Apparently the 1981 British Nationality Act allows the Home Secretary to deprive a person of their citizenship if it would be “conducive to the public good” – provided they wouldn’t become stateless.

But if I travelled to France and committed a crime there, I would not expect the Home Secretary to attempt to revoke my status as a British citizen.

Is this because I have no particular connection with any other country, and therefore would be thrown into limbo? My father was born in India, and my husband’s mother in Northern Ireland. Maybe that would be enough? Might the Indian government take me?

My lack of meaningful outside connections is of course because all my ancestors for several generations have been domiciled in Britain, and therefore, like me, have been white.

This legislation looks racist to me. Maybe it’s even worse, and the fact that all my ancestors… etc, means that no one would even think of depriving me of citizenship. We only do this to Other People.

I don’t normally think of citizenship as a kind of Olympic medal that can be removed if I’ve cheated or otherwise misbehaved. I think of being British as part of who I am. People can be good British (you, dear reader) or bad British (Fred West or some other mass murderer of your choice.)

Anyone can be a disgrace to their nation, and perhaps Shamima Begum is. A British woman, I suggest, who may be a disgrace to the British nation where she was born and brought up.

Unless this woman and her baby are to be executed or assassinated, someone needs to take responsibility for them. At the moment this role has fallen to a refugee camp in Syria.

The suggestion that it be Bangladesh, for no reason except her family’s ancestry, I find repugnant on several grounds. (Oh, of course they’re all Muslims in Bangladesh. Not normally supporters of IS, as far as I know, but a Muslim is a Muslim, and Muslims belong in Asia. Is that the unspoken implication here?)

…The above is one aspect of the case. There are others. I can’t lay my hand on the quotation from Saki which goes something like: “There’s a lot to be said on this subject, and as far as I can see there’s no danger of any of its going unsaid.”

Love from the PPI Blogger

1 Comment
  • Stephen Sheridan

    23rd February 2019 at 7:09 pm Reply

    As usual you make some very good points on a very difficult and divisive subject, which makes your Saki quote spot on. I suspect that the deprivation of citizenship will be overturned in the Courts anyway. I am bit torn here, because my father was one of those Poles lucky enough to receive citizenship and a job in the RAF after the war, so he and I saw UK citizenship as an immense privilege. You may remember that Spike Milligan, despite having served in the army, was not granted British citizenship and was declared stateless in 1960, having to revert to Irish citizenship from his father’s side. Having said that the arbitrary ability of a politician being able to remove it is a terrible precedent.

    British citizens are our responsibility as a nation, as is the lamentable avoidance of responsibility of our educational, legal and cultural institutions in not challenging this extremism before it tempted so many of our citizens into its web of evil. Those institutions should now be held to account.

    The real problem here is, despite having had years to prepare for this issue our politicians and justice system have done nothing. The nearest historic precedent are Brits who served with the Nazis such as the SS Legion the Britisches Freikorps. Some were hung for treason and others served prison sentences, but that only applies to combatants and the treason laws would need a big update if we were to repeat that. Even if such measures could get through parliament, they would not survive our legal establishment.

    The individual in question probably gave just passive support and so could almost certainly only be convicted of membership of a prescribed organisation. The fuss over her hides the hundreds of actual fighters who have returned without any punishment for their actions. These people collaborated with an organisation that committed war crimes of medieval stature, particularly against women, but we have no credible legal way of punishing them. I have no doubt that in years to come they will inflict yet more pain upon our society as they have been taught very effective ways on how to inflict it. We do not have the resources or apparently the will to monitor them all.

    So what can we do? Well this particular battle is lost, but we can learn from it, which means vigorously challenging the ideology and spending the money required to clean up our prisons, which are now recruiting grounds that turn petty criminals into terrorists. After all the ideology is an easy sell to the criminal – as it allows appalling behaviour in its service all excusable by martyrdom. We must also champion the reform element in Islam. A few years ago I read an English translation of a leading Syrian Sunni Imam, who not only took apart the IS claims to be the new Caliphate with scriptural evidence, but also laid out the reasoning why anyone wishing to conduct jihad, should only do so against IS because of its evil and oppressive nature.Why was a text such as this not used as key reading in our schools?

    Those who support Islamic extremism generally have very limited knowledge of Islamic core beliefs or history and merely pick up the garbage recited by self-appointed teachers, such as the failed lawyer Anjem Choudray. Unfortunately there is also no consensus across the Islamic world as there are so many competing schools of Islamic belief and only the extremists are ever reported in the Western media. The attempts of our institutions to engage with Islam in the UK have been ignorant and naive at best. The classic example was giving credibility to to so-called Muslim Council of Britain, which represents principally the hardline Deobandi and Muslim Brotherhood positions, ignoring the Sufi and many other schools represented in our Muslim communities. There is no excuse for this ignorance on the part of our rulers, as there is plenty of material to read and research on the issue and a few organisations such as the Quillam Foundation are helping the process. Yet we still find our politicians letting themselves be taken in by Islamist supporting apologists such as CAGE and MEND.

    I have read some of the Islamist core documents (albeit in translation), particularly Sayed Qutb’s Milestones and they are not works of compelling or credible ideology, but then neither was Mein Kampf. Our mistake with Mein Kampf was that insufficient time and effort was devoted to destroying its credibility, it was simply laughed off. As a result when Hitler actually did the things he claimed he would, people were surprised. If a massive effort had been devoted to challenging Nazi ideology within Germany then perhaps the trauma could have been avoided.

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