Well now, I don’t often write anything political but this week something has got me a tad wound up. It was this story on the BBC website about a couple having to leave the UK because the wife’s income was apparently not enough to support her child and foreign-born husband. Fuck off, losers, the government seemed to be saying.
There may be immigration problems in the UK or there may not but whatever you think, if there are problems they are not likely to be caused by spouses of nationals who come here to be with the person they happened to fall in love with. Surely those people are comparatively few and hardly crippling the benefits system. If you think there is a problem, you are more likely to be complaining about EU immigrants – you know those pesky Eastern Europeans and such who are apparently ‘flooding’ Britain with the sole intention of stealing our benefits and jobs.
But that’s the thing, David Cameron and such can’t legally do anything at all about that. They don’t have that power. They can’t stop people from those countries coming as long as Britain remains part of the EU, and that makes it quite hard to look like they are being tough on immigration. So they pick on who they can. They pick on people who have fallen in love with non-EU nationals and happen not to be rich. Those people don’t even have to be claiming benefits. They are just deemed not to earn enough. And they are ‘immigrants’ which to many has become a nasty word.
Now, fine, the UK has every right to make its own rules about immigration, but I can’t help but wonder what would happen if other countries followed its lead and if, say, Japan made equivalent rules. There would then be couples I know who would not be welcomed here and who would not be welcomed there. Couples, in fact, who would be deemed to poor to fall in love.
I am ever so glad Japan’s immigration policies are kinder to those who love their citizens. I can’t help but feel that Jarvis was right, though.