Letter: In the aftermath of Croatia's re-conquest of Krajina

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Sir: David Bull's request (letter, 5 August) that the Government accepts more Bosnian refugees raises the question of where they are to be settled. In this neighbourhood, immigrants, and more recently refugees, have been flocking in for decades. I fear that areas with large immigrant populations will again be called upon to have the courage of the convictions of those who demand that we take just a few more deserving refugees.

This, ostensibly small, new intake of refugees will not be the last, and given the instability of many societies throughout the world, the likelihood is that refugees will always be in need of sanctuary, and the areas that have taken most immigrants will be expected to absorb more. Today, a young Tanzanian here on holiday said that his father had advised him to stay in England in view of the trouble in Tanzania.

A former neighbour in her seventies, who lives in another part of this district, visited us recently and said that since we moved away 18 years ago, all her old neighbours had gone, and she was now the only "indigenous" resident on her terrace of ten houses. The only white person among her immediate neighbours is a Polish woman with poor English.

It is little short of madness for this country to enter into an open- ended commitment to accept refugees when our population has already risen by a quarter since the war. Apart from overcrowding, the waste and pollution generated by this larger, increasingly affluent population has become an intractable health hazard.


E. Paull

London, SW16