The nasty taste of Brexit Britain

August 24, 2017 at 11:14 am (Civil liberties, Europe, Guardian, Human rights, immigration, internationalism, labour party, posted by JD, Racism, Tory scum)

From todays Guardian:

EU nationals deportation letters an ‘unfortunate error’, says May

By Mattha Busby

Theresa May admitted the Home Office made an “unfortunate error” when it mistakenly sent up to 100 letters to EU nationals living in the UK ordering them to leave the country or face deportation.

The prime minister was forced into the statement after it emerged that a Finnish academic working in London had highlighted the warning letter she had received, which told her to leave the UK or risk being detained.

Although Eva Johanna Holmberg has lived in the UK with her British husband for most of the last decade, the correspondence from the Home Office said that if she did not leave the country of her own accord the department would give “directions for [her] removal”. It added that she was “a person liable to be detained under the Immigration Act”.

Holmberg, a visiting academic fellow from the University of Helsinki at Queen Mary University of London, was told that she had a month to leave, a demand that left her baffled. “It seems so surreal and absurd that I should be deported on the grounds that I’m not legal. I’ve been coming and going to this country for as long as I remember,” she said. “I don’t know what kind of image they have of me but it’s clearly quite sinister based on the small amount of info they actually have on me.”

Her story was rapidly picked up on social media, but after the Guardian asked the Home Office for clarification of her situation the department immediately backtracked and said the letter had been sent by mistake.
(Read the full article here; read what Coatesy says here)

… all of which just goes to confirm that this comrade’s concerns are fully justified:

A Labour Party that merits migrants’ support

By Anke Plummer (NHS worker and Unison member) in the Clarion

I am an EU immigrant who has lived in the UK for the last 27 years. Having met a British guy (now my husband) during my gap year in 85/86, I had returned to my native Germany to complete my training there. I returned in 1990, newly qualified. I applied for three jobs, had three job offers and have been in employment ever since.

It takes a while to become familiar with a new country and a new culture, and to feel fully at home, but I have always felt part of British life and British people. Britain seemed so diverse and multi- cultural, tolerant and vibrant compared to the Germany I remembered from my childhood. I never really felt different or “foreign”, but instead felt that I belonged.

One disadvantage of being an EU citizen was not being able to vote in general elections (or certain referendums), but that did not seem to matter much.
We had two children and, due to circumstances, my husband stayed at home with them and I continued to work and be the breadwinner. We have lived in our town for 20 years and are very much part of the community.

All that changed with the EU referendum last year. From one day to the next I was no longer simply part of the great collective that makes up British society, but I had become a foreigner, an outsider, somebody who – somehow – was part of the problems that ail this country. Comments like “the country is full” and “immigrants put a strain on our services” are easily heard in conversation.

Now, I am used to anti-immigration rhetoric from the right-wing press and right-wing parties, but more recently that rhetoric seems to be seeping into Labour’s language too.
 I understand that Labour’s position would be to unilaterally guarantee full rights to EU citizens who are already settled in this country, and of course I welcome that position. However, there is also increasing talk about EU citizens being a threat to British workers, and that immigration should be curbed to only allow in those immigrants who are of benefit to the British economy.

Whichever way I try to look at it, that makes us second class citizens, commodities even, which are useful to bolster British economy when necessary, but can be rejected when no longer needed. Jeremy Corbyn was recently asked by Andrew Marr what would happen to (for example) Polish plumbers, if they were no longer required. Would they be sent back to Poland? Corbyn was careful to avoid answering that question.

The warm and welcoming Britain I fell in love with (well, after my husband, that is) seems to be disappearing. If I am only welcome because of my economic value, I am not welcome at all. I am simply viewed as a resource, not a human being. Now I feel that I have to justify my existence here by being able to demonstrate my economic worth. Speak to other immigrants, and you will probably very soon hear them say something like “I have been here for X number of years and I have always worked”. The perception that immigrants come to take from Britain and not give anything back, has filtered deep into the psyche of the nation, so we feel the need to demonstrate that we are different!

If I had stayed at home with my children instead of my husband, my economic value in the eyes of the government and politicians would be much reduced. If my industry no longer needed workers (not likely any time soon – I work for the NHS!), would I still be welcome to stay?

Friends are quick to tell me that “I will be OK” and “surely I will be allowed to stay”, but well-meaning as they are, they really miss the point. “Being allowed to stay” is really a far cry from feeling a fully welcome and accepted member of society. Being left with uncertainty and anxiety about your future in the country you have invested your entire adult years in and which you have made your home, is cruel and shows a disregard by the government for the people it claims are “valuable members of society who contribute much to British life”.

Britain no longer feels like a safe place where I belong and which I can call my home. It still is the place where I have chosen to live, yes, but for the first time in 27 years we are entertaining the idea of leaving.

Having been a Labour voter (in local elections) for 27 years and having become a Labour member following the 2015 election, I am urging Labour, and its supporters – including the Corbyn left – to keep on the straight and narrow during these turbulent times and to not stray down the path of appeasing anti-immigrant sentiments – even when they are dressed up in left-wing sounding language about protecting workers in Britain. I am watching Corbyn backtrack on this issue with some concern – I hope my continued support for Labour and Corbyn will not be in vain.

Let us know what you think? Write a reply? theclarionmag@gmail.com

* The Labour Campaign For Free Movement

9 Comments

  1. rotzeichen said,

    It does seem to me that once again Shiraz is attacking Labour, clearly we are not in power and can only relate to general issues surrounding immigration, meaning it is just one of all the issues we face and not to put too fine a point on it, criticising Labour about something we have at present no control over is lacking any sense of political reality.

    Why not look at what the Tories are actually doing and attack that instead of demanding Labour dot the Is and cross the Ts? What does this Lady think Labour can do when it is not yet in power and it was Jeremy before any other politician that raised the issue of protecting the right of EU citizens, noting at present Jeremy can’t Guarantee anything because we are not in government?

    • Jim Denham said,

      rotzeichen: the above post *is* mainly an attack on what the Tories are doing.

      As for your point “criticising Labour about something we have at present no control over is lacking any sense of political reality”: obviously true, Labour is not in power, but Labour *does* have control over what it itself (and, more specifically, its leader and front bench spokespersons) says on the subject. So far, they’ve been evasive, duplicitous and unprincipled.

      • rotzeichen said,

        Jim, realists understand that complex issues take time to deliberate and as importantly to get right. If we had our hands on the Tiller so to speak, we could be held account for any actions we take positive or negative, as the Tories are the ones in office attacking Labour as though it were seems to me to be a futile exercise.

        Unless of course you have a particular agenda to denigrate Labour whilst letting the Tories off the hook.

        It’s the Tories that that are creating the uncertainty and insecurity which lay rise for some people’s expression of anti European feeling, clearly we should all do our part in speaking out against that view, and rightly so, but attacking the man who is at the forefront of doing just that, and started the fightback long before anyone else, is just playing politics and making matters worse.

      • Jim Denham said,

        “Jim, realists understand that complex issues take time to deliberate and as importantly to get right”: I can agree with that, up to a point, rotzeichen: indeed my local MP (Labour, but not pro-Corbyn) makes exactly that point. But, I repeat, we now need to be clear-cut and honest to the electorate and simply say Brexit is a mistake and we oppose it.

        By the way, I have been a member of the Labour Party since 1975.

  2. Political Tourist said,

    Labour’s is keeping UKIP wing on board.

    • rotzeichen said,

      Just because people voted UKIP to get out of Europe doesn’t mean they are of the UKIP fold, clearly getting out of Europe was their real agenda, like with the Tories UKIP support has drifted back to their preferred party’s.

      Could I presume you are not a socialist or Labour supporter?

  3. Jim Denham said,

    rotzeichen: I:have been a member of the Labour Party since 1975..

    • rotzeichen said,

      Jim, then you joined a year later than me , I joined in 1974.

      ““Jim, realists understand that complex issues take time to deliberate and as importantly to get right”: I can agree with that, up to a point, rotzeichen: indeed my local MP (Labour, but not pro-Corbyn) makes exactly that point. But, I repeat, we now need to be clear-cut and honest to the electorate and simply say Brexit is a mistake and we oppose it.

      By the way, I have been a member of the Labour Party since 1975.”

      You talk about honesty when that is not the point in question, when we are in office please do judge us, because then you will have the evidence in front of you, but to accuse Labour of dishonesty when there isn’t the possibility of carrying out a particular policy is both daft and frankly playing politics.

      Clearly you and your MP see eye to eye, that’s all very well but what about their honesty, they said he was unelectable and smeared his character along with the mass media to ensure he did not get elected. Against all the odds he very nearly pulled it off, and if you were campaigning on election day you might have met people like I did that regretted having posted their ballot papers early, because they had a change of heart when they saw how weak and wobbly Theresa May turned out to be.

      You forget that the Tories created the problems of Brexit yet appear to want to blame Jeremy for it, he did not support the view that we should leave Europe, although having massive reservations about it. You on the contrary want to stay in Europe not recognising the huge problems that exist there, and completely ignoring the fact that the majority although small, voted out. In your opinion you say we should remain in the EU, but I remind you that is your opinion.

      You are perfectly entitled to an opinion, but it more than just a bit arrogant to say that the whole Labour Party should just do what you say.

      On the one hand right wingers such as yourself, say that Jeremy is not a leader, then on the other want him to follow you like a sheep when you see fit.

      There are major problems in Europe that I discern you have little idea about, or don’t care about, either way Europe is not a black and white in or out issue, and the Tories have their hands on the reins whilst you and others on the right denigrate everything Jeremy does trying to link him with the failure of the Tories……. HE IS NOT IN GOVERNMENT AND UNTIL THEN IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE TORIES DISASTROUS POLICIES. Perhaps if you were to get behind the Labour Party and attack the Tories, instead of undermining everything we stand for perhaps your opinions would find favour, until then all I see is a right winger that has more in common with the Tories than the party he says he represents.

      • Jim Denham said,

        “Clearly you and your MP see eye to eye”: errr, no! I’ve not written anything that should lead you to that conclusion – rather the contrary. I thought I’d made that clear. It seems you are incapable of reading or understanding the most simple point, comrade.

        As for “just a bit arrogant to say that the whole Labour Party should just do what you say”: well, I wouldn’t have put it that way myself, but isn’t that what *all* politically serious Labour Party members seek?

        And as for your rant: ” Perhaps if you were to get behind the Labour Party and attack the Tories, instead of undermining everything we stand for perhaps your opinions would find favour, until then all I see is a right winger that has more in common with the Tories than the party he says he represents”:

        Comrade, I can assure you that I work quite hard for the Party, and am out on the knocker and/or delivering leaflets most weeks. But I insist on the right to criticise the leadership – as I did under Wilson, Callaghan, Foot (to some degree), Kinnock, Smith, Blair (especially Blair: I briefly left when he was leader) …etc … up to Jeremy who may be a goodish man but is not a saint, above criticism, and is noticeably weak on Brexit: he needs, frankly, a kick up the arse.

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