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  • Banned for anti-war protests?


    by Sunny
    3rd August, 2009 at 4:29 pm    

    The government has unveiled a new set of rules today for people who want to become British citizens:

    New migrants who demonstrate an “active disregard for UK values”, possibly including protesting at homecoming parades of troops from Afghanistan, could find their applications for a British passport blocked under new citizenship proposals published today. But migrants who contribute to the “democratic life of the country” by canvassing for political parties could find the application process speeded up so that it takes one year instead of three.

    The Home Office consultation paper proposes a new category of “probationary citizen” whose application for a British passport can be speeded up or slowed down depending on the points system. Family members and refugees will automatically pass the test, but for those who come to work in Britain the speed at which they might get a British passport will depend on their earning potential, special artistic, scientific or literary merits, qualifications, their ability to speak English and how long they have lived in Britain.

    To be honest it doesn’t sound that bad to me in theory. I have no problem with ‘earned citizenship’ to be honest. If someone wants to learn English and get involved in institutions here - why not reward them? It sounds fair to me. I worry however about practice.

    This government has already abused anti-terrorism laws widely and my only worry is that these laws will be used to chuck out someone if they’ve just taken part in an normal anti-war protest.


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    1. pickles

      New blog post: Banned for anti-war protests? http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/5403




    1. Andrew — on 3rd August, 2009 at 4:37 pm  

      I still need to read the whole proposal, but I’m struck by the part automatically passing Family Members. It’s a controversial issue, particularly in the current cutbacks climate, and I just wonder how joined up their economising policies are with this sort of thing. Whether we like it or not, admitting Family Members who may be elderly or ill will have an effect if they are automatically given free healthcare or state pensions? Hopefully the gov are setting out their plans on such important issues and it isn’t just full of spin! Wonder what the Lib Dem angle is on this too? Can we sustain such immigration, and if so how?

    2. Ed Gerstner — on 3rd August, 2009 at 4:38 pm  

      As a recently naturalized citizen, I agree. On both counts.

      I think people should be able to demonstrate commitment to a country before they receive citizenship. I don’t see this as discriminatory… unless you mean discriminatory against English speakers who are traditionally less likely to pursue citizenship in the first place (or, rather, that’s the case in Australia at least).

      But I’ve deliberately avoided getting involved in any political action until I became British and received my new passport. I simply do not trust the current government’s commitment to free speech or demoncracy.

    3. Sunny — on 3rd August, 2009 at 4:48 pm  

      But I’ve deliberately avoided getting involved in any political action until I became British and received my new passport. I simply do not trust the current government’s commitment to free speech or demoncracy.

      I’m not surprised. These proposals don’t sound too bad if it wasn’t for the total lack of committment to free speech on all sides

    4. Kulvinder — on 3rd August, 2009 at 4:50 pm  

      …by canvassing for political parties could find the application process speeded up so that it takes one year instead of three.

      I haven’t read the actual text but some news organisations (including the BBC) are reporting it as ‘becoming members of a political party or trade union’

      If that is that case its amongst the most idiotically considered policies from a government that really has come up with some appalling ideas.

      Creating a situation where, say, the labour party had its income massively increased because a whole host of people joined up simply to speed up their application process wouldn’t benefit anyone but the labour party.

      I’m not in favour of ‘citizenship tests’ but if they have to be carried out id be more in favour of the applicants having to complete an OU degree, or at least something that was intellectually challenging rather than paying the labour party a bribe in order to speed up their application.

    5. Dawn Baker — on 3rd August, 2009 at 4:51 pm  

      I’m sure any fool can tell the difference between a banner that says “love not war” and one that says “death to british soldiers”.

      One is an anti war statement and the other is treason!

    6. Dawn Baker — on 3rd August, 2009 at 5:00 pm  

      To call a British soldier a murderer is not anti war protestation. It’s the government that declare war.

      Any Briton would be disputing the fact that our soldiers are dying in a needless war instead.

      It’s contentious but a matter of where your loyality lies. In the case of Luton, the protesters were on the side of the enemy and not necessary just anti war protesters.

    7. justforfun — on 3rd August, 2009 at 5:05 pm  

      Well said Kulvinder - this idea of a fast tracking citizenship for “canvassing for political parties” or even worse - by becoming a member of a political party - my God - idiocy. The Labour Party looking for new vote banks?

      On the otherside of the coin - its madness to ban someone from getting citizenship because they protest. Protest comes in many forms - is a future civilian victim of ‘cluster muntions’ not to be allowed to argue their anti-war stance from a hospital bed as it might jeopardize any possible application for citizenship in years to come. The Labour Party is truely f*cked in the head. Is anyone here a Labour Party member? - Please please please put the Labour Party down - so we can start again.

      Earned citizenship is fine - this is is pimping citizenship.

      justforfun

    8. Dawn Baker — on 3rd August, 2009 at 5:08 pm  

      If anything, call the politicians that declared war the murderers! They are the ones that make the decisions. If the British Army were defending the lives of those young men in Luton against an enemy, they would not be demonstrating.

      Do you see the difference?

    9. Kulvinder — on 3rd August, 2009 at 5:11 pm  

      Being against war isn’t synonymous with being a pacifist. The luton protests are little more than a side issue; some if not all that took part were already british citizens, and it would be utterly laughable to have a policy whereby a visitor or holiday maker to britain, as well as a citizen, had the right to protest but someone who was seeking citizenship was banned.

    10. Dawn Baker — on 3rd August, 2009 at 5:39 pm  

      Those wanting citizenship should not be engaged in any party political activities at all. Instead they should show a willingness to become part of the British community. Join voluntary organisations, do charity work….

      It also means, integration, an understanding of British customs, the English language and loyality to the country in general. The Ghurkas are an excellent example of this!

      I really don’t think those that have created a “home away from home” as in the case of Luton should be given citizenship. They obviously had no wish to become British. They have made it abundantly clear they want nothing to do with us.

      Not only do I think British citizenship should be deserved and earned, I think it should be revoked if a non committal to integration is shown, even to those born in the United Kingdom of immigrant parents.

      These communities have caused nothing but resentment amongst the British people.

      I’m sorry but that’s how many of us feel. The British used to be a generous nation but we have had the complete mickey taken out of us for the last 11 years.

      As a matter of fact, these new rules will make no difference, the Labour Government are still giving out on average 200,000 passports a year. It’s the labour governments way of ensuring future voters.

      This whole new fantasy immigration policy is to appease the new “extreme right wingers” who they know are growing in quite disturbing numbers, not only here but in Europe.

      Unfortunately, it’s too late for that.

    11. Edna Welthorpe — on 3rd August, 2009 at 5:47 pm  

      A Cunning Book from PP Press -

      ‘Fast-Track to U.K. Citizenship’ - editions in Urdu, Bengali, Gujerati [etc.,]

      MAIN POINTS:

      Join a Lib-Lab-Con Party
      Keep a neat garden
      Fly the Union Flag as often as possible
      [better to avoid the St. George's Cross]
      Obey the law

      It would outsell the PP Press best-seller ‘Benefit Fraud made Easy’ [Urdu and Bengali editions]

    12. Edna Welthorpe — on 3rd August, 2009 at 5:50 pm  

      #11 Is Dawn Baker right?

      200,000 passports a year?

      Compare with Japan, a more populous country, at roughly 4,000 new citizenships granted in a year.

    13. Dawn Baker — on 3rd August, 2009 at 6:05 pm  
    14. MaidMarian — on 3rd August, 2009 at 6:06 pm  

      There seems to be a very lazy assumption on here that immigrants all cleave to the left of the political spectrum and the Labour Party - I’m not convinced by that, but leave it to one side.

      The latest immigration bill is actually quite sensible and extends the amount of time needed to become a citizen.

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/libertycentral/2009/feb/13/civil-liberties-immigration

      I also can’t really see what is wrong with the principle of earned citizenship as such.

      The big problem with the bit about protests is that we are into the territory of legislating for motive which is a fool’s errand. I have no doubt that there is a qualitative difference between what took place in Luton and other demonstrations and in an ideal world motive could be gauged, tested and quantified. But it can’t.

      To dismiss the concerns behind this is glib (Ed Gertstner (2) wins a CiF glib award - ‘I simply do not trust the current government’s commitment to free speech or demoncracy.’ Please!). So on balance, yes to earned citizenship at different speeds, no to making judgments about what is in people’s heads at the time.

      And if that works in practice in a way that disadvantages self-segregating communities - good.

    15. Shatterface — on 3rd August, 2009 at 6:07 pm  

      ‘This government has already abused anti-terrorism laws widely and my only worry is that these laws will be used to chuck out someone if they’ve just taken part in an normal anti-war protest.’

      If these proposals are anything like the ‘anti-terrorist’ laws prepare for people being deported if they try enroling their kids in a school when they don’t live in the right catchment area, or if their dog poops on the pavement.

    16. Don — on 3rd August, 2009 at 6:09 pm  

      Agree with Kulvinder and JFF, getting points for joining a political party is crazy.

      When we came back to the UK all those years ago, my missus ‘integrated’ into local life by talking to people. And becoming a very competitive member of the leak club. Got to the point where if I cut myself shaving I was expected to bleed onto the compost heap. Political canvassing as a fast track to citizenship? What? Any party? Ridiculous.

      It just seems to be common sense that when you have large scale immigration you also need a serious infra-structure to enable people to adapt to their new life, language lessons being basic. I am not gifted linguistically, but I have lived in quite a few countries and have always taken it as a given that within a couple of months I should be able to handle a basic, civil exchange and deal with essentials. Otherwise one is reduced to being a child, dependent upon others. What kind of life is that?

    17. MaidMarian — on 3rd August, 2009 at 6:23 pm  

      Don (17) - ‘It just seems to be common sense that when you have large scale immigration you also need a serious infra-structure to enable people to adapt to their new life, language lessons being basic.’

      The structure you mention is called civil society. If some people decide to cut themself off from it I have no sympathy about complaints about not struggling to integrate.

    18. Shamit — on 3rd August, 2009 at 6:26 pm  

      “Not only do I think British citizenship should be deserved and earned, I think it should be revoked if a non committal to integration is shown, even to those born in the United Kingdom of immigrant parents.”

      Dawn you cannot revoke citizenship of natural born citizens — as you can’t make a law based on race. And you can’t make your own citizens stateless.

      While I agree with you on the earned Citizenship for immigrants — the later part of your statement reeks of BNP.

      And people born here are as British as you are — so hope it was just a typo — if not I would advise not to make those idiotic statements here again.

      ***************
      I agree with Don and MaidMarian

    19. Don — on 3rd August, 2009 at 6:29 pm  

      The structure you mention is called civil society.

      Ideally, yes, but in practice you will often need a little more than that, with language classes being the most obvious and inexpensive example.

    20. Edna Welthorpe — on 3rd August, 2009 at 6:32 pm  

      #14 - DO please go and click on the link

      - interesting to see how many were turned away sorrowing - “…not of good character…” indeed!

      You mean like the Egyptian who owns Harrods?

      #19 - Shamit … OTHER countries have stripped people of citizenship and booted them out bbut oddly enough Israel is not among them

      How about a ‘SUN’ readers’ phone-in vote to nominate people deserving of being stripped of their citizenship and given a one-way ticket?

    21. Naadir Jeewa — on 3rd August, 2009 at 6:57 pm  

      Woolas’ comments read as if to suggest anti-war protests are undemocratic.

      Surely someone who takes part in a protest is participating in the political life of the country and is therefore exercising fully a commitment to democratic ideals?

      I don’t wish to see Luton-style nutjob protests either, but as others have said, legislating for motive is slippery territory. It’s right that the US government constitutionally could not get away with such a measure (for long). Roll on the Bill of Rights…

    22. Shamit — on 3rd August, 2009 at 7:08 pm  

      Edna

      “#19 – Shamit … OTHER countries have stripped people of citizenship and booted them out bbut oddly enough Israel is not among them”

      Your stupidity and inability to read astounds me Mrs. Welthorpe.

      I know about countries stripping people of citizenship - and it can only be done to naturalised citizens and not natural born citizens.

      Do you understand?

      Show me one country except for Israel that strip natural born citizens of their citizenships -

    23. Kismet Hardy — on 3rd August, 2009 at 7:37 pm  

      Without wanting to sound like a Daily Express reader, every single person that’s taken the Britishness Test, EVERY SINGLE one (and that includes my cousin’s fella who calls the number 11 bus do danda bus) has passed. Set of rules shmools

    24. Edna Welthorpe — on 3rd August, 2009 at 7:42 pm  

      #23 - We are talking about being actually stripped of citizenship, aren’t we?

      The USSR certainly USED to but the USSR no longer exists

      Unsure about Israel? You mean people on the books as Israelis were stripped of citizenship? Who and when?

      Then there’s the issue of the stateless and semi-stateless:

      Bangladesh does not recognise the older poor-bloody-trapped-and-ignored Biharis as citizens. However, those born in Bangladesh after Independence are now Bangladeshi citizens even if their parents are not.
      The Rohingas refugees from Arakan in Burma have - some of them, anyway - been granted Bangladeshi ID cards but not necessarily full citizenship.

      The Thais are unwilling to grant formal documents to tribals, because those northern tribes straddle the borders with Laos, Burma and China [and there are ethnic Thai on the Cambodian side and ethnic Khmer on the Thai side] and there’s the thin-end-of-the-wedge argument accepted by most Thai-Thais about national identity and citizenship.

      It is an open secret that more than a bit of jiggery-pokery is associated with the granting of Malaysian citizenship in Sarawak because the Iban, Kelabit, Kayan, Kenyah and Lun Bawan [Murut] - among others - straddle the border with Kalimantan and Malaysian identity is FAR more valuable than Indonesian.

      We all know about the Kuwaitis and the poor ‘bidoon’ and there was the odd issue of a clan straddling the Qatari-Saudi border which both countries disowned and then both relented.

      A glance at the demographic map tells us that large numbers of minor clans like the Al-Filimbani straddles the Yemeni-Saudi border.

      The Messdeck Lawyers here on PP can doubtless supply more detail.

    25. Shamit — on 3rd August, 2009 at 7:54 pm  

      Again a lot of gobbledygook — could you please cite examples where a natural born citizen was stripped of his/her citixenship?

      The answer is no.

      and Israel did strip someone suspected of terrorism — the Supreme Court of Israel is still dealing with it.

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/2246920.stm

    26. Dawn Baker — on 3rd August, 2009 at 8:13 pm  

      “And people born here are as British as you are — so hope it was just a typo — if not I would advise not to make those idiotic statements here again”..

      Why, because you simply don’t want to hear the truth?

      I am a right of centre conservative but if those borne of immigrants think they are automatically British even though they don’t behave as such, they are sadly mistaken.

      I was not born in the UK simply because my father served in India when I was born. That does NOT give me the right to Indian citizenship however!

      Do not confuse patriotism with the BNP, they are hardly patriotic!

      Patriotism is a state of mind and revoking citizenship is a common occurrence in many counties.

    27. Don — on 3rd August, 2009 at 8:17 pm  

      #25

      While accurate, you are describing situations where citizenship is denied or made very diffcult. The question was about individuals being stripped of existing citizenship. Not about the ambiguous status of clans. However worthy of concern.

    28. Shamit — on 3rd August, 2009 at 8:21 pm  

      “I was not born in the UK simply because my father served in India when I was born. That does NOT give me the right to Indian citizenship however!”

      Actually it does. And lot of people did claim it.
      Many apple orchards and tea gardens were owned by naturalised Indian citizens of British origin.

      *************************

      Secondly, your father was serving in India and not a Permanent Resident of the country. Today, in the UK for a child born in the UK to be a British citizen, s/he has to be born to at least one parent who is a British citizen — or both parents are Permanent Residents with indefinite leave to remain.

      *******************************
      I agree every British citizen should be patriotic and I support that fully and if they do not like this country they can renounce their citizenship and bugger off. I have no problems with that.

      I also have no problems with stripping citizenship of naturalised citizens who act against the British State, or commit heinous crimes.

      So I guess we are actually on the same page — and I do apologise as I do not think you are BNP but the statement that you made earlier sounded like coming straight out off the BNP handbook. Either way, I agree with you fully. But legally, we cannot strip natural born citizens of their citizenship as no country would accept them.

    29. Vikrant — on 3rd August, 2009 at 8:27 pm  

      I was not born in the UK simply because my father served in India when I was born. That does NOT give me the right to Indian citizenship however!

      Presuming you were born within the borders of the Republic of India between 1948 to 2001, yes, you could have claimed an Indian passport by your 18th birthday.

    30. Don — on 3rd August, 2009 at 8:32 pm  

      Oh, never mind. Shamit has made the point. (overindulged on the edit and ran out of time.)

    31. Dawn Baker — on 3rd August, 2009 at 8:33 pm  

      I just really resent the fact that to be patriotic seems to be a swansong for abuse.

      Immigration is a good thing on the whole. Uncontrolled immigration has done nothing but damage to the UK.

      I love my country and I expect anyone who resides here and wants to be a UK citizen to feel the same. I don’t think that is racist.

      I don’t remember India by the way, we left when I was a baby.. and I love my country, which is why I am loyal to it and my Queen and if that’s a crime, shoot me!

    32. Arif — on 3rd August, 2009 at 8:37 pm  

      Shamit, what if someone genuinely cares for people without feeling any patriotic reasons for doing so or not doing so? If they are not patriotic to any country?

      What would you do with such people?

    33. Shamit — on 3rd August, 2009 at 8:39 pm  

      “Uncontrolled immigration has done nothing but damage to the UK.”

      I Agree to some extent

      “I love my country, which is why I am loyal to it and my Queen and if that’s a crime, shoot me!”

      I feel exactly the same way -

      So Dawn where is the argument?

      We agree on the essence of your argument - the only thing I objected to was that you wanted to strip natural born citizens of their citizenship. Because there is no way any nation is going to accept our discards — for better or for worse they are our problem.

    34. Vikrant — on 3rd August, 2009 at 8:41 pm  

      I love my country and I expect anyone who resides here and wants to be a UK citizen to feel the same. I don’t think that is racist.

      I doubt anyone here thinks being patriotic is essentially bad. I don’t live in UK anymore, but I am still a loyal subject of the Queen and I’d consider myself to be a prtiotic Briton. Having said that, I don’t think its my place to ask for patriotism cards from fellow Britons or expect everyone to feel the same way I do about the UK.

    35. Shamit — on 3rd August, 2009 at 8:43 pm  

      Caring for humanity is very worthwhile and there is nothing wrong with that

      - but if caring for a particular group of people based on religion and race trumps caring for your country then I do have a problem. And that goes for all races all religion.

      Simple example, if my country is at war I want to win the war with the least cost to ourselves — both in human terms and resources.

      And if a British citizen or a permanent resident wishes Britain to lose a war it is in — s/he is a pathetic piece of shit in my eyes. And they don’t deserve to live here. As Dawn would say shoot me if yu think that is jingoistic.

      ****************************
      that does not mean I would agree with every policy of the Government of the day or support the government blindly — but if we are at war - I support my country even if I did not support the decision to go to war.

      And, I would attempt politically to change the course of action and also by voting against the government in the next election but I would back my country to win the war
      ***********************************************

    36. MaidMarian — on 3rd August, 2009 at 8:45 pm  

      Dawn Baker (33) - ‘I just really resent the fact that to be patriotic seems to be a swansong for abuse.’

      Who is it abusing your patriotism Dawn?

    37. Dave S — on 3rd August, 2009 at 9:16 pm  

      Oh bloody hell! The entire concept of countries, nations, nationality, borders, states… it’s all a load of crap, and it serves no purpose other than to divide us against each other, and make us easier to rule over. And how perfectly it has done just that, eh?

      I am a citizen of the Earth.

      I am a human being.

      I am a Homo sapiens.

      I am of whatever culture I feel like being at this moment in time, and later on I may be something else.

      I define who I am at any moment in time - not you, not anybody else.

      I can be a friend to every living creature.

      Every human is a part of my family.

      I renounce my nationality.

      I don’t care what race or nationality you are.

      I live in Britain and was born to two British parents (who were also born to all British parents), but seriously, fuck this stinking country and all it has become. Those arguing over their “right” to exclude others from being here are among the many reasons I feel this more, on a daily basis.

      Who do you think you are? We are all mongrels, without exception!

      Everybody has a right to go anywhere they wish to go.

      These little portions of the world we stick flags in and pretend “belong” to us… what a ridiculous notion!! We belong to the world.

      I would love to escape to no man’s land, but where the hell is that? These stupid concepts of nationality and so on are so pervasive that they are bloody inescapable!

      I was never asked if I wanted to be a citizen or a subject of any state, and I do not give my consent to be so. To claim some sort of ownership of me and label me with a nationality against my will is proof positive that our so-called “freedom” is a complete illusion.

      Show me some land where I can go, build my own house, grow my own food, look after my family in peace, and perhaps even co-operate with other people who have had enough of all this petty bullshit and squabbling over who gets to be a bastard to who.

      I want and need nothing else in life.

      You’d think it would be simple - to just go and find some land, build a small house, settle down, be friendly with the neighbours and mind one’s own business.

      But no, these fucking bureaucracies have made it their purpose to get inside our lives - to meddle without permission, and to slap labels on us so that we can be controlled by them, for their own gain.

      I’d laugh at us all if it wasn’t so completely fucked.

      (Rant over, and yes, before anyone asks, I do feel better for getting that off my chest, thanks.)

      Edit: Arif at #32, you’ve just described me. I feel a great warmth and love for all people (even those whose ideas I disagree with), yet I feel no patriotism to anywhere. At a push, I’d be in favour of a mild form of patriotism towards the Earth - it gave me life, after all.

    38. Arif — on 3rd August, 2009 at 9:18 pm  

      Shamit - your answer seems based on an “us and them” view of the world. In addition assuming that one version of “us and them” (based on loyalty to a State?) is superior to any other version of us and them.

      This does not seem obvious to me - sure people can threaten and abuse me for not sharing their particular “us and them” views, but is there any moral reason to prefer one set of loyalties to another? Is there no principle (eg opposition to imperialism, genocide or something like that) for which you would actually decide it would be better in some way if the military campaign by the side claiming to represent you were unsuccessful?

    39. comrade — on 3rd August, 2009 at 9:32 pm  

      Uncontrolled immigration has done nothing but damage to the UK.”

      Immigration as always been controlled from devoloping countries, the only unconrolled immigration as been from the EU.

    40. anobody — on 3rd August, 2009 at 9:38 pm  

      My patriotism ends with the penalty shoot out defeat. I think that’s enough.

    41. Shamit — on 3rd August, 2009 at 9:40 pm  

      Imperialism is a dead concept - cultural imperialism is on the rise. And that is something which is often by choice. And I oppose imperialism as much as the next person.

      Genocide - I am of course against genocide. I am not very proud of the genocide committed by us in Ireland either. And, I am proud my country fought against genocide of Hitler, Milosevic and Saddam Hussein. Although the war in Iraq was the wrong war at the wrong time —

      If I had my way, the international community should have put troops in Zimbabwe as well and in Rwanda.

      And, the current wars we are fighting — which is in Afghanistan only — I am all for it.

      I believe in the bonds of common humanity — and that trumps all others. I don’t think Britain in the last 50 years has acted against it. or at least since my birth.

      So which military campaign are you suggesting about Arif?

      I am against regimes that block free will and free association and free ideas such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, South Africa (until 1992) -
      *********

    42. MaidMarian — on 3rd August, 2009 at 9:42 pm  

      And tomorrow, for his next trick, Dave S produces enough steam from one nostril to generate power equivalent to the output of Sizewell B.

    43. Shamit — on 3rd August, 2009 at 9:48 pm  

      I believe if we do not rise together we would all fall — we need to help people who are less fortunate than us to help them with education, healthcare and support them so that they have a better quality of life.

      In today’s world what happens in far flung corners affect us all — and therefore we, the international community, have a moral obligation to step in where people are abused — children do not have the freedom to learn, freedom to pray and freedom to live without oppression.

      You have a problem with any of that Arif?
      ********************************************
      I believe strongly in secular societies as that is the only form of society where rights of all are preserved - i believe in freedom of religion for everyone. yet, I believe that when religion becomes a divisive force the State has an obligation to step in.

      Sounds bookish — well it may be but I genuinely believe in it.

    44. comrade — on 3rd August, 2009 at 9:48 pm  

      37 Dave S, well said mate, If only everybody was a fully devoloped humanbeing like yourself, this world be be wonderfull place

    45. Shamit — on 3rd August, 2009 at 9:51 pm  

      Could I now ask you Arif — what do you believe in? — I believe you can be patriotic and still support the common bonds of humanity.

    46. comrade — on 3rd August, 2009 at 10:12 pm  

      Shamit

      If I had my way, the international community should have put troops in Zimbabwe as well and in Rwanda.

      You fail to mention Palestine. Why doesnt the West send in troops to liberate the Palestians from israel ocupation. It sounds like double standards to me. We reconized Kosovo and not South Ossatia. Is this part of ‘Britishness’ if it is, count me out.

    47. Dave S — on 3rd August, 2009 at 10:14 pm  

      Maidmarian @ 42: If only I could do that! I’d solve peak energy and perhaps even climate change, all from just one nostril! :-D

      Comrade @ 44: Thanks, glad my ranting wasn’t in vain!

    48. Arif — on 3rd August, 2009 at 10:26 pm  

      Shamit, I’m not thinking about any particular war, I was trying to understand why you are arguing for patriotism. Like Dave S, I could imagine being born anywhere - it is an accident if I am a citizen of Britain or a citizen of an official enemy of Britain - so I find it hard to understand why patriotism should be treated differently from any other form of supremacism.

      Supporting a football team or something is fine as a way to enjoying a tribal kind of togetherness, but wars which results in killing seems to me to need more justification than “I happen to live here”.

      I do understand you are expressing something more than “my country right or wrong” - you seem to be saying that although you might disagree with some wars fought by the UK, you believe they were still fought for higher human principles.

      If someone else genuinely distrusted the motives of wars undertaken by the UK Government - perhaps you would consider such people too cynical or brainwashed - but say they believed some wars were not only unnecessary but even unjust. Should they still support that war? Would that be British or UnBritish? Would that be supporting the bonds of common humanity or not?

      I think the only way it makes sense to say “citizens should support the country” is to also admit that people have different ideas of what is in the interests of the country and different ideals for the State. So for some people it may sometimes be in in the interest of a country to lose a war (perhaps Suez is a mainstream example). For some people supporting their country would mean never supporting wars in the name of the country (as their ideals are to solve problems without violence). For some people supporting their country takes the form of wanting the removal of the State altogether.

      So supporting wars or troops are not, in that sense, an indicator of support for their country, just an indicator of other ideological beliefs and commitments.

    49. marvin — on 3rd August, 2009 at 10:32 pm  

      I’ll have whatever Dave S is smoking please.

    50. Arif — on 3rd August, 2009 at 10:36 pm  

      re #45: I’m still working out what I believe in, but I align myself with Amnesty International and similar human rights organisations.

      I also tend to oppose violent supremacism, and supremacism in general. However I recognise that it is very difficult to remove all supremacism from our thinking, even harder than it is to protect the rights of people who are hostile to you.

    51. Shamit — on 3rd August, 2009 at 10:36 pm  

      Comrade

      http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/1909

      You would see I am on record about putting UN peacekeeping force on the Israel/Palestine border

      And I also offer a different solution than just playing the blame game.

      I also find it difficult to engage with anyone who argues that Stalin was a good guy and him killing people were just propaganda. If you want I can highlight that link too.
      ******************
      Arif - I am in the middle of something right now but I will respond to you.

      Sorry

    52. Don — on 3rd August, 2009 at 10:50 pm  

      37 Dave S, well said mate, If only everybody was a fully devoloped humanbeing like yourself, this world be be wonderfull place

      But with many, many fewer inhabitants.

    53. Dave S — on 3rd August, 2009 at 11:41 pm  

      Don @ 52 - why so?

      In my view, we manage to live in peace in spite of politicians and nations, not because of them.

      Get rid of politicians and nations, and instead of labelling someone as part of some perceived group, and then it seeming “legitimate” to shoot them, you’d have to actually take everyone as an individual person, and find out what makes them tick.

      Why aren’t you out killing and murdering other people right now, to get whatever you want? Is it because those things are illegal (hey, you might still get away with it - so does the law work?), or is it because most people don’t actually wish to cause harm or hurt to others?

      It’s always “other people” who are the problem, right?

      Well, start by trusting each other and helping each other, and see what a difference it can make to your own world just from doing those two simple things. Sure, you might get burned a few times (as I have on occasion) but I still wouldn’t have it any other way.

      Start by valuing everybody as a human being (and it being absolutely inconceivable to kill), and I think you’ll find that most people won’t get so fucked up or angry that they’d want to kill others in the first place.

      Value everybody’s right to a happy existence - and help each other achieve it wherever you can.

      For the remaining genuine psychopaths (those who are not capable of empathy), there are ways they can be helped and steered away from harming others - inside of a society which values them as humans in their own right.

      Honestly, why is all this “getting along” and “co-operating” stuff considered so far out that it seems completely normal to take the piss out of it (Marvin)? Am I the only person on here who isn’t out on a constant basis exploiting and killing and pillaging? Would you all be out doing that tomorrow if the laws to “prevent” you doing that didn’t exist? Come off it!

      So presumably we’re back to “other people” being the ones who need controlling by the state. And to that, I say “bullshit”.

      Give all people a decent chance at life, and a fair share of the Earth’s resources, and nobody will need any external so-called “authority” over them - not even psychopaths.

      So go ahead, take the piss if you like.

      What was it Ghandi said? “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

      Are we at stage two now on PP?

      Well, forget stage three - you won’t get much fight out of me any more. I’m off to grow vegetables and build a small house (really).

    54. Dave S — on 3rd August, 2009 at 11:54 pm  

      Oh, and by the way, would someone like to explain what the problem is with smoking (or eating / drinking) something to chill us out and help us get along with each other and enjoy life a bit?

      It sounds eminently sensible (and even easy) to me - which is no doubt why politicians and people who’d like to make slaves out of us (employers) are so dead against recreational drugs (except the ones they can control and profit from, naturally).

      I don’t even blame them. We’re all in the same boat as little more than creations moulded by our circumstances (many of which could easily be made better).

      That’s an opportunity to pull together and sort it out for the good of all - not a reason to fight each other.

      I am often amazed at the cynicism on this site. Sometimes PP contributors can be about as “progressive” as wage slavery.

      Edit: Unfortunately, I’m about to be away for a little while without internet access, so I probably won’t see your replies until I return.

    55. damon — on 4th August, 2009 at 12:02 am  

      Will we be encouraged to grass people up too?
      To ring up Special Branch and say who’s been outside the mosque with those scary young blokes with beards handing out leaflets and being all Islamist

      In the true story of the Kandahar Cockney, the British journalist’s former guide (and friend) in Afghanistan, comes to London, as he fears for his safety after it was known he was working with the foreigners.

      He’d been really laid back and looked to western culture when he was in Afghanistan, but after some lonely time spent in London, he ended hanging about with Abu Hamza’s Finsbury Park Mosque crowd.

      Fortunately he got over this phase when some members of his family turned up in England, and he was able to fulfill his natural role as family member and patriarch.
      http://www.amazon.co.uk/Kandahar-Cockney-Tale-Two-Worlds/dp/0007156979

      Last year I was sitting in this internet place one evening, when I just happened to notice that the Muslim woman sitting next to me was looking at the Home Office website. She was dressed in a hijab and long coat (I thought she looked Jordanian or something like that.)
      Anyway, so I’m minding my own business, but as the computors were so close together you couldn’t help but be slightly aware of the people around you.
      I noticed that she was watching some youtube of some kind of street demonstaration, and when I glanced over I saw it was in the USA and about a dozen Islamofascists were holding up placards in the street and shouting through megaphones about gays, sodomy and Hell.

      ”Bloody hell” I thought and went back to what I was doing. A few minutes later I looked over again, and this time she was watching a youtube of that idiot Abu Izzadean.
      http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2009/07/07/article-0-057067660000044D-599_468x297.jpg

      Btw, when I told this story on another website (a really leftist anti-racist one) I was pilloried by some of them for ”stalking an Asian lass”.
      How dare I notice such a thing.

      Anyway, is this the sort of thing that the Home Office might wish to know about?
      I saw her around the area a few times after that.

    56. Dave S — on 4th August, 2009 at 12:03 am  

      Arif @ 50:

      I also tend to oppose violent supremacism, and supremacism in general. However I recognise that it is very difficult to remove all supremacism from our thinking, even harder than it is to protect the rights of people who are hostile to you.

      Ever heard the saying “all ideologies are totalitarian”?

      Have truer words ever been spoken?

    57. Roger — on 4th August, 2009 at 5:10 am  

      “New migrants who demonstrate an “active disregard for UK values”… could find their applications for a British passport blocked under new citizenship proposals”
      Traditional UK values include religious and political dissent and opposition to government attempts to impose self-defined UK values. Much that makes the UK a pretty good place to live in today was brought about by dissenters against the wishes of the governments.

      There’s also a history of this desire for conformists. Someone I used to know was born a Hungarian. In WWII he opposed the fascist dictatorship and became a communist. Under communist rule he was expelled from the party and imprisoned for opposing some of the government’s policies. After his release he supported the Nagy government and fought in the resistance to Soviet invasion and was imprisoned again. When he finally got to the UK he had difficulties getting British citizenship. “Well,” the man from the Home office explained, “You’ve been nothing but a nuisance to every government you’ve lived under, so why should we put up with you?”

    58. ali — on 4th August, 2009 at 9:05 am  

      damon

      I noticed that she was watching some youtube of some kind of street demonstaration, and when I glanced over I saw it was in the USA and about a dozen Islamofascists were holding up placards in the street and shouting through megaphones about gays, sodomy and Hell.

      Why is the phrase “Islamofascists” allowed? It is deeply offensive to Muslims. Should Muslim posters on here starting calling Damon a “stupid kaffir?”

      Anyway, is this the sort of thing that the Home Office might wish to know about?
      I saw her around the area a few times after that.

      Yes the only way we can protect our democracy is by becoming a Stalinist state where everyone spies on everyone else

    59. Jai — on 4th August, 2009 at 10:06 am  

      I would love to escape to no man’s land, but where the hell is that? These stupid concepts of nationality and so on are so pervasive that they are bloody inescapable!

      …..

      Show me some land where I can go, build my own house, grow my own food, look after my family in peace, and perhaps even co-operate with other people who have had enough of all this

      I hear that 18th century North America is quite nice at this time of year…..

      On a slightly more serious note, regarding #52 — Dave, read up on the history of European settlement and expansion in America and you’ll get the answers to all your questions, both positive and negative.

      Failing that, I recommend you do some Googling and find out exactly why many viewers with extremely rigorous scientific academic backgrounds objected so much to the implausibility of the ending of the recent re-imagined “Battlestar Galactica” series, where the heroes were portrayed as “going back to a simpler life” in exactly the same way that you suggest. You’ll receive a comprehensive answer to your question to Don about why the numbers comprising the human population would subsequently plummet.

    60. George — on 4th August, 2009 at 10:49 am  

      They keep talking of British values. What are they? Ask any Daily Mail columnist to characterise the English and they will trot out that hoary chestnut about “our reputation for fair play, tolerance and decency”/i>. But is this borne out by the experience of the working class, subjects from former colonies or Third World immigrants and asylum seekers subjected to systematic race-based legislation and media attacks? Ethnic minority experience may well yield its own set of English traits: inclined to act superior, hypocritical, given to binge drinking etc. Indeed, popular broadcaster and writer, Jeremy Paxman wondered in his book on the English: ”Where did they (the English) get their extraordinary capacity for hypocrisy?”  
      The truth is there is no scientific basis for regarding social traits as inherited, whether aggression, fair play, reserved nature. So called national characteristics are really interpretations of historians and pundits serving the ruling classes or constructions of politicians to whip up support for a pet issue. English nationalism has long been used by the ruling classes to buy the support and loyalty of the rest by persuading them that they all have some sort of shared identity. 

    61. Golam Murtaza — on 4th August, 2009 at 10:51 am  

      Eyes front Damon! :)

    62. fugstar — on 4th August, 2009 at 12:12 pm  

      i can see this a ruse for new labour to ship in thousands of canvassers for its forthcoming election effort.

      points for being members of parties?

      how naff!

    63. Sofia — on 4th August, 2009 at 12:37 pm  

      so once ppl have got their citizenship, will they then have ‘follow up’ sessions to check up on their Britishness? How will this all be monitored? I think it’s silly. Instead of focusing on the minority of immigrants coming to this country, why not focus on people already here?

      Targetting immigrants is great for politics, but there is little substance.

    64. A Councillor Writes — on 4th August, 2009 at 1:22 pm  

      As much as I’d love a few extra canvassers, this is a really rubbish way to go about it.

      As usual from this government, ill-thought out suggestions leading to poorly implemented legislation.

    65. anobody — on 4th August, 2009 at 1:39 pm  

      How will this all be monitored?

      More quangos

    66. fugstar — on 4th August, 2009 at 2:20 pm  

      I beleive that its tremendously more important for presently human emmitting countries to get their shit together and cohere their people with hopeful futures…. than to quibble over this shizzle.

      uk citizen capture requirements havent traditionally been as discerning as other places.

    67. Golam Murtaza — on 4th August, 2009 at 2:33 pm  

      Eh??

    68. Edna Welthorpe — on 4th August, 2009 at 6:29 pm  

      Here is atrue story. Old but true.

      A Japanese-born Korean household in Sakai, Osaka, applied for Japanese citizenship. They were visited by a woman sent by the local ward office who insisted on searching the kitchen for kimchee.

      Luckily, they had none in the house and so passed the test and were duly awarded citizenship.

      Similiar tales have been told in print about Italian-Americans having to turn their backs on pasta. This was back in the twenties.

      Anyway, will any of this stuff turn into reality? It sounds more like a desperate and clueless outgoing government utterly desperate for headlines and camera time.

    69. The Queen of Fiddlesticks — on 4th August, 2009 at 7:59 pm  

      David S.
      I like your comments very much, and would agree with almost everything you have said.
      I wish we lived in that world too, maybe we don’t right now ..but I still hope one day we will. or at least be able to set the foundation for future generations.
      I myself have never felt “patriotic”, but hey, I was raised by a pack of wild Europeans in a city that thrived on culture and diversity .. my life has always been a celebration of everything. Now I live in NYC and don’t know if it is possible to get more no-mans land than that? Honestly I have come to wonder if nationalism is the new racism, competing like this is the world cup.
      What you say is true too, there are good and bad people - I find the majority to be good, and even when you run into some difficult types remaining true to yourself (in my experience) always brings about changes for the better in one way or another. But there is a big difference in personal philosophy, and politics.
      I do think you underestimate the role of government, though I do feel a lot of things need to be examined with how we have done things in the past, in order for that world we envision to become a possible reality, a first step would be to somehow stabilize the present.
      To do that we may need to realize everyone is not equal, they are all different - and different problems need different solutions.
      I have tried to show in comments here the massive immigration into England before. I am glad to see some others looking at it now too ….
      I myself wanted more than anything to go there, for no reason other than I have always loved it - no matter how much of me I would have wished to give or add … I now see it as maybe kind of selfish. I always ask other people why they immigrated and very few say because they loved that country.
      and on the opposite side I wonder if people truly realize why people immigrate.
      Still there needs to be a cap, no?
      I have also asked before why can’t a government ask people to leave? or even pick out the people to go ?
      I kind of see countries like houses … how many people can live under one roof with out it causing some real problems for everyone? Not all immigrants are perfect innocent people … there are some things they need to accept too.
      thinking now I have to say I agree with your ideas on how it should be …. but what we need is some strong leaders to make tough choices that will help get us there.
      The whole world needs to evolve, I believe it is already.

    70. The Queen of Fiddlesticks — on 5th August, 2009 at 12:03 am  

      To be honest with myself …. the real reason I wanted to be in London so bad is because I loved someone who lives there, I wanted to be with them and just share and love their England with them. That’s another reason I hate countries, stupid laws.
      and other people just seem to get everything so easy?
      Importing wives etc …. and all the problems from that.
      Now he dates a girl from poland…. why is there room for her and not for me?
      not fair any of it!!

    71. Don — on 5th August, 2009 at 12:09 am  

      I seriously doubt that Dave S, who is a lovely bloke with some enthusiasms, wants a strong leader making tough choices. I know I bloody don’t.

    72. The Queen of Fiddlesticks — on 5th August, 2009 at 12:12 am  

      what do you want from leaders then?

    73. Don — on 5th August, 2009 at 12:24 am  

      Competence?

      And they aren’t my leaders. They are public servants.

    74. damon — on 5th August, 2009 at 2:08 am  

      I know some people think that these guys are ‘barking’ - and particularly their editor who I’ve read somewhere that people have said he writes his articles like painting by numbers … but just when reading this tonight, one phrase jumped out at me:
      ” … that the very idea of British citizenship is impossible, even undesirable; that in a society as diverse (a trendy word for ‘fractured’) as the UK, we should ditch the idea of citizenship altogether and let communities define themselves as they please.”
      In defence of citizens
      http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php/site/article/7224/
      ”Fractured?”

      That shows some clear blue water between that thinking and what might be called the more usual ”Billy Bragg in Victoria Park” way of looking at things.

      But this sounds about right:
      ”In New Labour’s worldview, citizenship means unquestioningly accepting society and values as they currently exist.”

    75. The Queen of Fiddlesticks — on 5th August, 2009 at 2:29 am  

      well I have come to realize there is a very big difference in American and British … So I have to try to translate that statement, whats the role of public servant then if not to serve the pubic?
      I said I agree with what David S. said in his comments ..but how do we get to that place? It won’t just magically appear overnight.
      and I’m sorry to say but looking individually at England, there is currently too many people, and all them came very quickly. I find it very hard to believe the government is only looking after it’s own interest when they opened it self up to this in the first place. They simply can’t keep up. And when they try to make any rules at all everyone freaks out..I don’t understand.
      At what point does compassion become stupidity?
      Is there a time in our evolution where governments need to stop competing and blaming each other? ..
      Are you looking for a leader then? What would they say?
      Probably what David S. has said …. that everyone should really start worrying just about themselves, what they do, and how that effects everything.
      and as I have said working to stabilize where we are at present first.
      I’m not sure if I think people who immigrate have a right to get involved in the protests and politics?
      I sometimes think I have no right as an American just to even comment here.

      everything is so complicated isn’t it :(

    76. sonia — on 8th August, 2009 at 8:16 pm  

      what Dave S said!

      anyway this goes back to the original issues around how ‘wide’ our notion of ‘citizenship’ is. good citizenship should be globally understood regardless of where you happen to be - a fluid understanding of ‘us’, rather than one based on some group discriminatory basis. yes the collective needs to encompass the whole of Earth’s residents.

      anyway how does one ‘measure’ civic participation, you can’t very easily of course really, and i doubt very much these new “guidelines” will actually correspond to a very different implementation of the existing framework.

      the reality is so much of London’s civil society orgs have a high % of foreign citizens who happen to be residents in London. much like intl devt work NGO work globally.

      and of course membership of political parties is hardly a measure of civic participation - it could be one aspect of it but..
      political engagement does not require membership of political parties and in many cases, the membership seems to actively addle people’s critical skills.

    77. sonia — on 8th August, 2009 at 8:24 pm  

      Of course the underlying issues are as Dave S points to, the wider global issue of the fact that we are divided organisationally into nation-states and if you are not a citizen of one of these entities, you’re fucked, and depending on which entity you have managed to squeeze into (or have been born into, don’t see why being born somewhere means anything, it does in some ‘unsaid’ way in our current understanding of ‘right’) your rights and experience of the world will be determined. NO different a barrier than class or race which are the 2 people think about within the ‘UK’ boundary.

      Of course the world finds itself split up into inequal units and states and now there is a ‘fight’ between those who have membership of the more privileged entities and those who haven’t.

      what a suprise. what worries me is where we go from here. we could have another set of world wars, or we could try address this question COLLECTIVELY on a global basis. Rather than an intra-national inter-national one.

      Given the current state of world affairs, i hardly need to stress how important this is. Cosmopolitanism can no longer be just some abstract ‘greek’ idea that some academic folks speak about every now and then.

    78. sonia — on 8th August, 2009 at 8:35 pm  

      SO basically, in case y’all didn’t get what i was trying to say, immigration can’t be left to be discussed on a national basis. It’s too important an issue globally.

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