THIS November marks 80 years since Britain demonstrated its great humanitarian spirit by helping 10,000 child refugees escape Nazi persecution through the Kindertransport, while other countries just stood by.
Today, tens of thousands of child refugees in Europe and across the world still need safe passage. Children continue to live in horrendous conditions, where death, disease and people trafficking are ever-present risks. Our country has a proud record of helping those in desperate need and I believe we must continue that record, not turn our back on vulnerable children.
Today’s Government has a responsibility to offer child refugees sanctuary, just as it did 80 years ago.
I am asking our councillors to get behind the Our Turn campaign, run by the charity Safe Passage and Lord Alf Dubs, himself a child of the Kindertransport (Andrew Vine, The Yorkshire Post, October 23).
The Our Turn campaign hopes to convince the Government to resettle 10,000 children over the next 10 years and is asking councils to make pledges to provide places for the children, if the Government provides the funding. We can rescue 10,000 children if every council takes just three children a year.
Our country has a proud tradition of welcoming child refugees fleeing persecution. The Kindertransport efforts were driven by a huge amount of public goodwill and I believe we still have that same public support today. Eighty years on, it’s our turn to show the humanitarian compassion of the Kindertransport to today’s child refugees.
Ryanair racist was appalling
From: Brian Sheridan, Lodge Moor, Sheffield.
I WOULD not normally pay attention to anyone having a bad experience with Ryanair, an airline which reflects the personality of its egregious chief executive Michael O’Leary.
However, to effectively turn a blind eye to the shocking verbal abuse of a black woman passenger and her elderly mother was appalling, even by the airline’s standards (The Yorkshire Post, October 22).
Yet it is the behaviour of the offending white man which concerns me most because he has the brass neck to crudely articulate attitudes which are sometimes revealed more subtly or even unintentionally by a minority of elderly English people.
Despite the overwhelming majority of witnesses sympathising with the victims, one passenger described the offender as a “vulnerable, elderly man”, an observation which manifestly flies in the face of the evidence. The obscene abuse speaks for itself but it is the remarks that are printable which reveal his ignorance and stupidity.
He claimed the right to tell the victims where to sit (shades of Montgomery, Alabama) and accused them of speaking to him “in a foreign language”. For the record the mother and daughter were of West Indian lineage and had English as their first language: indeed a transcript of the daughter’s reaction showed her to be clear and articulate.
Even if the offender had come from speaking fluent Catalan, which I doubt, (the incident took place at Barcelona), his remarks would have been unacceptable. I hope that he will be commensurately dealt with by the police. The most generous comment I can muster is that he must have been indulging in the all too common habit of drinking before boarding.
Fracking horror film
From: Sue Lister, Dunnington, York.
THE Government is proposing to re-classify fracking as a “permitted development”, thus removing the democratic right of local communities to have their say on planning permissions. The public consultation closes on October 25.
On Friday I attended a meeting hosted by Frack Free York & Villages in Strensall Village Hall and watched again the film Living with Fracking made by two Ryedale residents, Steve and Jo White, after a visit to Pennsylvania. It’s shocking, and the devastation caused there cannot be allowed to happen here.
This month’s report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change makes clear that the UK is not on track to keep climate change down to 1.5 degrees. We know we have to keep fossil fuels in the ground, yet the Government signed up to the Paris Agreement and promptly came back and sold fracking licences all over the country.
After watching Blue Planet, we know that plastic is now contaminating everything in our oceans to the fish on our plates. Yet Ineos, the fracking company that owns many of the licences in North Yorkshire, uses its gas to make more plastic products. How can we collude with this double madness?
We can’t. Only 18 per cent of the country supports fracking while 85 per cent supports renewable energy. The safe, sensible, sustainable option is available and waiting for us.
Blow to pride in our town
From: Mr PL Taylor, Milner Street, Lockwood, Huddersfield.
THE recent revelations in the media of the abhorrent grooming of children in Huddersfield for sexual purposes have shaken my faith to the core in the Huddersfield authorities responsible for law, order and general civilised standards of behaviour.
What have the police, social services, teachers, parents, friends and relatives been doing? Just turning a blind eye to the obvious?
I used to be a proud citizen of Huddersfield. Our family business was Taylor and Littlewood of Newsome. We were woollen manufacturers.
My self-esteem has now been severely mangled.