Sanctuary scandal

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The Rev Dr Iain Whyte (Letters, 29 August) sees the problem of asylum seekers to this country differently from those of us who have come to regard asylum seeking as a device on the part of countless thousands of opportunistic colonisers seeking a better life for themselves than that afforded by their benighted homelands.

Our asylum laws were framed belatedly after the Second World War to safeguard several million east Europeans displaced in the West who at that point were threatened by the murderous process of Stalin’s communist regime.

Between 1943 and 1947 the Western democracies had returned 2.27 million Soviet citizens (including White Russians resident in the West for decades), for whom life either ended at Odessa on arrival from western Europe or in the Gulag Archipelago. These were the victims of Yalta. They cried out for asylum and we, the British and Americans, sent them back to a well-recognised fate.

These ghastly goings on finally persuaded the then British government to frame a law which safeguarded the lives of genuine seekers of asylum here.

Many of us who still bitterly remember the fate of the Cossacks and the White Russians and the countless thousands of others at that time fail to sympathise with what has now, for too long, developed into an immigration scandal under a false flag.

Alastair Harper


by Dunfermline