Debate motion - against intolerance
18/07/2016 21:22:00......Posted by Mario Creatura
My speech supporting Labour's debate motion - you can watch it on the Council website.
This Council celebrates our wonderfully diverse communities that make Croydon strong and a great place to live. We stand united with all our communities and residents against any hate crime perpetrated in our town and will continue to work with our partners to ensure hate crime is tackled robustly. We give reassurance to all those living in Croydon that they are valued members of our community.
"Thank you Mister Mayor, it’s a pleasure to speak to such an important motion and I want to thank the Council for putting it forward.
All of us in this chamber have been contacted by residents, concerned by increasing reports of hate crime around the UK. One emailed me this weekend saying: “I have not seen such bigotry and racial abuse since the 70s. We have to make sure that people know that they cannot abuse others, physically or verbally whatever their views. They also need to know that a vote for Brexit was not a vote for racism. We are a multi-cultural society and should show each other respect.”
Could any of us have put it better? As someone who campaigned actively for us to Remain in the EU, I was of course disappointed with the result. When the result came through, my grandmother in Italy called up my dad and said that if he needed to come home, there was a spare room waiting for him!
Whatever our personal feelings on the result, we need to unite to get the best possible deal for our country, and so for Croydon.
The referendum campaign unleashed some dangerous rhetoric, rhetoric that has inflamed passion and prejudice in equal measure, giving usually dormant and abhorrent views the oxygen of normality. We in this chamber are not naïve, we know these views have, to a greater or lesser degree, always existed. When you are struggling, it’s easier to attack the outsider than change your perceptions. We, councillors, police, and community groups: must all do more to confront and challenge abuse in all its forms. We do not improve Croydon’s community cohesiveness by ignoring underlying issues, but we equally do not improve our town by permitting prejudiced and racist attacks on our residents.
One person told to ‘go back home’ is one person too many. One child called names in the playground because ‘daddy says you don’t belong here’. One elderly immigrant, insulted on a bus because their accent is different.
380,000 people live in our borough, whether they’re born here like me or emigrated here like my father, we have all made Croydon our home. This is our community, and we will not stand idly by and surrender that to ignorance and xenophobia.
Mister Mayor, as a councillor, as a Croydonian, as a European, I am proud that whilst we disagree on an awful lot, all 70 of us stand united against intolerance, united against racism and united in condemnation at anyone attacking the fabric of our town.
I support the motion.