Gazette letters: Windrush, citizenship, Britannia project and HS2
PUBLISHED: 08:30 22 February 2020
I am appalled that, two years after the story of the Windrush scandal broke, the government continues to treat the Windrush generation appallingly, writes Cllr Carole Williams, cabinet member for Windrush.
More than 20 years after the Labour Government of 1997 scrapped the primary purpose rule that separated families like mine by thousands of miles, the Tory government are again tearing families apart.
Each succeeding Tory home secretary has made and broken promises to do the right thing and look very carefully at the existing system to make it more fair and humane.
The compensation scheme has only further rubbed salt into the wound. Only 3 per cent of those who have made a claim for compensation have received a payment.
The government are making little, if any attempt, to ensure that potential claimants know the details of the scheme or that they can even make a claim.
This work is left up to councils like Hackney. Rather than hold a fully independent enquiry - that Hackney and campaigners have called for - the government has held a secretive internal enquiry. And so far, they have failed to publish the findings of that review.
Over the last week, the government has yet again been exposed for treating the Windrush generation with the contempt that gave rise to this scandal in the first place.
Campaigners, politicians, individuals, advice agencies and sections of the legal community are united in the condemnation and criticism of the government.
They must now pay out compensation, fully fund an information campaign so people both here and abroad can claim the compensation they deserve, and publish the lessons learned review without any further delay.
If you or anyone you know needs help from the Windrush compensation scheme, please contact 0800 678 1925 (freephone), Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 3pm, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Boris Johnson was born in New York only giving up his claim to US citizenship in February 2017, writes Sasha Simic, West Bank, Hackney.
In an interview with GQ magazine in 2007 Piers Morgan asked Johnson if he had ever tried cocaine. Johnson admitted: "Yes. I tried it at university and I remember it vividly."
Asked in the same interview if had smoked cannabis joints Johnson answered: "There was a period before university when I had quite a few. But funnily enough, not much at university."
In 1990 Boris Johnson was recorded agreeing to provide his friend Darius Guppy with the address of the News Of The World reporter Stuart Collier.
In a taped telephone call Guppy told Johnson he wanted to scare Collier off investigating Guppy's financial activities by dealing him "a couple of black eyes" and a "cracked rib".
In the early hours of June 21, 2019, police were called to the home of Boris Johnson and his partner Carrie Symonds, after neighbours heard a loud argument involving "slamming and banging" and screaming. A neighbour reported they heard Symonds telling Johnson to "get off me" and "get out of my flat".
If the Tories are really serious about deporting violent offenders who were born abroad but have lived in the UK for most of their lives and have dabbled in drugs and violence they would start with their leader Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson. Deport Johnson - not the Jamaica 50.
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It's always disappointing to read from those who claim to call for investment in public services and council homes, and yet oppose every attempt to deliver it ('Time for a rethink on the tower block', Gazette, February 13), writes Philip Glanville, Mayor of Hackney.
The Britannia project will bring huge benefits for local people, including a fantastic new leisure centre, much-needed new secondary school and genuinely affordable homes.
Yes, in the absence of government funding, we'll need to sell some homes outright to help pay for this, but as with all of our developments, these will be marketed to local people first.
Crucially, the project will also bring clear benefits to Shoreditch Park Primary School students and their parents - including improved play areas, a replacement ball court and a brand new Early Years Centre. This is on top of substantial repairs already made to the building.
As readers will know, these plans were approved nearly two years ago, after lengthy debate and engagement with residents, and construction is already well under way.
This campaign is misleading. Fundamentally, it seeks to oppose the delivery of new council homes and hold up this massive and much-needed investment in Hoxton.
The resignation of the chancellor should not have been a surprise, because of the silly rumours of socialist style tax increases, writes Christopher Sills, Dunsmure Road, Stamford Hill.
Whoever was behind them made his resignation inevitable.
One can only hope that the new chancellor is prepared to say no to silly spending plans including HS2.
The decision to build HS2 is a disaster as it only serves cities like Manchester and Leeds and ignores the towns in between.
It will mean that investment in the railways will stop and nothing will happen in the next seven years and the railways will continue to get worse because of lack of investment.
In the meantime, we have a secretary of state who believes that the train operators are the problem but ignores the failings of network rail will continue to take the railways into public ownership. How Jeremy Corbyn must laugh.
The result will be in few years' time there will be more "Beaching-style" cuts and further drop in rail use meaning HS3 and Crossrail 2 will never happen.
It does not have to be like this, if HS2 is cancelled by parliament and part of the money saved is used to increase capacity, like for example a line from Northampton to Wellingborough which will give a third route to Birmingham, in addition we must have a secretary of state who actually believes in Conservative policy of free enterprise.
Then network rail will be privatised, and new lines will spring up all over the place and the new age of the train will take place.
St Pancras might be a better alternative to Euston and he may be cheaper and quicker and this ought to be considered.
I will remind readers that the original railways were built by private enterprise not the state.