AN ALRESFORD-raised academic has launched a ferocious attack on the mentality of his home town – in the pages of the most famous newspaper in the world, the New York Times. Tom Whyman, 27, lambasted the market town over the decision of the UK to vote in favour of Brexit. In a piece headlined ‘Hell is other Britons’ Dr Whyman, who works at Essex University, wrote: “Alresford is my personal hell... dig below the surface you will find the demons crawling. You can see them in the looks that residents give you when they pass; sneering snobs glaring down their noses with entitlement; small-minded townies, bullying you with eyes that you recognise from the primary school lunchroom; the old people, 80 and above, wearing blank stares. “Brexit is the result of deep nihilism among the British public. This nihilism has not just emerged recently. This is the nihilism of Alresfordism, a security driven retraction towards death.” His comment has stunned and upset many residents. John Miller, who lives in nearby Bishop’s Sutton, said: “I could hardly believe my eyes when a friend in New York sent me this article. What a pity Mr Whyman didn’t attend the recent Alresford Literary Festival, where the audience was abuzz talking to all their neighbours about the brilliant presentations by Robert Hardy, John Julius Norwich and Edna O’Brien. Alresford is the friendliest place I have ever lived in, though after his bilious article Mr Whyman might not find it so on his next visit.” Cllr Kim Gottlieb, who represents the town on the city council, added: “I don’t know the author but he’s clearly had a bad day. His assessment of Alresford couldn’t be more wrong, as my own experience is that it is full of intelligent, kind and worldly people. “People voted in the referendum for many different nuanced and personal reasons, and to portray Alresford residents as one unthinking, uncaring mass reveals only the small-mindedness, and perhaps the immaturity, of the author. “I could say more, but the most important thing for us all now is to try to dissipate the bitterness and anger that has divided friends and family, and to make the very best of the circumstances we now find ourselves in. There is an awful long way to go before the real impacts of the referendum are known, and the calmer and more conciliatory we are in how we tackle the issues the happier the end result, hopefully.” Speaking to the Chronicle, moments before going on Channel 4 News on Monday Dr Whyman, who attended Kings’ School and Peter Symonds College, said: “I woke up at 6am on Friday incredibly frustrated and angry. It’s shared by a lot of young people in Alresford. “I’m articulating an anger. I grew up here and remain trapped here in some way.” Dr Whyman said he wrote the piece before hearing that the Winchester district, which includes Alresford, had bucked the trend to vote by 60:40 to stay in the EU. Dr Whyman’s father is Tony Whyman who runs the Childhood’s Dream toy shop in the Brooks Centre. Mr Whyman said: “We’re proud of Tom and who wouldn’t be. We have always encouraged our children to think outside the box and to not be afraid of putting themselves forward, and all four of them are finding success in their own way. I am certainly not concerned about any reaction because this is not about Alresford – This article is about the circumstances a town like Alresford finds itself in and the consequences for its young people.” Jon Cranfield, of Nursery Road, said: “To me the town is a friendly place, based on my own experience, people know each other and welcome new visitors to the town. There are ups and downs but where doesn’t that happen?. It is a shame he failed to do his research in relation to the Brexit vote though. Colchester, where Tom failed to cast his vote, voted to leave the EU while Winchester voted to remain (by a hefty margin). “Perhaps Tom should come out for a drink or a meal or attend an event in the town this summer? An offer made on All Things Alresford Facebook page in order for him to meet residents of this town. He may be surprised let’s hope so.” What do you think? Write to