Grantham Journal letter: I was a political refugee

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When I first came to Britain in 1977 I, like tens of thousands of my countrymen, was a political refugee.

Although I was almost penniless I did not come to England to sponge off the benefits system, which I knew nothing about and didn’t use, I came because the future in my home country looked desperately bleak and leaving it seemed the only sensible thing to do. I came here to work and start my life again.

My reasons for immigrating then differed in no significant way from the millions of desperate people trying to rebuild their lives in Europe today. But I was much luckier than they are for one important reason: I had a legal right to be here, having been born in England to English parents, who took me to Africa when I was six months old. For 15 years before I returned to England my home was torn apart by civil war. So I understand very well the plight of political refugees. They do not leave their homes in the sun, and their friends and families, to live in a cold and hostile country and sponge off paltry foreign benefit systems, they leave to rebuild shattered lives.

Like many other important issues, people don’t understand the truth about immigration because the truth is invariably marginalised, ignored or manipulated by our right-wing press.

Europe is feeling the effects of mass immigration mainly because of the deliberate actions of the US, Israel and a few European governments like ours. It’s these governments that are mostly responsible for the destruction of immigrants’ home countries.

It’s the wars that these governments have either directly fought or paid others to fight - all of which have been illegal - and which they’re still fighting, that have caused millions of people to flee for their lives. Why start these wars? Profit.

So it’s pretty obvious to see that to stop the seemingly endless flood of desperate refugees our governments must first stop destroying other people’s countries.

John Andrews

Marratts Lane

Great Gonerby