Hello Orwell

by Suw on September 26, 2008

I really do get depressed at the state of the State in the UK these days. Labour have turned us into a country Orwell would be shocked by, and this post from Cory Doctorow made me even more depressed about the direction the UK is going:

Jacqui Smith, the British Home Secretary, had unilaterally (and on 24 hours’ notice) changed the rules for Highly Skilled Migrants to require a university degree, sending hundreds of long-term, productive residents of the UK away (my immigration lawyers had a client who employed over 100 Britons, had fathered two British children, and was nonetheless forced to leave the country, leaving the 100 jobless). Smith took this decision over howls of protests from the House of Lords and Parliament, who repeatedly sued her to change the rule back, winning victory after victory, but Smith kept on appealing (at tax-payer expense) until the High Court finally ordered her to relent (too late for me, alas).

Now, it seems, I will become one of the first people in Britain to be forced to carry a mandatory biometric RFID card in a pilot programme being deployed first to foreign students and we spousal visa holders (government is looking to curtail spousal visas altogether, capping all visas at 20,000 per year, including spousal visas, denying Britons the right to bring their spouses into the country once the quota has been filled).

This sort of stuff is not just academic – it could directly affect Kevin and I. We need to transition Kevin onto a spousal visa as soon as we can. (Indeed, I am currently searching for a good immigration lawyer (recommendations welcome!).) If the Government limit spousal visas, they are going to end up punishing people simply for falling in love.

Kevin’s been away a little over a week and I miss him horribly, but at least I know when he’s coming back. I cannot imagine how hard it would be if we had to be parted indefinitely whilst we waited for the government to deign to give him a visa. Capping spousal visas is, in my opinion, nothing short of evil. It’s bad enough that the government are forcing out of the country the very people we need here to have a vibrant economy – the highly skilled people who contribute all of their talent and intelligence to our country. But arbitrarily restricting spousal visa is the sort of cold, cruel act I’ve come to expect from our government. They’ve forgotten that they exist to serve the people of this country, not to make their lives hell because they happened to fall in love with someone who wasn’t born here.

And let’s not kid ourselves. The people who are punished by immigration laws are the people who respect the law and try to do things properly. The people who ignore the law, either living here illegally or faking their documentation, won’t be affected by this sort of change.

Labour has to be defeated at the next election, because they are turning our country into a suspicious, heartless, cold place. And we have to support organisations like No2ID who are working tirelessly to try and stop this country turning into an Orwellian nightmare.

Jackie Danicki September 26, 2008 at 10:31 pm

Hear, hear.

I love the UK, but couldn’t bear to sit and watch what is being done to it. We’d love to have you and Kevin here in the US (where, sadly, the immigration process is no picnic, either).

Chris Bray October 2, 2008 at 9:40 am

I 100% agree.

I cannot believe how our basic rights are being slowly (or not so slowly) taken away by this xenophobic government, as a born and bred British citizen it makes me sick that my country can do this.

As it happens the chief protagonist Jacqui Smith is my MP, and having written to her regarding ID cards before I can conclusively say there is no way the government is going to go back on it. They’ve got it into their head they need to do it and public opinion or reasoned argument simply don’t apply.

I’ve never met Cory but I find it so sad that he’s treated like a criminal (“Where are your papers?”) without having committed any crime other than falling in love with a British girl!

A sorry state, in more ways than one.

I can see it now: “Shit, I’ve lost my ID card, now I’ve gotta replace my eyes and fingerprints.”

Is it really any different to tattooing a barcode on the back of everyone’s neck? How long before we’re all RFID implanted at birth?

almost witty October 2, 2008 at 12:30 pm

Much as I agree that these proposals are insane, half-baked and nonsensical, I can’t see the Tories ripping up the ideas when they get elected. For whatever reason, UK political parties have managed to whip up a storm about being anti-immigration, and now both of them are on a quest to prove they’re more hardline than the other one. I mean, the Labour government proposed removing immigrants’ babies from them and sending them back!

I’d say vote Lib Dem, but that’s not going to make that much of a difference either 🙁

Ingrid Koehler October 3, 2008 at 12:49 pm

I had no idea. When I got my indefinite leave to remain by virtue of marrying a Brit, I had a wee chat with an immigration officer and then a year later produced some utility bills to show we were still living together and Bob’s your uncle. It was free, too.

Probably should get the citizenship thing done before they figure out I’m still here as merely a contributing member of society with a British child.

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