September 07, 2009

Open Letter to Doncaster Mayor Peter Davies

This open letter is currently being circulated amongst trade unionists and citizens of Doncaster, as a response to the actions of the Doncaster Mayor Peter Davies. The petition below will be added to the physical petition and presented to the Mayor at the Mansion House.

Petition: Open Letter to Peter Davies

Mayor Davies,


Since your election you have denied many times that you are racist, homophobic and sexist. You argue that you are against something called ‘political correctness’, and say you will get rid of ‘non-jobs’ in Doncaster. We the undersigned believe that your attack on ‘political correctness’ is nothing more than a smoke screen to undermine the equalities agenda that enables people who suffer discrimination to effectively challenge it. We totally disagree with your claim that your elimination of groups dedicated to helping those who suffer discrimination such as the Multi Racial Partnership will bring social cohesion. Your policies will trivialise discrimination and allow intolerance and bigotry to grow.

You proudly boast that you will axe translation services in Doncaster, as if this service is unnecessary and ‘politically correct’. You fail to understand that people in Doncaster who do not have English as a first language must have some help if they are to integrate into the community, find work, housing, learn about British law and become citizens. Scrapping translation services isolates the people who are most likely to suffer discrimination, increases and institutionalises intolerance and increases division, not cohesion. Your decision to withdraw funding from Doncaster Pride merely comforted homophobic bigots and gave offense to the LGBT community. What is wrong with saying that Doncaster actively celebrates diversity? We demand that you commit to the funding of Doncaster Pride and thereby commit to promoting tolerance and diversity.

You argue that women and ethnic minorities do not need special groups to defend their rights because we all have equal entitlement to our rights already. You fail to understand that the various bodies you attack were brought into existence because these groups were being denied their rights. The denial of rights based on racist, sexist or homophobic prejudice divides our community and destroys social cohesion. That is precisely why the Multi Racial Partnership was set up. You have said we do not need special groups because the police are there to deal with illegal racist acts, but the police themselves say they are too busy to deal with this on their own.

In a recent debate about crime in Doncaster the police officer on the panel emphasised the value of breaking down the perception of the police as a racist institution so that those who suffer attacks will feel more confident about coming forward. The police, it would appear, are being ‘politically correct’ to the advantage of their work and Doncaster.

You have also claimed that you will be ‘looking to see if Doncaster council bans the use of any specific words by staff’ (Daily Mail, 10/08/09). There have to be some limits as to the language DMBC staff will use – what will they be? Will people be able to use words regardless of whether others find them offensive? The Macpherson Report (1999) that called the Metropolitan Police ‘institutionally racist’ showed clearly that officers with racist attitudes used racist language. Words like ‘paki’ and ‘nigger’ were common. The same police force failed to find the killers of Black student Stephen Lawrence. Offensive language should be prohibited and the victims should be supported by DMBC, not trivialised as ‘politically correct’.

You fail to understand that once we start changing the equalities agenda that the overwhelming majority of professionals support, it will be difficult to stop. The racist, homophobic and sexist bigots have already started to interpret your policies as an endorsement of their repugnant views. Prejudice can lead to violence. Do you want innocent blood on your hands?

You say you are not a bigot, but your policies and comments are encouraging bigotry. You have company. The fascist British National Party and the National Front are also keen on attacking ‘political correctness’. You have to acknowledge that at some point the attack on political correctness does become racist, homophobic and sexist. It seems to us that you want to court popularity by going for the politically correct phantoms of the gutter press, with their stories about banning the use of ‘manholes’ and ‘blackboards’. But the equalities agenda is a vital part of the fabric of our public services and we will not see it destroyed. The jobs you want to axe will increase the unemployment blighting our town, and increase racism, sexism, homophobia and social division.

Sign the petition


Anonymous said...

52 signatures, where are all the LU readers? Why don't they sign this petition?

Anonymous said...

"52 signatures, where are all the LU readers? Why don't they sign this petition?"

Perhaps because it asks for too much information on the signatory.

Doncaster tax payer said...

Peter Davies hasn't banned the Doncaster Gay parade, nor has he said he doesn't want it in the town. He has merely said he will not use Doncaster tax payers' money to fund it.

The previous Mayor, Martin Winter, who resigned due to serious failings in Doncaster's Social Services department (and in the news yet again after the horriffic 'Edlington attacks') had supported the parade during his tenure as Mayor to the tune of around £3000. However, he was about as unpopular as a person could be throughout the Borough of Doncaster. (Not because of his support the gay community I must add).

Mr Davies has simply said the parade is welcome in Doncaster but not at tax payers' expense. This has been a very popular decision throughout the borough, along with other tax cutting measures.

Furthermore, Mr Davies decision was vindicated by the parade organisers themselves who boasted of both an increase in donations for the parade (making up the shortfall) and of the numbers of attendees, due to the publicity surrounding Mayor Davies' policy.

Had the BNP Mayoral candidate won, which would have been a disaster for Doncaster as a whole, he would certainly have sought to ban the parade outright. A far cry from the money saving policies of Mr. Davies.

Anonymous said...

62 Signatures since the petition was placed online on 30th August. I think for some reason our message isn't getting through, do people not want to get rid of this vicious racist??

3baskets said...

Jim Board, Branch Secretary Doncaster Unison has been suspended from duty and banned from entering the union office after speaking out to defend Children's Services Workers.

At the same time Mayor Peter Davies announces his support for a "new" union "Workers of England"

This is a massive attack on Trade Union Representation in Doncaster and poses a threat to every worker and union member. If we allow this attack on a Branch Secretary and on our unions, we are all at risk.

A protest against this has been called forthis Saturday 12 September 2009, 11 am outside the Mansion House Doncaster.

Please spread the word.

Anonymous said...

i am a black person living in Doncaster and I can tell you that things are very bad here. People who are black and minority ethnic have to go outside Doncaster to get help to fight racial discrimmimation. Please, no one should ask for help of any kind in Doncaster if they are facing any form of discrimmination. Most of my friends has said it has gone back to 1960's however some say 1930's Europe. I will speak of more on this subject very soon.

Anonymous said...

it is not because people do not want to sign the petitions it is because there are frightened to sign it.they do not no what repucussions they will be.

Marcia Langton said...

I am a black living in Doncaster all off my life and I have never seen it this bad. Talking to all of my friends, most are scared living in Doncaster. They have been talking about the situation in Doncaster and they are frighented since the mayor has won office. The bigoty and the discrimination has risen. Some of the discrimmination is undercover. It is like all our human rights have been taken away, all dignity and respect for each other does not exist. We are violated if we talk openly. We are told we had better leave. The authorities has joined in. I have never seen anyhing like it.

Anonymous said...

Doncaster has changed for the worst we just have to weather the storm.