THE BLOG

Forget About Trump, Worry About May

07/02/2017 11:36 GMT | Updated 07/02/2017 11:36 GMT
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Why is anyone surprised that Theresa May failed to call out Donald Trump on his Executive Order regarding refugees? There she was awkwardly holding hands with him (admittedly it was reminiscent of two Year 6s going to their first school disco). Anyone remember the last time that they saw two World Leaders holding hands? If I give her the benefit of the doubt, it's only because she possibly wanted him to keep his hands where she could see them. She'd already taken enough risk for one day with the red kitten heels.

All this talk of #NotmyPresident for Trump is all very well, but let's remember that May is technically #NotmyPrimeMinister. The electorate did not actually vote to put Mrs May into the role of PM. She obtained it simply through inaction. She watched the men around her backstab each other, step down and simply behave too badly for Executive Office. She was literally the last (wo)man standing. She is our Prime Minister by chance, by default, by a chain of events so random that it would be impossible to predict at this point in January of 2016.

The reason why #NotmyPrimeMinister didn't start to trend is that we as a population were a little overwrought by the Brexit drama, and frankly needed a sit-down and a cup of tea by the time that Mrs May had accidentally fallen into the role of PM. Plus, it was the Summer and holidays had been booked. You couldn't keep focusing on politics when you had to get to the villa in Biarritz or Puglia. Because who knows what would happen? We might not be allowed to keep our villas, this could be the last continental holiday for years! But, the very fact that Brexit happened gave much-needed hope to Donald Trump that literally anything was possible.

Mrs May glibly commented about not being responsible for another country's refugee policy and didn't appear to bat an eyelid regarding the introduction of such a poorly thought out scheme. Possibly because as Home Secretary she introduced laws which also removed basic human rights from her own citizens. In fact, Trump inadvertently copied one of her key policies. (Admittedly his scope is wider, but still produces the same net result of tearing apart married couples and families).

As Home Secretary Theresa May introduced sweeping changes to immigration policy which had an immediate impact on British citizens. Those of us who dared to marry a foreigner (specifically from outside of the European Union), and wished to live in the UK were immediately penalised. At the time I was living in Singapore, when my Kiwi husband and I decided to move home with our three American born children. (We'd been married in Cheshire over a decade before when living in England). However as an expat I had to meet minimum income requirements in Singapore for a specific period of time, while living overseas I had to secure a new role in the UK again meeting income requirements and apply for the visa, move my family, oh, and my husband had to find a new job too (given that he was our family's breadwinner) all within a very short period of time. Clearly these new rules had been dreamed up by someone who'd barely been outside of the M25. (A bit like Trump and New York). To add insult to injury this would cost us almost £1000 for a 2 year visa, we would then have to reapply and once he'd accrued 5 years of residency he could apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.

We're now over the half-way mark (after shelling out another £1000, not to forget the NHS levy which was imposed as an extra incentive for wanting to live in my own country). You would think that the UK government would be welcoming the return of its own brain drain with a welcome mat, perhaps a little tax incentive or two. Unfortunately they aren't that smart. We're still being treated like second class citizens. We can't even get a mortgage as my husband's visa only lasts until 2018 and banks aren't keen on giving a 20 year mortgage to someone who's only legally here for twelve more months.

This weekend I saw the fallout on social media of American families waiting to be reunited with their immigrant husbands, wives, fathers and mothers. People waiting at airports for their family members who were never going to make it through customs. And we Brits throw up our hands saying that's absurd he's been working for the US government for ten years/ she's a PhD/ they've been married for 20 years/ their children haven't seen their Dad, and smugly think that these absurd extreme policies would never happen here. Except they already have, and they happened on Theresa May's watch. #NotmyPrimeMinister