Much of that letter was indeed racist

Racism, as I understand it to mean, is treating people, and normally judging and condemning them, solely on the basis of a stereotype of their race, irrespective of their individual characteristics or qualities. As such, racism is lazy, arrogant, insensitive and unrealistic.

And I regret to say much of the letter by Mr Long which you printed last week was undeniably racist. I was very gratified that you saw fit to publish alongside it two letters that contrasted positively and humanely with his, and I write now simply to register solidarity with them.

All that I know about Poland makes me believe it has historically had a deeply civilised culture despite wave upon wave of invasion and oppression. Despite generations of hardship there is a widespread determination to try to improve their quality of life, a determination that drives many young Poles to trust their luck in foreign lands.

That takes courage, endurance and grit: many young people can combine toughness with courtesy and respect for others; we hear nothing but good about them. Those we do hear about for ill are the few in whom toughness combines with negative attitudes leading to antisocial behaviour. I do not defend such behaviour at all, but it is no more typical of Poles than it is of Brits.

Finally, it is naïve of Mr Long to imagine that a typical Polish person would speak out. Rather than risk misunderstanding or worse for confronting Mr Long on his terms all the Poles I know would much rather keep their head down, get on with whatever job they have and put a country mile between themselves and any abusers.

Roger Seal

Church Lane