Since the EU referendum there’s been a spate of intolerance and abuse towards people who are identifiable as having not being born in Britain. The tone of debate running up to the referendum seems to have legitimised a behaviour and use of language that I thought had been consigned to history long ago in our country.
The final straw for me was a few weeks ago when I was on a train to the Kent / East Sussex boarder to speak at a conference on adult social care. Sitting a few rows in front of me were two Italian women. I later found out that one was a primary school teacher who’d lived here for 18 years and the other was a friend visiting for the week.
They were talking quietly just as any friends would. But when the train stopped at a station, someone got up and yelled at them, “Why are you still here? Don’t you get it, we don’t want you here. Go Home”.
I leapt to my feet in shock, the guy got off the train. The two women sat in silence, hurt and upset. I went over to them and did something that made me incredibly proud of my job because I told them I was an MP and that what he said was wrong, offensive, and that the community I represent stands against the kind of hate that he represents.
Within a week of that happening this poster was hanging in my office window. Sometimes it’s not good enough to think something, it has to be said out loud. So here I am saying it out loud…where we live everyone is welcome and there’s no place for hate. All the best, Peter