Our lead­ers set a very bad ex­am­ple

The Guardian - Journal - - Letters -

Your front page on 1 De­cem­ber high­lights the in­crease in ex­clu­sion from schools for racist bul­ly­ing. Why should any­one be sur­prised? When we have politi­cians – sup­pos­edly lead­ers of the coun­try – en­dors­ing a “hos­tile en­vi­ron­ment” for im­mi­grants, ex­pelling the Win­drush gen­er­a­tion be­cause they can­not ap­par­ently be­lieve that black faces might be­long here and talk­ing of Mus­lim women look­ing like let­ter boxes, oth­ers are en­cour­aged to copy. It is in­evitable that chil­dren will pick this up. Those con­tribut­ing to and en­dors­ing this tone of pub­lic dis­course should be ashamed of them­selves. I am cer­tainly ashamed of what they have made our coun­try. At one time, lead­ing politi­cians were re­garded as, and be­haved, like states­men (or, of course, women). When shall we see the like again?

Mau­reen Pan­ton

Malvern, Worces­ter­shire

I read the ar­ti­cle De­tainees’ fam­i­lies ques­tion UK tac­tics (1 De­cem­ber) with grow­ing fa­mil­iar­ity and un­ease. No doubt Boris John­son had been musing over press cut­tings of my time as founder of Fair

Tri­als: his mantra “Bri­tain does not in­ter­fere in the le­gal sys­tems of other coun­tries … any more than we would ac­cept in­ter­fer­ence in our ju­di­cial sys­tem” is ex­actly what Mark Len­nox-Boyd used to write in let­ters to the Times dur­ing his early 1990s stint at the For­eign Of­fice.

The Re­prieve ex­pe­ri­ence again mir­rored mine. We al­ways ap­pre­ci­ated that open diplo­macy was not nec­es­sar­ily the best way to ob­tain the re­lease of vic­tims of in­jus­tice and if the FCO told us they were tak­ing ac­tion we left them to it for a rea­son­able time. Pub­lic­ity was, again, a two-edged sword, and our ad­vice, not nec­es­sar­ily taken, was tailored to our ex­pe­ri­ence of the coun­try con­cerned. Twentyfive years on, lit­tle seems to have changed. How de­press­ing.

Stephen Jakobi

Rich­mond, Sur­rey

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