Thank you Cathy! This is the letter she wrote to Theresa May –
‘Yesterday Theresa May outlining her plans for Brexit pleaded with the UK to unite as she gave details for a “Global Britain” that would deliver a brighter future for our children and grandchildren.
These rhetorical words for many gave hope and inspiration but for my family these words were meaningless and hollow, resonating of a country in which we are at present totally alienated and feel we have no part and in reality do not want to be a part. To us, as to many families in our predicament, to unify behind Brexit is a road we are unable to travel.
As my MP I think you should know why I cannot bond with the country that has been my home and one I have always been so proud, for you, as part of the present government, are in a position to change many of these obstacles. Since 23rd June 2016 I have watched with alarm the way members of our rich and diverse society have been treated. The rise in racism and xenophobia has been alarming and appears to be directed at EU citizens working in this country in particular. These citizens came to the UK looking for a brighter future for themselves but have worked hard and contributed to our economy. We have been on the receiving end of the brain drain from Europe with many of these people working in our Universities, our Health Service and other professions as well as those who came to undertake manual work where there were vacancies.
To see these people referred to “as bargaining chips” in this whole Brexit process has made me feel ashamed to be British. No longer do I feel pride in my country. These people are human beings. Many are extremely clever and represent the intelligentsia of Europe but that apart, every one of them who works hard and honestly deserves respect and encouragement and their contribution to our society should be valued.
Over the last 6 months I have watched a situation develop whereby one could almost describe this group of people as being persecuted. Their right to stay in this country has been questioned. This alone had the potential of tearing many families apart. The application for Permanent Residency has become even more difficult and bureaucratic that many say that it will take 140 years to deal with the number of applications. The cost of British Citizenship has escalated over recent years to make it out of reach for many. There have been questions over whether EU students and self-funded residents should have had private health insurance to use the NHS that has been confusing and alarming. There have been concerns on how safe EU citizens’ private pension contributions are if they were to leave the UK. Moreover recently there has been talk of levying a tax of £1,000 a year on each immigrant employed by British companies. Many who do not earn a sufficient annual wage have been told they cannot have PR. Stay at home spouses with children have been told that as they do not earn £15,000 each year they are not entitled to PR. No wonder the school census form where parents are asked to state which country their child was born has caused so much alarm. There have been incidents mishandled by the Home Office where EU citizens
have been told to leave the UK and return to their own country some have lived here for 40 years and have a husband and children.
Many EU citizens and other nationalities face fear of talking in their own language to their children in our streets. They face ridicule and prejudice at work. They have suffered racist abuse and we have seen 3 racist murders since June. It is as if the worst and most basic section of British society has unleashed venom and hatred against “foreigners”.
The fact that the British government is treating immigrants without respect by not standing up for them and acknowledging and valuing the work they do and the huge contribution they make to our society is definitely not helping combat this upsurge of racism and xenophobia. When government departments are making discriminatory and unrealistic demands, people of basic instinct see this as a golden opportunity.
So when Theresa May asks me to unite I cannot do so, as I see many immigrants being treated without respect. I see them facing abuse and discrimination in their daily lives and far from seeing a “Global Britain” I see a country turning its back on the world and people rising to the fore who do not value cultural diversity and differences. I see a government who turns on people from different nations and discriminates against them to the point of encouraging abuse.
So what future do I see for my grandchildren here? Not one of an outward looking and prosperous nation but one where my grandchildren don’t feel secure because they are bilingual and not born in the UK. I see a country where racial prejudice is on the rise and where the values and attitudes that are fundamental to all my own children and grandchildren are no longer respected. I see a government that treats people as pawns on a chessboard whose lives are being torn apart by anxiety.
You, as my MP can do something about this. You, like Peers to whom I shall write, are in a position to alter the course. You can make sure that people in this country who work hard and live honest lives have better treatment. Only when I see and feel certain of a change of heart, will I unite. Only when I see people being treated by the government honourably, will I work for Britain’s future as Theresa May requests. Up until then I will oppose this government as there is nothing bright in the future of a country that discriminates and is intolerant towards whole sections of its honest, hard working population. To be part of such a nation is definitely not the dream I have for my grandchildren.’