Would the course of history in the UK, particularly views on immigration, have been markedly different if the altercation between then Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Mrs Gillian Duffy in the 2010 general election campaign never happened?
Joyce Mcmillan overstated the case about the way the incident and its aftermath has affected public and political party attitudes towards the numbers coming into the country (“The importance of standing up to immigration ‘bigots’”, Perspective, 14 September).
It is not bigoted or xenophobic to be concerned about the net inflow of people into these islands for a simple reason: even if that inflow was made up of the optimal skills mix that business and public services require, the authorities do need to be concerned about the effect that increase has on the infrastructure and community cohesion.
People going about their daily lives are entitled to express a view about congestion and overcrowding. If they do that in a rational, sensible way, they do not deserve to be labelled a bigot.
Mr Brown’s personality was a factor in Labour’s failure over eight years ago to get enough seats to form at least a coalition of some kind with the Liberal Democrats. Even if he had succeeded in holding on to power, this might not have prevented the rise of Ukip. The latter’s success in the European elections in 2014 (including in Scotland, where David Coburn surprisingly won a seat) was the reason we had a referendum on Europe.
The millions who voted for them could not by the wildest stretch of the imagination all be racists and xenophobes. It was a protest about immigration levels certainly, also a cry against overt political correctness and what some people saw as the arrogance of the political class.
Whatever the outcome of the current negotiations on Brexit, the debate on immigration levels will continue. We should not assume always that it is the ill-informed and the illeducated who are keeping it going.
BOB TAYLOR Shiel Court, Glenrothes