Letters: Malcolm Cox, November 11, 2016

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What a disappointing yet predictable response from Edward Wheatley, 28 October.

Earlier this year, Edward, you offered a half-hearted apology to me (“I’m sorry, but not very”) after suggesting that I was simply too dense to understand what you had written. You owe me another apology now, Edward, as I am reliably informed by the BBC (Radio 4 Extra) that the quote you mocked me over (“Lost in Translation”) is indeed from Evelyn Beatrice Hall and not Voltaire. Apparently, for some odd reason, it is frequently and wrongly attributed to Voltaire. So, onto the meat of this letter, your reply to the ignorance of that Brexiteer in Wisbech (“Wisbek”). Rather than condemn such ignorance you seem quite at ease with it. It is precisely such ignorance which, left unchallenged, leads to a Polish man lying dead on an English street (Harlow).

You then compound your error by suggesting that Channel 4 prompted that racist rant. This channel has consistently won awards for its objectivity. My Oxford English Dictionary defines “liberal” as “respectful and accepting of behaviour or opinions different from one’s own, favourable to individual rights and freedoms.” I can live with that. Presumably the opposite of this is intolerance and bigotry.

As to your assumption that I have no experience of living among non-native Britons is concerned, I lived half my life among “immigrants” in Birmingham and I have spent much of it teaching the children of newcomers, a mostly rewarding experience. The term immigrant covers a very wide spectrum. Many of today’s newcomers arrive in the UK speaking three languages – how does that compare with you or me, Edward?

Malcolm Cox, Terrington St Clement