Blunkett achieves what Hitler couldn't  

Saturday, 26 May 2007

Just when you think this country can't get any more shit, Blair's government manages to plummet to even greater depths of incompetance. Surprisingly, dear reader, and despite the fact that Ruth Kelly has managed to elevate her already impressive track record to achieve sublime levels of blundering ineptitude worthy of note, I'm not referring to the debacle over the HIPs scheme. No. I refer to a new law, sneaked in when nobody was looking, that is a good deal more sinister.

As of April this year, new regulations came into force concerning the issuing of UK visas, namely the requirement to pass either a test on “Life in the UK” or to submit evidence of the completion of an ESOL course (English for speakers of other languages). On the face of it, it would appear perfectly reasonable for individuals wishing to become British citizens to have acquired a degree of knowledge about UK life, our customs and language. However, these regulations are now also being applied to all individuals wishing to remain in the UK. My wife and daughter being two such individuals.

Needless to say, there are no ESOL schemes currently running in our area. Nationally, all the schemes are so ridiculously over subscribed as to be virtually impossible to get on. The Life In The UK Test - the other route to permanent residency - is, as one would expect, chock full of meaningless facts and figures (most of which are out of date anyway), half-truths, inaccuracies and politically correct nonsense. All of which conspire to make it the most irrelevant, inaccessible and worthless test of eligability imaginable. Not to mention completely unachievable - including by most British people too, incidentally. We are a normal, law abiding and decent family, living under our own means and not claiming any form of state support. Yet because of this outrageous new law we are now facing the prospect of our family never being allowed to settle here in peace. I consider this to be a gross injustices.

My wife entered the UK on a fiancĂ©e visa (£500). We were then forced to pay another £500 in order that my wife could stay in the UK for a further two years. At the end of this period, we were told that assuming we were still living together, we could then apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK (for another £500, naturally).

As of 2nd April, the fee has leapt to a monstrous and totally unjustifiable £750 AND there is now a requirement for her to pass the test for British citizenship, even though she has no desire to become a British citizen, nor will she receive any of the benefits of citizenship should she pass, such as participation in the democratic process. The only alternative is to keep paying £395 to extend her existing visa, with no guarantee that they will do so and therefore no long term security.

All I want to do is live in peace with my wife and family. We have paid huge sums of money and jumped through every hoop that has been placed in our path in order to do so. Now we have to live with the potential that our family can be broken up and our lives ruined on the whim of some semi-literate fuckwit in the Home Office; A sword of Damacles, delivered into their hands because of this totally inhumane and unjust law and this ridiculous test.

Blunkett, the architect of this supremely idiotic piece of legislation, should reflect that this country went to war to safeguard the rights of people not to be victimised and persecuted on account of their race or ethnicity. This test smacks of the Nazi test of Aryan purity and represents an injustice of similar magnitude. As many have already pointed out, it does nothing to stem the tide of miscreants flooding into the UK - it only hits those families and individuals who have tried to follow the law and behave responsibly. It is discriminatory,racist and totally unjustifiable on any grounds other than as a way to exclude decent people from the UK and to rip them off.

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The Legacy of Lies  

Friday, 11 May 2007

So, after 10 years of broken promises and bullshit, Blair has finally named the day. It will come as no surprise to any regular reader of this blog when I say "good riddance". But, overjoyed as I am to finally see the back of such a despicable sleazeball, I am also depressed by the knowledge that by the time the big day comes around, the PR clean-up campaign will have ensured that Blair's sins are expunged and he will leave as he arrived - that fluffy, squeeky clean, earnest individual we all know and love. Just like the criminals featured nightly on the numerous police docu-soaps, you just know that despite the overwhelming weight of evidence to the contrary, he'll end up sailing away from the scene of the crime without a stain on his character. The timing of the departure announcement itself was transparent, bordering on the pathetic: It's obvious Blair has been waiting for a good news story on which to float his announcement, and the devolution of power in Northern Ireland provided just such a convenient vehicle.

The really scary thing is just how effective his methods are: It's noticable how the post-Blair analysis vox pops all seem to be echoing the same sentiments - "We know he's made some mistakes, but he's really not that bad". Blair himself, in characteristic fake candidity, admits that maybe expectations of his premiership were too high in 1997. Is he saying that we, the people, laid this unfair burden on his shoulders? A burden that despite valiant efforts, he was unable to bear? Poor Tony. The reality is that expectations were high because that's what he promised. Remember "Things Can Only Get Better"? Remember "Education, Education,Education"? Remember "Tough on Crime, Tough on the Causes of Crime"? All his words, and his promises: All promises he has singularly failed to keep. And now, after 10 years of excuses, the best he can come up with is "I did my best but you asked too much."

I will never forgive or forget the damage that this individual and his incompetant cronies have done to our country, to our standing in the international community and to the countless thousands of innocents around the world whose lives have been destroyed his blundering mismanagement. To all those people tempted to reach for the rose-coloured spectacles, I say you owe it to your fellow citizens and to all decent people in the world to not let Blair slime his way out of his personal responsibility for 65,000 dead civilians in Iraq, a third-world health service, a country crippled by petty beauracracy, a country rotten with anti-social behaviour, with corruption; devoid of civic morality. An education system designed to not to educate, but to entrap in debt; and a society where the favoured rich get filthy rich on the backs of hard-pressed tax payers.

There's much debate about what will be remembered as Blair's legacy: Luckily, we will all be able to be reminded of Tony everytime we want to find an NHS dentist, or we need medical treatment, or feel intimidated by gangs of drunken yobs, or get fined for doing 41 mph in a 40 mph limit. Things can only get better? How wrong we were.

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Cycle Brighton in 5 seconds!  

Thursday, 10 May 2007

Further to my last little example of the less-than-eagle-eyed checking of exam materials at Edexcel, I came across the following passage in an AS level exam paper.

"Some British towns are beginning to create attractive cycle paths. Nottingham, for example, has the greatest length of cycle paths in England at 180kms; Brighton, on the other hand, has a cycle lane barely two meters long."

Now that's what I call a short cycling holiday!

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