Letters, Monday, September 17th, 2012

Have your say

Unite against racist infiltration

I’d like to thank Rod Hepplewhite for his excellent and most positive letter (Echo, Sept 11) on the subject of the Millfield mosque.

There have been far too many contributions from opponents of the mosque plan, so Rod’s piece was a welcome breath of fresh air.

In his letter, Rod corrects the opponents of the mosque and shows the contradictions in their outlook.

He makes the powerful point that there was no such opposition when a church in the same area was allowed to double in size and cause parking problems and he finishes by revealing the undeniable truth that the issue is one of race and not parking or noise.

I agree entirely. Before anyone rips up this page in protest, let me give you the absolute proof.

I was part of a small group of activists that mingled with some of the Millfield residents when they staged a protest outside a council meeting at the civic centre last September. We asked several of them why they were so enraged by the mosque proposal and the replies were quite shocking and disgusting.

“We don’t want those dirty rats on our doorsteps”, was the response of one influential character in the group. “There’s too many of them already and we’re sick of it”, was another. “We don’t want to become like Birmingham or London”. “This is our country, not theirs.”

This was blatant racism. But it was only on display because the people openly expressing themselves thought we were part of their demonstration. For the media and general public there was a false emphasis on parking and noise.

We saw the racism and knew where it would lead. Sure enough, since then we’ve seen fascist organisations come into Millfield claiming to support local residents.

The National Front have staged protests opposite the mosque site on St. Mark’s Road, and the North East Infidels and EDL are planning a much larger event on October 6.

The racism of the anti-mosque campaign has paved the way for a more dangerous racism, which now has to be opposed by all decent Sunderland citizens. We have set up the ‘Sunderland Anti-Fascist Coalition’ and have our first public meeting on Tuesday, September 25, at 7.30pm, at the Bangladeshi Community Centre in Tatham Street, Hendon.

Together we can stop the Nazis.

Gary Duncan,


Pen is mighty

I FIND myself compelled to put pen to paper (actually, I type on my iPad) and write this letter in reference to Mick ‘The Pen’ Brown.

May I say at the outset, this man seems to me to speak with a great amount of incisive intellect and authority.

His insight into the human psyche and its matrix of complexities is unparalleled and his pragmatic approach into understanding the human condition is Freudian.

It is my belief this man must have been schooled in that great University of Sunderland. St Mary’s? No? If not, surely he must have walked past it enough times for it to affect his person, having required such greatness of mind.

I understand Mr Brown has reall all of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. As a skinny malnourished kid, the head nun at my school introduced me to this book. I remember it was as thick as I was tall, so I realised I couldn’t pick up and read a book as heavy as that myself, so I never bothered with an education after that. This is why I am in awe of Mr Brown. Not only is he big on the brain side, he must also be big on the brawn side.

That said, I now come to the crux of my letter: Mr Brown seems to have been, in my view, unfairly chastised by some misinformed people (probably students) or maybe people in need of an education, about the advantages of students nowadays, with educational information readily available due to various forms of scientific advances.

I may not be educated to the standard of ‘The Pen’, but I do concur with his sentiments.

For instance, my son is in full-time education studying for a degree in English at Leeds University. One day, he rather selfishly asked for the loan of my iPad to access things for his course work.

I obviously refused and pointed him in the direction of the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

I said if it was good enough for Mr Brown, it was good enough for him.These students indeed do have it easy with all their fancy technologies.

Perhaps I should have got him to walk past St Mary’s School more often. Now that would’ve been an education.


All best, Bessie

ON behalf of Washington Age UK, we wish our heartfelt congratulations to the world’s oldest living person, Besse Cooper, born and raised in Monroe, Georgia, U.S., who has recently attained her 116th birthday. One of her secrets to longevity with all her faculties still “avoid junk food”.

Bill Craddock,


Washington Age UK