Common sense approach to immigration and asylum
Dear Editor, Regarding your comment on the front page, I am amazed at the stance you have taken and that you have not kept your opinion to that allotted place in the newspaper - or perhaps I am just from the old school where standards really meant something (Enoch Powell was wrong then and Hastilow is wrong now, Post Nov 6).
Surely as the editor of one of the outstanding regional dailies in the country it is your job to report what is said and the reactions to it, but not to pitch your newspaper on one side or another.
Nigel Hastilow was right to bring this matter to the forefront again, as was Enoch Powell in 1968.
It is not racialist (not racist, that's American) to love your country and have a view on what dangers may lie ahead in the future unless we are sensible and take a common sense approach on immigration and asylum seekers. You only have to listen to the comments of community leaders across the country, whose areas have suddenly had to absorb Eastern Europeans, of the dangers and difficulties and how that is affecting the local populace.
I was on The Post business desk in 1968 when Enoch Powell made his speech, and I have to say that as many supported him as opposed, not because they were racialist but because they too could fear for the future unless there was a properly co-ordinated policy across all parties on this vexed subject.
Furthermore, I was on the Evening Mail in the 1970s when we saw examples of "rivers of blood" in Handsworth, Toxteth, Notting Hill and elsewhere in the country. I was in the thick of it with colleagues reporting the Handsworth riots, and with a photographer colleague was locked up in a community hall by a black sect whose views we wanted but who preferred to hold us against our will instead.
The trouble is, with political correctness gone mad in this country, most people are frightened to speak out. What an unhealthy state of affairs. Therefore thank goodness for the Nigel Hastilows and indeed the Kilroy-Silks. In a democratic country all views are valid. That is why if we have to hear the extreme left droning on, then it is incumbent that the extreme right has a platform too, no matter how affronted we may be with their views.
So Mr Reeves, having affronted a good 50 per cent of your readers, how are you going to put matters right or do their views not matter either?
K A JACKSON, Sandon
An authoritarian rump
Dear Editor, The disgraceful public execution of Mr Hastilow bodes ill for the future of free speech in Britain. Are we to assume that anybody who espouses 'unacceptable' views will be forced to recant or risk being airbrushed out of the history books?
If anybody ought to have resigned it was George Osborne, the Shadow Chancellor, who had the temerity to lecture not only Tories, but candidates of all parties on the need to watch their words on immigration.
How Voltaire must be squirming in his grave. The Tory party has revealed not so much its racist underbelly as its everhardening patina of intolerance.
From being a broad church, embracing many views, it has degenerated into an authoritarian rump that would not be out of place in the Third Reich or Cambodia.
The place for Mr Hastilow's views to be challenged is on the hustings, not in some dark recess at Central Office which increasingly resembles Orwell's Ministry of Truth.
I advise Mr Hastilow to stand as an independent and put his views to the electorate. The Tories might then be given an invaluable lesson in the meaning of free speech.
KEITH SHARP, Dawlish
Price of telling the truth
Dear Editor, Once again any rational and objective debate on the subject of immigration is squashed by the "liberal-elite political classes" who cry foul and play the race card. An objection to continued mass immigration is not an indication of racial prejudice.
Mr Hastilow should have learnt the lesson from Enoch Powell's experience; telling the truth is likely to sound the death knell for a career in politics.
B G HILSON, Bromsgrove
Freedom of speech is a right
Dear Editor, I am appalled to read that a parliamentary candidate has been forced to resign because he expressed his views on controlled immigration.
It seems we are not allowed to discuss immigration. That well known phrase, "I disapprove of what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it" is attributed to the French moralist and philosopher Voltaire, but freedom of speech has always been a basic British tenet.
As one of the generation who fought against Nazi Germany to retain this privilege, I find it truly alarming to see it being taken away by do-gooders and bigots in our own country.
PAT HILL, Sutton Coldfield
Pragmatic rather than racist
Dear Editor, Since the great majority of immigrants now come from the expanded EU, and are Caucasian, as we English whites are, it is surely pragmatic rather than racist to express concern about the effects of mass immigration on education, health and housing.
It was courageous of Nigel Hastilow to resign and stand by his opinions, rather than to apologise for them, and they will doubtless be shared by many, regardless of their political persuasion.
RICHARD WHITE, By email
The electorate should decide
Dear Editor, The views expressed by Nigel Hastilow have caused considerable outrage and widespread support, or so it is claimed by interested political parties and this has been the case historically when contentious issues are addressed.
Our neighbours in Kidderminster have previously shown that the electorate can decide whose views are correct, with the election and subsequent re-election of Dr Richard Taylor as MP for Wyre Forest.
Would it not be in everyone's interest to try and persuade Mr Hastilow to stand as an Independent candidate?
Such action would have the following benefits: demonstrate the gentleman's conviction behind the views he expressed; confirm whether the majority support the continuing immigration policy.
In addition, since all political parties seek to condemn his views they should widely support him standing as he can offer little challenge to their party political candidates.
NICK KINGETT, By email
Dear Editor, Nigel Hastilow, by reference to Enoch Powell's 1968 speech - and criticism of the current red carpet rolled out for immigrants - is undoubtedly expressing the opinion of the vast majority of British people.
By doing this Mr Hastilow is performing a great public service for which he should be commended. However, Conservative Party chiefs, since he refused demands for an apology, have made it clear that Mr Hastilow cannot continue as a Tory parliamentary candidate in the next General Election.
By doing so they have not only failed the British people but also, whether aware of it or not, lost a golden opportunity to attract significant support before the election takes place.
With increasing crime, pressure on prisons, housing, water supplies, waste disposal, health and social services, to what extent, one wonders, must the immigration situation deteriorate before Conservatives are jerked into reality?
R POUNTAIN, Kenilworth