Shropshire councillors are to unite in condemning hate crime at the next council meeting on 21 July. The four political leaders have drawn up a joint motion that will be debated at the meeting. It has been extensively discussed by councillors and I am confident it will get unanimous approval.
The motion is timely. Ludlow is a tolerant and friendly town. But on Thursday, we had an incident of racial hate crime.
A couple were visiting our town as part of a tour of the nice places in this part of the world. I am not going to give details, which I will pass on to the police, but they were subject to a comment along the lines of “people like you are not welcome here”.
I do not know if this disgraceful remark reflected a change in mood amongst some people in our nation after Brexit. Media reports suggest that a minority people feel that the Brexit vote has given them a mandate to abuse people who have migrated here, or were born here but don’t meet some stupid “white norm” in their tiny minds.
No one should be abused because of the colour of his or her skin or where they were born. No one should be abused for any reason. Not in this town. Not anywhere.
We are a tolerant town in a tolerant county. We must be a tolerant country.
Around 15 years ago, I was in a pub in Buckinghamshire on a wet and miserable Sunday afternoon. Beer and wine was flowing freely. A black couple with their son and daughter walked in. The landlord shouted: “We’re closed!” I was stunned. The pub was open for business. To my shame, I said nothing. But the indomitable Irish man next to me shouted: “Landlord, we are all children under God’s sun.” It was the right thing to say. I’m an atheist but I can sign up to that sentiment, one hundred percent. We are all born as equals and we should all be equal in life.
The miserably rejected family walked out of that Buckinghamshire pub into a miserable afternoon without a word. I guess they had experienced it so many times before. I wondered if that was the case with the couple in Ludlow on Thursday. They chose to continue their holiday rather than spend time filing a formal complaint with the police.
I had hoped that society had moved on since that ugly incident in Buckinghamshire. In the last few days, I have become to doubt that.
Here is the press release and motion for the July 21 Shropshire Council meeting.
Party leaders unite to condemn racism and hate crime
The following statement has been issued today (Friday 1 July 2016) by the leaders of the political groups on Shropshire Council.
This Council believes that, following the result of the EU referendum on 23 May 2016, some people appear to feel that they have a mandate to air their hatred of people from other backgrounds, races and cultures. We are also witnessing other extremism, some of it violent.
Thankfully, there has been no evidence of this in Shropshire in recent weeks, which may be attributed to the tolerant and inclusive disposition of the overwhelming majority of our residents. We are proud to live in a diverse and tolerant society.
Nonetheless, Shropshire Council resolves to send out a very clear message that all forms of racism and hate crime are unacceptable and, as such, they should be dealt with to the full extent of the law.
Councillor Malcolm Pate, Leader – Conservative group
Councillor Roger Evans, Leader – Liberal Democrat group
Councillor Alan Mosley, Leader – Labour group
Councillor Pauline Dee, Leader – Independent group.
How to report a hate crime or incident to the police
A hate crime or incident can be reported by:
- dialling 999 or the alternative number 112 in an emergency
- dialling 18000 to use Next Generation Text Service for the deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired (click here for details)
- using emergencySMS (anyone can register – click here for details)
- calling 101 for non-emergencies
You can also report non- emergency hate crimes or incidents to the police through the True Vision website.