Readers' letters: Johnson hypocrisy over racist abuse

"Our Prime Minister’s past record on such matters means any criticism now lacks any real credibility”

Wednesday, 14th July 2021, 7:00 am
British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson speaks during a virtual press conference at Downing Street
British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson speaks during a virtual press conference at Downing Street

Johnson hypocrisy over racist abuse

The racist abuse on social media against a number of English footballers is absolutely disgusting and totally inexcusable.

However, for Prime Minister Johnson to condemn those who have done this and call for them to “crawl under their rock” smacks more than a little of hypocrisy.

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Mr Johnson’s racist comments are well-established. He has described African people as “piccaninnies” with “watermelon smiles”. In 2018 he was reported to the Equalities Commission after comparing Muslim women who wear burqas to "letter boxes" and bank robbers.

Mr Johnson has also questioned the loyalty of British Muslims and insisted that the country must accept that "Islam is the problem."

To address the issue of racism in our society, that clearly also has to come from the very top. Hard to do, dare I say, when our Prime Minister’s past record on such matters means that any criticism now lacks any real credibility.

Alex Orr, Marchmont Road, Edinburgh.

Orcas should not be held captive

This World Orca Day (14 July), let’s celebrate these magnificent animals by working for their freedom.

Orcas are still imprisoned at marine amusement parks around the globe, where they’re denied everything that’s natural and important to them in order to make money from tourists.

At SeaWorld – the world’s most notorious marine park – orcas who would normally swim up to 140 miles a day in nature are forced to spend their entire lives confined to small concrete cells filled with chemically treated water, in which they can do little else but swim endlessly in circles.

Inside these cramped tanks, they’re housed in incompatible groups and are even sometimes dosed with the drug diazepam to manage stress-induced, aggressive behaviour.

More than 40 orcas and hundreds of other animals have died on SeaWorld’s watch – far short of their natural life expectancies.

After years of determined campaigning by PETA, almost every leading travel provider has stopped selling tickets to parks that confine orcas in the name of entertainment, but all providers must now follow suit.

We can help set orcas free by urging TUI Group to cut off the financial lifeline it’s giving SeaWorld and by refusing to patronise any facility that holds these animals captive.

Jennifer White, PETA Foundation, London N1.

Smartphones are no help for drug users

I quite see that authorities in Scotland have been driven to desperation by the sharply increased and persistent level of drug deaths which make Scotland the drug death capital of Europe.

Now a ‘digital inclusion programme’ recommends that the 2000 and more Scots struggling with addiction should be given a smartphone (at a cost of almost £3 million) to keep those at risk of harm connected to services.

A few questions arise from this.

What makes the task force that came up with this idea think that drug addicts don’t already have phones - to keep them connected to their dealer.

What makes them think that drug addicts will not see a smartphone as a useful piece of kit to sell for money for drugs?

What makes them think that, when they are on a drug high, no-one will steal their mobile phone?

Why not simply put this money into rehabilitation units for drug users?

Or is that too obvious a solution?

Jill Stephenson, Glenlockhart Valley, Edinburgh.