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April 30, 2018

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Achim

May I use the opportunity of you mentioning windrush to ask something. I get my news about the UK mainly from The Economist (and a bit of internet sources like this blog). I was quite surprised when I read about the Windrush. If I understand it correctly, British citizens have been not only maltreated but in fact stripped of their citizen rights. And The Economist mentions this in a relatively small article somewhere in the middle of the issue. Let us assume for the moment that the same would happen to a number of white people whose grandparents had English grandparents. I would expect this to be the title issue of that journal. And now I am wondering whether I misunderstood the whole thing, because even on blogs like this one it all does not seem to be such a big issue.

Blissex

«If I understand it correctly, British citizens have been not only maltreated but in fact stripped of their citizen rights.»

You are talking about jamaican citizen who travel on a current jamaican passport to/from their family home in Jamaica, and who have had 40-50 years to collect 5 years of proof-of-residence in the UK (electricity bills, tax returns, etc.) and submit a permanent residence or citizenship application, and have never bothered (probably for not very defensible reasons) to do so, while obviously in order to be issued current jamaican passports they have bothered to keep or collect the right paperwork.

I know several EU people who have lived in the UK since the 1970s or the 1980s on the basis of solemn treaties meant to be permanent, and when those treaties were scrapped by the english, they collected their 5 years of proof-of-residence and applied for residence permits or citizenship, without saying anything.

UK citizenship is a matter of law, and that law is entirely color-blind, but the leftoids ("politically correct") love "moral outrages" (as long as they are not about the "undeserving poor").

The only reason why the "Windrush" story is a "scandal" is that the Daily Mail invented it: the affected people are photogenic "sweet looking" oldies from a Commonwealth country, and tory voters are often oldies themselves, are mawkishly sentimental, and love the Commonwealth as much as they detest the EU and the "young thugs" and the "adult scroungers" who come from it.

Blissex

«the same would happen to a number of white people whose grandparents had English grandparents.»

The "sweet looking" oldies involved were born in Jamaica from parents born in Jamaica and many have current, recently issued, jamaican passports.

In any case plenty of EU (and non-EU) white people have had and continue to have residence and citizenship issues, because immigration law is nasty to everyone, not just "sweet looking" jamaican citizen oldies.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/windrush-latest-british-high-commissioner-arthur-snell-son-uk-passport-denied-citizen-a8321056.html

«The baby son of a former British High Commissioner was denied a UK passport after he was born in a Caribbean state where his father was in post.»

The claim that those commonwealth citizens, despite their refusal to apply for residence or citizenship for 40 or 50 years (and thus becoming illegal immigrants at some point), were discriminated against seems to me pure imagination.

What is happening now is that no-records, taxpayer-paid residence and citizenship is being given to them as a special gift to appease mawkishly sentimental-ish tory voters, discriminating against all those EU (and non-EU) voters who respected the law.

Keith

This illustrates I think a decline in the UK political class. The fact that politicians and various activists simply ignore factual problems they do not like is very alarming. Huge policy issues hinge on understanding details and generalised attitudes are no guide when important details determine the whole matter of what policies are practical and humane. In a citizen it is a regrettable matter but for high level politicians and civil servants to be cavalier with the truth and rationality is very dangerous and irresponsible. Democracy is supposed to have feedback mechanisms to stop this kind of problem. Going ahead with disastrous mistakes is unacceptable. Hitler invaded the USSR and like Napoleon before him, it turned out to be a bit of a mistake. But he was very keen, and no one stopped him. We seem to have the same situation despite the existence of a Parliamentary system. The downside of Brexit seems substantial and any gains speculative, but we are going to march on moscow and it will be all over in time for christmas...

Keith

Blissex being slightly unfair. The law was changed in a way that put these people to great inconvenience. Parliament changed the law and did so under the coalition. It is another example of the low standards politicians have sunk to that they pass sweeping changes of this kind in response to xenophobia. Who knows what other changes may be made or who will be affected? It is the Parliamentarians who should be criticised not ordinary people. It is not so much that they cannot imagine there will be problems as that they cannot give a shit.Since it only affects the ordinary folks.

Blissex

«The law was changed in a way that put these people to great inconvenience.»

It put *every applicant* under great inconvenience (including the foreign born son of an UK ambassador as quoted above), it was not targeted specifically at photogenic "sweet looking" oldies from the Commonwealth, but only the latter are being given a free pass ("ignorance of the law is indeed an excuse", "jump-the-queue"), and EU and non-EU-non-Commonwealth citizens are not being given a free pass.

But overall the whole "scandal" is just an episode of the fight within the Conservatives between the "Remain" and "Leave" factions: the main political victim has been notable "Remainer" A Rudd, and the proposed "free pass" law applies only to Commonwealth citizens up to 1973, year of entry into the EC -- clearer than that...

«Parliament changed the law and did so under the coalition.»

But the Coalition only begun in 2010, and these photogenic "sweet looking" oldies had between 1948 and 2010, 62 years, to apply for residence or citizenship on much easier terms. Why did they never keep records of taxes paid and bills paid and then applied, but kept the records of their jamaican citizenship so they could be issues current jamaican passports to travel freely to Jamaica?

john

I came here on an Ancestry Visa and my New Zealand Passport in 1996. Before 1971 I would not have needed the visa as many Commonwealth Citizens had the right to roam in Britain before that was taken away and given to EU Citizens.
In 2002 I applied for Indefinite Leave to Remain and was going to apply for British Citizenship in 2003. I was disgusted with the government's invasion of Iraq so didn't. It's now so expensive, I can't afford to.

Ralph Musgrave

The Irish border issue is an entirely contrived problem deliberately set up by the Irish Republic and the EU so as to mess up the UK’s attempt to escape the EU. Irish and EU politicians may not have tumbled to this very elementary point, but the dividing line between two trading blocks is very often pretty hard. That is almost INEVITABLE. To ask for a 100% soft border is a bit like expecting steam rollers to fly.

If the boot was on the other foot and for example the Irish Republic wanted to become the next state of the USA and the British started wittering on about the horrors of a hard border, you can be sure the Irish Republic would be complaining about the beastly Brits trying to treat Ireland the same way it did prior to Irish independence.

Achim

Blissex, then I would like to know whether The Economist is wrong about this:

"Proving their right to be in Britain is fiendishly hard for some. Applicants must show that they have not left for more than two consecutive years since their arrival, a tall order for those who came half a century ago as tots. In 2010 the Home Office destroyed an archive of old landing slips, the only evidence some had of their arrival."

https://www.economist.com/news/britain/21740703-incompetent-handling-caribbean-britons-citizenship-claims-worries-other-migrants-too

Blissex

«whether The Economist is wrong about this:»

That seems to me very wrong indeed in three different ways. Also, whether the home office destroyed the landing card records is irrelevant, because it is the immigrants, not the Home Office, who have to provide documentary proof of their having respected the law on residence or citizenship, when they apply, just like pretty much in every country.
The same applies to those photogenic oldies who got issued recent jamaican passports and then had difficulty returning to the UK with them: it was up to them to prove using documents that they are jamaican citizens, not the jamaican embassy.

Anyhow the precise rules in this discussion don't matter: what matters is that, however nasty, they used to be the same for everybody, the EC immigrants from 45 years ago, or the Commonwealth immigrants from 50 or 60 years ago, but soon photogenic oldies from the entire Commonwealth will get a free pass denied to EU (and non-EU) citizens of similar ages and situations.
"INVADERS FROM THE EUSSR GO HOME" seems popular with the brexiter tories.

There was however a case for an amnesty for *every* oldie, photogenic/Commonwealth or EU alike, but as to resetting their status as illegal immigrants, not for a free pass just to appease the brexiters and their nostalgic dreams of Commonwealth 2.0.

Please remember that this story, like many stories of other immigrants being rolled over by the nastier climate instigated by T May, has been well known for a long while, it became a "moral outrage" and a political issue only when the "Daily Mail" put it before their Commonwealth-loving mawkishly sentimental brexiter readers.

Blissex

«In 2002 I applied for Indefinite Leave to Remain and was going to apply for British Citizenship in 2003. I was disgusted with the government's invasion of Iraq so didn't. It's now so expensive, I can't afford to.»

The free pass for photogenic oldies from the Commonwealth has a cutoff date of 1973, so 1996 is way off.
As to the cost, many english tory voters are delighted that "young EU thugs" (e.g. from Romania) and "adult EU scroungers" (e.g. from Poland) are being charged a lot of money before they become "benefit tourists" in England.
The Conservative political mistake was to apply the same rules to "sweet Commonwealth oldies" that their voters feel sentimental about.

derrida derider

A thoroughly derailed thread here. Y'all -especially derailer-in-chief Blissex - should apologise to Chris & get back to OP's point about whether the scandal was foreseeable rather than justified.

Blissex

«derailer-in-chief Blissex - should apologise to Chris & get back to OP's point about whether the scandal was foreseeable rather than justified.»

But I already addressed that question indirectly when writing «has been well known for a long while, it became a "moral outrage" and a political issue only when the "Daily Mail"»

The mistake by the Conservatives was to misunderstand the nature of "Daily Mail" readers (aka tories): they are mean, selfish and greedy, but also mawkishly sentimental towards furry animals, photogenic oldies etc.
So they don't want "immigrants" to be harassed, they want "nasty EU scroungers" to be harassed but "sweet Commonwealth oldies" to be given free passes.
The political lesson here is that the "Daily Mail" knows tory voters better than Conservative politicians do, and that a less robotic Home Secretary than T May could have avoided the mess by carving exceptions for categories popular with tory voters who are guided by "noddy morality" or sentimentalism, rather than single-mindedly setting total targets.

Contrast with G Osborne: he squeezed hard the benefits to "undeserving losers" (Labour voters) and transfers to "wasteful local councils" (run by Labour), but carved big exception for (rich) "darling oldies" (Conservative voters) and "respectable local councils" (run by the Conservatives), and for (rich) "darling oldies" he even created "tory pensioner" bonds and the triple lock.

Same with D Cameron, who claimed ridiculously that (rich) "darling oldies" deserved a break because they are WW2 heroes.

What tory voters want is shameless pandering to both their noddy sentimentalism and basest prejudices, and T May did not get that. Probably she never reads the "Daily Mail".

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