Power of Words

The article by Stephen Spencer Ryde was published on 15 August

When an “ordinary middle-aged Londoner” penned his concerns about rising anti-Semitism in the UK, he didn’t expect to become an internet sensation.

But that’s what happened to football and cricket fan Stephen Spencer Ryde, who lives in Finchley, when his short letter to The Independent was retweeted over a thousand times within a matter of hours.

“In Bath my wife gets called scum when she mentions her background,” he wrote. “In Belfast a blue plaque is removed to deny part of my history. In theatres in Edinburgh and London I am told to denounce my opinions or lose the right to perform.”

Following a litany of other examples from across the UK, he concludes: “What is this? Racism. Where is this? Britain and Ireland. When is this? Now. Who am I? I am a Jew. Never again.”

Originally posted on 15 August, the letter had received 9,200 Facebook ‘likes’ by Monday. As the article gained traction, one Twitter user forwarded the letter saying: “Essential reading… Awful that it had to be written.”