A UKIP election hopeful has been heckled for his party’s ‘xenophobic’ policies by leading members of Newcastle’s Jewish community.
Eric Josephs, a former co-chair of the North East Jewish representative council, shouted at UKIP parliamentary candidate David Robinson Young, ‘that’s xenophobic’ as he outlined his views on immigration at a synagogue in Gosforth, Newcastle during a hustings event.
He was backed up by a man whose family escaped Nazi Germany with three days before war broke out, who said that if there had been UKIP’s favoured Australian style points system in 1939 ‘believe me, I would have died’.
Mr Robinson Young, a leading city barrister running in the Newcastle East constituency , strongly denied the accusation.
He said: “I am not xenophonic and no-one in my party is xenophobic.
“We don’t have a problem with immigration, but we have a problem with the politically motivated immigration system at the moment.”
However German born Walter Knoblauch, who lost his grandmother, aunt and great-uncle in the concentration camps, backed up Mr Josephs’ outburst.
“What you are saying is abhorrent. If there had been a points system in 1939 when I arrived here, believe me I would have died. I left Germany three days before the war broke out. We did not have time to build up points.”
Mr Knoblauch, who lives in Gosforth, arrived from Munich to Newcastle, with the assistance of Newcastle man Stanley Holmes who worked for the Tyneside Industrial Development Board. Mr Holmes was instrumental in bringing many German Jewish families to Newcastle and invited Walter’s father Herman to set up a shoe businesses, Knorbrit Products, at Orchard Street, Newcastle, and later Laco Shoes.
Walter’s brother John also ran Victory Shoe shops at the Grainger Market, Shields Road and Gateshead High Street before he died in 1982.
Mr Robinson Young said during the hustings event ahead of the General Election that cases where refugees are escaping ‘tyranny’, including current African migration across the Mediterranean sea would be considered in a different light by UKIP if they were to get into power following the May 7 General Election.
He said: “If people are genuine refugees from tyranny by all means lets look at them as this country did for you.”
Liberal Democrat Newcastle city councillor for West Gosforth, Jackie Slesenger, said from the audience that she was immensely proud of the citizenship ceremonies that take place in Newcastle every year with up to a 100 people from around the world who have chosen to make Britain their home and asked Mr Robinson Young to think again about ‘what he says about immigration’.
He said: “No-one thinks carefully about immigration can possibly say they don’t like immigration.
“People who do that are ignorant. I’m not ignorant and we have nothing against immigration, it’s the system. We do not have a race problem, we have a space problem. This country is filling up.”
He also said it was important to focus not just on the number of immigrants coming to the UK, but the quality of the people arriving, and the skills and professions they have to offer the country.
The hustings event organised by the Representative Council of North East Jewry was held at the Synagogue Hall, Graham Park Road.
Also present were Newcastle Central parliamentary candidates, Chi Onwurah for Labour, Nick Cott for the Liberal Democrats and Simon Kitchen for the Conservatives.
Daniel O’Brien Thompson, the UKIP candidate for Newcastle Central, did not take part in the hustings, but was present in the audience.
Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 21 Apr 2015
A Tyneside MP who criticised the ‘pinkification’ of girls’ toys has leapt to the defence of Labour’s decision to use a pink bus to win women’s votes.
Newcastle Central MP Chi Onwurah said the colour has been “stolen by the toy industry as a badge of girlhood” but it would have “patronising and defeatist” not to use it for the party’s ‘Woman to Woman’ campaign.
The Labour MP says the colour of the bus is the same as that used by leader Ed Miliband for his ‘One Nation’ conference speech.
She also says it is “ridiculous” for political opponents to link her views on children’s toys to the party’s campaign bus.
“Nine million women did not vote in the 2010 election, almost 400,000 in the North East. Women have been hit hardest by this Conservative Lib Dem Government and the Woman to Woman bus tour is part of putting women’s concerns at the heart of our Election campaign.
“The colour of the bus comes from the One Nation colour scheme – see Ed’s speech at last conference – and it would have been patronising and defeatist to avoid it because it has been stolen by the toy industry as a badge of girlhood.
“That said the controversy has raised the profile so a lot more people know about the bus and that’s great.”
MPs will take the pink ‘Woman to Woman’ bus on tour across the country in a bid to engage women and is due to reach the North East in March.
Ms Onwurah, who is a trained engineer, still has strong views on pink toys for young girls.
“I have and will continue to campaign against the pinkification of girlhood because I want choice for girls and for boys, to let colours be colours,” she said.
“But the idea that I am or ever have argued for some kind of colour bar against the particular collection of unsaturated wavelengths that comprise pink is ridiculous.
“It’s not the colour it’s the issues that impact women and girls that matter – like equal pay, public services, child care and gender stereotypes about what toys girls should play with.
“Equally in March when the pink and grey of Eastcoast is changed for the red of Virgin I will certainly not be celebrating.”
Simon Kitchen, the Conservative challenging Chi for the Newcastle Central seat, is among those who criticised Labour for the bus.
“The launch of Labour’s pink bus after Chi Onwurah criticised Geordie girls for playing with pink toys just highlights the double standards and muddled priorities of the Labour Party.
“It is patronising to pigeonhole ‘men’ and ‘women’ issues. This is clearly just another divisive gimmick that the electorate will see through.”
Nick Cott, the Lib Dem parliamentary candidate for Newcastle Central, added:
“The Labour party is inconsistent. On the one hand, we have Chi Onwurah, challenging gender stereotypes whilst Harriet Harman seems to happy to play to them.
“I actually think there is election gimmickry in this debate. Gender inequality goes much deeper than commentary on blue and pink toys and creating pink battle buses.
“Labour politicians ought to take the issues more seriously and rightly deserve criticism.”
> Actually, I think it’d probably not gender stereotyping at all, merely Labour’s new colous – watered down red. Though possibly mauve (pink with a hint of blue) might be more appropriate.
Anyway – housing, homelessness, poverty education, austerity, cuts, more cuts… it’s good to know that, despite all those distractions, the three main parties have found something really important to debate… the colour of a bus.
Really, polling booths should have “abandon hope all ye who enter here” set over them.
Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 12 Feb 2015