Where did they find this money?

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SOMETIMES one can be forgiven for imagining one is already living in Wonderland only for another adventure to come along for Alice and surpass what has gone before.

Here we are in stringent times, being prepared for cutbacks from central and local government, when a story of psychological crassness confounds us further.

In an atmosphere in which libraries are fighting against closure, the Gazette presents (August 3) a picture of smiley faces, including the Mayor’s, advising East Sussex County Council has - abracadabra fashion - found money from somewhere to install books written in Polish!

What is going on? Apart from the financial consideration, I had thought there were signs we were beginning to get away from the loonier aspects of multiculturalism.

Not, it would seem, at municipal level. Local councils (in common with the BBC) still cannot get to grips with the shock-horror notion that if people choose to settle in another country, the least they must do is to learn the language.

As Keith Newbery reminds, on the Today programme recently we even had an Indian woman determined to be interviewed by Sarah Montague in her mother tongue.

At local level we have councils spending money on translations of information found in its publications, and now we have material in our library printed in Polish, when the same library service cannot afford to stock new books in English.

This is precisely the sort of action that fuels irritation about central and local government approaches to immigration and multiculturalism.

Do they believe the action of stumping up money to provide books in Polish is going to bring the indigenous population onside?

Edward Thomas

Collington Close