I GREW up in Bolton in the 1960s and 1970s, and now live in Auckland, New Zealand. I was back in Bolton for several weeks which covered the period of the EU referendum.

I can fully understand the anger and frustration of many people in the town which led them to vote Leave. The town has suffered terribly in the era of neoliberal globalisation. The massive cuts imposed on the Council budget by austerity policies only serve to hurt further those who are already hurting. So the vote to Leave can be seen as a great big two-fingered salute to the elites who have ignored the plight of this town.

But it is a great mistake to lash out at immigrants as part of that anger. When an employer offers a job to an immigrant at lower pay than the local person has been getting, blame the greed of the employer. Blame those who impose globalisation to exploit the many (wherever we are from) and enrich the few. And don’t ever let Johnson, Farage, Trump, Le Pen and their kind pass the responsibility on to immigrants.

And let’s remember our history. Look at the coat of arms of Bolton. That black lion on the coat of arms is the lion of Flanders, reminding us of the Flemish immigrant workers who came to Lancashire in the 1300s. They established the spinning and weaving industry on which Bolton subsequently was built. How many of us are descended from those immigrants? Would we rather our ancestors had been expelled?

It has been said that those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it. I sincerely hope we have learned something from our own history.

David Parker