Dear Prime Minister,
Poles have been coming to Britain for centuries. We have lived peacefully with our new neighbours and contributed to the economy of the United Kingdom. We treat Britain as an ally, a friend and a partner. We are thankful for feeling welcome. It is therefore strange that the British media, taking their lead from politicians, often demonise Poles with consequentially horrific results.
The trigger for the planned demonstration is the recent chauvinistic assault on an innocent Polish biker, whose only “fault” was wearing a Polish flag on his helmet. On 15th January, Damian was surrounded by 15 men who shouted xenophobic abuse at him and pushed him off his bike while repeatedly punching and kicking him. Just for being Polish. This attack is not an isolated incident, as Poles are regularly amongst the most numerous victims of racist attacks.
The purpose of this protest is to highlight the high level of anti-Polish attitude that has been accumulating in the UK in recent months. This seems to have reached an apogee on 6th January when you, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, decided to stigmatise Poles. Accusing us of being child benefit abusers is insulting to all hard working tax payers in the UK. According to recent UCL studies, Poles have contributed with their taxes 34% more to the economy when compared to the benefits taken, more than any other minority and even the British themselves.
It is not our goal to belittle the great British hospitality and generosity to the recent influx of Polish immigrants since 2004. Nonetheless, it must be recognised that we are a fully integral part of British society now – we are students, lawyers, builders, doctors, accountants, teachers, and other contributors to this country.
We cannot understand why people who have respected British law, paid our taxes, contributed to the culture, have much in common and fought alongside the British on many occasions, notably in the Battle of Britain, should now be slandered.
It is truly hurtful that once excellent British-Polish relations are on the verge of being shattered by populist politicians, who are using Poles as scapegoats. We do not want to dictate what the benefit system should be nor the nature of relations with the European Union, because it is up to all of us, citizens and residents of the United Kingdom, to decide the political future by fair debate and reasoned argument. But we will not allow bigotry and discrimination against our people!
We expect that you should:
Explain that taxpayers in the UK who are of Polish origin are entitled to receive the same benefits as other taxpayers.
State unequivocally that Poles should be treated equally to others.
Use your position to call for an end to racism against Poles.
This letter is also directed to Ed Milliband, who, despite having Polish roots, regrets letting the Poles work in the UK, and Nigel Farage for his constant criticism of workers from Eastern Europe. We would also like to express our gratitude to those MPs who have cooperated with Labour Friends of Poland, Polish Friends of Conservatives, Conservative Friends of Poland and Friends of Poland in UKIP. They can count on the support of the Polish people.
Jarosław Bernat, Representative of the Polish Bikers in the United Kingdom
Marzena Schejbal, Chairman of the Home Army (Armia Krajowa) in the United Kingdom
Sergiusz Paplinski, Home Army (Armia Krajowa) veteran
Jan Niechwiadowicz, Author of the “German Camps, Polish Victims”
Jerzy Byczynski, Chairman of the Polish Youth Association “Patriae Fidelis“
Ryszard Parulski, Head of the Polish Olympians Association and Vice-Chairman of the Polish Olympic Committee
Wiktor Moszczynski, Chairman of SPK Ltd (Polish Veterans Organisation)
Maciej Swirski, Chairman of the Polish Anti-Defamation League
Janusz Rozycki, son of Jerzy Rozycki, one of Enigma codebreakers
Irena Grocholewska, Head of Federation of Polish Teachers Abroad
Patryk Malinski, Conservative Candidate for the Hounslow Council
Lukasz Filim, Executive Board President of the Polish Professionals in London
Dawid Wawrzyniak, Chairman of the Polish Cooperation Network
Sławomir Wróbel, Chairman of the Polish Group London “PogLond”
Maciej Bator, Coordinator of the Vote! Campaign
Victor Woldanowski, Moderator of the Polish Media Issues Group
Marta Gregorczuk-Migdałek, London-based Journalist, Press Officer of the Vote! Campaign
Krzysztof Bar, Chairman of the Federation of Polish Student Societies
Tommy Tomescu, Co-President of Alliance Against Romanians and Bulgarians Discrimination
Elizabeth Niechwiadowicz, Trustee and on behalf of the Support Poland Ltd
Mirek Malevski, Chairman of the Fawley Court Old Boys Ltd
Iwona Mekarska, Head Teacher/Director of Polish Supplementary School in Milton Keynes
Ilona Korzeniowska, Chief Editor of the Polish Express
Teresa Bazarnik, Publisher of Nowy Czas (New Time London)
Lukasz Szlek, Labour Candidate for the Southampton Council
Roman Zawadzki, Chairman of the Polish American Defense Committee (USA)
If a name and organisation would like to be added to the letter, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org, we’re collecting the signatures until 23rd February.
The letter will be handed in at 10 Downing Street after the demonstration