Letters to the Editor: Winter 2022–23

‘Give us weapons’: mayor favours warmongering event at family resort

Back in August, my eldest daughter told me of a gathering of about two dozen people on the seafront in our home town of Bexhill. This was a public event in support of Ukraine, attended by the mayor and councillors and several children, some apparently Ukrainian.

My daughter was troubled by a placard calling for people to send weapons, held aloft next to the mayor. She saw it, rightly, as promoting war and killing. I wrote the following complaint to the council office.

25 August 2022
Dear Rother District Council

I am submitting a complaint about an event involving Bexhill town councillors, and particularly Mayor Paul Plim, on 24 August 2022.

My wife and three daughters (aged 5, 10 and 12) were on the promenade at Bexhill when they came across a gathering of children and adults in support of Ukraine. My daughters were troubled by a prominent placard urging, ‘Give us weapons, please!’

As you can see from the photograph, the mayor and fellow councillors stood beside the young woman bearing this placard. While the right to protest is sacrosanct in a free society, I believe that the message crosses the line into inciting violence. It certainly caused distress to two of my daughters, who were bewildered to see such an open display of warmongering at a seemingly family-oriented event, which was obviously meant to draw attention on a seafront busy with families in the summer holidays.

It is indefensible for elected councillors and the mayor to give public support to such messages. There were not many placards, so it is unlikely that those in attendance did not see the wording. I would expect the mayor and colleagues to use their political nous to check that they are not associating themselves with hateful or other inappropriate expression at a public event. Tacit official support for this message is profoundly distasteful and a discredit to the town.

Councillors should be impartial and focused on local priorities, rather than political propaganda far beyond the scope of council responsibilities. I am also concerned at the Ukraine flag that has been flying continuously for several months at the town hall.

Whatever opinions councillors may have, the UK is not at war with Russia. I am sure that there are people of Russian origin in our area, who would find this unprecedented partisan activity offensive. Councillors are taking a one-sided and ignorant view of the conflict. It did not begin this year but in 2014, after a US-sponsored coup led to military bombardment of Russian-speaking areas, with carnage in Donetsk and a massacre in Odessa. Fourteen thousand people—mostly unarmed civilians—died in this eight-year period.

I also see a placard mentioning Azovstal, the steelworks in Mariupol, and a redoubt of the brutal Azov battalion, whose thugs persecuted local citizens and boasted of their exploits on social media (typically with Nazi insignia).

I would ask the mayor and councillors to reflect on this event and their support for war in Ukraine. Bexhill promenade is not an appropriate site for militaristic messages about deadly weapons, which inevitably kill ordinary people as well as soldiers.

Yours sincerely,
Niall McCrae

I chased a response several times.

Meanwhile, Malcolm Johnston, chief executive of Rother District Council, addressed a specific point in my complaint:

With regard to your comment concerning the flying of the Ukrainian flag from the Town Hall, I would advise you that Rother District Council was flying this as a symbol of solidarity with the people of Ukraine and everyone affected by the conflict and humanitarian crisis.

This flag has now been a constant presence for six months (briefly interrupted by St George’s Day and the half-mast mourning for the Queen). To my knowledge, there has not been no public consultation on this unprecedented display of support for a foreign country, one with no established ties to the UK or Commonwealth. The Yemeni flag hasn’t been raised in response of that country’s ongoing military assault by Saudi Arabia, among numerous other cases.

At the start of November, I finally got a response from Bexhill Town Council, but not from the mayor. Julie Miller, the town clerk, wrote:

Dear Niall 

I’ve received a copy of your letter and can only apologise for any distress that this has caused you and your family. 

Councillors aren’t impartial, they are entitled to have their own views and may speak on these in public. 

Individual councillors views may not concur with the agreed policy of the council all the time. So long as they make it clear that it is their own view, and not that of the corporate body, they are able to speak freely on any subject. If a member of the public feels that the councillor acts outside of the Code of Conduct, then this is reviewed by the District Council.

In terms of your complaint, the District Council did not feel that the appearance of the Mayor and councillors at the Ukraine march was in contravention of the Code.

I will pass a copy of your letter to the full council to note its contents so that they may be aware of your feelings concerning this matter.


I am grateful to the town clerk, albeit nearly three months after I submitted my complaint. But why did the mayor not explain himself directly?

It seems that Ukraine is like Covid–19 vaccines: any concern or criticism—however legitimate—is an affront to the official narrative and should be ignored.

Niall McCrae, Bexhill-on-Sea, Sussex


Renewed push to normalise child sex

I am a sociologist and have been a researcher on adult sexual attraction to children and published two books on the topic. During my research, men in the community (often unknown to any authorities) contacted me confidentially to say they were sexually attracted to children and thus defined themselves as paedophiles.

However, some of these men understood the harm that adult sexual contact with children causes to children, and they did not want to act on their urges. They wanted help and therapy to remain sexually abstinent.

One man described how therapy had enabled him to move away from his paedophile identity, and he is now happily married and no longer finds children sexually attractive. Other men told me of horrific fantasies that they had—fantasies that they were, at that time, managing to keep under control.

Under Scotland’s proposed new legislation (covered by UK Column News on 9 January), it seems any ‘conversion therapy’ would be illegal. Would such men now be ‘supported’ and ‘affirmed’ in their paedophilic sexual identity, even where this made it more likely they would act on their fantasies? Would they be denied therapy that aimed to alter their sexual behaviour? I wonder whether anyone has thought through these aspects.

Adult sexual attraction to children is a complex area but it carries some aspects of a sexual identity. I profoundly hope that Scotland has not made it yet more difficult for children to be protected.

I predict the next step will be some engineered form of: ‘Children demand the right to sexual exploration with whoever they choose, including adults’.

I also predict some ‘human rights lawyers’ will get involved, possibly including a man named Dr Richard Green, a lawyer both in the UK and US, who was instrumental in getting homosexuality removed from DSM–3 (the third edition of the mental health professional standard, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) in the 1970s and subsequently the move to redefine paedophilia as a sexual orientation (the DSM definition is now an illogical mess), and who more recently has been championing trans rights.

I see a horrifying return of the 1970s push to normalise child sexual abuse and it needs to be countered as strongly as possible. You won’t believe how powerful this movement has been in academia, for many decades.

Sarah D. Goode, PhD


Got to Thai again

On 5 January, the Thai health minister announced the country was bringing back the requirement for overseas visitors to have a Covid pass with proof of two Covid jabs for entry, effective from 1 am on 9 January until 31 January. This is because of the imminent arrival of Chinese holidaymakers, and they didn’t want to offend them, so included all nationalities.

This caused huge panic, with tourists cancelling their holidays, and pushback from the Phuket Tourist Association and from many tour operators and airlines, who already had contracts with unjabbed tourists already en route to airports to begin their journeys. 

As my son has just flown there for a three-month trip, I have been following this on various social media groups where people about to fly to Bangkok have been getting very stressed and confused. After the past few years of lockdown, many people have just started to travel again, and countries like Thailand desperately need the tourist dollar.

On Sunday 8 January, a new announcement was made that unjabbed visitors could board their flights but may be tested on arrival at Bangkok Airport. (See the popular Richard Barrow in Thailand Facebook page for more information and graphics.)

Today (Monday 9 January), the government has U-turned and dropped the requirements completely.

This illustrates a lot of the chaos surrounding the whole Covid narrative and also the power of pushing back, and of the effectiveness of a large segment of the world population choosing not to have the jabs. Also, many of the Thai people want all visitors to come to their country, and more are now awake to the reality of the Covid jabs and the risks. 

Hopefully, this is a lesson for other governments who may be considering it!

Sally Pilkington