Ah, the reality of power. For all the opposition talk about strengthening the protection of privacy, in the first weeks of government, the pro-privacy proposition has become more difficult to implement. The inevitable result is that gears are being put into neutral or reverse (as quietly as possible, mind you). So it is with the …
Foreigners resident in the UK require a Home Office "stamp" (it takes up a whole page and is much more than a stamp) in their passports which costs 150 quid. I don't know where this bit about ID cards for foreigners comes from- maybe it is for the Poles and other EU types who presumably don't need passports to come here.
My wife is really going to be ticked off if she has to shell for yet another useless bit of bureaucracy. On top of being reviled in the press as a non-dom, she still has to pay taxes here as well as in the US (only the really rich dodge paying some tax) and is still prohibited from playing any part in the elections of the people taxing her. She isn't even allowed to make a donation to a political party or candidate.
Re: Johnny Foreigner
"She isn't even allowed to make a donation to a political party or candidate."
Ah. Every cloud has a silver lining.
She should start a revolution...
"No taxation without representation" sounds like a catchy slogan.
Not as funny as it sounds.
I'm from the continent, have worked here and paid my taxes for the last 15 or so years, but have no say as to how my taxes are being spent, or by whom.
As a EU citizen, I'm only allowed to vote in the Council , not the general elections.
This, quite frankly, stinks.
It's called a visa
Not to be funny, but it's a visa. I'm on my third visa now (indefinite, at last) and each one cost me a great deal more than 150 quid!
Move to a civilized country...
...like Scotland, where we, EU citizens but UK residents can vote for the Scottish Parliament.
With more devolution powers coming this way, and the prospective of an Independence referendum in short order, here's the country you're looking for.
Quid pro quo ...
Easy to complain about the UK, but I can't see your point. If I want a residence visa for the US, it costs money, and not just for the visa, but also for all of the admin fees. If I work in the US and move back to the UK, I have to pay US tax as well as UK tax, even though I am non-resident in the US and not a US citizen - that's US tax law. And do I have rights to vote in a US election? I haven't tried, so I don't know, but I'm guessing I don't.
So not much difference from your wife's case.
So your wife is ticked off, so what. You make your lifestyle choices and pay the price. If you don't want to pay the price, make different choices. That's the way of the world, so quit complaining because you don't like the price.
You don't say how long your wife has been resident in the UK. If it is long enough, she can always apply for British citizenship. Then she wouldn't have to pay those silly fees and would have a right to vote (and maybe wouldn't have to pay US taxes?). That's another lifestyle choice - become a citizen of the country where you choose to live, work, pay taxes and enjoy the resulting benefits (if any), or maintain allegiance to a country to which you are related by accident of birth. Each choice has its costs, but it's still your choice.
Who's in charge here?
Either the pols have power, or they don't. If they say "Once elected we will..." then they should.
When stuff like this happens, three (non-exclusive) interpretations are possible:
1) The new lot are lying thieving suits, just like the last lot. (Corruption)
2) The new lot have as little clout as the last lot did. (Impotence)
3) The new lot are not aware (or refuse to acknowledge) that this stuff actually matters to people. (Incompetence)
(IOW a ternary version of Morton's Fork).
To the (eternally hopeful/credulous) UK voter who will already have experienced the seamless continuity of Britain's domestically repressive and internationally hostile State policies between the 90's Cons and NuLab this cannot come as any surprise.
It is precisely this kind of hugger-mugger between the vested interests and the Security State which confirms the old adage "it doesn't matter who you vote for, the government always gets in".
My advice? Dig out those "Not In My Name" t-shirts. Recall how effective that campaign was. Let the penny drop that "democracy" as practiced in the UK is a farce, intended to distract citizens, whoops, subjects from the fact that they have no power, no recourse and no likelihood of access to either.
AC (no wish to become Jean Charles de Menezes or Ian Tomlinson, may they rest in peace)
@AC 9th June 2010 10:06 GMT
What most people don't realise, but I think you are getting at, is that politicians are just the scapegoats for the plans of the permanent decision-makers, i.e the civil servants. Once they get an idea in mind, nothing short of a revolution is going to change it - and they are trying very hard to make that revolution more and more difficult. Times are likely to get hard - a few years of cutbacks and tax rises, coupled with rising prices for energy, and the serious possibility of power-cuts before the end of the next decade (several power stations are due for switching off soon, and there is no sign of the capacity being replaced in time) means that things in Blighty are likely to get a bit tense. The civil servants, not tied down by political short-termism and able to make someone else carry the can, will be explaining this to the ministers, and making sure that there will be no significant change from the road-map they have laid out.
No point being AC - if they want to know who I am, they'll find out anyway!
Sadly, I feel I have to agree. although I emigrated long before it got so bad.
AC where would you go?
Assuming one is able to hurdle the fence, where is the democratic grass any greener? I'm struggling to find a country where democracy isn't a farce as you describe above.
Somewhere where democracy is a novelty
My wife and I are from very different countries with one thing in common - proper democracy is only a couple of decades old. People care a lot more when they could remember what it was like without it. There are plenty of other problems, but people vote in great numbers.
It's not quite so bad
Unfortunately it looks like the usual anti-terrorism cant will cause the EU Data Retention Directive to be enforced here too, but still the government does seem to pay a _little_ more heed to the governed.
Why is the scrapage and deletion of NIR/ID cards even in the same bill as enhanced data sharing ? Could it be because they really want the latter, and have tacked on the former to 'make sure' it isn't voted down as the stupid plan it looks like ?
Re: AC where would you go?
Your point is valid, and looking at countries like Italy and Belgium (to pick two) the farce can take on aspects of tragedy.
But at the end of the day the question comes down to quality of life. What makes Britain great? Is it the preposterously high indirect taxation (booze'n'fags); the cartel-like relationship of the major retail outlets (choose your cheese supplier from Tesco, Sainsbury's, Morrison's etc); proliferation of anonymous unregulated street cameras; advertising permitted on subscription TV services; television advertising for ambulance-chasers, loan sharks and hard liquor; blood-soaked foreign interventions against near-defenseless second-world nations; the unprovoked and unpunished casual murder of bystanders by the police; motorway police driving Porsches whilst people sleep on the streets of the major cities; fiscal incompetence and naked, incurable corruption in all public bodies; insanely high levels of street violence; the vicious, persistent anti-Muslim slant on television; the general culture of contempt?
Many of these are general social evils, and none are exclusive to the UK. But that doesn't mean that there aren't other places where (in spite of any and all of the above) it is possible to live better, in warmer weather, with better food, more disposable income, more employment protection, safer schools, and a dismissal of the ugly lie that has rotted the UK from within over the last quarter-century, namely that "there is no such thing as society".
As far as the UK is concerned, its inhabitants are there to provide tax revenue and warm bodies ready to kill or die in somebody else's back yard and, er, nothing else. Every day, in a thousand ways, this message is poked in the eye of everybody on the island via stories just like this one that started me ranting.
So if we should "leave it to the market" as we are continually told (sliding over the fact that "leave it to the market" only truly benefits the richest) then it is up to us to make a market decision as to which country represents the best investment for your tax pound (or euro).
The Quality of Life index lists 28 countries with a higher index than the UK. Of those, around a dozen have automatic right of residence for UK passport holders.
Will the last non-plutocrat please turn out the lights before leaving?
Why don't you go there then?
Seriously. As an immigrant to the UK, I quite like it here for many reasons. If you're so desperately dissatisfied with the UK, why don't you go to one of these magical places?
Re: Quality of Life
Indeed - the #1 place for quality of life index is...
Ireland. Uh... ok.
When the mirror shows crooked face ....
"insanely high levels of street violence; the vicious, persistent anti-Muslim slant on television"
Somebody might connect the dots, won't they?
Statistical facts for you:
Here muslim immigrants make about 2% of population: They make about 10% of all crimes.
Immigrants from former Soviet Union are also about 2%, their crime rate is so low it's not even registered.
Now: Where is the difference and why is that?
And you whine when the TV reports the world like it is? Of course the TV is to blame, isn't it?
When the mirror shows crooked face, is the fault in the mirror or in the face, what do you think?
Muslims seem to have same übermensch-ideology than Nazis in 3rd Reich had and they are much harder to return to reality. Not even a jail sentence makes a firm believer to use brains, on the contrary: he declares himself as a martyr, jailors racists and is worse than ever.
These people should be sent where they came from and no coming back.
The ugly lie is, as always, the misrepresentation of what Maggie was saying about society, that it was not some magical body with a purse full of gold to shower on the deserving, but a collective noun for all of us. Society doesn't do anything, we do. Society doesn't pay for your operation or dole, your neighbours do. The left persistently represents this as some kind of soulless abnegation, when it was just the opposite.
Sadly its like Orwell said...
@"Either the pols have power, or they don't. If they say "Once elected we will..." then they should."
If you replace the word "pols" with what George Orwell referred to as "Proles" then it sadly all makes sense. (i.e. its all about the endless need for power and control).
Its not about political ideologies its about human psychology. By definition, the people who seek political power therefore seek the power to rule over other people to control them. That applies to all political parties regardless of what they say they will do. Its ultimately not about what they say, its about what they want and they want power over other people. The power to control. That is why we are endlessly moving nearer Big Brother technology because they are determined to abuse technology to give them what they want, which is control.
Politicians very often fit a typical Narcissist pattern of behaviour. Some are aggressive Narcissists, which is a pattern of behaviour that is easy to see, as they are simply bullies to people around them. But many Politicians are not aggressive Narcissists they are instead what is known as Passive–aggressive Narcissists and they are extremely two faced people. (Internally they are fearful people but they don't often directly show that fear). They are utter bastards to work for because whatever you do to try to do good work, you will still end up getting undermined and held back by them and they will promise so much but they will procrastinate and obstruct any real changes you suggest, until that is, they can say its their idea to make the changes. They actually treat staff like competition to their authority which they are determined to maintain and they are very good at using endless two faced lies and deception to maintain control. Exactly the pattern we see with Politicians.
So just think, these are the people in power over us! ... So is it any wonder they seek to abuse technology to give them more control.
Narcissists don't want people to talk about Narcissism and they often use derogatory attacks and straw man arguments to attempt to belittle people talking about Narcissism ultimately because they know the more people who learn about their behaviour and why they behave the way they do, then the more people who will see through them and simply not be so influenced by them (plus they don't want people to see their inner hidden fear). Therefore education of a population is the Narcissists Achilles Heel. It is the key to protecting a population against the harm Narcissists cause people and it is the means by which the Narcissists will become sidelined in society. That's why I find it so interesting that the Narcissists endless need for control is ironically educating the public's increasing anger and hatred against them.
So its like I mentioned yesterday, the Internet has already transformed many industries and the way the Narcissistic control freaks are going, its going to transform politics as well. I guess it really is about time the world changed, because this minority of Narcissistic control freaks in every generation have subjugated the population for long enough. They even take their countries into wars just so they can gain more power over more people. Its time the world pushed the control freaks out of power and to one side and ironically its the control freaks own actions which is breeding the public's increasing anger and hatred against them and so educating people about the Narcissistic control freaks need for control.
As they say, knowledge is power and the Internet contains more knowledge that at any point in history. Its time that knowledge (and power) was used against the Narcissists to bring them under control or even to side line some of them and to stop them causing all of us so much harm for their gain.
There is no desperate requirement for an identity management system controlled by the individual.
Not in my case, anyway. I already have one.
Try and find me on Facebook.
I did - 15 years ago. So I am also writing as an immigrant, just not to the UK. And I'm guessing you made a similar assessment about where you get best value for your tax pound.
But +1 for the confirmation of the "culture of contempt": if you don't like the message, beat the messenger. You've clearly "gone native" :)
And in the interests of fairness, my colleagues here are all delightfully discontented with their own government, and I've known a few people who've headed off to the greener grass elsewhere.
I told you so...
Is anyone honestly surprised at this?