BACK in the 1960s and 1970s there was a BBC sitcom called Till Death Us Do Part.

It would never be allowed to air these days - and with good reason.

To enlighten those of you not yet of a certain age, the main character was Alf Garnett, a reactionary, working class bigot.

He frequently spouted abhorrent racist views, disgusting many with his ‘choice’ language.

Alf Garnett came to mind the other day while I was out for an early morning stroll around Lyngford Park, in the Priorswood area of Taunton.

A group of young people in their tracksuits and trainers were working out in the free-to-use open air gym.

It was refreshing to see them enthusiastically supporting each other during their session on the equipment installed in the park a few years ago to encourage us to be more active.

It was then that I noticed a passing dog walker beckoning me over, presumably to chat about the glorious weather, or so I thought.

Instead, I was greeted with a brief, hateful burst of ignorant bile that left me shocked, angry and disheartened.

“It’s not England any more, is it?” ‘Alf-alike’ shook his head.

(I’ve omitted the overused expletive he spat out before ‘England’).

Taunton Alf-alike’s vile comment was based on the fact the exercise group were all black people.
What he said is so wrong on every count.

Firstly, even a smidgen of knowledge of geography would inform him that Lyngford Park is most definitely still in England.

But far more serious was the message behind the vitriol - in his small mind, the victims of his unforgivable outburst were not English or not welcome in England because of the colour of their skin.

Surely, you don’t have to be exclusively white and born in England to live here? (Incidentally, that would have ruled out two of our last three Prime Ministers from being allowed to call themselves British).

Alf-alike should realise that Britain is much the better for welcoming people from diverse cultures to come and live and work here - and much the worse for nasty, small-minded prejudices.