Harlow Labour members “ashamed” of Tory-run council decision over possible Afghan refugees

Politics / Wed 18th Aug 2021 at 03:04pm

A NUMBER of Harlow Labour Party members have slammed the Tory-run council for deciding that they won’t be offering any refuge for people fleeing Afghanistan.

Netteswell councillor, Mike Danvers said: “Harlow is normally a generous community. In times of international emergency the Council has normally responded by taking in one or two refugee families.

“We did so over the Vietnam boat crisis, the Chilean fiasco, and at many other times.

With all the void properties in Harlow Council, surely it can find room for one or two families in desperate need.

“I acknowledge that we have a long waiting list of our own. The Council has started building houses again to address this. 

“In the meantime we need to show some generosity over the given the situation in Afghanistan. Partly it is of out ownmaking with the such a rapid withdrawal.

“We owe so much to those British soldiers who sacrificed so much to try to maintain liberal values in that country.

Little Parndon councillor, Tony Durcan echoed these sentiments.

Cllr Durcan said: “We should welcome the commitment made by other councils in Essex to help these people who were at the front supporting and helping to maintain peace and dignity.

It’s only right that we should all provide a hand of friendship and if that means short term accommodation then this is the right thing to do.

Very sad but not surprised that at this moment of need the Tory council has declined to offer any support except refer them to the private sector.

This should never be about were people are from but more about humanity. We are gifted to live in a democracy but this isn’t an exclusive club .

“It’s a shameful day for Harlow that we turn away and ignore the need of others. If others can we should 
If we can’t we should fund other who can.

Doing nothing is terrible. I guess that the difference between us but sad that someone who has already suffered remains the victim.

Former Labour council candidate Jake Shepherd also turned to the history books.

He said: “In 1570 Colchester welcomed Dutch refugees, fleeing persecution. In 1938 Jewish refugees arrived in Harwich as part of the Kinder-transport.

“We must play our part! Essex is a warm and compassionate county.”

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29 Comments for Harlow Labour members “ashamed” of Tory-run council decision over possible Afghan refugees:

2021-08-18 15:27:58

Put them in your homes. You ran the Town for 10 years and did next to nothing to solve the housing issues. Priority to Harlow people!

Adrian Grace
2021-08-18 15:29:51

If Harlow is so generous offer housing & refuge to our own people first,

2021-08-18 15:33:30

I agree with Dave and Adrian. Fed up with rich people in nice houses treading all over us.

Paul Henderson
2021-08-18 15:35:51

Mr Danvers & Mr Durcan, you know full well ‘short-term’ invariably becomes ‘permanent’. It is all very well for you to harp on pretentiously about ‘humanity’, but the Council is right to point out that we do not have any available council housing ( you should know as you were in the administration for the past 10 years). Yes, we are gifted living a democracy that previous generations fought to establish and defend. You are wrong: democracy is a pretty exclusive club if you care to check the ‘EIU Democracy Index’ and ‘Transparency International’. If the highly trained and well-equipped Afghan forces are unwilling to fight to defend their ‘emergent democracy’, then why should we send our troops to fight and die. We have expended too much life and resources on corrupt, incorrigible, failed states. Afghanistan has never been stable: it comprises more than 14 ethnic groups, largely tribal. It is not known as the “Grave of Empires” for nothing. It was basically a buffer between the competing Russian and British Empires in the 19th century. For much of their history they have happily been fighting each other, sometimes to genocidal levels. Democracy and the Rule of Law are completely alien concepts to them and most of that entire God forsaken region as well as most of Africa. We should never have intervened under the Bush/Blair agendas in Iraq and Afghanistan. We should now walk away and ensure minimal involvement going forward. They need to govern their own country. Henceforth security should be our prime concern, using intelligence and targeted drone attacks on any terrorist camps. The last thing we need is to risk the import of foreign jihadis to join the unspeakable home grown ones like the Begum creature. I think your outlook is far too simplistic and potentially dangerous to our national security. You also seem to fail to grasp the basic economics. Dealing with this scale of problem must be handled by Government, not small district councils. The approach of the Council is balanced, realistic and fair. This was a NATO op and a number of NATO countries participated and should all shoulder the question of refugees. As far as the UK is concerned, we should only accept those who worked, e.g. as interpreters for the British forces. We are hearing how bad the Taliban treat women and girls. It is true, but we did not cause that nor do we practice that. Had we not intervened, they would have suffered 20 years of Taliban rule. If what we offered was so much better, why have they thrown in the towel so easily? Why is that not addressed? Maybe they don’t want western style democracy. If they did, they would fight as our country did in 1914-18, 1939-45 and in 1982 (against the vicious Argentine military dictatorship). Yes, Mr Durcan, democracy is a blessing: it often comes at a price.

2021-08-18 15:43:30

Charity starts at home!

2021-08-18 15:54:08

Former Labour council candidate Jake Shepherd also turned to the history books. The example given by Jake Shepherd is not analogous. He said: “In 1570 Colchester welcomed Dutch refugees, fleeing persecution. In 1938 Jewish refugees arrived in Harwich as part of the Kinder-transport. These were people who came from what were considered pretty civilised nations at the times (prior to Nazi rule) and shared similar cultural values to us, facilitating assimilation. This is not the case with all these people from backward, corrupt Middle Eastern countries. Just look at the problems we have with all the illegals crossing the Channel. Enough! Put our own people first. We neither want or need this. There should a referendum on immigration and asylum.

2021-08-18 16:33:45

There’s thousands of families in this town waiting for a council. Why? Because Labour over the past 10 years built none and let London Councils move their residents here. The hypocrisy from them is truly shameful.

2021-08-18 16:47:59

Mr Danvers i think you have missed the point totally given your statement Quote With all the void properties in Harlow Council, surely it can find room for one or two families in desperate need. Yet i don't doubt some are desperate but i find it disgusting of you to make this statement when we have our own desperate people in need of housing, And by our own i mean people who have been born and worked in the town not someone from a London borough.

2021-08-18 17:17:29

Today the Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees said the area would resettle 10 Afghan families. That is 10 more than this Tory Harlow Council. In Gloucestershire, the county have already committed to the resettlement of 35 Afghan translators and their families. That is 35 more than this Tory Harlow Council. In Yorkshire and Humber, 24 families have already settled so far in the area. That is 24 more than this Tory Harlow Council. More than 20 Afghan interpreters will be rehomed in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. That is 20 more than this Tory Harlow Council. Dudley Council said it would take 20 Afghan families.That is 20 more than this Tory Harlow Council. Other local councils are taking responsibility. Other local councils are showing a moral back bone. Other local councils are showing compassion. Harlow Council can't be bothered to offer to house just one single Afgan person. Shame on this Harlow Council. I am now ashamed to live here.

Wendy Morgan
2021-08-18 17:20:26

Wow Paul Henderson - hiw very well said. My, and I suspect many more, sentiments, exactly. If the men if these troubled countries did what our grandfathers, fathers, uncles and sons did during the two World Wars, maybe their countries would nitbe run by corrupt cowards, who flee at the first opportunity, leavi g their wife's and children behind. I am sure that there are many young and old families in this Town who would like a permanent roof over their heads too.

Tony Durcan
2021-08-18 17:31:16

Very sad but honestly not surprised that the comment so far is all about me rather than about us. Clearly the Tory spin Doctor has sent out the message to support the current local council leader decision to ignore the serious plight of others. I’m remain proud of the record of Harlow by helping other and I hope in the near future we can get back to these essential Principles. Until then I hope the council can find some compassion and at least some one off funding to neighbouring councils.

2021-08-18 17:36:18

JD. I am ashamed of you and your sort.

Paul Henderson
2021-08-18 17:47:08

Mr Durcan, you have clearly developed simulated ‘personal affront’ to a high level to evade serious debate on the points I sought to address. Such a response does you scant credit. Personally, I don’t doubt the sincerity with which you hold your opinions, but might make a more serious response when challenged.

2021-08-18 17:50:01

JD, you and people like you are a big part of the problems this country faces. Offer your house!

Lisa Harrison
2021-08-18 18:05:10

Where are these void properties Mr Danvers, and how come they are void? Your lot were running the Council for 10 years. Why do we have needy Harlow families? Surely, any money should be spent first on our people. What planet are you on?

2021-08-18 20:00:12

Actually some of the Afghans who have worked and trained with our military could be considered (vetted) to work with our security services for infiltration and intelligence on extremists group abroad and in the UK. We need to weed out gone grown terrorists and need more focus on this. There are many traitors within. Just look how many joined ISIS.

2021-08-18 20:21:47

Wether or not I, or anyone else, offer their own personel house to house anyone is irelevant and a mere distraction. The issue is what is this Tory Harlow Council doing as representives of Harlow as a whole. Will this Tory Harlow Council honor the moral commitment to those who have helped the allied forces over 20 years? Will this Tory Harlow Council help those who have prevented terrorist activities over the last 20 years? Will this Tory Harlow Council recognise the commitment to those who have put their lives at risk by working with allied forces? The answer is clearly NO. This Tory Harlow Council, along with many others people judging by some of the comments issued here, do not care that others have put their lives at risk. Harlow Council ano others do not care that translators, activists, heath workers, educated females and others are now at risk. And the only argument offered against is "offer your own house". Would it change anyone's mind if any Afgan refugees would be lorry drivers? Or nurses? Or doctors? Or any other trade that is in current short supply? Maybe any Afgan refugees should promise to become Tory party donors. Would that make things more acceptable?

2021-08-18 20:42:39

It's not a distraction, you want them here then give them your house. I want our own housed before them.

2021-08-19 02:34:01

JD. You seem to assume that we are Tory supporters because we disagree with you on something. 'You's' lot still don.t get it at all. A majority of the population have had it up to 'here' with your insults.

2021-08-19 05:11:41

This article is absolutely spot on. We owe it to those people to help - we (The US and UK) helped tear it to shreds and now we expect to walk away? Absurd. Also - there are many typing errors in this article. Please fix them. Spell check has existed for a long time now...

Someone who fled once...
2021-08-19 05:22:28

What a comment section! So many people here with racist views! Let’s hope none of you ever have to experience what these people had to go through! And to those saying about their family who fought in WWI and WWII - most people did - conscription is a git, and you don’t get out of it easily. Heck, even those who objected to fighting or couldn’t fight were labelled cowards by being given a white feather or flower... just because the British fought hard once upon a time to establish a truly democratic state doesn’t mean we should turn our backs on those who strive for a better life but didn’t have the luck of being born in the UK... absurd that so many of you feel entitled to this, and yet - most of our grandfathers and those who fought during those hard times would often times be disgusted by what came of their hard work. Turning your back on those in need was never something they would have stood for. Afghanistan is done for, for sure - but let us not forget that it was our country, our soldiers, our world views that helped kick the hornets nest when we decided to go and tag along with the US. You lot are sickening in the way you think, i I can only hope none of you ever have to experience, or even understand how it is to flee a country where your very existence is in danger just because you happen to exist.

2021-08-19 07:37:31

No body here has stated their race or political standpoint. We are a mixture of people fed up to the teeth of watching our kids get trodden over by outsiders when it comes to housing. We are worried over what is about to be unleashed on us. Anyway, it's all irrelevant, they only need to get to France then the rest is easy.

Paul Henderson
2021-08-19 17:35:03

Someone who fled once, 1. Conscription was only introduced in WW1 in 1916, two years into the war. Up until then, the country relied on volunteers. 2. I am sure many of our forebears would have been disgusted by how this country looks today. I had family brought up in the former Raj who according to my late grandfather would have been highly disturbed. 3. The west did not create the mess in Afghanistan. It has been a mess for centuries. It was a buffer state comprising competing tribes and ethnic groups (as it still is). The most recent hornet’s nest can be traced back to the Soviet invasion in 1980, which gave rise to the Taliban and other extremist groups.Remember that the US led NATO operation (supported by Labour’s Blair) was made in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks where Bin Laden was sheltered in Afghanistan, which at the time was governed by the same savages that have resumed power after a 20 year interlude. The west expended many lives and much money in training and equipping a new Afghan military. If these same people are unwilling to fight for their country and so easily surrender (unlike Britain which stood alone in 1940) and if they can only operate if they have a few thousand NATO troops alongside, then they have made their choice. We should never have become embroiled in Blair’s adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan. These people have to determine their own fates. Trying to impose western democracy on these types of societies is a lost cause. Better we now establish a Cordon Sanitaire from Syria to Pakistan and stay well clear.

2021-08-19 17:50:48

So much ignorance here, I'd like to know what the people saying "let's look after our own" are doing to look after people in Harlow? Do they volunteer or donate to help people in this town? Will you let a local person live with you instead of someone fleeing war? There's plenty of people sleeping rough up the town why not put one of them up. The UK were complicit in the last 20 years of what's happened in Afganistan and to what the people there have suffered. Someone from harlow lost his life over there at 18 or 19 years old maybe it would honour his sacrafice to actually do something worthwhile for that country even if it is to shelter a few people. The town has allowed a company to build and profit of weapons that have killed hundreds of thousands of Afghans over the last 40 years including weapons that would have been provided in the 80s when the US And UK were secretly supporting what would become the Taliban against the Russians. Put down the Daily Mail and the Sun, stop listening to Farage and Boris they don't care about British people only profit

2021-08-19 18:37:47

I will read and listen to whomsoever I see fit . This is not quite a fascist state. So put that in yu pipe.

Paul Henderson
2021-08-19 21:50:32

DM, it is a pity you missed and excellent interview on TV tonight with Colonel Richard Kemp CBE, who has spent many years in Afghanistan fighting the Taliban and understands the nature of the beast far better than most misguided lefties. He is wary of bringing Afghans here and thinks it should be minimum of those properly vetted. He is convinced they will ship terrorist cells over, exploiting the ‘compassionate’ outbursts. He is also highly wary that some of those brought over could engage with or be converted by existing indigenous extremist native cells in the UK. These are the words of any experienced British military officer. Who would not heed his advice and warning? Only the foolhardy and stupid. As he stated quite eloquently, under the pretext of compassion and human rights, we could be jeopardising the security of our own people by allowing terrorist cells in and to forment. Defence of the Realm and our own people citizens is the first duty of government without question. Let’s heed the advice of our loyal and gallant military, who are the backbone of our nation.

Kay Morrison
2021-08-20 16:25:51

Many of our loyal and gallant veterans are horrified by the abrupt withdrawal from Afghanistan. They're worried about the safety of their colleagues and about the future for Afghans, especially women and girls. They still care about the country and its people. Some of them wonder if their collective sacrifice was in vain. They'd anticipated that the relative freedoms experienced in that country would continue. I'm proud of those veterans. They seem to me to live by principles which represent the best of our country: selflessness, courage, empathy. I had hoped that Harlow could emulate their example.

2021-08-20 16:49:53

Set an example then Kay, gotta spare room? Maybe take in a homeless soldier even, or both.

Paul Henderson
2021-08-20 18:51:11

Kay Morrison, did you not read the comments of the highly experienced Col Richard Kemp. Also, read some history on Afghanistan. What is happening today is nothing new. It has been unstable for most of its comparatively short history. Civil wars, tribal and ethnic conflicts are the norm. They have had a best chance to establish a democratic society with a highly trained and equipped army. They have failed and fallen at the first fence. If they cannot be bothered to fight for their country and people, then we should not engage further.

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