My name is Liz Needham and I am an Irish citizen. I was born and brought up in Dublin although I can trace very recent British, Irish and Scottish roots back to 100AD. My paternal grandfather moved to Ireland from Leicestershire when he was in his early 20s. I moved to the UK in 1990 with my five year old daughter. I was 24. I am now 50 and have lived in the UK longer than I lived in Ireland. My brother and one of my sisters live here too, and several years ago I adopted a young boy whose mother, my friend, had passed away. I also have other family here in the form of British cousins on my father’s side that I have come to know over the years.
What constitutes home for you?
Is it only the country of your birth or something inherited through via family history? Or do you believe it is in your own hands, your home being where you have lived the longest, contributed the most, loved the deepest or felt most connected to the people and places that surrounds you?
However differing our measures of home may be, I’m sure most of us can agree that home—belonging— is a crucial component in all our lives. After all, an “Englishman’s home is his castle”, is it not?
So, imagine being told one day, after many years of living in your chosen home, to “make arrangements to leave”. To pack up the home where you have lived for more than half of your life, studied, worked, had a family and “laid roots”.
A horrible scenario, don’t you think? You’d be forgiven for thinking what follows is a story from a war-torn country. But not so.
This is the story of Monique Hawkins: a Dutch graduate of Cambridge University who has lived in the UK for the past 24 years.
Amid the dark pools and close-wrapping clouds on top of one of Yorkshire’s highest peaks, there stands an isolated war memorial. It’s hard to get to, needing a long and strenuous walk up Buckden Pike, a mountain that often swirls with mist and soaking rain, even when the valleys are lit by sunshine. Down in the grassy meadows, wooden signposts point up towards the ‘Polish War Memorial’, hidden on the moors.
Many walkers have no idea what the stone cross is for until they read the words on its base, and yet it holds an atmosphere of silence and respect. This small monument does something else too, telling a story that cuts through the confused fury of our current national debate on immigration.
Aged 5, I was given a beautiful world atlas with maps, flags and cute pictures of various countries’ citizens, presented as cartoon couples in their national dress. I wasn’t particularly fond of the Germans though. They were bad, they had Hitler and they killed my Great-Grandfather. I wanted them to disappear. So with sadistic care and a pair of scissors, I scratched them out of the book, especially their plump little faces. I was 5, and that’s when I was given my first lesson in not being a nationalist/racist from my appalled parents.
Even the most cursory glance at figures relating to the NHS paint a worrying picture. A deficit of £2.45bn in 2015/2016; the permitted annual overspend exceeded within six months, despite an emergency injection of nearly £1bn already this year.
Understandably, the government is looking at ways to save and raise the cash required to keep this valuable national asset alive and well for us all.
But a new proposal from the Department of Health’s most senior official, Chris Wormald has met with widespread controversy.
The proposal’s stated aim is to improve how costs are reclaimed from individuals eligible for free healthcare under the reciprocal health agreements with other countries.
But the proposal’s other aim is a crack down on so-called ‘health tourists’: a popularised term used to define people who come to the UK to deliberately abuse the free healthcare system.
But does this proposal target this group of people effectively and fairly, and would it really help resolve the NHS’s growing economic woes?
After a recent accident, I was taken unconscious to Southampton General Hospital. After some days, I recovered consciousness and and understood how vital and important is the work of the nursing staff to help people recover. Nurses are amazing…
I didn’t come to the UK with an intention to stay all those years ago. I was young care free student then and had great time while studying at British Universities (yes, in two universities to be exact). But…
I support One Day Without Us, because I think it’s more important than ever to recognise and celebrate the contribution made to this country by immigrants from the EU and beyond. To me it seems that in the last six months Britain has changed for the worse; politicians and newspapers have branded immigrants as their latest scapegoat for the ills of my country and too many people have believed them. I urge anyone who cares about the kind of Britain we live in to support this Day of Action.
lIn 2000 my Scottish wife and I moved to England from South Africa with our two sons. As I was born in the Netherlands our sons were registered as Dutch when born in SA; they are not entitled to British citizenship as my wife was not born in the UK. Our sons completed all of their schooling here and the youngest has recently gone to university.
On the day that Brexit was confirmed, a shellshocked media focussed attention mainly on the economic and political consequences of the public’s decision. According to politicians then and since, the people had spoken and their message had been received.
Yet, as it has turned out, some were only just beginning to make their voices heard.