UK Immigration – Correspondence

I hope to write a longer piece about the UK Immigration Department as they are embroiled in chaos, where people who have lived in the UK for decades, largely from the Caribbean received threatening letters.  For each year they were in the UK they had to furnish 3+ documents to show they were in the UK.  Can you imagine going back to, say 1965 and producing three [sic – it was four not three] documents to show you were resident in a country?  Theresa May was at the heart [or lack thereof] of this scandalous treatment by Immigration of UK residents.  Why is this not a surprise?  And it even involves Canadians:

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/apr/24/canadian-woman-told-to-leave-uk-margaret-obrien

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Earth Day in South England

The blossoms have been hiding behind the unseasonably cool weather.  But a couple of days of warm sunshine, and they have pushed away the fog and winter’s hold, emerging to display rebirth of life.

A thunderstorm last night kept us up watching the skies.  This morning some initial fog as we headed out to Barton on Sea, just down from Milton on Sea.  You can guess — nearby is the sea.

Time to haul out the book of Haiku for one of my favourite writings, from the 18th and early 19th century Japanese monk,  Issa.

congratulations
issa… you have survived to feed
this year’s mosquitoes

 

The UK Ombudsman’s Office

The latest with our UK Immigration Complaint.

I’d have thought that they would separate the political process from the administrative process by having the MP’s office involved at the political level only when other avenues are exhausted.  In Canada MP’s offices are very busy — and I expect they are also busy here .

Also it would have made sense to me that if the ombudsman’s process starts with the MP’s office, why not direct individuals there when citizens first approach the ombudsman’s office.

So as usual, a fifteen minute job by a public servant serves the complaint back into the court of the citizen who then must spend at least three hours arranging, then meeting with an office of the Member of Parliament.

I feel for citizens who are ill served by their government.

So off I go to our MP’s office.

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It is no accident the Immigration UK is again in the headlines with their incompetence.  The Prime Minister’s behaviour in relation to this story below is scandalous – both as Home Secretary and as Prime Minister.  She was the author of a significant part of the departmental mess that we find today:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-43804304

https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2018-04-17/uk-leader-sorry-for-caribbean-citizens-immigration-mix-up

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April 17, 2018

Dear Mr Mitchell,

Thank you for your email.

I have since made enquiries with the UKVI; and have now received confirmation that a final response was issued to your complaint on the 16 October 2017.

As we now have confirmation that you have completed the complaints process of the UKVI, please ask an MP to make the legally required referral to our service, and we will then be able to consider your complaint further at that time.

If you have any questions, please contact us quoting your unique reference number that has been assigned to you at the top of this email. 

Kind regards

[name]

Intake Caseworker


It did not fill me with optimism when during my random search for information I came up with the following article:

The chances are that your MP will be keen to wash their hands of the matter as soon as your case has been ‘resolved’ by the Ombudsman.  They will rarely fight on your behalf if you feel that there has been an injustice, using the convenience that the Ombudsman is an independent body, so unfortunately their hands are tied.  Your MP will now bow out of the process happy that they have ticked the constituent box and not unduly concerned whether justice has been done.  The more you get involved with politicians the more you wonder how they ever came to be called ‘public servants’.  There is some interesting information here from MPs who were asked by PASC to comment on the current complaint procedure.  parliament.uk/writtenevidence  At lease we can take comfort in the fact that they too are ignored by Ministers and their letters are lost on a regular basis.  What a great way to run a country.

from:  http://phsothefacts.com/your-mp/

Do you speak English?

We all speak the same language – well sort of.  Over the course of the last year here a few differences we’ve noticed between Canadian English, and the terms used by the English to say the same thing.

CANADIAN
ENGLISH

At the moment
 At the minute

Band aids
Plasters

Bits and pieces
Bibs and bobs

Car trunk
Boot

Car hood 
Bonnet

Closed (schools, stores)
Shut

Corn starch 
 Corn flour

Enthusiastic, proud 
Chuffed

Vacuum
 Hoover

Four lane highway
Dual carriageway

Granola bar
Flapjack

Homeless person
Rough sleeper

Hamburger   
Mince

Illegal dumping 
Fly tipping

Insurance policy
  Insurance cover

Kissing amorously 
Snogging

Kitchen store 
Cook Shop

Merry Christmas
Happy Christmas

Moving truck
 Removal truck

Plan or strategy
Scheme

Popsicle
 Iced lolly

Potluck
Bring and share

Prepared food  
 Ready meals

References  
Referees

Sand and salt trucks
Gritters

Seeds 
Pips

Pits – as in peach pits
Stones

Staff orientation
 Staff induction

Sand and salt trucks
Gritters

Stag (female) 
 Hen and chicks party

Stove top 
Hob

Take out food 
 Take-away

Traffic circle
Roundabout

Turnips 
Swedes

Whining and complaining
Wingeing

Useless
Not fit for purpose

Windshield
Wind screen

How are you/need anything? 
Ya right?

 

Tuileries – Paris

My favorite stop in Paris is the French formal style garden, the Tuileries.  The beauty and spaciousness of this park takes my breath away.

 

Nestled between the Louvre and the Place de la Concorde, it’s a great place to escape the bustle of downtown Paris for a stroll or a picnic.  We were fortunate to have an “April in Paris” moment, and the photos reflect the first shirtsleeves warm day after a long winter.

 

Many, including us,  enjoyed the first picnic of the spring season.

 

The Tuileries Gardens gained their name from the tile factories which previously stood on the site.  Queen Catherine de Medici [wife of King Henry II] built the adjacent palace in 1664.

 

It became a city park after the French Revolution.
A magnificent space, with its sculptures, ponds, gardens, and wide promenades, this is a stop not to be missed on any trip to Paris.

 

Settle into one of the green chairs, rest and savour the beauty of this great city.

Return from Venice

Many express a love-hate relationship with Italy.  We get it.

It was time to head to the airport for our departing flight from Venice back to England.  Near the Venezia-Mestre Rail Station is the bus signage.  Study it carefully and you will note that the sign is wrong – it has one direction away from the airport, then the other sign has the stops in reverse order but also away from the airport.

Okay, let’s just take the bus that reads ‘aeroporto’ — likely a good guess.

We were fortunate to have previously purchased a card that has ten bus trips on it, and we simply tap the card, the light turns green, and on we get – what could be easier.  We board the bus with our suitcases in tow, tap the card – green light- and we are off.

Both Heather and I thought this was good value.  For about $3.00 Canadian we could ride to the airport, which is quite a distance from Mestre.

As we near the terminal – the stop prior to the final stop, the bus is boarded about five burly policeman types — a ticket check.   Not a problem we pull out our cards to show we paid.

No, no, no — ‘Non hai pagato la tariffa corretta’.   There is a fine of 68 Euros each for not paying the correct fare!

It is time to pull out the naïve tourist act– something that comes easily when you are a naïve tourist.  BUT how were we to know?  There is no sign at the terminal, there is no sign on the bus, the bus driver clearly saw us get on with two suitcases — perhaps an indication with a bus labelled ‘aeroporto’ that we were headed for the airport!

Finally after some scolding the officer relents and tells us when we get to the airport, go and pay the correct fee of eight Euros — which we dutifully go and pay.

That in a nutshell is part of Italy — confusion reigns supreme, but everyone eventually gets the job done.

Returning to England we were pleasantly surprised.   A very pleasant Border Control agent took the time to say NEXT time we go to Venice, we must try X, Y and Z.  She spent about ten minutes talking to us about Venice, her visits there etc.  Then I was off to the late night store to buy something to get us through to the morning [gagging at the thought of another restaurant meal].  The cashier says, ‘Been away have you?’  Yes I say, to Venice.  “Oh I have never been there but would love to go.  Did you like it? ”  — and so on from there.

Arriving back we feel genuinely welcomed back to our adopted land.

And like all Brits, tomorrow we are up to do battle with the British Rail system.

It felt good to be home.

 

Murano, Italy

Murano is an island that forms part of Venice as part of the Venice lagoon.
With a population of 5000,  it is famous for it’s long tradition of glass making.  Since the 13th century, Murano glass has been admired and appreciated for its unique beauty.  Due to world competition and imitation the number of professional glass makers on Murano has decreased from 6000 in 1990 to fewer than 1000 today.

Torcello

With only ten full time residents, including the parish priest, Torcello was the quietest and most serene of the Venetian islands we visited.  This was a welcome respite from the crowds.

Torcello is located at the Northern end of the Venetian lagoon.  Settled in 452 AD, it has been referred to as the parent island from which Venice was populated.

In the tenth century it had a population of twenty thousand.  Malaria all but wiped out the population in the fourteenth century and it never recovered it’s prominence.

During the 20th century it has been a quiet refuge for many artists and writers including Ernest Hemingway and Daphne DuMaurier.

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