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Gazette letters: Brexit, support Unite and school coat ban

PUBLISHED: 08:30 09 February 2019

Theresa May speaks in the Commons after the Brady amendment vote. Picture: PARLIAMENT

Theresa May speaks in the Commons after the Brady amendment vote. Picture: PARLIAMENT

Parliament

On January 25 I wrote to Theresa May suggesting she accepted The Brady Amendment, which fortunately she did, writes Christopher Sills, Dunsmure Road, Stamford Hill.

The consequence is that Brexit is now inevitable and the remainers must accept it and act in the national interest to prevent a no deal.

They should demand the European Union remove the unnecessary Irish backstop problem and there will be a deal – if not, it is their fault and nobody else’s. Britain has many EU citizens and they must attempt to persuade their governments that now is the time to accept this is best deal that they can get.

The opposition has behaved badly, in contrast to 1968 when the Conservatives got control of Hackney Council. The Labour Party accepted the result and helped us ensure we ran the council well and in fact we went on to make many reforms which still last today.

We were helped by the fact Ken Lightwood (Young Conservative chairman) and myself decided on October 22, 1964, that our aim was to win control of the council at the next election. We had to fight our party as well as the Labour Party but by the time nominations closed we were the best prepared opposition in the country although none of us had ever served on a council before (except Cllr Hegerty).

Good chance meant that Cllr Hegerty and Alderman Ottolangui went on a twinning trip to France the following weekend where they agreed the operational procedures and when they got back they had presented to them a cabinet and deputies. One recommendation he refused to accept but the group insisted on it being corrected a year later.

My only regret was that Cllr Ottolangui was not made a knight in 1971. He deserved it!

I would like to express my support for the Unite union in its fight with the council about its bullying culture (Hackney Council bullying row: Local Labour party ‘overwhelmingly’ backs unions’ campaign over sacked Unite rep) – and to give an example of bullying at London Fields lido, writes John Anthony, Hackney, full address supplied.

ln 2011, five years after it opened, I went for my daily swim at the lido. On that day, lane four had the most room, having only one other swimmer, so I got in. Immediately, this other swimmer deliberately cut me up and told me to move to another lane because he was “dangerous”. When I ignored him, a lifeguard told me to move to a busier lane. I refused, so he had the pool cleared until I did.

When I complained, this was dismissed as “just a bit of lane rage”. I was told staff could not guarantee that it wouldn’t happen again, and they imposed a ban on breaststroke swimming (I swim breaststroke) in lane four.

A week or so later, the same swimmer who had cut me up was swimming with me in lane three, which on that day happened to have the most room, so I asked him why it was dangerous to swim with him in lane four but not in lane three. He was abusive and threatened me if I tried to swim in lane four! How can this be justified?

The reason why these bullies want the ban so much becomes clear in the summer when the lido is very busy (ie when lanes one to three are always packed but lane four is always flowing freely). This occurs because when lane four threatens to become as busy as the other lanes the bullies ask the lifeguards to move the slower swimmers among them into the other lanes because they are getting in the way.

I complained to the council about this because it is not fair and is plainly bullying but nothing changed.

If there are two lanes, one with nine fast swimmers and one slow and the other with nine slow swimmers and one fast, the probability of a collision between a fast swimmer and a slow one is the same in both cases.

So this ban on breaststroke swimming in lane four cannot be a safety issue. It is bullying based on the threat of an “accidental” clash of heads if we swim in lane four.

The lido belongs to all of Hackney’s residents and GLL and the council have licenced bullies to commandeer it.

• Editor’s note: The story in question relates to allegations that staff at a Hackney call centre have been the subject of racist and sexist abuse, but my thanks to Mr Anthony for sharing his story.

I’m writing in reply to the article in your paper on Stoke Newington School ban on coats, writes Cara, Hackney, full address supplied.

My son was also excluded from a school for three days. I received a phone call on my way to work on the morning of the exclusion to be informed that the school had sent my son home for having his coat on in the school. My son should have attended detention but he chose not to as he felt the rule was a silly rule.

He got to the classroom door when he was informed by a teacher to take off his coat. He said he would take it off when he got to his seat. I could understand that and this should have been OK. But no! He had to be reported as the new school rules say you don’t walk around in the school with your coat on.

I don’t understand why, if new rules are coming in, parents were not informed. I was not told about any of these rules or about the three days’ exclusion if you don’t attend detention, or the second detention if you miss the first.

As a parent I would like to be informed a day before the exclusion. I am not a stay-at-home mum. Trying to contact someone when they are on their way to work does not help. If a coat is not school uniform, give the option of a school coat.

I am very upset at the late note telling me of my son’s exclusion, and not that he was excluded as I stand up for my son. I will be taking this up with the school concerned.

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