Letter: Repatriation and racism

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The Independent Online
Sir: I simply cannot understand the rush of criticisms from the Government, liberals and socialists to the proposals of Bernie Grant MP, and supported in her letter to you (7 October) by Linda Bellos, for voluntary repatriation of Caribbeans and others wishing to return to their roots. The critics express horror because the proposal also has support from the neo-fascist BNP and right-wing Tories such as Winston Churchill MP. But sensible ideas ought to be examined objectively and not because nasty elements in our society also happen to favour them.

The big difference between the Grant-Bellos proposals and the neo-fascists is the emphasis on voluntary decision-making. What is wrong about individuals who feel they want to escape the racialism and deprivation of reasonable opportunities in this country? Such feelings under the prevalent social climate are understandable.

However, the terms offered to voluntary repatriates must be generous. For example, old-age pensioners should be entitled to continue to receive their present entitlement. When one considers the future national savings in housing, health and other costs, the sums offered to those volunteering to leave these shores should be substantial.

Yours faithfully,

COLIN LEGUM

Plaw Hatch, West Sussex

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