How dare we treat our friends and neighbours like this?

If you go to the shop and buy an iron, say, you expect it to work and for any manufacturer’s claims or guarantees to stand. You are entering into a contract that can’t be mucked around with. I should emphasise at this point that I would never buy an iron. The quality of my life improved immeasurably when I gave up ironing. But that’s beside the point.

You wouldn’t stand for the manufacturer contacting you a few weeks’ later telling you that you had to pay another £20 for the iron, or reducing the guarantee period.

Yet this is exactly what our government is doing to many people in this country.

Every time I see that Home Office tweet telling the 3 million EU citizens in this country that they will have to apply for settled status, I get angrier.

I am furious that my friends, my next door neighbours, the surgeons who saved my husband’s life two years ago, the nurses who looked after him and comforted him through a terrifying experience, my colleague and so many of my friends’ spouses or children are being put through this.

I mean, it’s not as though the Home Office is known for its ability to make fair and competent decisions at the best of times. I wouldn’t wish any sort of Home Office process on my worst enemy. I have no confidence that this one will be any better than those that have gone before.

When my fellow European citizens, some of whom have been in the country for decades working, paying taxes, raising their families, are forced to apply for something that is worse than what they already have, I feel ashamed.

I don’t want to see them lose their right to vote and stand in some elections. I don’t want to see them suddenly have to fight for their right to be here. And to have to pay for the privilege.

And my fears grow when I read the website that the Home Office has thrown together.

There are so many loopholes. For a start, people could lose their settled status if they are outside the UK for more than 5 years. So if you are an Italian married to a Scot who spends 6 years living in the US, you might have a hard time getting back to live in the UK under this scheme and might have to revert to the Immigration Rules. Bear in mind that a spouse visa under those rules currently costs over £1500.

Shifting the goalposts of people’s lives like this is simply not acceptable. Inflicting that amount of worry and anxiety on people is cruel and I would like to apologise to every single one of the 3 million people affected by it. I am thoroughly ashamed that you are being treated like this and please be assured that it is not being done in my name or the names of millions of others.


* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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This entry was posted in News and Op-eds.


  • David Becket 30th Dec '18 - 10:15am

    Is it surprising, the Home Office was run for years by a minister who believed in a hostile environment for foreigners, she now runs (sic) the country. This attitude is stirred up by the tabloid press, and compassionate one nation Tories are now few and far between.

  • I must admit I find it hard to apologise for a decision that wasn’t mine, but as the people who voted for this shite storm never will, I feel I have too.

  • nigel hunter 30th Dec '18 - 11:12am

    It is a way to make money off people and away of saying we do not like you (May’s philosophy) As you say it is expanded by the rabid right wing press. It is made worse by the lack of an opposition that is spineless and is collaborating with May waiting for the disaster to come to then take power.

  • Richard Underhill 30th Dec '18 - 12:16pm

    David Becket 30th Dec ’18
    The chair of the cabinet subcommittee was the deputy prime minister.

  • I have to say that I agree with every view given by the previous correspondents and can only add that I have never been so ashamed of my country over many decisions taken by our government and by an extremely poor opposition party.I go on hoping that the British people wake up to what is being done in there name and realise there is a party who cares for all our people and it’s future!!

  • Can I say how strongly I agree with all the previous correspondents views, I have never been so ashamed of our country and the politicians who are supposedly in charge of it!!

  • David Becket 30th Dec '18 - 1:47pm

    To back up my last point, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, member of Rees Mogg’s motley crew suggests we should send our police into France to take smugglers boats. What world do these people live in, to think we can walk into any country and take control. The hard Brexit she wants will wreck any chance of co-operation with the French. If this shower ever get control this country will not be worth living in.

  • Jayne Mansfield 30th Dec '18 - 2:04pm

    @ Frankie,

    Many of the people who voted leave did not know what they were voting for, just as many who voted remain did not. We now know the nature of Mrs May’s deal and some of the deeply disturbing implications.

    With this new information, this is a time to make sure that those leave voters one comes into contact with, finally know what those implications are, ( leaving aside that so much has been kicked in to the long grass by ‘the deal) , none of us do know all the implications , the penny is dropping that it will be deeply damaging to the country.

    Many of those who have lived, worked, paid taxes in this country and benefitted us by their presence, are known and admired by the community in which they live . It is up to people like us to make sure that what is planned for their neighbours becomes widespread knowledge.

    I believe that many, even if they themselves have in generalisations about ‘immigrants’ , the media bogeymen, they will revise their view when that ‘immigrant is that nice Ms/ Mrs/ Mr/ Doctor X down the road. The media deals in generalisations, fight this at the individual level Frankie.

  • Barry Lofty 30th Dec '18 - 4:28pm

    I am utterly ashamed at the way out country is being governed ,or not, and have been for some time, and I am also really concerned if the likes of Rees Mogg and company get their hands on power, which is precisely what these arch Brexiters are really after!!

  • The reality is that successive governments have given a false impression of Britain as almost supernaturally liberal, when the reality is survey after survey has shown a consistent majority wanting immigration controls. The basic problem is that governments have promoted things the people electing them did not really want.
    Or put it this way, the parents go away for a week or two. The kids throw a big open invite party. let all and sundry pitch tents in the yard and generally ignore the house rules. Then the parents come home and say nope, party over. People get hurt, feel cheated and it causes a ruckus, but the bottom line is, it’s not an open house.

  • I wish we were this outraged by some of the coalition era policy.

  • Jayne,
    I understand your plea, but unfortunately we have the likes of Brexiteers like Glenn who are happy for this to happen. He is far from unique among the Brexiteers, unable or unwilling to deal with the results of his vote, the out come will always be someone else fault. No amount of reality will change his view, no amount of hardship ( until it effects him) will change his view. I’m afraid only harsh reality will change him and his ilk views and often not for the better. In short the pain and misery inflicted on EU citizens is a price Glenn and Co think is a price worth paying; this comes not as a shock to me, I know many Glenn’s, all think they are nice people, most are very wrong in that assumption, as the mask of niceness tends to slip and the rabid “my little village, with people like me” shines through.

  • Jayne Mansfield 30th Dec '18 - 10:36pm

    @ Frankie,
    May I direct you to the first verse of the serenity prayer by Reinhold Nierbuher.

    Glenn has a fixed view and it is clear from his posts that he is not , and never has been, amenable to changing that view. Accept that and move on. There really are people out there who voted leave who are not blessed with certitude when it comes to the benefits or otherwise of EU membership. Direct your energy to where it will have most benefit.

  • Our present discontent, and as far as I am concerned present means at least the last few hundred years is related to our habit of using the planet as our playground. At one time we used the countries of our Empire to make us rich. Of course we need to define who the “we” are. It means a small minority of people in our country who are able to grab control of wealth. After the war we or at least “we” used other methods than occupation of countries. Money is able to be used to buy people in other countries. We sell arms to kill people in other countries. “We” are prepared to “help” other countries as we did in Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, and so on.
    The results of our actions are that many people are displaced from their homes, have to look for ways of surviving. Move to other countries. The UK is a magnet, since most people who receive tertiary education have to have a knowledge of English.
    It is instructive to look at what is happening in the Channel. A small number of educated Irananians are paying huge amounts of money to get into the country. This is a national emergency it seems. Do we ask what is happening in Iran?
    In the midst of all of this there is a majority of people in the country who are struggling to pay bills from week to week. They believe that if we cut immigration wages would go up as there would be a shortage of workers. They are probably right.
    It has nothing to do with the EU of course. But since no-one seems to be putting forward the case for the nations of Europe working closely together and pointing out the success of the European project, I do not think this will be part of our national debate.

  • David Becket 31st Dec '18 - 10:27am

    @ Andrew T

    Yes many of us were outraged by some of the coalition policy at the time, but not all. Compared with what we are getting now some of it was good.
    However looking back at a time when we are heading for the biggest crisis in our lives is futile. Blaming us for the coalition or Labour for Iraq, Tories for Suez, is not going to solve the problems of today. It represents the same pathetic mind set as that seen by Brexiters of their golden age (1850 or 1950). It is time to look forward and try and save this country, looking backwards is why we are in this mess.

  • Neil Sandison 31st Dec '18 - 11:15am

    I know the home office can be a bit behind the times but to charge Dane Geld at £1500 a time for European residents already settled here for some time is both extortionate and a broken promise by the Tories who stated those who were already resident here had nothing to fear.But after Wndrush and the hostile environment should we be surprised that they should use peoples insecurity as a money making enterprise.

  • Xenophobia is sadly deeply rooted in English genes. Past victims have included Huguenot refugees fleeing religious persecution, Sephardic Jews expelled from Spain, Jews fleeing pogroms in Russia and Eastern Europe, Jews fleeing the Third Reich, Poles and others fleeing from the Communist advances after WW2, Italian emigrés, starving Irish fleeing the Famine, then the Windrush generation, Indian and Pakistani immigrants. The Nasty Party simply exploits that unsavoury side of the ‘English’ character to its own advantage.

  • Frankie
    I don’t think I’m a “nice” person. I have no idea what you even mean by nice.

    What I do think is that some strands of liberalism have developed a near religious sense of moral certainty and that this manifests itself in a belief that everyone else is a heathen or barbarian or possibly even evil. I simply do not by it. I think that all actions have consequences, this includes promoting the Pan European Identity movement that is the EU as much as it does exiting it. To me the point is that most of the free movement stuff only goes back to 1999-2004 and the Lisbon treaty only goes as far back as 2010. I think pro EU people thought things were more permanent than they proved to be and the more moralistically missionary among them are distressed because the tenets of faith have failed to enlighten the natives. You keep going on about the consequences, but a lot of people didn’t/don’t actively want what the EU offered, which is why the remain campaign has tended to resort to angry preacher mode with claims of evil stalking the land and proclamations that without redemptive power of holy orders from Brussels the fiery pits of Hades will consume all the unbelievers/sinners.

  • I thought possession was two thirds of the law. Any changes should be applied only to new immigrants; established ones should be left alone. I’m surprised applying legislation to settled migrants does not come up against human rights legislation.

  • I’m surprised altering the status of settled immigrants does not come up against human rights legislation.

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