Inflammatory language a cause of great concern

Dear Editor, If the balance of letters published in The Post on Wednesday, in support of Nigel Hastilow and against your front page editorial of the previous day reflects the total you have received, then this is a cause for great concern.

Powell was wrong on several counts in 1967, and particularly because of his use of emotive and inflammatory language which at worst risked stirring up a racist backlash against immigrants, and which certainly added to racial disharmony for years to come. Therefore by commending that speech in 2007, Hastilow is in danger of causing exactly the same effects, and might one suggest in order to try to make political capital for his own ends.

Throughout the history of these islands there has been immigration, and concern expressed about immigration, but dire predictions, as in the case of Powell's "rivers of blood" have not come to pass.

By endorsing Powell's beliefs, Hastilow is gravely insulting all of those immigrants of the 1960s, and their descendants, born and bred Britons, who have lived peacefully and contributed valuably to British society over the past four decades.

Doubtless there ARE concerns about the levels and effects of current immigration, but those concerns need discussing in a calm, rational and nonemotive way, not in the language of Powell and Hastilow as supported by correspondents to the letters page thus far.

I fully support your editorial. 
JOHN COLEMAN, Selly Oak

Not the views of majority
Dear Editor, As a relative newcomer to Birmingham, I have been touched at how I've been welcomed by the community.

I've fallen in love with the city - and its people - and now, when I visit friends in other parts of the country, I rave about how Birmingham has changed and developed into one of the most exciting cities in Britain. Now I have to ask myself if I was wrong.

Wednesday's letters page in The Birmingham Post was full of the most bigoted, narrow-minded, 19th century views I have ever had the misfortune to read. I wish some of these people would take the time to fully read Enoch Powell's 'rivers of blood' speech before they label him - and the distorted views of Nigel Hastilow - as visionary. Instead they read a few words, and hear whatever they want to hear.

Nobody questions the need to have a debate about immigration: our services and infrastructure cannot cope. That is the bottom line.However, we need to do this in an adult way, respecting all those parties involved - whatever their race, religion and country of origin. It is only when we are able to do this, that we will be able to solve the immigration crisis.

People of Birmingham, wake up to yourselves. You should be ashamed. The views recently expressed in the columns of this newspaper are not the inclusive, adventurous, experimental views that made the Midlands great.

I refuse to accept they are the views of the majority of people in Birmingham. I hope I am not proved wrong.
NIGEL GREEN, Solihull

A positive contribution
Dear Editor, Contrary to the views expressed on the Post letters page on November 7, Trident's experience of working with ethnic groups across Birmingham, including the Chinese, Somalis, Bangladeshis and Vietnamese, points to a positive and ongoing contribution of these communities to both our local economy and community infrastructure.

Trident believes that no community should be left behind in the 21st century.

While the association is very supportive of ethnic groups, this does not mean that white families are uncatered for. In fact, two thirds of Trident's tenants are from a white background. Harping back to the era of Powell does not help agencies like Trident, whose interest is in the future of Birmingham, not some mythical past.
 JOHN MORRIS, Chief Executive
 Trident Housing Association

Editor is taking a brave stance
Dear Editor, The Human City Institute, which researches the needs of faith and ethnic groups in Birmingham, salutes the brave stance of Post editor, Marc Reeves, in condemning Nigel Hastilow's intemperate remarks.

While a healthy and positive debate around immigration is welcome by all, Hastilow's support of Enoch Powell's rabid right wing views is unhelpful. Powell was clearly wrong in every aspect of his 'rivers of blood' speech. There are no 'rivers of blood' on Birmingham streets. The reality is many ethnic and faith communities live side by side, and all migrant communities over the last 50 years have made a major contribution to creating a flourishing and vibrant city.
 Dr PETER PATEL
 Chair, Human City Institute

Rolling out the red carpet for immigrants
Dear Editor, Nigel Hastilow has resigned because he would not apologise for comments which echo the thoughts of an extremely large proportion of this country.

It is not only the indigenous population that agrees with him, ethnic friends of mine who have been here for many years also agree with Mr Hastilow. They feel, as do their white counterparts, that they have had to work very hard for what they have and object to all the benefits being given to anyone who comes to our shores.

He is absolutely correct to say "we roll out the red carpet for foreigners while leaving the locals to fend for themselves".

Peter Hain has, as usual, come out with the usual claptrap about the Conservative Party and its "racist underbelly". He would be well advised to look within the rank and file of his own party, many of whom happen to agree with Mr Hastilow.

This country has always been renowned for its democracy and freedom of speech. In fact, a great many immigrants are here for that reason. However, we cannot afford the present continuous influx, either financially or culturally. It is true that the country is being changed irrevocably. Why is it racist to say so?

David Cameron is right to call for a grown-up conversation, but frankly that conversation will never happen whilst there are people who cry 'racist' at every turn, and I include in that category Mr Khalid Mahmood.
 TESSA MILLER, Sutton Coldfield

How many people can we accommodate?
Dear Editor, Surely Nigel Hastilow has the right to repeat what most people are saying without being labelled a rascist.

The economy benefits from mass immigration, we are told - businessmen looking for cheap labour certainly benefit, but does the country as a whole?
The Government tells us that it does, but they of course can't be believed.

We welcome educated, pleasant, well-mannered workers from other countries (the ones I've had dealings with have been) but that's not the point. The question in most people's minds is just how many immigrants our small island can accomodate.

The Government can't tell us because they have no way of knowing - people are concerned and rightly so.
 DANNY KEANEY, Stratford upon Avon

Very little organisation or direction for Gigbeth
Dear Editor, Having travelled up from Stratford to Birmingham by train last Saturday afternoon, like your recent correspondent, I too was disappointed in Gigbeth, not only in the apparently haphazard organisation, but also the lack of directions as to what was on and where.

I expected to see at least some more street entertainment, but was pleased to see that what little there was on show was of top quality. I also spotted an interesting Warwickshire link: not only was your previous correspondent entertained by an unplugged session of Leamington Spa's Nizlopi, but around St Martin's Church were the superb African drummers from Leamington, while - busking in the same area - were the outstanding Sambassadors of Groove, samba drummers who are I believe also from Leamington, and who gave a masterly performance of the percussionists' art.

Perhaps the organisers would do better next year to hold the festival on the banks of the Leam instead of at the back of Digbeth Coach Station.
 JOHN PETERSON, By email

No room for a fine sculpture
Dear Editor, Birmingham does in fact have a piece of post-1945 art.

A very fine sculpture by Birmingham's own Raymond Mason, A tragedy in the North languishes in the Museum Stores in Vauxhall because 'there is no room to display it' - an explanation given at the recent open day.

Perhaps it could now be found a home in Walsall, which shares memories of a similar catastrophy at Hamstead many years ago.
 KENNETH HUGHES, Selly Oak

The qualities of Olympic logo
Dear Editor, John Lamb joins a long list of correspondents who fail to appreciate the qualities of the 2012 Olympic logo. Am I the only Post reader to like it? Indeed, it may well give me more pleasure the Games themselves.
 IAN OLIVER, Warwick