UNFORTUNATELY, the letter from Andrew Martin (herefordtimes.com, February 23), by definition sets up an atmosphere of confrontation.

There will be those itching to participate. He refers to “our opinions” not being listened to several times. The assumption is that everyone feels the same as he does. I for one do not.

Nor I imagine do many of the thousands of people from other countries who now live and work in Herefordshire.


Many of these will have arrived as adults, they pay their taxes and have cost the State so far nothing in, for example education expenditure.

I meet such people all the time in the shop, the hospital, the petrol station, or working in the caring sector.

Asylum seekers who have paid their life savings (and more) for dangerous journeys to escape violence, desperate poverty, etc are not here to cause trouble.

If they are not genuine then there is a process in place to deal with this.

Imagine paying thousands of pounds for a place in an overcrowded unseaworthy dinghy to get you here. You must be pretty desperate.

Ledbury Reporter:

The last thing they want on arrival is to cause trouble.

And think of the poor children involved. So why are they demonised? It seems that they are a scapegoat for other problems in society.

We have taken in more than 100,000 Ukrainian people with no great public concern.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, himself with an Indian background, has disgracefully contributed to the demonisation of asylum seekers.

He lists his five top priorities.

The first four are to halve inflation, grow the economy, decrease the national debt, and dramatically reduce NHS waiting lists. The fifth is to pass new laws to stop the small boats from arriving.


Some 40,000 people arriving this way is indeed a problem that needs solving. Until a couple of years ago similar numbers arrived but then it was in the back of trucks and trailers and therefore not so obvious.

However, to compare the arrival of the boat people with the economy, national debt, inflation, and NHS problems is simply absurd, like equating an elephant with a mouse.

It is a blatant sop to extremism.

There is a strong element of “not in my backyard” in the letter.

Our problem is small compared with that of poorer countries such as Turkey and Lebanon which have taken in millions of refugees. We have in the past demonstrated a humane concern for desperate people, and I hope we will continue to do so.



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