Elections, Ron Dyer, Islamophobia and Covid

Young people are among those being urged to register to vote. Picture: Rui Vieira/PA Archive/PA Imag

Young people are among those being urged to register to vote. Picture: Rui Vieira/PA Archive/PA Images - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Knowing the referendum choices

Simon Rush, address supplied, writes: 

I am writing to you as a Newham resident of nearly 30 years as I believe it’s important to highlight the fact that not only are Newham voters voting on May 6 for the mayor and GLA elections, but also a local by-election in East Ham Central and a referendum which potentially will change the governance of Newham.

The first important point I wish to point out is that whatever the result, that will be the way Newham is governed for the next decade.

It appears to me that although a referendum was promised in the manifesto, the council are simply doing the minimum required by law to highlight the fact that a referendum is looming.

As a resident, I would far rather that maximum publicity of a potential change in governance is carried out as per the rules available for publicity.

Personally, I fear on May 6, many residents will have no idea what the referendum means.

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My understanding is simply we keep the current status quo where the mayor has overall control or more open governance of a borough run as a committee-based system - which I believe to be a fairer, more open form of running for Newham’s constituents where all elected councillors have more say during councillor meetings, not solely the cabinet who often do as instructed by following the guidance of the whip, sometimes not speaking out for fearing losing their position within the cabinet.

As a final note, this local newspaper needs to do a lot more to inform the residents of the two choices available for the referendum on May 6 as, after all, part of the remit of any quality newspaper is to inform its readership of important issues within its readership.

Searching for speedway’s Ron

Do you know Ron Dyer? Picture: Submitted by Tony Hurren

Do you know Ron Dyer? - Credit: Submitted by Tony Hurren

Tony Hurren, welfare officer, World Speedway Riders’ Association (WSRA), writes: 

The WSRA is trying to locate one of its former members who, for many years, lived in Manor Park.
His name is Ron Dyer, now probably in his 90s, who lived in Byron Avenue.

He was extremely well known in speedway circles in the 1950s, 60s and 70s. He is a former secretary of the West Ham Speedway Supporters’ Club and was the founder of the British Speedway Supporters’ Association.

Ron spent a short time in a care home two years ago, after which it is believed he returned home.

However, according to three of his neighbours, he was taken into care on a permanent basis approximately 15 to 18 months ago.

A Scandinavian friend of Ron’s asked on Facebook if he was still alive and if so, did anyone know of his whereabouts?

This was followed by a few dozen former speedway friends of Ron also wanting to know if anybody knew where he was.

I have checked with a number of care homes in the Newham area, asking if he was in residence. Most of them answered no, but a couple said they were unable to help due to data protection regulations.

If any care home worker reading this knows of Ron’s whereabouts, perhaps they would inform him that I would love to make contact with him again in order to let him know that so many speedway fans are asking after him.

If he is agreeable to my request, he could telephone me on 07513 290784 or a care worker could call me on that number or email me on tony.hawkeye1@btinternet.com

Workplace Islamophobia

Cllr Khaled Noor, chair, Muslim Professionals Forum (MPF), writes:

The MPF is pleased by some of the evidence the commission has collected in the report from the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities in the UK – for example, the data showing that young BAME people are, on average, doing well at school.

But we are very concerned that they have not given due weight to the incidents of racism – and Islamophobia – which minority groups experience on an everyday basis.

The MPF has recently started working with partners in the legal profession on identifying Islamophobia in the legal profession and judicial system.

It is important that the commission’s report does not dampen the enthusiasm to do this kind of work.

Muslim professionals can do a great deal to ensure that young Muslim professionals are supported in the workplace and that management practices do not discriminate against BAME and/or Muslim staff.

We would be pleased to hear from and to assist anyone who has concerns about Islamophobia in the workplace.

Ensuring the next step is forwards

Professor Kevin Fenton, London regional director, Public Health England, writes:

This week we have had the chance to see family and friends again outdoors in a group of six or two households.

The careful lifting of these restrictions has been possible thanks to the efforts of all Londoners in sticking to the rules up to now, helping bring infection rates down across the capital.

But although we have made significant progress, the pandemic is far from over and the situation remains delicate.

The return to normal life needs to be taken step by step and we can only move to the next stage if we make a success of the last.

It therefore remains vital we do not get complacent and continue limiting transmission. That means sticking to the rule of six and avoiding the temptation to meet others in larger groups or indoor settings, as well as remembering the basics of hands, face, space and fresh air.

We are on the right track for a return to normality but we must all help ensure the next step we take is forwards, not back.