Letter: Ugly deeds in Dover

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The Independent Culture
Sir: The ugly incident in Dover (report, 16 August) has invited reams of ugly comment in the national press, and your newspaper has not been alone in painting a picture of our town and portraying a caricature of our citizens which few people who really know Dover would recognise.

It might be convenient for London-based journalists to rush down to Dover the day after the incident, spend a small part of the day in a small part of our town speaking to a small part of our population, then rush into print with their inaccurate and wildly overblown articles about widespread violence and worse. But such narrowly focused research has resulted in a grotesquely distorted and insulting picture of the real Dover and its people.

The placement of asylum-seekers in one part of town has not been done sensitively and has caused problems. But responsible politicians in both parties in Kent have been working with government Ministers for many months to help resolve matters. This work continues best outside the blaring headlines of the press.

It's true that ultra-right groups have been targeting Dover, that one or two Tory politicians have been raising the ante and that one editor of a local newspaper has been using scurrilous and grotesque rhetoric not designed to calm the community. But it's also true that, like the London journalists, none of these people lives in Dover. Perhaps we should be grateful.

GWYN PROSSER MP

(Lab, Dover)

House of Commons

London SW1

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