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Monday, 24 April, 2000, 10:41 GMT 11:41 UK
Asylum: Pandering to racists?

One of the UK's leading trade unionists, Bill Morris, has strongly criticised the Labour government over its policies on immigration.

Mr Morris, a staunch Labour supporter, accused the government of giving "life to the racists" by heralding measure after measure to stop people entering Britain. He said ministers were fostering a "climate of fear and loathing" on asylum and immigration issues.

The government rejected the charges and said that promoting race equality was a key priority.

So who is right? Has the asylum issue been handled sensitively by the government, and indeed by other parties? Are the government's policies the right ones? And is the situation in Britain is different from that in the rest of Europe?


Although I have no figures to prove it, I truly believe that the majority of asylum seekers are not bogus. It's just the problem like you have in school when someone in a classroom steals the teacher's apple and when asked to own up, no one does. As a result, the whole class gets detention, all because of this one person. By refusing to take asylum seekers, it will only do more harm to people than good.
Ethan Lewis, England



It is quite likely that the asylum seeker will contribute more towards the economy.

Vinod Dawda, UK
I would rather have my tax spent on poor asylum seekers than on so many who live off the benefit system despite all the opportunities. The race or nationality makes no difference. It is quite likely that the asylum seeker will contribute more towards the economy over a period of time than those who have had a very pampered life.
Vinod Dawda, UK

There is a difference between welcoming asylum seekers (good) and being targeted by criminals and scroungers (bad). As with many things the wicked minority causes the hard-pressed majority to suffer (again). The balance has swung too far in favour of premeditated criminals - the pendulum is simply correcting itself. Better a minor correction now - than a real backlash later.
In Britain it is not acceptable to beg for money. We all pay towards a social security system that is generous and easily available. Beggars in London are not harmless - they demean and embarrass the people they challenge for money.
Why should people be demeaned at all - and who said that it is acceptable for asylum seekers to participate in that demeaning process. It is not on. A reality check never hurts anyone.
Richard, UK

There is poverty in Britain; there is homelessness in Britain; There are aged people in Britain; there are unemployed and there are sick people in Britain. When I pay taxes I want those people to see the benefits. Only once we have created the perfect place can we afford to allow yet further people into this country. At the moment there is no room left and if there was then we wouldn't be having this discussion.
Jon Anderson, UK

Britain is obviously regarded as a 'soft touch' yet we simply cannot afford neither economically nor geographically asylum seekers in such numbers as seventy thousand a year. Some of the comments in this section particularly from Americans calling us the most prejudiced are rather rich considering they 'invented' ethnic cleansing in the nineteenth century with their policy towards the native Indians.
Roger Harrison, UK



Once processed don't give them money, give them a bit of self esteem, a job, schooling for their children and a basic understanding of English.

Angela Severn-Morrell, England
How can you possibly treat an issue like immigration sensitively? The only solution is to treat all people in a fair and consistent manner. I think that they should be temporarily housed in empty army barracks, god knows there are enough of them around. Then take the minimum time to process them.
Once processed don't give them money, give them a bit of self esteem, a job, schooling for their children and like American citizens ensure that they have a basic understanding of English before you allow them to stay in this country for ever. We should be like Australia and not allow them to live off the state. But don't stop them coming here, a lot of the immigrants are better workers than our own citizens.
Angela Severn-Morrell, England

Let us not forget that most of these people who are claiming asylum are running away from being tortured by devices built in the UK or the US. Lets also not forget that the reason why these countries are so poor is that they were looted during colonial times of all their natural resources.
How come it has taken literally 5 minutes to offer white farmers permission to come here, yet Hong Kong residents were charged 50,000 to come? The number of refugees that the UK takes is tiny compared with countries like Germany.
Vishal Vashisht, UK



If you allow freedom before approval, you may as well not bother with the approval process at all.

Bill Smithers, UK
Every sound thinking person would agree that racism exists in the world - white exclusion now exists in parts of the UK for instance. The main issue of whether foreign immigrants should be allowed freedom within the UK whilst the application is reviewed should be obvious to answer. If you allow freedom before approval, you may as well not bother with the approval process at all.
Bill Smithers, UK

Why whenever questions of race and immigration arise do those people like Bill Morris just talk about the language being used. This is a complete red herring and reveals that they do not actually have a coherent argument. Would they let in the entire populations of Afghanistan or Somalia? Clearly this is unfeasible but instead of discussing the issue rationally they resort to quibbles over semantics and cry 'racist'. It is not a substitute for a real debate.
Pete Whitehead, United Kingdom

I am in total agreement with Cord of the USA. The British seem to forget that this country would be NOTHING if it were not for the many different nations that have helped the country over the years, both economically, and as allies during war time. Unfortunately though, the majority of people seem to think that it was just Britain and the USA that saved Europe, but the facts tell us that it was the other way round. Come on you intolerant's, how would you like it if the shoe were on the other foot?
Marek, UK/Poland

If people want to go to a different country for a better life, then I wish them well. BUT, they should live within the laws of that country and be a productive member.
L Oxley, English living in US



Virtually all of the people who want to come to Britain want the chance to earn a decent living and provide for their families.

Paul Hargreaves, UK student in US
No-one seems to have noticed that very soon Britain will need these immigrants to bolster the workforce. Britain has a rapidly ageing population and will soon not have enough people to fill the available jobs. Virtually all of the people who want to come to Britain want the chance to earn a decent living and provide for their families. Why is such press coverage given to the very small minority who come to exploit the welfare system
Paul Hargreaves, UK student in US

People have the right to decide how their tax money should be used. If they want it used for those of all races who are citizens and legal residents of the UK, then I don't think that is unfair. It isn't racism, it is a recognition that the number of people who want to be supported vastly exceeds the resources available to support them.
I think the British prefer their taxes be used for the elderly, the sick and the unemployed who are already part of British society, not for those who come solely for the purpose of receiving benefits.
Kalara, USA

The Brits are the most prejudiced group in Europe, I am only surprised that their true colour doesn't rise more often.
Cord, USA

The biggest problem with the UK is that it is scared to take the bulls by the horns. Talking about those who abuse the system is not racist. All that William Hague has said is that measures must be taken to fight those abuses. There is no mention of race or religion in his comments. He must be congratulated for being the first politician to voice the concerns and opinions of the very silent majority on this issue.
By the way, I am a British Asian. Does that mean because I said the above comments that I am not racist!!
Anon, UK



If this migration to England doesn't stop, there will be no more England as it is today.

Ruth, USA
These people, unless they are fleeing for their very lives, should stay home and work at making their own countries better. All economic "refugees" should be returned to their country of origin immediately and no taxpayer money should be spent on them. Instead, qualified people from the "developed" nations should go to these countries and teach the people how to improve their own nations and live better at home. If this migration to England doesn't stop, there will be no more England as it is today.
Ruth, USA

Shame on us. I'm sick to death of our hypocrisy - here we are, leading a life our great-grandparents could only dream of, condemning people with little means of achieving such standards of comfort.
The strange thing is in one breath we complain of an ageing population, whilst in the next denying entry to peoples aching to make a contribution. It was successive waves of migrant that made Britain great - examine your own surname and you will find a migrant.
Craig Harry, England



Let's give these people some dignity rather then treating them like farm animals.

James Mockoski, USA
Asylum Camps or Concentration Camps? What's the difference? I am extremely ashamed over William Hague's comments recently and we should be warned with this new level of Nationalism that he is promoting which is no different from the Nationalism Hitler was promoting in the 30's.
Let's give these people some dignity rather then treating them like farm animals. These people are coming to this country for a reason, which is to find a better life.
James Mockoski, USA

The government took over 10K in taxes from me last year. I don't begrudge them that if it means that a pensioner gets that hip replacement or an unemployed father of three gets the time he needs to get himself back on his feet and working again.
However, there are always those lazy spongers out there who will want the free meal ticket and unfortunately they end up spoiling it for the genuinely needy.
Steve Randall, Britain

Removing the emotion from the argument, the issue at stake is that the sheer number of bogus asylum seekers (or "economic migrants" to use today's language) is making it impossible to deal speedily with those in genuine need. We need to do whatever is necessary to ensure that those in need can easily gain asylum here, and that those seeking to abuse the system are speedily removed or dissuaded from travelling here. Once that is addressed, the cost of bogus applicants on the taxpayer will no longer be an issue.
Paul R, UK



If we are so popular we should have a quota and take our pick of those who actually have something of value to contribute to our society.

David de Vere Webb, UK
An effect of requiring adequate reasons for seeking asylum is that we import people from the worst regimes, and are in danger of receiving the worst of the worst. If we are so popular we should have a quota and take our pick of those who actually have something of value to contribute to our society.
David de Vere Webb, UK

It makes me angry to hear both politicians and the press talking about all asylum seekers as if they are all false. Also the people of this country seem to think that we owe nothing to any of these people.
Let's face it, European greed, imperialism and capitalism and the way the west plundered the world and did it in God's name has put their countries in the mess they are in today. The people who complain about asylum seekers are obviously too stupid to realise this.
Kevin Hogan, England



Why should they get treated like royalty, while my grandmother lives in near poverty?

Andy MacDonald, UK
There are far too many people in Britain. Something must be done to stop the masses of bogus asylum seekers flocking over here. Why should they get treated like royalty, while my grandmother lives in near poverty?
It's not racist to speak out about immigrants, the media have twisted the word racist to include anyone concerned about immigration. That means my comments are racist. You can't blame people for wanting to find a better quality life, but why should it by at our expense?
Andy MacDonald, UK



I wonder how many people on the Tory benches would not be here if not for their ancestors immigrating here?

Z, England
It's really funny, on the one hand people such as doctors and scientists are welcomed with open arms, but the rest are labelled as "bogus" or other such demeaning descriptions. Indeed where would the NHS be without the many thousands of migrant nurses and doctors from the third world? I wonder how many people on the Tory benches would not be here if not for their ancestors immigrating here?
With this world of open information flow, technology etc etc, people today are more ignorant and short-sighted than ever before!
Z, England

It is ridiculous to say that race plays no part in the handling of these and similar cases. As an illustration compare the handling of the issue of Hong Kong Chinese entitled to "British" passports to that of people from South Africa or Zimbabwe.
In the former case nationality rules were seriously fiddled in order to keep out "flood" of non-white people. In the latter case, people (often with at best spurious links to the UK) are welcomed with open arms, solely on the basis of their skin colour.
Peter Odinga, UK

I've no trouble with people coming here to visit, work, or seek asylum from a genuine political/war-related problem back home. However, the problem I have is when they get preferential treatment to British passport holders in terms of benefits and services. Equality should be equality - if you give asylum seekers money, then British people on benefits should receive at least as much.
Why should we care more about outsiders than our own people? Likewise we should have a strict, clear policy in place which deals swiftly with those who claim bogus asylum, or break the terms of their visa. Australia and NZ are far tougher than us - maybe we should look to them for advice.
Richard, UK

Without politics and religion there would be no racism, the people of the world get along just fine until they are polarised by politics and religion.
Kev., Australia

I do believe that this is not a race problem but a culture problem.
Jonathan, Denmark

I think that immigration must be controlled if any country is going to maintain their original identity.
Lee Peters, USA

There is an ethnic minority being persecuted in Zimbabwe right now. Whilst their status was acquired by dubious colonial means several generations ago those people should still be entitled to the protection of the law. They are being denied this by the racist attitudes of that country's government. Comforting to know we are all alike under the skin.
Martin, Scotland



Argh... So many semi-truths and such scare mongering!

Andrew L., UK
Argh... So many semi-truths and such scare mongering! But politicians pandering to xenophobes will unleash new forces. No one does anti-immigration better than the hard right. So it's in mainstream politicians' interest to tell the truth about asylum seekers. Channels for normal economic migrants are also needed now that Britain's population is declining dangerously.
Andrew L., UK

I would like to say that the current issue of 'Asylum seekers' is not one of race or of who qualifies as being English or not. Nor is it a matter of racism on the part of those that live in the UK whether they be of European, African or Asian origin. The issue is one of basic economic and social practicalities. We live in a small island, one that is home to over 56 million individuals, we can't take all the people who arrive at our shores without compromising our duty and ability to provide for those who have been born in this country and those who have come here by legitimate immigration.
I feel that being a genuine Asylum seeker should qualify to stay in Europe, most who come here are economic migrants and in an ideal world they could stay and I am sure breath fresh air into our economy, but it is not practical considering that even in the South-East we are home to over 30,000 Asylum seekers (if we can believe the press!) I don't think these sentiments make me a racist, I just believe that it is not possible to take in so many people.
Peter, UK



The voters of this country need to encourage an honest and appropriate debating language

Andrew Baker, England
It is ironic that a government, like the current one which is more equality minded than the other parties is traditionally forced to justify its stance on immigration because it feels compelled to live down a liberal reputation. Yet again it is the voters of this country who need to look at themselves and encourage an honest and appropriate debating language, that is mindful of the potential hurt that a misuse of language can inflict. Let us create an atmosphere of generosity and sensitivity by supporting government policies that show maturity and humanity
Andrew Baker, England

The 'silent majority' here are not intentionally racist, nor are they in any hurry to have their way of life changed or influenced by 'poor hard done by refugees'. A warning to politicians is that those who would not normally commit them selves one way or the other in public may well do so in the privacy of the election booth.
Patrick Bartholomew, United Kingdom

Immigration is a major part of human history. Man has been moving from one place to another in search of a economic and political security. For all those who argue against immigration and asylum, remember that at some point in the past your ancestors came to the UK from somewhere else. The process will go on.
Alex Mesmer, Eritrea

Perhaps, we should refer to all new comers as "migrants" or "settlers" or "colonizers" to make them desirable, acceptable, & useful. After all we have sent millions of fellow Europeans to other parts of the world describing them as colonizers. These people, best described as aliens or parasites were never wanted by the native peoples of the Americas, Africa, and Australasia. I guess the dynamics of European inavsions into the 'new worlds' were a result of a planetary economy, the same reason for refugees today, except that the European invasions were never a choice for the natives! Luckily we natives have choices but we still live in a planetary economy, not on an "island only" economy!
DS, UK



Perhaps, we should refer to all new comers as "migrants" or "settlers" or "colonizers" to make them desirable, acceptable, & useful.

DS,UK
Obviously, racism plays its part in our xenophobic attitudes towards immigration, but there is more to it than that. Generally speaking, the British people are very open to immigrants, thus continuing a long tradition of picking up the political and economic jetsom of Europe and, in more recent times, the world. Today's perceptions of immigrants, however, are tainted by the relatively recent advent of providing them with social services at the tax payers expense. And the British taxpayer, who provides for this "safety net" is naturally resentful of having to do this when so many of our own people have equally compelling issues that need addressing. HMG is right to tighten up on immigration laws, therefore, for they are merely reflecting the view of the majority of the British people...we live in a democracy, afterall.
Mark M. Newdick, USA/UK

It is a pity that the Home Office and the Tory front bench choose to scapegoat some of the most vulnerable people in the world. Local authorities should be recompensed through taxing the obscene bonuses paid to top executives (eg. Barclays Bank). The real parasites get off scott free!
Mike Calderbank, uk

Europe cannot continue to absorb such huge numbers of asylumseekers, without facing a total collapse of law and order.
Jake Santman, Netherlands

I have no problem with asylum seekers. However, when they get here they should be accommodated within a Military Barracks, fed centrally and have their movements restricted until their case is heard. This would ensure that if their case is not approved, their location is known in they can be returned to their Country of origin.
Alastair Henry, England

Racism, Xenophobia and all forms of discrimination are unwelcome but until we build a society that can trust and support one another it has no hope of being able to 'tolerate' those outside its community. This in itself breeds hatred and distrust. The immigration 'problem' is not restrictive to the UK, Germany or France. It is a global issue where incidents over a thousand miles away may impact on countries like Britain. I think the UK is reaping what it sowed in the days of colonisation. Now its paying tenfold and all it can do is look to proportion blame for the economic plight it finds itself without really addressing the global problems that help initiate these situations.
Shakil Dixon, United Kingdom



Until we build a society that can trust and support one another it has no hope of being able to 'tolerate' those outside its community.

Shakil Dixon, UK
Bill Morris appears not to appreciate the genuine fears of ethnic Britons who see their homeland being made to take ever increasing number of foreigners and without, apparently, having any power to reverse the situation. To call their fears "racism" is a travesty of the truth and is effect palying the race card but in reverse.
Phill Edwards, uk

As an Englishman by birth, I happen to be white, I can't wait for the day when being English is defined by the country where you were born and not the colour of your skin. The majority of the public want to see asylum seekers treated fairly but not preferentially. By bringing colour into the argument, Bill Morris is playing the race card in reverse. It's a very feeble arguement and will not wash with the majority of sound thinking people.
Andrew Barker, England

The allowances for asylum seekers in Britain add up to about 7 or 8 times the average salary here. Even though there is no civil or state security threat, people still claim asylum which is bogus by any definition. Rather than burdening western Europe's economies with a seemingly endless commitment towards a lose-lose scenario, why don't you invest in poor countries, buy what we have to sell, come on holiday, or anything to help the East back to its feet. Simply luring away the poorest workers erodes our ability to produce anything and your ability to buy it.
Andrew, Romania

I am a doctor, and I came to this country to attend university in 1976 from Trinidad and remained here. When I think of how many years of hard work and service I have given to British people of all races whom I happily looked after as patients in the NHS, I used to feel angry about the way that I used to be humiliated at the Home Office immigration centre every year that I queued there for days in the rain and snow, to have my visa renewed. I have always felt that the immigration arrangements in this country are deliberately inefficient, so as to put people off wanting to stay in this country. Well done Bill Morris, you spoke loud and clear for all the decent, hard working, law abiding non-white British people in this country.
Annabelle Burnham, UK



Why don't you invest in poor countries, buy what we have to sell, come on holiday, or anything to help the East back to its feet. Simply luring away the poorest workers erodes our ability to produce anything

Andrew, Romania
Bill Morris is as anachronistic as the asylum laws he seeks to defend - a trade union leader who hankers after the power and influence his predecessors wielded twenty years ago. This debate on the asylum laws is long overdue and needs realism and determination, not imbecilic accusations of racism left right and centre.
James Denning, UK

Let the people of Britain decide on this matter. Only they have the democratic right to do so. How? Get rid of liberal democracy and replace it with universal democracy. This latter would mean that all parts of the government programme (including immigration policy) would be put to the people in a secondary 'policies' election (with alternative policy proposals from the opposition party/ies), after the primary election of those who are elected to be the executive. Such a DEMOCRATIC solution would, at a stroke, resolve all of the current debate.
Terry Daly, England

I don't think anyone has considered the roots of the problem of why asylum seekers exist. The majority are genuine cases stemming from war-torn countries or countries where oppressive regimes are in power. Judging by a lot of the comments that have been posted on this board, there seem to be a lot of selfish, greedy and single-minded people in the UK.
Jamie, London



Judging by a lot of the comments that have been posted on this board, there seem to be a lot of selfish, greedy and single-minded people in the UK.

Jamie, London
l am sure not all your listeners are anti-immigrants, but reading through commentaries that is the viewpoint being projected. It is sad, indeed, very sad. You give aid and comfort to those with xenophonic instincts and thoughts. If you are going to do that, please try and give the opposing viewpoint also.
erik, U.S.A

For the past year or so, Londoners have been bombarded with negative statements about asylum seekers. 2 to 3 times a week, the Evening Standard billboards, which appear all over London, will carry some anti-asylum-seeker message, with no context and no justification. As is typical for the tabloid media, if you take the trouble to read the story which the headline supposedly summarises, you often find out that the link between headline and content is tenuous at best.
Richard, UK

I believe the call for politicians and the media to 'modify' their language over this issue has dangerous censorship overtones. What I have found most informative was the programme on Radio 4 last week, visiting Roma gypsies in Romania. I drew my own conclusions from this. The vox pop from Woolwich on the Today programme might have better informed Mr. Morris of the views of many of his Union - after years and years of UK citizens queuing for public services like housing and health, the resources end up being expended on hopeful new citizens who have immediately bestowed upon them housing, health checks, special education etc. This is seen as slightly unjust. Asky any family who has been waiting for a council exchange from a small tower block flat for a house and garden.
Margaret Parker



We cannot blame people for wanting to have a better life and come to UK, for you would do the same in their place

Christian Bohdi
We cannot blame people for wanting to have a better life and come to UK, for you would do the same in their place. It is true that many asylum seekers are economic migrants, but this is to do with economic order in the world and extreme concentration of wealth in the west. If there would be more co-operation and sharing among nations people would be happy where they are.
Christian Bodhi

You can't call people racists for wishing to safeguard the interests of their nationals first. We must remember that asylum seekers are a drain on national resources of their host countries and therefore only those who genuinely need it must be granted asylum. It is impossible to have a situation that observes no limits. Shall we be practical when we complain about serious issues?
Evans, Zambia



Why is everything "racist" if a European country does not allow in every individual seeking refuge in their country?

Claire, USA
Why is everything "racist" if a European country does not allow in every individual seeking refuge in their country? Maybe the people seeking a new life in Britain should accuse their country of origin of racism rather than their country of choice. Why are they leaving in the first place? Furthermore, if Britain/EU/USA is so bad why do so many people seek its safety and aid? It all hypocrisy and a warped sense of gratitude at its best.
Claire, USA

Surely the problem is more fundamental that we are led to believe. If we are to provide a refuge for people of the world then we have to do so based on some criteria and, having established what that criteria is, we should then apply it to all who seek to set up permanent residence. The current procedures of delay and confusion when dealing with would be immigrants simply add to the confusion and make not only the problem worse but the perception that a catastrophe is in the making.

What the government should be doing is to make sure that would be immigrants know they will not be held in limbo awaiting a decision but will have their cases dealt and a decision made within a maximum of one week. It may take a huge increase in resources to achieve this initially but I believe that, when in operation with no backlog to process, we would have a situation which was manageable fair and just. It is not inconceivable to suppose that if the entry criteria were clear the number of applicants would fall to a level where most were genuine and not as is the case presently.

Simply trading an ever more strident stream of condemnation of the poor confused 'bogus asylum seeker' will help nobody and merely raise problems within a country which accommodates considerable populations of virtually every racial group in the world with a fair amount of success.
John Brownlee, England

Racism has nothing to do with it. The international asylum system has become a severely abused anachronism, and should be overhauled. It's common sense that genuine asylum seekers should go to the nearest safe country (geographically and culturally) to their own. As an island nation surrounded by peaceful, prosperous neighbours, the UK shouldn't be getting any appreciable number of refugees.
Tom, USA

As a Ceylon Tamil who's family came here in the 60's for engineering studies, I while not been a asylum seeker myself have to say most asylum seekers from Ceylon are genuine but what is important for the government to understand is it cannot support such cases financially forever. Each applicant must be given a two-year period to become self supporting else, he/she should be returned to their country of origin. The tax payer should not be burdened indefinitely.
Krishan Canagasabey, UK



Britain is not of unlimited size and there is a limit on a number of people a country can sustain

R.Grava, Latvia
I am not British and I do not live in Britain but, being an European, I completely agree with those British who think that this crazy immigration and refugee policy must be stopped one day. Britain is not of unlimited size and there is a limit on a number of people a country can sustain and as far as I know, Britain has one of the highest population density in Europe.
R.Grava, Latvia



The fact is that any attempt to control the influx of such people is always met with accusations of racism and xenophobia

Phil Hall, UK
It is very difficult or even impossible for any Home Secretary to get the balance right when it comes to the immigration/asylum issue. What would Bill Morris do if he was Home Secretary? The fact is that any attempt to control the influx of such people is always met with accusations of racism and xenophobia.
Phil Hall, UK

There is a germ of truth in what Mr. Morris says. Just take a look at typical tabloid headlines and bylines regarding asylum seekers. They are just one step away from the "Johnny Foreigner" mentality. As an aside, Mr Ashall states "[the] left have had far too much influence in British politics in the last twenty years". Hmmm, that'll be the 1979-97 Thatcher/Major years then...
Thomas Brown, Scotland



Is Bill Morris actually claiming that anyone who thinks that British people should be given priority - in Britain - is a racist?

Steve Wood, UK
Is Bill Morris actually claiming that anyone who thinks that British people should be given priority - in Britain - is a racist? That would make most people in this country (and the world) racist. The money generated through taxes in this country should first and foremost be used to tackle the poverty problems we have on our own doorstep.
Many British children in our inner cities quite literally can have a better start in life by sailing out into the Channel and trying to get back in as refugees. Can this be right? Surplus money can be - and is - used to tackle poverty in other parts of the world. The finances of this country are not a bottomless pit.
Steve Wood, UK

I wholeheartedly agree with Dominic's view on concentrating on rebuilding our own infrastructure for the current UK residents. It is NOT a racist view to say that there should be a limit on immigration, as it happens to be logical and sensible view. If you look at the size and state of the UK, why don't other countries take in the equivalent percentage of immigrants? Look around our own society and be honest with yourselves rather than point the racist finger without thought.
Mike, UK

Of course it plays into the hands of racists who will use the way the government are handling this issue. The very fact that the Government spends most of its time talking about "bogus" asylum seeks means that the same brush tars ALL. We should not be surprised by this approach, as ALL groups who are in need of help have to be stigmatised before they can receive help.
The reasoning behind this is that it stops those who might not really need it from getting it. This was the principle behind the 1832 poor law, and it is still with us today. I will have some sympathy with this view when we start talking about the deserving and undeserving rich.
John Easton, England

The spurious definition of economic migrants as "people who enter the UK in order to receive benefits" is proof if any were needed that those who shout about the asylum issue mean to whip up base xenophobic emotions.
Sam, UK



Being 'against immigration' has become a socially acceptable way of being racist.

David S, UK
Being 'against immigration' has become a socially acceptable way of being racist. Politicians know exactly what they're doing when they rail against 'bogus' asylum seekers - playing the race card, without crossing the line into saying something people are too embarrassed to support. I think it's depressing how acceptable the viewpoint has become.
David S, UK

Bill Morris is "playing the race card" by describing new asylum laws as promoting racism. The asylum laws say nothing about the colour of the asylum-seekers skin. This is not a racial issue, so please stop trying to make it one.
Keith, UK

The voucher system for asylum seekers is state discrimination. It stigmatises as well as impoverishes the most vulnerable of people. It is open to abuse from shops and supermarkets wishing to profit from the voucher scheme. To its eternal shame the government has got it totally wrong on this issue.
Malcolm McCandless, Scotland



If we weren't letting so many bogus refugees into the country there would be no ammunition for the racists to use.

John S, UK
If we weren't letting so many bogus refugees into the country there would be no ammunition for the racists to use. So, arguably Tony Blair is once again destroying everything - our economy suffers to pay for these people while our racial harmony suffers as the extreme right gain popularity.
John S, UK

I have always believed the British to be more xenophobic than for instance the Germans. Have a look at some of the headlines in your tabloids, if you don't know what I mean.
Jose Fernandez Sandra, Netherlands

Immigration and the issue of asylum seekers has nothing whatsoever to do with racism. It is a logistical problem, not a racial one. This country is only so big, and if the authorities keep insisting that Britain keeps accepting refugees and people seeking a better standard of living, the problem of racism WILL eventually raise its head.
Speak out against the willingness to open the floodgates and you're branded a racist. My father-in-law and his son have both just been made redundant after working solidly for years. The trouble they went through trying to claim benefit was appalling.
But arrive at Dover with no money, no place to live and preferably no knowledge of the English language and they give you a council house and a regular income. This must be stopped before we DO start getting problems with racism. Mr Morris is barking up the wrong tree it would seem.
Steve, England



I see no problem with helping those who genuinely face persecution.

John B, UK
Immigration is nothing to do with racism. I see no problem with helping those who genuinely face persecution, who genuinely need a safe haven, and who will (like many before them) integrate into our society to the benefit of all.
I see the problem as being to do with economic migrants, who want to take advantage of our benefits system and who have no intention of putting anything back in. As far as I am concerned, the colour of their skin is not the issue.
John B, UK

The government is absolutely right to take a tough line on asylum seekers. The "intellectual" (and I use the term advisedly) left have had far too much influence in British politics in the last twenty years. They and their cronies in the media have twisted the word "racist" to mean anyone who does not agree that every single police officer in London hates black people, or anyone who advocates that our borders should not be open for all and sundry to abuse our benefit system.
Of course the victims of genuine persecution are welcome in this country - they always have been. But the time and effort taken up by economic migrants claiming persecution (who rather than being black are almost exclusively white east Europeans) means that less help can be offered less quickly to those who really need it. Bill Morris should know that.
Simon Ashall, United Kingdom



Good race relations in the UK depend upon strict immigration controls.

Richard, England
Good race relations in the UK depend upon strict immigration controls, so it is in the interests of ethnic minorities and of genuine asylum seekers that bogus asylum seekers are kept out. We should adopt the same approach as Germany where people from "safe" countries who claim asylum are turned back at the border.
Richard, England

I think Mr. Morris is gravely underestimating the intelligence of the people of the United Kingdom with his remarks. The Government is facing a thorny issue with immigration where no decision can give them the moral high ground.
Alex, Belgium

Britain's right hand stirs up political troubles in the Balkans and in other parts of the world to justify military intervention by Britain and her allies which, naturally results in naive, gullible, displaced persons from these areas in turmoil seeking safety, security and peace in Britain, western Europe and north America.
When people in distress knock on British doors, Britain's left hand tries to stop them from entering Britain, damning them as bogus or contemptuously dismissing them as economic migrants. Remember that the white farmers in Zimbabwe, most in the Americas and Antipodes, and expatriates in the oil-rich west Asia are economic migrants as well.
Mohansingh, India



Sometime in the future when the country is "back on its feet" we can open the doors to migrant workers and refugees.

Dominic, UK
I believe that, in a country where so many people live in poverty, we should concentrate on rebuilding the infrastructure for the current UK residents, e.g. schools, healthcare etc.
Sometime in the future when the country is "back on its feet" we can open the doors to migrant workers and refugees.
I also believe that it should be up to the EU to fund the refugees and the reception centres and not central government. This will lead to the countries that do not have a refugee "problem" helping with those that do equally.
Dominic, UK

I'm all for the free movement of people around the world. The problem isn't space - its money. When western countries offer welfare handouts that look like luxury they will attract all sorts and cost you lots of taxes. The best thing is not to have national welfare systems, but to leave all the borders wide open the world over. That will shock the busybodies from right and left! But it's the only real solution.
Jack Gordon, UK

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