Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Portsoken Ward - The Tolerant Ward

In Portsoken, we pride ourselves on our open and accepting village atmosphere, where everyone rubs along together - Muslims, Christians, Jews and Atheists, gay people and straight people and everyone in between.

 Portsoken ward has historically been a friendly place for minorities, and one of the earliest battles for minority rights in the UK was fought right here in our ward, following the election of David Salomans in 1835 in Aldgate, and then again in Portsoken as Alderman in 1844,  on both of which occasions the election was declared void by the Court of Alderman, as Salomans was a Jew, and refused to swear the oath as a Christian. This lead to the law being changed in 1845, so that oaths for municipal office in the UK could be sworn without the words 'on the faith of a Christian'.

Salomans was eventually returned as MP for Greenwich in 1851, and that lead to an incident in the House of Commons, where once again he refused to take the oath as a Christian. This lead to the law being changed.

I have only once been subject to an anti-semitic incident in the Portsoken area - a few weeks back, walking through Devonshire Square, a couple laddish types told me that the 'crematorium was that way'. Charming. I had sharp words with them, and moved on.

There is no place in our ward for Anti-Muslim, Anti-Jewish or Anti-Gay agitation. Portsoken has a centuries-long history of tolerance.

Portsoken should be a bye-word for openness, tolerance and mutual respect for all the various minorities who inhabit our ward.

If you experience a personal attack because of your race, religion or sexuality, and feel you want to do something about it, you can either contact one of your Common Councilmen,or one of the organisations below:

Tell Mama - for anti-Muslim incidents

The CST - for anti-Jewish incidents

Stonewall - for anti-Gay incidents

Bishopsgate Police Station (open 24 hrs) 0207 601 2606

Printed and promoted by Evan Philip Millner of 19b Petticoat Tower, Petticoat Square, City of London E1 7EF

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