An email paper chase and Haley puzzler: your letters to the editor
East Asians must not be excluded
Language is important. Listen to any media conversation about marginalised groups and the list goes something like this: women, LGBT, black and brown people. So where do east Asians feature? I use ‘east Asians’ loosely to capture Asians who are not from the Indian subcontinent (south Asians). Does this mean that east Asians are not marginalised and subject to discrimination? Surely not, when studies show that east Asians are least likely to progress to managerial roles.
In Britain, ‘Asian’ is not used to encompass all Asians. It typically refers to south Asians. Or do east Asians come under ‘black and brown’? That is a pretty broad grouping and seems to cover exactly the same people that the term BAME seeks to capture (that is, non-whites).
So should we use ‘yellow’? I am loath to own it. First, my skin is not yellow. When, as a child, we had to do perfunctory drawings of our families, I do not recall any classmates using yellow to portray east Asians. Second, there is baggage associated with that word that does not apply to those calling themselves white, black or brown. That is probably why it is not widely used. For me, the image that pops up is that of American soldiers fighting the ‘yellow man’ in Vietnam war movies.
While I understand the sentiments and reasoning of the #BAMEOver campaign, we are nowhere near the stage where we have the luxury of differentiating between the different BAME categories. Otherwise we would have more representation at all levels of British society, rather than being crowded in the bottom half.
I have worked as a City lawyer for almost 25 years. I look around and there is hardly anyone who looks like me. London is 45% BAME. So where are these people? Are we mainly working in ethnic restaurants or cleaning toilets? The problem of representation is particularly acute for east Asians precisely because we seem excluded from the conversation. At 2.5%, east Asians are not an insignificant proportion of the UK population (with south Asians at 5.5% and black people at 3.5%). But look around and see how many east Asians you see in senior or other notable roles in the media, politics, finance, academia and law.
In the absence of adequate language which is inclusive of east Asians, then I settle for BAME. At least then east Asians are included for sure.
Solicitor; founder, East Asian Lawyers Organisation
Remember Irish history
I agree wholeheartedly with Fahad Ansari in his criticism of Priti Patel concerning her suggestion ‘that the threat of food shortages be used to force Ireland to change its approach to Brexit’.
Resentment and memories towards England run deep in Irish hearts – particularly with regard to the behaviour of the English absentee landlords during the Irish potato famine of the 1840s. The English absentee landlords were not of course responsible for the potato blight which affected much of Europe, but they were responsible for the export of grain – thus filling their coffers – which should have been used to feed the Irish and assuage the effect of the famine.
The famine reduced the population of Ireland by about 5 million, either through starvation or enforced emigration.
Patel is presumably surrounded by well-educated advisers who should have been aware of the history even if she was not. They should have advised her accordingly and the criticism must extend to them.
Email paper chase
We were told that computers and email would save paper, but my experience is that every email absorbs at least two sheets of paper, even when it is a simple message like ‘thank you for your email of [date]. My client is currently on holiday but I will come back to you as soon as he returns’.
The reason it consumes so much paper is that it is then followed by a collection of denials and policy statements. If the response is sent as part of an email thread it can easily run to 10 pages incorporating half a dozen copies of the standard denials.
Can anyone explain why, when an item is sent as a postal item, the various denials are omitted? It would be easy to incorporate them as a standard macro in the same way that we advise of Christmas closing dates at the foot of each letter during the last two weeks before the holidays. Surely an email is only the equivalent of a letter, so why is it that we must have a page of denials with an email and nothing at all with a letter?
If I file a complete email my file rapidly becomes bloated and unnecessarily large. I normally throw away the second page of any email received.
What can be done about this problem?
AN Law, Cheshire
I was somewhat puzzled by Joshua Rozenberg concluding that the successful appeal in Haley v Haley will actually encourage more parties to go to arbitration. Surely the opposite is more likely?
Take that specific case, for example. The parties agreed to go to arbitration to avoid having to go through the courts. If they had realised that whichever of them was disgruntled by the result would be able to appeal to the courts in any event, and that the arbitration was in effect simply an additional – and expensive – preliminary procedure prior to a full-blown court case, it is doubtful they would have seen any point in going to arbitration in the first place.