An Open Letter--the responses

Being the continuing sagaof a complaint against the Ilkley Gazette. Believing the original article was racist and offensive, I sent the open letter to the Gazette, to Ann Cryer MP and to the Police. Oh, and to the Ilkley PCC (through Cllr Mann), who have as yet completely failed to reply. Responses came there some... Ms Cryer seemd to get something of the wrong end of the stick in replying... "I was under the impression that there was an area in Ilkley...that a lady had given to the people of Ilkley for everyone, including Romany people, to enjoy. I have spoken to Bradford Council's Gypsy Liason Officer in the past and he has assured me that the people who come to use the site were not trespassing and the owner...was quite happy with it being used as a temporary camp site. I assume that article in the Gazette was about a different site, owned by the Angling Club. It might be that there is still a site somewhere near the river that people can still use, though the situation might have changed in the last few years. "I understood that the 'gypsy' travellers had been using this site, or certainly sites in Ilkley, for a very long time, possibly since the nineteenth century." So I have subsequently informed her that, yes, this is the same piece of land. Sgt Hobbs from Keighley Police, wrote to use the standard, 'it is not in the public interest to take the matter further with the information available'. However, she also added, "I feel the article could have been written more sensitively", which is something of a surprise! And, finally, Mr Vasey himself. Quoted pretty well in full below... "I note that you wish for the letter to be published. However, I need to deal with some of the points you make, and I feel it is not suitable for publication in its present form. "As far as the front page story is concerned, you refer to the 'bland statement' that the gipsies are 'accused of leaving mounds of rubbish and threatening people' and you say that no evidence or interviews have been produced to back this up. This is plainly not so, as the official of the anglers' association refers to the rubbish left and claims that his bailiffs had been threatened. In addition, while there have not been any stories this year about such problems caused, the Gazette has recorded previous incidents. We feel we have reported the genuine concerns of local residents and anglers and it was not, and is absolutely not, our intention to denigrate the Roma community in any way. Furthermore, we don't believe that our coverage represents any kind of racial attack on the Roma and, in fact, the word 'Roma' is not used anywhere in the paper. "We would also take issue with your claim that the phrase 'gipsy' nightmare is a breach of the PCC Code of Practice. Clause 12:1 does not cover a race or group of people--its remit is only to individuals." The latter point is entirely valid--complaints can only be made by individuals who consider themselves to have been attacked--a major hole in the code which has been raised by the CRE. It means really papers could abuse any ethnic group without falling foul of the Code. Otherwise, however, the reply fails to deal with the issue of language used, and the wonderful line that 'we don't believe our coverage represents any racial attack on the Roma because the word Roma is not used' is simply stunning. From now on, Black Britons are not abused by the word 'nigger, Jews are not abused by the use 'kike' and I'm not abused by the use of the word 'blue-blooded redneck'. Reply to follow.
8 responses
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The Gazettes' comment beggars belief doesn't it, are they really that stupid are are they just clutching at straws trying to defend themselves?

Hopefully they'll think twice before running this kind of half-arsed journalism in the future... but probably not.

Most disappointed in Ann Cryer's response - obviously I've been quite mistaken in thinking her to be an intelligent and crusading politician not afraid to kick against the pr*cks.

As for the Gazette....

Hi KG, your not the only one to be taken in by 'er over t'ill. In answer to one of my letters requesting help she replied "I enjoy gardening." What that had to do with the subject in hand still leaves me in the dark. No doubt as she appears to be regarding who owns what and where in Ilkley. Just had a terrible thought. Does she know where Ilkley is?

As to the Gazette, Ilkley's Most Outspoken Resident is speachless.

Interestingly enough, I received a letter from Ann Cryer today begging me to re-join the Labour Party (aka New Labour TM) and displaying some very strange logic about how she can't represent us without local support (presumably financial). Disappointed and even more disillusioned than before.....
I had a similar one from the Blue crew, however they failed to reply to my letter.

It may have had something to do with me saying I was in a worse financial state than their party.

Any contributions being gratefuly received in this quarter.

Treat like with like.

I remember getting an 18th birthday card from Gary Waller (previous, Tory, MP). I too wrote to Ann Cryer re my tuition fees at university and her reply stated that Bradford LEA told her that they spoke to my dad and sorted it out. Total lie.
Garry was a great help to me in many ways. He drove upto Ilkley on his birthday to help celebrate opening of Darwin Gardens Millennium Green back in 2000. There was no sign nor reply of 'er over t'ill.