not give my support to.
I very much appreciated that Boris Johnson and Gove did not give a celebratory front to their win but were more magnanimous and conciliatory.
I am happy with the Leave win because as Boris put it, “it will take the wind out of the sails of the extremists and those who would play politics with immigration”.
A man who I thought was a joke may be turning out to be a different person altogether.
Although I also thought Boris and Gove looked quite scared with the position that they found themselves in and certainly Boris I think has decided that he needs to be more responsible and serious.
Our leaders told us that the EU provides us with more jobs and cheaper housing etc, but the people did not believe there was enough for everyone and decided that they did not want to share with people from outside.
That which we have in common, our needs, also divides us (sorry Jo). “If you take, then what is left for me?”
It is when what we have in common, our basic needs, are met, that we can then become more united.
I hope I have not offended anyone with my comments and my reference to Jo’s words. She was a better person than me.
Make or break, it is better for people to feel that they have some control and stay in the workings of their country.
There is going to be no change over the next at least two years anyway, but when there is, and ordinary people find themselves in a position to feel that workers from outside are needed, then they will be more appreciated.
Bad outweighs the good of EU
From: Andy Howard, via email
As you may know from my last letter, I voted to leave the EU, but I am not a racist!
Our local resident turncoat Baroness Warsi tried to make people believe that anyone thinking of voting Leave must be racist, when she suddenly jumped ship at the last minute from the Leave campaign to the Remain campaign (did anyone know she was part of the Leave campaign? No I didn’t either!).
Don’t believe the polls love, they’re never right!
My vote was for freedom, democracy and for the control of my country handed back to the people I elected.
It was however a vote against a flawed immigration policy that does not work and needs an urgent review and many changes.
A vote against a trade ban that stops the UK trading with half the world, surely the more customers we have the better off we will be (I’m just a window cleaner but it works for me).
A vote against unelected bureacrats who won’t listen to the concerns of the UK people, and a vote against unelected EU judges who tell our own judges we can’t send murderers thieves and rapists back to their own countries because of the crazy human rights laws.
I will end this letter by saying there are a lot of good things about the EU, but for me and many others they don’t outweigh the bad and that is why I voted OUT!
A vote against London focus
From: R Spreadbury, Liversedge
For the Londoners out there of all political persuasions who have yet to get or fail to understand the message sent to them by the referendum result.
Here it is in black and white:
We are sick to death of London bleeding resources and talent from the rest of the UK.
We are sick to death of middle class Londoners, along with their casino banking friends, setting the political agenda, and economic policy.
We are sick to death of their arrogant superiority concerning all things.
We are sick to death of their stratospheric unearned property wealth which will guarantee them a retirement of luxury.
And now, to cap it all, they have set up a petition signed by 3m that the UK should hold another referendum until they get the result they want, ie to best benefit themselves.
There must be something in the water, apart from it being passed through a fair number of people before they drink it.
Rock against Racism display
From: John Appleyard, Liversedge
I called at the ‘Impressions’gallery in Bradford recently to view Pontefract-born photographer Syd Shelton’s ‘Rock Against Racism’ exhibition which covers the period 1976-1981 when far right groups such as the National Front were in the ascendancy in local and parliamentary elections.
Rock Against Racism’s slogan ‘Love music, hate racism’ would I am sure have been welcomed today by my late MP Jo Cox who was a tenacious campaigner against those who sought to divide us and gender hate.
The music brought together artists and audiences of different races, musical styles and age groups.
Bands who played included Sham 69, Elvis Costello, Tom Robinson, the Clash and the ‘Specials’ who played Potternewton Park, Leeds, in 1981, their last gig before splitting up.
The success of Rock Against Racism brought about the demise of the National Front and their failure to make a breakthrough at election times.
The exhibition is free and is on view until September.
Help the fight for our hospital
From: Christine Hyde, Dewsbury
So England and Wales have voted to say “No!” to Hungarian prices for plastering and kitchen fitting, to ‘take back control’ and ‘spend £350m a week on front line NHS services’.
Except that is not what they have got. The reality is that it is still a government who are firmly in the pockets of the financiers and US health multinationals.
Stephen Dorrell of KPMG is chairman of NHS Confederation, the trade body of businesses in the NHS and also leader of the Birmingham NHS Sustainability and Transformation footprint.
Johnson and Gove both voted for the measures to cut NHS services, and turn it into an industry which increased market costs and profiteering and Johnson’s said he wants charges.
Craig Whittacker MP (Calderdale) has vigorously prevented democracy in Parliament when he filibustered on March 11 2016.
Jeremy Hunt has just wasted £125m contracting US Virginia Mason Hospital to show NHS trusts, including Leeds Teaching Hospital, how to improve patient safety when it has just failed its own US safety inspection.
If the people of England and Wales really want to ‘take back control’, they will have to decide what sort of society they want and to peacefully do a great deal more than put a cross on a piece of paper.
Start now, help us fight for a local hospital.
Keith will be sadly missed by us all
From: Liz Higgins, founder member of BSC and trustee of Old Water Hall, Mirfield
Sadly we hear of the death of a fine Mirfield man, Keith Johnson.
Hundreds of young people have derived great benefit from playing football at Battyeford Sporting Club and carried the spirit of the club on into their lives.
A club that was fondly known as Stan’s Club, being founded by Stan Rowlands in 1973 but was nurtured and came of age under Keith Johnson.
Keith was spotted by Stan not for his footballing skills but as a leader and someone with a vision, who had the skills to bring order to a club of 250 youngsters.
Keith was a tower of strength and soon put the club on a firm footing, achieving Charter Standard and allowing football to flourish both for lads and lassies from six years to open age.
He was tireless in his efforts to improve the club facilities, fundraising, forging links wth Kirklees Leisure Services, West Riding County Club Football Association, the National Football Foundation and local businesses.
His efforts were finally rewarded with a National Football Foundation Grant and substantial sums from Kirklees MC and Mirfield Town Council, allowing him to build a fine new clubhouse at Westmills, Battyeford, opened in 2008.
During Keith’s time as chairman of BSC he gathered good volunteers to help run the club so when he stood down as chairman in 2008 he left the club in good hands.
However his services to the club didn’t end there. He was elected as president and became a trustee, continuing to trouble shoot any difficulties that arose right to the end of his life.
We owe Keith a great debt of gratitude but his legacy lives on in Battyeford, which in many eyes is the finest club in Yorkshire, with a membership of nearly 400 players maintaining high standards across all aspects of sport and in the ethos of the club.