Sunday, 26 April 2009

Fight and Die or Go Home.

Do you know that the United Kingdom includes Northern Ireland? Do you know Great Britain is made up of England, Wales and Scotland? You will need to know the answer to questions like these if you want to pass the 'life in the United Kingdom test'. It is a test for foreigners who wish to become British. There is a book to help you revise, but I wonder how many British citizens would pass without revision.

There is no question, 'would you fight for this country and be willing to die?' but this is what the Ghurkas (also commonly spelled Gurkhas) have done for us. Joanna Lumley is eloquently fighting their cause but the government has not listened. It has given a list of criteria that allows Ghurkas to live in this country which basically means that the vast majority cannot do so. The most telling point for me is that a Ghurka who has an award can stay but no award and they can't. The message this sends out to all soldiers including British soldiers is that you are not a real soldier unless you have an award.

The answer is so simple. If you are prepared to trust someone with a gun to join our forces then you should also trust them with citizenship. The alternative is that we tell prospective soldiers to fight and die for us but clear off if you live. Those pre-1997 Ghurkas have fought honourably for us and we should do the honourable thing and allow them a right of settlement if that is their wish.

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