In the Uxbridge Gazette on 23rd November, Cllr Gardner wrote in to the letters page with a piece called ‘Remembrance and our town’s solidarity’. I reproduce the letter below –
I would like to thank PC Emma Reed and her Police colleagues for organising yet again an event in Hayes for the community that live in Hayes and to again prove to the narrow minded critics of Hayes that rather than be a fragmented town as is often claimed, we are in fact ‘in solidarity’.
The event was conducted on the frontage of the Social Centre in Botwell Lane with prayers said by some of the local clergy and a PCSO, the local faith centres were represented by members of their congregations – Christians,Muslims,Buddhists,Sikhs,atheists, all observed the two minute silence.
Over 100 people attended the event, some with their little children,in remembrance of those who have died and are still dying in wars all over the world, and of course with emphasis on those who are affected by wars, many of who live alongside us in the community that is Hayes. Something we all tend to forget.
Children from the local school attended and I am sure some have family members who know first hand the horrendous effect of war.
So again I would like to thank the local Police teams and Emma especially for their ability to make many of the cynics realise that people who live in Hayes are all part of one community and not just many diverse groups living in isolation.
Firstly, can I express my whole hearted agreement that we are all one community – indeed, I have said as much on leaflets we have put out across Hayes. My grandfather served in the Western Desert and Italy during World War 2 and fought alongside Australians, Sikhs and Gurkhas to rid us of the Nazi menace – brave men all.
But a number of things about her letter have caused me to write this reply.
Ukip have elected a leader who may just deliver the electoral breakthrough they have long dreamed about.
But don’t take my word for it. Speak to northern Labour MPs and they are scared. Very scared indeed.
They believe that Paul Nuttall – state school educated and from Bootle in Liverpool – represents a “clear and present danger” to their chances of returning to Westminster after the next general election.
“With Farage, all you had to do was show our voters the picture of him holding the Thatcher mug and wearing a trilby and say ‘you can’t vote for this guy, can you?’,” says one backbencher.
But Paul Nuttall is a very different proposition. He speaks the language of many white, working class voters – and crucially, can deliver those views in an impeccable white, working class accent.
He has also vowed to “replace the Labour party in the next five years” and for Ukip to “become the patriotic party of the working people”.
Nuttall’s euroscepticism is a given, but what he has to say on criminal sentences that “mean what they say” and putting British workers “at the top of the queue” are music to the ears of former Labour voters who feel the party no longer speaks for them.
One Labour MP said: “It’s always been the big fear, that Ukip would end up being led by someone like Nuttall, a northerner from a working class background.
“He isn’t exactly JFK, but he does represent a clear and present danger to Labour in the north of England, particularly at a time when we are haemorrhaging so many white, working class votes.
“They are deserting us because of Corbyn’s stance on defence, security, policing and immigration.”
One Labour backbencher points out that in their seat, Ukip managed to come second at the last election without delivering a single leaflet.
With Nuttall in charge, Labour MPs fear that many more of their traditional voters will be willing to make the leap from their column to Ukip’s. Throw in those who will return to the Lib Dems after their 2015 meltdown, and others who will back the Tories simply because they see Theresa May as the better bet as Prime Minister, and all of a sudden those five-figure majorities don’t seem so impregnable.
“What you’ll see is a lot of us adopting Lib Dem-style tactics and going ultra-local,” one mournful Labour MP said. “We will effectively disown the leader, ditch the Labour brand, junk the policies and run as a local franchise. It might be the only way to survive.”
Writing in The Times today, Barnsley MP Dan Jarvis speaks for many of his colleagues when he says: “There are very few Labour MPs, if any, who would say that they are in what’s traditionally been referred to as safe seats.
“I’m not sure such a thing exists any more. It is clear to me that the Ukip fox is in the Labour henhouse and we have got to make a decision about what we want to do about that fox.”
Could Paul Nuttall be the man who turns the north of England from red to purple?
“Fidel Castro was a massive figure in the history of the whole planet, ever since the revolution in 1959. There are stories of his heroism while living in Mexico in exile and then the boat to Cuba, the march to Havana… For all his flaws, Castro’s support for Angola played a crucial role in bringing an end to Apartheid in South Africa and he will be remembered both as an internationalist and a champion of social justice.”
“You were the greatest man I ever met Comandante Fidel. You were the man of the century. Hasta la Victoria Siepmre. Orden. RIP”
“I’ve been to Cuba many times, it’s a very open and relaxed society. I’m sure they will, over time, move towards something like a traditional West European democracy… We didn’t have an entirely functioning democracy in World War Two, it was shut down. The general election was cancelled, anyone expressing support for Hitler was thrown into prison”
“The name of this outstanding statesman is considered to be a symbol of an era in the modern history of the world… Fidel Castro was a sincere and reliable friend of Russia. He made an enormous contribution to the formation and development of Russian-Cuban relations, close strategic cooperation in all fields. This strong and wise man always looked with confidence to the future. He embodies the highest ideals of politics, citizen and patriot, sincerely convinced of the rightness of the case, which gave his whole life. The memory of him will live forever in the hearts of Russian citizens.”
“With the death of Fidel Castro, the world has lost a man who was a hero for many. He changed the course of his country and his influence reached far beyond. Fidel Castro remains one of the revolutionary figures of the 20th century.”
“I have good memories of meeting with Fidel. He was very conversant with Irish history and good friend to the Irish people and an admirer of our struggle, especially the hunger strikers of 1981.”
“I extensively talked within person, it is his personality to believe and rely on people”
“Indefensible human rights abuses but Castro created society equality, free health & education, international solidarity despite USA siege”
“It is with deep sorrow that I learned today of the death of Cuba’s longest serving President. Fidel Castro was a larger than life leader who served his people for almost half a century. A legendary revolutionary and orator, Mr. Castro made significant improvements to the education and healthcare of his island nation. While a controversial figure, both Mr. Castro’s supporters and detractors recognized his tremendous dedication and love for the Cuban people who had a deep and lasting affection for “el Comandante”.
Nothing however beats the BBC’s coverage. They are reporting Castro’s death more favourably than Thatcher’s. No ‘controversial’. No mention of the thousands summarily executed after the revolution. No mention that he demanded the USSR nuke the USA. No mention of the decades of impoverishment and human rights abuse. No mention of his secret police rounding up homosexuals and putting them in concentration camps. Castro gets a free pass on democratic norms – “his critics accused him of being a dictator”. Does the BBC think that is only an allegation? Particular congratulations to the BBC News Channel, who interviewed “Cuba expert” Richard Gott, without mentioning
he was a KGB agent of influence. Slow clap.
“Today, the world marks the passing of a brutal dictator who oppressed his own people for nearly six decades,” an official Trump statement said. “Fidel Castro’s legacy is one of firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights.”