The Spectator

Letters | 11 August 2016

Also in Spectator Letters: Friends, Bibles and book reviewers; hedgehogs and badgers; refugees at sea; George Plimpton’s expertise

The hate is real

Sir: It is clearly an exaggeration to call Britain a bigoted country (‘We are not a hateful nation’, 6 August), but downplaying the recent wave of xenophobic and racist incidents across the UK as ‘somebody shouting something nasty on a bus’ is equally wrong. Verbal abuse in itself is worthy of condemnation, yet the character of recorded harassment is actually much more serious. In the past few weeks, Poles in this country were shocked by vulgar graffiti (West London; Hertfordshire; Portsmouth) and hurtful leaflets (Cambridgeshire) urging them to ‘go home’ in most offensive ways possible, while a family in Plymouth fell victim to an arson attack. The Polish community is a mixture of the descendants of wartime and anti-communist exiles and those who decided to move to the UK after Poland joined the EU, who all equally contribute to modern Britain’s culture, society, and economy. Now many of them feel unwelcome.
Dariusz Łaska
Polish Embassy, London W1

In the same boat?

Sir: It seems the bounds of hate crime are indeed without limit. Our son’s outboard engine was stolen off his boat last weekend; the police asked him if he ‘believed he was the victim of a hate crime’.
Jo Burge
Stutton, Suffolk

Friends and critics

Sir: Matthew Parris thought that a book about the Bible by a friend of his was terribly good and told him so, and then told the whole world in a puff for it (‘The Bible is too important to be left to believers’, 6 August). This was news because he hasn’t seen eye to eye with God for some time.

When I reviewed the book, he couldn’t believe I disagreed with him. Surely it was a sign of malignity? He was so angry that he spent the sleepless nights staring into the darkness clenching his fists.

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