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Coming up on 5-years from the June 23, 2016 referendum to leave the European Union, and 1-year and 6-months since the UK actually left the EU, it seems reasonable that Britons could expect to see some of the oft-touted ‘benefits of Brexit’…
Unfortunately, other than a smattering of small-ish trade deals, nothing else seems to have been accomplished by this Parliament — other than a colossal mishandling of COVID-19 (at first) — followed by an extraordinary commitment by the UK government to get every Briton vaccinated as quickly as possible. Success at last!
Well done, Parliamentarians. Slow start/good finish. If only every situation in this troubled world proceeded thusly…
But ‘So Much More Was Promised’ said every Briton!
And one of the main reasons the British electorate voted to leave the EU was to give the UK the ability to control how many foreigners are allowed into the country annually.
Another important factor is what kind of people the UK wants to accept. At present, the UK has many unskilled or low-skilled immigrants living in the Kingdom — which might be fine if there were enough jobs for them. Certainly, farmers and others depend on large numbers of low-skilled/low pay workers, but how many is too many?
Things reach a boiling point when so-called ‘grooming gangs’ are owning every street corner in certain towns and cities — making it advisable to forego walking (or even driving!) through some parts of town at any hour of the day or night.
What has this country become that it can’t stand up to local hoodlums?
Is it the government’s fault? Is it the Mayor’s fault, the fault of the Police, or are individual Britons too weak to own the streets that their tax payments financed? Is it complacency? Or is it just too dangerous to make a stand for oneself — now that different levels of government have avoided their responsibility to provide safety and security to citizens for so many years — that even the Police have (largely) given up?
‘This isn’t what we voted for!’ said every voter ever.
If Not Addressed – Heads Will Roll at the Next Election!
Previous generations of Britons stood up to fascism twice in the 20th-century and played a leading role during the Cold War struggle. That’s the legacy of their generation and no one can take it from them.
Yes, sometimes mistakes were made. But decisions often needed to be made ‘on the fly’ and without the huge benefit afforded by today’s instant communications, the internet, and the much larger body of knowledge that exists in today’s world. Even so, the ‘greatest generation’ met their (exponentially larger and orders of magnitude more terrifying) challenges with dauntless stoicism because they knew they were fighting and suffering for the greater good.
Will this Generation Rise to Meet the Challenges of Their Time?
It remains to be seen.
Almost meeting the UK’s renewable energy targets and slowly gravitating towards electric cars — approaches something akin to progress — but if citizens are too afraid to leave their homes, too afraid to take the train, too afraid to attend an Arianna Grande concert, or are too afraid to walk in the park, what is the point?
Why Pay Taxes When You’re Too Afraid to Leave the House?
The first duty of government (any government, anywhere) is to protect the citizens of the country. But it’s also true that ‘the government’ or ‘the police’ can’t be everywhere to solve every problem.
That doesn’t mean they can abdicate their responsibilities and exclaim ‘There’s crime everywhere! What can we do?’
Not good enough!
No matter how unfair it may seem, the government and the police must do a better job of protecting Britons and those who visit the United Kingdom. Yes, it’s become a super-sized problem as successive governments have let the problem fester because they were too busy opining on far less important matters.
But it’s reached a breaking point. Something must be done, and soon.
Hundreds of young men are crossing the English Channel every day, and are (astonishingly!) given a lift the rest of the way to the UK by HM Border Force ships after being fished out of dangerously overloaded boats.
In my opinion, the number of young men attempting to reach the UK via such dangerous means has dramatically increased since they have become convinced (through decades of inaction) that the UK Parliament lacks the resolve to take any actual steps to rectify this ongoing disaster…
“So far this year, according to government figures, more than 3,200 people have made the crossing.”
“Record numbers of illegal migrants expect to be moved quickly to their accommodation, says Border Force union.”
India (Brilliantly!) Wants to be Part of the Solution, Instead of Part of the Problem
(REUTERS May 4, 2021)
India to take back illegal migrants to UK in return for visas for young workers
Britain and India on Tuesday signed an accord on migration and mobility, an Indian foreign ministry official said, as they look to deepen economic, cultural and other ties following the UK’s departure from the European Union.
The pact will provide enhanced employment opportunities for 3,000 young Indian professionals annually, in return for India agreeing to take back any of its citizens who are living illegally in the UK, Sandeep Chakravorty told a news conference.
The migration pact comes after the two countries announced 1 billion pounds ($1.39 billion) of private-sector investment. Talks on a full trade deal are due to begin in the autumn.
“It is our solemn duty that Indian nationals who are undocumented, or are in distress abroad and not being given nationality or residence permits, have to be taken back,” Chakravorty said.
Britain’s interior ministry said in a statement that the deal aimed to attract “the best and brightest, and supporting people coming to the UK through legal routes, while stopping the abuse of the system and speeding up the removal of those who have no right to be in the UK”… (Continue to Reuters.com to finish reading this article)
Now, that’s an example of a country that wants to be part of the solution to a serious and rising problem, and doesn’t want to play the ‘blame game’ with UK leaders.
And that’s called ‘LEADERSHIP’ people!
Have a wonderful summer wherever you travel!
In 1948 during a time of labour shortages in the immediate postwar era, 492 Jamaican citizens (many of them children travelling with their parents) were permitted to board the Royal Navy troop ship HMT Empire Windrush to travel to Britain for the purpose of employment and residency.
At the time, they were promised eventual citizenship if they chose to stay in Britain and contribute to British society, or they could work for a time and return to their home country with some cash in their pocket. Their choice.
Since 1948, hundreds of thousands of ‘Afro-Caribbean’ people travelled to Britain to work and to live, contributing much to the country it must be said.
Many found work in the Royal Navy, in the National Health Service (NHS) and in other sectors of the economy during a time of unprecedented GDP growth and record low unemployment.
The 1971 Immigration Act
In 1971, a new law was passed by the UK House of Commons that limited the ability of people from Commonwealth countries to live and work in the United Kingdom — therefore, those people who’ve relocated to the UK since 1971 have done so under very specific legal terms and conditions and are not considered part of the Windrush Generation.
The 1971 Immigration Act stipulated that those from Commonwealth countries already living in the United Kingdom were granted the right to continue living in the UK indefinitely, but henceforth, new immigrants from the Commonwealth were required to have 1) a work permit and 2) prove that a parent or grandparent had been born in the UK. — BBC News
Anyway, back to those who moved from Commonwealth countries to Britain during the 1948-1971 timeframe.
After contributing greatly to Britain in the postwar era and raising their British-born children and grandchildren in the UK and all of it done on the strength of a verbal promise by Britain’s government, some of them are having problems accessing government services, others have been threatened with deportation, (and yes, hard to believe) some have been incarcerated until their case was eventually adjudicated by faceless bureaucrats in the Home Office whose final decisions weren’t open to appeal.
Most of the Windrush Generation weren’t given any kind of documentation to prove their status in Britain in 1948-1971 and it seems that the Home Office won’t let them stay unless they can produce documentation to prove they’re legally in the country! Facepalm!
It almost seems like a spoof episode entitled, The Three Stooges: Bureaucrats on Acid.
How to Fix This Debacle?
Obviously, these people possess a birth certificate from their home country or they can access a copy of their birth certificate from their country of origin — and if they were born in a Commonwealth country and emigrated to Britain between 1948 and 1971 they should automatically qualify for British citizenship, have the same rights as any other British citizen, and be able to access the same government services as any British citizen.
Further, some might be owed an apology from the government for delays, arbitrary or wholly unfair Home Office decisions — and financial compensation should be paid in cases where disrespect or outright racism was displayed by Home Office employees.
Windrush people who have been seriously inconvenienced by Home Office staff (either deported or incarcerated for not being able to produce the paperwork that had never been issued by the Home Office in the first place) should expect to receive a payment from the government in the most egregious cases. But there needs to be a maximum cap on the amount paid per individual of £50,000 and the individual would need to sign documentation waiving any right to civil litigation on such matters against the Home Office or other departments of the government.
Children of Windrush
Any children born in Britain to the Windrush Generation are already British citizens, but if born outside the UK (obviously) are citizens of the country in which they were born — although their naturalized UK parents should be able to easily apply for them to become UK citizens at any future date.
Non-Windrush Generation Immigrants
Any non-UK citizen who wishes to live, work, go to school, or retire in the UK should be required to supply an up-to-date criminal records check from their home country with their initial application and pay £100 per year for the privilege of living in the UK, and supply their up-to-date phone number and home address to the Home Office via an easy-to-understand and easy-to-pay website that should take each individual less than 10-minutes per year to complete.
Windrush Generation people and their UK-born or UK-naturalized children would, of course, be completely exempt from such requirements and should henceforth be treated the same as any other British citizen.
Thank you again to the Windrush Generation for their work in building the United Kingdom that we see today. Well done!
Time is running down on the Brexit clock (399 days and counting!) and the default path seems the only way that will allow a smooth and orderly Brexit in any sort of timeframe that could be construed as reasonable to British voters.
If the UK government chooses to simply photocopy existing EU trade regulations and then change those laws incrementally over a period of years, the UK should rightly expect to be invited by the European Union to continue their mutually beneficial trade relationship.
After all, how could the EU possibly be upset that the UK will voluntarily continue to follow European Union trade regulations in the pre-Brexit period?
However, this implies that until Brexit actually occurs, the UK will be obligated to consult with the EU on every incremental change made on those photocopied laws and regulations from now until the UK officially leaves the European Union on March 29, 2019. It’s not about polite diplomatic behavior, it’s about pragmatic self-interest.
The UK must begin today to re-prove that it intends — in all cases — to be a fair and reliable trading partner with the EU, and other countries are sure to be watching as this process unfolds. No amount of effort can be spared in this regard, because as so goes the UK trading relationship with the EU, so it will go between Britain and every other country in the world, after Brexit.
Trade After Brexit
Once March 29, 2019 has passed and the UK has officially left the European Union there will be no longer be any requirement for lengthy consultations with the EU on changes to British trade laws or regulations far in advance of them coming into effect.
That doesn’t mean that the UK shouldn’t continue to consult with the EU, it means that it doesn’t need to consult with the EU during the entire policy formation period. But once UK policy has been decided, the EU should continue to be the first to know about pending changes due to the bloc’s importance to the British economy.
As above, no effort should be spared in showing the EU every possible courtesy on even the most incremental of trade policy adjustments under consideration in the pre-Brexit timeframe.
And in the post-Brexit timeframe, a high level of communication and consultation must continue to define the relationship between the two sides.
Customs Law After Brexit
Unlike trade, the present customs union will end the day after Brexit which will be a very positive thing for the UK. After Brexit, the UK alone will be fully in charge of who can and can’t enter the country, and it should mount a Herculean effort now to identify and locate every single foreigner in the country, matching them to their home and workplace (or school) address.
Every non-British born resident in the country should be required to pay 100 pounds sterling per year, and also be required to provide their updated home and work/school address as often as it changes, no matter which country they originally hailed from. It’s the 21st century(!) all of this can be done on a UK.gov webform in less than 10 minutes per year.
Especially for those foreigners living in the United Kingdom anytime prior to Brexit day, the UK government should make the entire process as streamlined as possible.
Commonwealth Nations in the post-Brexit Timeframe
As the UK returns to its Commonwealth roots, immigration to the UK should thenceforth be sourced from Commonwealth nations.
Of course, there will always be a number of immigrants from the EU, America, and other countries. But as much as possible, the focus should be on the ‘all for one and one for all’ approach of Commonwealth nations — and one great way to keep that viable is by sourcing 2/3rds of the UK’s immigration requirements from the Commonwealth.
In addition, the UK should continue to spend .7 per cent of GDP on foreign aid — but spend it in Commonwealth nations exclusively.
This means that the British government must find other nations to take over its existing foreign aid commitments in non-Commonwealth nations so that Britain can concentrate on building a better Commonwealth.
Done right, every pound sterling spent in Commonwealth foreign aid should return a minimum of two pounds sterling to the UK, as a rising tide in a finite environment like the Commonwealth will lift all boats, which is quite unlike spending that same amount of foreign aid in the wider world.
One example of how Britain could benefit in the post-Brexit timeframe with a policy that favours Commonwealth nations is that UK universities, colleges and trade schools should see a vast increase in enrollment from the 2 billion citizens of Commonwealth nations.
Time is Tight
Although Brexit once seemed far-off, time is getting a little tight. Much needs to be accomplished in the remaining 399 days until Brexit.
The best way to do that is to harmonize UK trade law with EU trade law and then make incremental changes over time. That’s how not to lose.
How to win is to engage with Commonwealth nations as never before in ways that work to benefit both the United Kingdom and every Commonwealth member nation.
Keeping our EU friendships healthy on the one hand while updating our Commonwealth friendships for the 21st century on the other hand, is irrevocably in Britain’s best interests, thereby creating a new paradigm that will allow the UK to work to its strengths over the next 100 years.