14 Words by Email

Friday, 20 July 2012

High immigration has isolated white, working-class communities

A few weeks ago I visited my 92-year-old aunt in Birmingham. A Gloucestershire farmer’s daughter, in the war years she waited on the tables of the Army High Command. She married my uncle, a sergeant in the Parachute Regiment, and raised her family after the end of the war.
Little of this will be known to her new neighbours, many of whom do not speak her language and are not aware of her or our history. She is one of a handful of the old, working-class people left in an area of roughly two miles by two miles almost entirely populated by arrivals from the Muslim areas of Asia.
They are mostly decent, friendly folk, but where for her is the enriching multicultural experience dreamt of by Tony Blair?
We also visited another of our childhood haunts to find the memorial plaque in the church commemorating my wife’s great-uncles killed in the First World War. The congregation of lovely, middle-aged ladies from the West Indies had little idea of the war, or the reason for our visit. The plaque had been destroyed some years since. There was no one to care.
Decisions made for Labour’s short-term political gain will cause long-term social and cultural pain.
Mike Dalton
Stainton, Cumberland
SIR – It was little more than a couple of weeks ago that Tony Blair stated that he did not regret the Labour Party’s immigration policy (telegraph.co.uk, report, June 24).
Indeed, we were constantly told during the Labour years that high immigration was good for the economy. Yet here we are: the welfare system is buckling, the roads are congested, the police are struggling to cope, the NHS is falling apart, the schools are overcrowded and, of course, the economy is on its knees.
Mr Blair and his collaborators have changed this country forever, no doubt to serve their own purposes.
Mick Ferrie
Mawnan Smith, Cornwall
SIR – I am in favour of an immigration policy that prevents new arrivals from becoming a drain on the taxpayer (report, July 16). I must question, however, the new requirement that British men and women who have migrated here should earn at least £18,600 per annum to be able to bring a spouse to this country.
How did such a provision become policy without public debate and scrutiny?
On the face of it, this policy seems to go against natural justice and unfairly targets the young and the poor. Why should they have fewer rights than those in “comfortable” Britain?
It is fair to ask anyone wanting to live here to show that their marriage is not one merely of convenience, and for them to have sympathy for the British way of life and a basic knowledge of English, but a financial test like this one seems discriminatory and should be immediately reviewed.
Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali
London W1
Osborne flounders
SIR – Charles Moore criticises the current Government for not doing enough to restore growth (Comment, July 14).
David Cameron was chosen as leader in times of economic prosperity. It could be argued that both he and George Osborne, the Chancellor, do not have the business acumen or experience to deal with our current economic predicament.
I met Mr Osborne at an event in Dorset in September 2007, and asked him what he intended to do about the huge increase in government expenditure under Labour. He responded that no modern government had succeeded in reducing expenditure in real terms. The best a new Conservative administration could achieve would be to keep expenditure at the same level.
It was apparent then, and even more so now, that Mr Osborne, and possibly Mr Cameron, is unsuited to the immense task we face. The most one can say is that both are probably doing their best.
Richard Fry
Halstock, Dorset
Grey front gardens
SIR – You report the loss of 3.5 million British front gardens in the past two decades (July 17).
Well-tended front lawns and flower beds were once a source of pride in suburbia. These days, all too often, one is greeted by an expanse of dreary paving punctuated only by weeds and wind-blown rubbish.
Front gardens are havens for a variety of fauna, not least the earthworm, whose engineering duties equal that of any man-made drainage system. Converting front gardens to off-road parking adds to the danger of flooding and robs bees, ladybirds and other valuable insects of a home.
It accelerates the decline of urban areas into a wasteland of plastic windows and loft conversions, without even a tree or rose bush to relieve the monotony. Britain’s front gardens are part of the landscape. They deserve preservation.
Anthony Rodriguez
Staines, Middlesex
Modern milk round
SIR – Angela Elliott is lucky to have her milk delivered (Letters, July 16). We fully support dairy farms but our dairy seems bent on alienating its doorstep customers.
Since the retirement of Terry, our milkman for 27 years, deliveries have been reduced to three days a week. The extra cost is acceptable, but not the problem of where to store the milk between deliveries. Two pints went off in the garage between Saturday and Monday.
Problems, once dealt with by our local depot, are now handled by a call centre in the Philippines, and not always resolved. To cap it all, we have been encouraged to “go online” to manage our orders.
Linda Hamlin
Pershore, Worcestershire
SIR – This morning I bought Fairtrade tea supporting producers in East Africa, and bananas supporting producers in Panama.
Where can I buy Fairtrade milk which gives a fair price to our own dairy farmers?
Eve Fuller
Emsworth, Hampshire
Desert island poems
SIR – During a recent spell of enforced idleness, I started to think about modern English verse. My three favourites are the first version of the English translation by Edward FitzGerald of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam; Rupert Brooke’s The Old Vicarage, Grantchester; and Adlestrop by Edward Thomas.
Dr Peter Islip
Sanderstead, Surrey
Railway upgrade cost
SIR – The proposed upgrading and electrification of the Midland and east-coast railway lines comes with a multi-billion pound price tag and the prospect of ever-rising ticket prices (report, July 16).
What a marked contrast to the introduction of the first railways in the 19th century. Financed by private investors, they brought cheap, long-distance travel to the masses for the first time. Travel costs were halved and journey times were reduced so much that the Duke of Wellington expressed concern that undesirables would swamp London.
The Iron Duke need not have worried; today’s unwashed masses certainly won’t be going anywhere.
Nick Williams
London NW3
SIR – The Government’s announcement of £9 billion of rail investment shows that it can see the benefits of incremental improvements to our railways. But has it spotted the sting in the tail? By improving journey times to Sheffield with the electrification of the Midland Main Line, it worsens the already dire economic case for High Speed Two.
Hilary Wharf
Director, HS2 Action Alliance
Old Amersham, Buckinghamshire
Badgers vs hedgehogs
SIR – Environmental conservation is complex. Focusing on a single factor in a much bigger picture, as Karin Proudfoot does (Letters, July 12), misses the point.
Badgers and hedgehogs coexist in many areas. They are, mostly, competitors for the same food. It is only when that food is scarce that the relationship becomes predatory.
Conservation is about preserving diverse habitats that sustain the complexity of the natural world, predators and prey alike.
Jill Nelson
Chief Executive, People’s Trust for Endangered Species
London SW8
Triskaidekaphobia
SIR – Anthony Greenstreet was surprised to find his local hospital unusually quiet on Friday 13th (Letters, July 16). He might have been even more surprised had he been at his local crematorium.
I was at mine and, though one would assume that the time for superstitious reticence had already passed, the place was as dead as a coffin nail.
Dr Richard Lloyd
Sandhurst, Berkshire
Baffling reasons behind BBC’s digital switchover
SIR – Tim Davie, the BBC director of audio and music, states that “the BBC wouldn’t force listeners to go digital” (report, July 14). This could be the first piece of common sense from the BBC in the debate surrounding the adoption of Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB). Unfortunately, its vagueness raises even more questions.
Why, for example, does the BBC consider the use of internet radio to be one of the deciding factors for abandoning analogue broadcasting? If there is an increase in online listeners, this could be coming from outside Britain, from people who have perhaps lost their shortwave reception and have no other access to BBC services.
I also think that including BBC radio services on Freeview confuses the issue. Very few people can sit near a television during the day. Radio is a portable medium. Only the use of traditional radio receivers should be the deciding factor. But that will become even more confusing if more combined DAB/analogue receivers are produced and sold.
It is essential that an independent and reliable body should carry out an assessment to discover what percentage of DAB receivers are actually being used regularly, rather than being put to one side because of unreliable reception. The survey should be the only deciding factor for or against a digital switchover.
Rob Mannion
Editor, Practical Wireless
Bournemouth, Dorset

Source

0 comMENTS:

Post a Comment

Share

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More