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Letters—Yorkshire cricket has a long history of anti-Asian racism

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Issue 2780
The Yorkshire County Cricket Club stadium

The Yorkshire County Cricket Club stadium (Picture Wikicommons/ JohnSeb)

It’s no surprise to see Yorkshire County Cricket Club defending blatant racism against one of their own players, Azeem Rafiq, by claiming it was “banter.”

The history of the club in a county where so many Asian people live is riddled with discrimination going back decades.

From 1968 to 1992, the club maintained a policy that only Yorkshire-born cricketers could play for the county team—a self-imposed apartheid system.

This policy was code for a “whites only” colour bar, preventing thousands of Asian cricketers from hundreds of teams from ever representing Yorkshire.

It was forced to change and the first overseas black players arrived. But it was not until 2003 that the first British-Asian played for Yorkshire. Yorkshire’s record is appalling. 

When in 2003 Yorkshire player Darren Lehmann was banned for racially abusing a Sri Lankan opponent during a one-day international for Australia, the county refused to take any action.

Colin Graves, then Yorkshire chairman—now expected to return following widespread revulsion over the treatment of Azeem Rafiq—denied it was racist.

Graves, founder of the Costcutter store chain, is now running English cricket. Lehmann went on to coach Australia and was welcomed back to Headingley as coach of a team based at the Leeds ground.

Anti-racists should support the petition calling for the Yorkshire county committee to resign. Football has shown we can push back the racists in sport.

Phil Turner


A study in the medical journal the Lancet last week showed that one in ten stillbirths and almost one in five foetal growth restriction cases are due to racial inequalities.

And that is intensified by the impact of socio-economic factors which disproportionately hit black and Asian people.

Whether your child lives or dies, and whether they prosper, is down to your class and the effects of racism. How dare the Tories claim that institutional racism does not exist.

Cleo Lawes


Language and far right

Richard Donnelly (Socialist Worker, 27 October) describes some of those who attacked the Capitol as “wacked out hippies of the so called cosmic right—new agers who worship Trump as the God Emperor”.

Richard is not describing the 1960s Hippies who were “wacky” in the sense of being eccentric, odd and way out on drugs and peace and love.

The hippies he is describing (the only thing they have in common with the original 60s is long hair) are right wing conspiracy theorists, racists, antisemites, far right and fascists.

The mental state of these “hippies” is irrelevant and to use such language tars the rest of us who experience mental distress as “wacky”.

You can hold reactionary views and happen to have a mental health disability, but you are not a reactionary because you have a mental health disability. 

John Curtis 


The end for the Tories?

I’m telling you all now that if Boris Johnson gets way with the omnishambles over Owen Paterson then  we’re finished.

Can there ever have been such blatant corruption and contempt for the voters?

Surely, surely, this time people will dump the Tories? Even Labour looks better. 

David Hemmings


Left gains if proportional representation comes in 

Mark Dunk (Letters, 3 November) says that proportional representation (PR) would only aid the right. I’m not so sure.

It’s certainly true that many of those who support PR do so out of despair that Labour could every win an election again. 

So they put forward effectively a coalition of Labour, the Lib Dems, the Greens and the Scottish and Welsh nationalists.

That should be rejected. But there are better reasons for backing PR. 

One is that it’s fairer. It is outrageous that there is such a disparity between the votes a party gets and the MPs who are elected. 

The second is that PR would make it much more likely that the creaking Labour coalition would burst open. 

A split including Jeremy Corbyn and others would have a fair chance of winning a good number of MPs. And forces further left might have a chance as well.

That would help raise the profile of socialist forces.

Sarah Barnes

East London

Tories won’t end conversion therapy 

The Tories have finally started the six-week consultation for banning conversion “therapy”. This was first proposed by Theresa May’s government in 2018 and has gone through various delays and controversies. 

But this “step forward” is, in some ways, a step backwards.

While they claim that they’re banning it, in reality there are several loopholes. 

One of the most prominent is that conversion therapy will still be allowed to happen with “consent”. In reality it is a process of long term abuse that cannot be consented to. Similarly, they claim “an adult who wants to be supported to be celibate will be free to do so”. 

This is already a common cover and will be used even more to justify conversion therapy.

The proposals also include several “both sides” arguments, covering conversion to being LGBT+ as well as from. 

This peddles the myth that people are being forced to be trans. It echoes the lies of Section 28 during Margaret Thatcher’s reign about schools converting people to be gay.

It will undoubtedly be used to further attack supportive parents of gender non-conforming children and trans right more generally

We must be on the streets protesting for a real ban on conversion therapy.

Conie Cooley


Learn from the win in Llanelli

Brilliant news to hear that Gary Evans, branch secretary of  Llanelli CWU union, has won his job back. 

He was reinstated because fellow Royal Mail workers at the site struck for a day and promised more. That’s how the bosses’ agenda of attacking our class can be derailed 

They’ve been telling us for years that workers’ power is dead but apparently it isn’t.

J Richardson 


System fuels the rape rise 

The police have recorded a record number of rape offences in England and Wales, according to official figures. The Office for National Statistics said recorded sexual offences had increased by 8 percent.

I think this sick system is getting worse. And it is making men’s behaviour worse.

Jane Lewis


Back councils that will fight

Municipal socialism may not be the whole answer to the problems the left faces (Socialist Worker, 3 November). 

But that doesn’t means winning council seats is irrelevant. 

Councillors who are determined not to buckle to Tory threats could really make life difficult for the government.

Tom Picton


Scandal of picket charge

I’m delighted public disorder charges against a Unite union official on a picket line in south London were thrown out of court last week.

According to police, Ruth Hydon committed a crime—for which she could have been jailed for six months—because she blew a vuvuzela in the direction of a member of Serco’s management team.

She was charged under the anti-union laws. The charges were dismissed by Bromley magistrates court but it is a disgrace they were ever put forward. 

Jeff Lorimer

South London

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