Dorood (Farsi)

Writing this I'm thinking of the things I wanted to share, but some seem from so long ago it's hard to believe they've happened just in the week gone. 

Supreme Court ruled with a majority of 8-3, the government cannot trigger Article 50 without an Act of Parliament allowing it to do so.  Theresa May responded with a bill consisting of just a few lines asking for carte blanche and Corbyn has imposed a three-line whip, instructing Labour MPs to support the bill.  SNP have tabled 50 amendments. However, unless a lot of Labour MPs rebel, it's likely TM will get her way.  Incidentally, the three judges who ruled on the side of the government are also amongst the seven judges presiding over the MM case (hmmm).  And if any Brexiteer tells you, as Iain Duncan Smith has, that 8-3 makes the SC judgment 'tenuous', remind them 52-48 is even less reliable...they are after all getting the parliament sovereignty they apparently wanted, no?

Theresa May visited Trump.  Much gratitude expressed by TM in being the first world leader to be invited; much also made of the State visit invitation extended to Trump to come and look at the Queen (but not Charles). So much in fact that I'm thinking TM requested a quick visit and Trump expressed a desire for red carpet treatment.  Hence the OD'ing of who asked who. 

One week.  That is how long Trump had been in office and it's been Executive Order galore.  The bombshell came with an indirect Muslim ban, taking twitter and the world by storm.  People with a connection to any of seven specific countries are banned from entering USA; if they are Green Card holders then it's considered on a case by case basis.  Legal action has led to an 'emergency stay' so those being detained in the airport and on their way to the US are exempt, but there's so much confusion that the American embassy in UAE has suspended all visa applications.  The seven countries are ones Trump has no business interests in, nor have they been where killers of American citizens in the 50 years to 2015 have hailed from.  Oh, and he has put a complete ban on refugees for 120 days. Indefinite ban on Syrian refugees.

Why should activities in USA be of interest to us in the UK?

1. Brits born in a listed country, or with citizenship of this other country, cannot go to the USA.  e.g. Mo Farah and several MPs.  My bug bear is with MPs speaking out only when they them elves are affected but that's for another time.  Just in: White House staff tell BoJo this ban doesn't apply to British citizens.  Oh I am going to be on the case of the celebs and MPs who up until a couple of hours ago were lamenting this ban if they go quiet now. Grrrrr.

2. Brits with no connection to a listed country but with a family member who does, are unable to travel together to USA.  Sky News gave an example of such a family in Bournemouth, whose holiday of a lifetime is now cancelled.

3. Brits who cannot meet UK family immigration rules and are thus told by HO to live in their partner's country - which may be America, could be denied a right to live together now, in both, UK and USA!

4. TM is in major suck-up-to-America mode, as a result of Brexit. She is also hell bent on meeting the net migration target from her Home Office days.  Without us all making it clear how abhorrent we find this policy, she may well get ideas on how to divide families even further.  As Sam Bacon, who I know from his political advisor to David Hanson MP days, points out TM's moral vacuum on immigration suggests she won't stand up to Trump.

5. Basic humanity.  How can we sit by and not say something?  Read this poem by Martin Niemoller. 

Those who have visited any of the listed countries for a holiday also need to beware of restrictions, though these have been in place pre-Trump.  

No news is good news has never rung more true than this week!

Gorbachev warns that the world looks like it is preparing for war. Terrifying prospect and what scares me even more is that US and UK are major arms suppliers.  We are both, causing the war and aiding it.
American spirit and grit is shown by the speed and solidarity with which protesters gathered in great numbers around America in response to the #MuslimBan.  More articles on this to read than I can recommend in this little space. Do google.  It's so inspiring.
In response to events in USA:

- Trudeau welcomed refugees
- Merkel spoke with Trump, apparently teaching him the Geneva Convention US is a signatory to means there remains an obligation to accept refugees. (She may not have had the best pupil though!.)
- Iran retaliated, though unlike America, stated it would honour visas already issued to Americans. 
- TM after much deliberation condemned the policy, asking BoJo and Amber Rudd to speak to their US counterparts, rather than pick up the phone to her special friend herself.  

Ian Dunt analyses TM's double-speak.
The last six years has seen a steep rise in people sleeping rough.  The same six years we have had Tories in government.

A snapshot in the life of Anna Maria Bak - a nurse from Poland who works in the NHS and looks after British citizens.  Immigrants really are awesome.

Colin Yeo's blogs are worth reading. The one on Comprehensive Sickness Insurance is relevant where the EU citizen sponsor is a student or self-sufficient, as the requirement to have CSI also falls on the family member, and access to the NHS is not a replacement for this.

Much angst has been caused by changes to Home Office's 'independent' interpretation of free movement rights, around motive and mandating use of their horrendous application form.  Most of you will be aware we have instructed Colin for legal advice around these changes and will report to you once we have more information on that. 

Aside from that, the positive is that HO implicitly confirms their acceptance that the changes are not applicable to those whose RC was already decided upon prior to 25 Nov 2016.


Kevin - Reminiscent of so many Brits whose family members are not allowed in the UK.  Choosing between family in the UK or abroad - a no-win situation, as both options mean divided families.


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