I am a writer, and I attend various writing groups in Wakefield.
I got into a shouting-match with another member of one of these writing groups. I won’t tell you which group, or which member. Let us call him Mr X.
It suffices to say that my opinion of Mr X’s views about the ethnic make-up of West Yorkshire is that those views are a load of racist clap-trap.
The previous row had centered on Savile Town. I live in England, West Yorkshire, near Wakefield. Also nearby is a town called Dewsbury. In between Wakefield and Dewsbury is a place called Savile Town.
It is reputed that one of the 7/7 bombers came from Savile Town. This was asserted by Mr X. Mr X asserted that Savile Town is a training camp for terrorists.
The alternative view, that I heard today, is that the 7/7 bomber came from Nottingham, but lived in Savile Town for a brief period.
The alternative view came from a man called Jav. He and I used to work in the same office in Leeds.
Jav comes from Savile Town. Jav is a supporter of the Savile Town FC juniors. Jav’s son was frustrated because of the last-minute cancellation of his under 10s match against a team in Huddersfield.
I was glad I had put on my walking boots, because of the wet condition under foot.
Mr X would say that I had been brain-washed by Islamist extremists. I will tell you simply what I saw.
I saw shops, the most unusual of which was a charity shop for Palestinian refugees. It was not open while I was there.
I saw the first ever branch of Mullaco, an Asian supermarket.
I saw five mosques, of varying sizes.
Most of all, I saw a football match between two under 9 teams. Savile Town FC was mainly Asian, and Drighlington was mainly (but not exclusively) white British. I saw football played under modified rules because of the young age of the players, but completely under the ethos that applies at all levels.
I spoke to people who had turned up to attend this football match after having put in a night shift.
Haroon, the coach of Savile Town FC, asked me in if I wanted to attend the screening of a film in the BBC series, ‘Inside Out’, in which he appears. This was going to be shown to a young, female, community group, later that afternoon.
I needed to get back home in order to cook the Sunday dinner, but I agreed that I would keep in touch, and would come back and see the work of Engage Dewsbury. Engage Dewsbury works in spite of the government’s ‘Prevent’ campaign. The Prevent campaign is seen as lacking local foundation, and hence, ill-informed. Engage Dewsbury carries on in spite of not receiving any government funding.
I saw an under 9s football match. I had a chat with a former work colleague. I went home, and cooked the Sunday dinner. None of that involved radicalisation.
That is Savile Town.
Savile Town FC 2 – 1 Drighlington