Gazette letters: Winter sun, coat ban, a huge thank you, Brexit v council and remember Holocaust

A rare burst of sun in Clissold Park earlier this month. Picture: DAVID HOLT/CC BY 2.0/Flickr

A rare burst of sun in Clissold Park earlier this month. Picture: DAVID HOLT/CC BY 2.0/Flickr - Credit: David Holt/CC BY 2.0/Flickr

Sunday’s rare sunshine dragged me from my bed, writes Will McCallum, Newington Green.

A blue sky beyond my curtains promised a day, all too rare in the last months, of practising at spring.

I was not alone: the pigeons in Newington Green were out too, lazily warming themselves in the patch of sunlight on my path – before the thud of my trainers sent them scattering skybound.

Dogs and children filled Clissold Park whilst the drinkers enjoyed Abney Cemetery; winter jackets were not in fashion this Sunday morning.

It was brief: the cold has returned today. Winter’s hold was not so easily broken, but a single day of warmth was enough to keep us going.

Within just a few weeks light will have returned to my commute, and so my war with the garden squirrels can resume – no longer cloaked in darkness can they pursue their acts of vandalism.

Colour has not yet returned to Hackney’s gardens, bright petals punctuating the lawns of its parks – but the animals around us know spring is coming, stirring beneath the ground, long before we spy its more obvious patterns.

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A pair of foxes trotted beside me on the way home today along Astey’s Row, darting between the cars chasing one another – these long dark nights are theirs to enjoy.

I left them to it, hurrying home instead to escape in a cocoon of artificial light and warmth.

The ban on coats for children is a disgrace, writes Yvonne Cole, name and address supplied.

Most secondary schools now have this policy that you have to drag around your coats, school bag with all your books, and twice a week in Skinners Academy you also have to drag around your PE bag.

The children nowadays going to secondary schools do not have pegs or lockers to put their belongings in. Children do not feel comfortable in school with all this heavy load.

I read somewhere top doctors say that in 10-30 years time most children will have serious back problems as carrying these rucksacks full of books cause you to lean forward, which arches your back. I do not know why this issue has not been raised by Ofsted.

I too am angry about this as my son is 15 and often complains about this, further more he is asthmatic, which can be a strain on his lungs.

I was so incensed when I read this article, but it is not a unique story, writes Hasia, Hackney, full address supplied.

My niece is experiencing the same problem at the school she attends, Bishop Challoner.

I now understand why there is a coat ban, but surely, can’t the schools provide pegs or lockers for their students.

I wonder if this ruling applies to the members of staff as well, it is jolly well freezing cold in the winter mornings and in the evenings!

Of course, I think rules must be adhered to within the educational system, but common sense must prevail; suppose a large percentage of students came down with the flu, as a result of not wearing adequate, warm clothing. Who will take responsibility?

Come on have a heart, surely the welfare of our students matter.

Thanks for your editorial comments on January 18 and for responding to the vile Islamophobic Twitter comments writes a local thankful Muslim resident.

You’re what makes our wonderful borough what it is.

•Editor’s note: This lovely anonymous card, signed as above, was dropped off at our reception desk on Monday – along with two large bags of chocolate. Whoever wrote it, thank you, and you’re very welcome.

When I saw the agenda for yesterday’s council meeting I was reminded of the mad Roman Emperor Nero who is believed to have played the fiddle whilst Rome burned, because the highlight is two pages of waffle on the EU claiming to oppose a No Deal option, writes Christopher Sills, Dunsmure Road, Stamford Hill.

It takes two to make an agreement and if the European Union treats the British electorate as naughty little children, who have dared to argue with their lords and masters, then no deal will ever be possible other than abject surrender, which is what many Labour MPs want but dare not say in public. They are just political cowards.

MPs do not realise how much scorn they have created with the general public because of their actions or rather their time wasting in the past month.

Hackney Council should have discussed the Wally Foster scandal. The Britannia Centre scheme and how to prevent the Arden Estate redevelopment scheme from dividing the community, as has happened in Woodberry Down.

Also for discussion should be the row between Hackney and Haringey Councils over vaccinations which is threatening a measles epidemic among children in the north of the borough (on this issue I am on Hackney’s side), but worst of all the question on rough sleeping was disqualified on the spurious grounds that there was a question on the agenda on homelessness, it was therefore covered by that question, which is, as most people in Hackney know utter rubbish

Two interesting things is the admission in question 9 by the Labour Party that there are serious defects in the consultation process on cycle lanes. This is good news for the shops in Dunsmure Road who are going to suffer from a badly designed scheme which threatens the viability of their shopping centre.

I also welcome the recognition by the council of the hard work by the Conservative Councillors in dealing with individual problems on behalf of residents where the local member has failed to resolve the problem (pages 43 and 44).

Holocaust memorial day offers a grim reminder of where Racism and Fascism lead write Sue Hughes, Jewish Socialists’ Group; Cllr Susan Fajana-Thomas; Mohammed Sidat, chairman, Clapton Mosque; Sandra Hall, Joint Secretary Hackney NEU; Ellora Torchia, Actress; Metin Sagir, chairman, Hackney Day Mer; Lindsay German, convenor, Stop the War; Munaf Zeena, chairman, North London Muslim Community Centre; Lorna Solomon, branch secretary, Homerton UNISON (pc); Elizabeth Welsh, minister, Clapton Park United Reformed Church; Cllr Gilbert Smyth; Israfil Erbil, British Alevi Federation; Adam Hussain, chairman, Hackney Muslim Engagement Development; Dave Davis, joint secretary, Hackney NEU; Cllr Nick Sharman; Justin Gau, assistant priest, St Paul’s Church; Ibrahim Avci, chairman, Gik Der; Caroline Price, NUJ Magazine Branch chairman (pc); Wendy Pettifer , solicitor, Hackney Labour Party; Cllr Margaret Gordon; John Steward, Hackney Labour Party; Jordan Rivera, UNISON steward Homerton Hospital (pc); Richard Kirkwood, UCU London Retired Branch; Cllr Soraya Adejare; Ellen Graubart, Hackney People’s Assembly; Mick Gosling, treasurer, Hackney TUC; Cllr Christopher Kennedy; Alastair Binnie-Lubbock, Hackney Green Party; Mike Simons, son of Kindertransport refugee and Cllr Sade Etti.

The Nazis murdered six million Jews between 1941 and 1945 — two thirds of Europe’s Jewish population. A further five million including disabled people, Roma people, LGBT+ people, black people and political opponents perished at the hands of Hitler’s regime.

Seventy-five years after the “Final Solution” we are once again witnessing the rise of the far right around the globe. Unscrupulous politicians and media outlets are using economic crisis, poverty and war to fuel vicious Islamophobic and, increasingly, antisemitic scapegoating.

Donald Trump’s routine racism, Teresa May’s desperate scapegoating of migrants, Hungarian prime minister Victor Orban’s remorseless fuelling of antisemitism, Ukip leader Gerard Batten’s embrace of Britain’s top Nazi, Tommy Robinson, all have murderous consequences.

We see it in increasing numbers of attacks on Muslims and Jews on our streets, the deaths of thousands of refugees in the Mediterranean and horrors such as the mass murder at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh by a Nazi gunman.

Hackney Stand up to Racism’s Holocaust Memorial Day meeting is an opportunity to reflect on the past and pledge ourselves to renew the fight against racism and fascism.

The Never Again: Holocaust Memorial Day public meeting takes place at St Paul’s Church West Hackney, 182 Stoke Newington Road, London, N16 7UY on Sunday January 27 from 3 to 5pm.