Monday, 25 February 2008

A Dubious Argument

A recent letter in the Shields Gazette has caused me a little bit of a problem.

On the 21st February (Thursday) Councillor Lawrence Nolan (Prog, Harton Ward) outlined the case against any further food outlets on Prince Edward Road. Here’s an extract from the letter:

“Areas within South Shields have become synonymous with being able to purchase Indian/Bengali food. Prince Edward Road in Harton now has an Indian restaurant/takeaway, Chinese takeaway, several fish and chip shops, a selection of delicatessens, all-day cafes, a few pizzeria shops and a plethora of outlets selling hot food to take away.”

Fair enough, so Mr Nolan doesn’t favour food outlets. It’s his next comment which gives rise to my concern:

“The residents of this area are sick and tired of the smells that emanate from these establishments”.

If you ask any Asian, Chinese and non European member of this regions integrated society what the main forms of racism they encounter, they invariably reply that amongst other things they are called “smelly” or that they “smell of curry” etc. Nolan’s comments are therefore ill judged, ill considered and ill thought out. Whilst he may not have intended to cause offence, he has sublimely used language akin to the insults that certain members of this regions society face on a daily basis.

I sincerely hope that this misuse of words is an isolated incident and not the start of a Progressive policy to target certain areas for certain votes. To do so will attract supporters of a particular view point that this Borough could well do with out.

Mr Nolan also comments

“The balance of amenities on Prince Edward Road is steadily being eroded and we need to stem this decline as soon as possible.”

I for one read no letters or reports in the local paper from Mr Nolan or any other Progressive objecting to either Sainsbury’s or Heron Frozen Foodstores opening new stores in the area, their presence only serving to “erode” the balance of similar amenities on Prince Edward Road, probably forcing many of them to close.


Anonymous said...

Is this fellow Nolan saying that Ocean Road “smells”, or Frederick Street “smells”? What about King Street, it’s full of Gregg’s Shops. Does he complain about the smell of pasties and pies? No, because that’s what he perceives as a “white” diet.

Prince Edward Road smells no worse or no better than other areas in this Borough. It’s the argument used in the letter which stinks!

PETER SHAW said...

I think that was the point I have tried to make. Good one about King Street though.

rossinisbird said...

This is a cheap shot and playing the race card is pathetic. Cllr Nolan's letter was aimed at all takeaways and trying to twist it into a racist statement is utterly dishonest.

He is representing a very real concern felt by residents at developments at the Nook. Houses face and back onto the shops at the Nook - try living behind one of the takeaways there and you'll know what Cllr Nolan means.

How many people live in King Street?

PETER SHAW said...

“This is a cheap shot and playing the race card is pathetic. Cllr Nolan's letter was aimed at all takeaways and trying to twist it into a racist statement is utterly dishonest.”

Hardly the race card as the post clearly states that the words used were by Nolan were misjudged. As to dishonest, well that’s a bit strong as well. If this is the case, no doubt I will be hearing from Mr Nolan’s representatives. However, I suspect not because close family members of mine, who just so happen to be of overseas origin, have stated that they find some of the links in the letter to “smell” offensive.

If the back and front of these shops are such a problem, why have Neighbourhood Services not been called in?

I think the “King Street” argument was used to make a point

Green Nimby said...

Where do you live rossinbird?

Anonymous said...

I wonder what Mr Nolan will do for curry now, especially when the indian restuarnts and takeaways find what he really thinks about the cooking. He might also find that not many of the owners will want his gas plumbing services as well because his true feelings will be known to the asian community.

Ahmed Khan said...

Sorry rossinisbird (Brian) but I think your attempt to some how link Peter's comments to an accusation of racism against Councillor Lawrence Nolan are way off the mark and to be frank pretty shameful.

Anyone who knows Peter will confirm that he is not the type of person to use innuendo or make veiled accusations. If he has something to say he will say it just ask Councillor Potts and the residents of East Boldon.

Having read his original post it appears that Peter’s main concerns centre around Councillor Nolan’s choice of words and points out how they could be interpreted by certain sections of our society. He does not accuse Councillor Nolan of racism in any way shape or form and to suggest otherwise is simply untrue.

For the record I have also known Councillor Nolan both professionally and personally for several years and can categorically say that in all the time I have known him he has never once made any comment that could be construed as racist.

If you want to tackle the real racists look elsewhere in the borough, Primrose might be a good starting point!

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, being somebody who lives at the nook and uses the shops at the nook an a daily basis, their is too many take away food outlets in the area. Lets face it, does the nook really need 10+ food outlets (most of wich selling pizza), regardless of smell of food or ethnic background of the proprioters etc? What the nook needs is a good mix of different types of outlets.

Also questionable is the reference to Sainsbury's and Heron's. These two shops, despite changing hands have always been a supermarket and a freezer shop respectively for as long as i can remember. How does this kill competition?