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So this is what it comes down to after almost 26 years in this country . I came here as a 19 year old after falling head over heels in love with London . I felt at home here the moment I came here on holiday with my parents as a young girl , and I knew that one day , London would be my forever home .

I purposely went out of my way to not mix with my fellow Swedes , instead I fully immersed myself into life in London , getting to know Brits as well as people from all corners of the globe , who like me , had decided to make London their home .

I built my life here . I gave birth to my half British child here . I built up my business here . I put down my roots here . I have paid my taxes here for decades . My English is fluent, my Swedish is Swenglish.

Brexit broke my heart , but it didn’t make me want to leave my home . It forced my hand ,however, in making me go ahead and apply for dual citizenship.

I saved up for the very hefty fee , astronomical compared to many other EU countries. I studied the ‘Life in the UK’ course material and did the practice mocks again and again until my average score was 90% . Much much challenging for me than for most people as I am dyslexic. But I persevered.

I was prepared to sit , and pass , the test. But I was not prepared to be refused to sit the test by the staff at the test centre , because of the way my name is written on my passport (!)

In Sweden your given name is not always written as the first name on your passport. Instead it’s often the second or sometimes even the third name . In my case , on my passport it’s middle name , first name , middle name , surname. Nothing strange about that to me , as it’s very common in Sweden .

My bills are naturally in my first name . So at the test centre they questioned why my middle name was written as my first name (which was the same name as on my utility bill) . They said it made no sense , they could not accept that the first name written on my passport was not my actual first name , and I was sent on my merry way after being told that I had to rebook my test , losing out the £50 it cost me to book my first test !

But how can I sit the test when they refused me to sit it as , according to them, my names are not written in the correct order on my passport? I will no doubt be refused again? They can see I am me ,simply by looking at the picture on my passport. They could easily have Googled the information I gave them about the written order of my names on my passport, and let me sit the test , but they didn’t. Maybe because they want to discourage as many people as possible from actually sitting the test , thus making it impossible for them to proceed with their citizenship applications ? We all know that the government wants to slash the levels of immigration , and maybe that job starts at the ‘Life in the UK’ test centres?

I have read about the German embassy having to intervene as so many Germans were turned away for pretty much the same reasons as myself .

I feel broken , I feel angry , I feel deflated . But I will not be put off from applying for citizenship. I have emailed my MP , I have emailed my embassy, and if needs be , I will contact the media . This hostile environment is designed to make us leave , but this is our home . We need people to understand what we are up against. And we need the anti- Brexit supporters who wants us to remain here , to help us fight our cause .

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Pre- puppy mind scenario –  Think a cute, cuddly puppy, think nice, long walks, think a beautiful furry four legged trusty companion that completes your family. So idyllic !

Reality –

After we got the permission from our landlord to get a dog , something which we had dearly wanted for a long time, especially after we suffered that break-in last July. Our teen hadn’t slept properly since, and didn’t feel safe in her own home. The police suggested to get a dog, as did Victim’s Support. And when we did get the go ahead from the landlord, we were absolutely elated !

The search –

Our teen has asthma and allergies, so any breed wouldn’t do, it had to be a hypo- allergenic breed. And as it turned out, her No1 favourite breed, the cavapoo , is indeed also a hypo- allergenic breed . We searched high and low, and found a picture of this beautiful little girl with big brown puppy eyes (well, she would have puppy eyes…she is a pup !) . I couldn’t take a day off work, but as it was half term, our teen accompanied my partner on a trip to visit the beautiful pup and her breeder ,whilst I was biting my nails, hoping they would love her. I had seen that picture and fallen head over heels. And when my partner sent me some more pictures as they were at the breeder’s , my heart swelled and the tears started flowing down my cheeks – ‘ That’s our girl !’. Call it love at first sight, just like what happened when I first laid eyes on my partner.

But, when I asked my teen how it went, she only replied – ‘ We’ll talk later !’…arrrgghhh! . When they eventually returned home, the teen , who clearly had a slightly romanticised view of what their first meeting would be said – ‘ I don’t know. I liked her, but she didn’t run straight up to me. There was a black pup that wouldn’t leave my side though, she kept biting my shoe laces !’. My partner however, liked our little girl right away. And eventually, after a discussion with our teen, we decided to pay the deposit and pick up our pup two weeks later. It was vital that our teen felt a part of the whole process , so she chose all the pup’s toys and accessories. But I chose the name…Ida ! Partly because it’s a beautiful ,traditional Swedish name (think Emil’s sister in ‘ Emil i Lonneberga’, the classic Astrid Lindgren story), but also because we are not a typical family , we are a creative family, and Ida means the creative one. Besides, who the heck wants to call their pup Bella ? Seemingly the rest of the world. But I didn’t fancy taking our pup to the park and call ‘ Bella !!!’ , with every female dog in the park running towards me !

Pick up day ! –

We left at 6.30 am in the morning, completely sleep deprived (a taste of what was to come) as none of us could sleep with all that excitement in the air…we were getting a puppy and we were taking her home !!! A friend drove us down there, and the Norfolk countryside was covered in snow, so much so that we had to drive at the pace of a snail. Forget the dusting of snow we had here in London. Norfolk had hardcore Scandinavian snow, although unlike in Scandinavia, cars don’t come equipped with winter tires , hence the snail speed. I was very impressed with the snow creations the Norfolk locals had created too. They don’t build giant snowmen, oh no, that’s far too lame – they build giant , pillar tall willies with huge balls ! Teen felt traumatised and went back to watching her BTS videos on her phone.

So, finally we arrived ! I got wet wild welcome from the breeder’s hyperactive bulldog  whose fur made my black jeans look like they had been covered in snow, there was a mental pug who wanted in on the action too, a black pup who was very fascinated by our teen’s show laces, a beautiful King Charles Cavalier spaniel, our pup’s mum (who didn’t get a look in as the bulldog and pug pounced on me like they were high as kites ). And then I saw her…our little Ida ! And when I picked her up, the tears started flooding again. I am not making any apologies about being soppy. I had wanted a dog all my life,and all my dad gave me as a kid was a book with all the different breeds of dogs in the world as he claimed he was allergic to dogs (he wasn’t, he just wasn’t very keen on them) . We into the car and made our way back, Ida taking turns in sleeping on the teen’s and my lap.

Fast forward one week –

My partner and I both look like we are the sleep deprived parents of a newborn baby (which I suppose we actually are,albeit a furry incontinent baby that doesn’t wear any nappies ) . We are getting to know her and her behaviours. When she sniffs the carpet like possessed whilst going around in circles, that means she’s looking for a place to have a dump or a wee. We have learnt that she likes to run off with smelly slippers and socks,and that she darts around the living room as if she’s swallowed a gram of cocaine diluted in Red Bull. We have learnt that she gets turned on buy her toy elephant Ellie (who she likes to hump, much to the teen’s disgust ). Our sleep is disturbed by the whining Ida who needs to go for a wee (she sleeps in a crate in our room). And if you leave her in her pen and you are trying to eat ? Then she will howl like a wolf calling it’s pack, leaving you unable to hear what anyone says, nevermind being able to focus on that Louis Theroux documentary on tv. As for getting rid of her poo and pee from that newspaper on top of her toilet training pad ? We are currently using the clicker to train her to stay in her bed instead of dancing around in her own pee as we are trying to clear it up . Usually one of us ends up holding her whilst the other will clean those paws, soaking wet with her urine, with baby wipes before we’ll let her down on the carpet.

She is naughty , she will get up to every kind of mischief that a dog can get up to, and almost a week in, we were so exhausted that there were tears of pure exhaustion (me, feeling exactly the same way I did as when my teen was a newborn and I was so drained that I would cry at the drop of a hat over anything and overreact at everything ) and my partner, who had done all the night shifts but one (as he’d taken the week off for this purpose) was beyond drained too. The teen ? Pfffffft ! She’ll sleep through 5 alarms and constant shouting to get her out of bed, nevermind the sound of a whining puppy !

The sleep deprivation, the exhaustion, the constant telling off – ‘ No! Stop chewing on that slipper/cable/rug , stop stepping in your wee and chewing the paper it’s on, stop biting my ankle,and for crying out loud, does your silent farts have to be that deadly ? And we can’t even light some juss sticks to get rid of the smell anymore as apparently that’s too dangerous with a pup in the house ? As for the noise you make ? Yaaaaaaazus ! We just left the room, we haven’t gone on a 2 week holiday FFS ! (although we will  do that this summer as we planned that holiday long before we even thought of getting you. But you will be in safe hands with our friend and his equally hyper pug girl Violet ) ‘ – it is all worth it because this little hyperactive furry incontinent ball of fur has made our home and family complete. Dear Ida, we love you , you little nutcase !

It was the 2nd of July around 9.40 pm. I had convinced my movie loving 14 year old to watch the ‘ Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’ – I wanted to show her what a fantastic actor the recently departed Michael Nyqvist was , and how brilliant this movie is. She likes horror movies, so this particular movie would be like a Disney film to her !

We had switched off the lights and only tv lit up the living room. Suddenly we hear this loud ,roaring car outside, and someone tried to open our frontdoor, which opens up straight into the living room. I assumed that it was our neighbour coming back from the pub, having taken an uber back, trying to get into the wrong house …it wouldn’t have been the first time ! We dismissed it. But moments later we hear the door handle being frenetically pulled up and down. Before we could process what was going on, these two young men , probably in their 20’s, barged in to our living room, using a crowbar to break in !

It was as if time froze in that moment. All I could think was ‘ This cannot be happening ! What the fuck are these fuckers doing in our house ??? They are not coming in here !’. So I ran towards the door screaming on the top of my lungs, followed by my teenage daughter who did the same. The burglars took a step back, a big enough step to let me slam the door shut on them, before locking the door.

My daughter kept shouting ‘ Call the police, call the police, call the police !’. But thanks to the useless reception in this particular area (and no thanks to Vodafone) , it took us several minutes to actually be able to make that call. When I finally got through I was naturally in a state of panic. The ever so lovely call handler at the police said firmly – If you don’t calm down ,I will not speak to you !’ (great people skills. I could appreciate that it was hard to hear what I was saying,but a gentler tone of voice may have helped at that particular moment) . She told me that the police would be around within minutes. I rang a neighbour who came around to keep us company until the police came. One whole hour went by…nothing ! So I rang the police again…they had never logged the first call. And they knew that I was alone in the house with my child at the time of the break in – my partner was abroad working.

The police eventually came,and couldn’t have been kinder.But apart from one more flying visit by one of their colleagues and a forensic officer…that was pretty much it.

I rang victims support as I knew that my daughter would need help in overcoming what had just happened. I was full of adrenaline, so didn’t even look at the faces of the burglars, but my daughter looked on of them straight in the eye…

The night of the break in, we stayed over at her friend’s place. My daughter had been on the phone to her afterwards, and her friend’s father offered us his sofa bed for the night. But the next night we were back in the house, and we did not feel safe despite leaving all the lights on, putting a heavy wooden chest in front of the locked front door, sleeping in my bed, with another heavy wooden chest in front of the bedroom door.

My partner returned and sorted out an alarm, we were also informed that our frontdoor was indeed very safe. The problem is that we only locked the door by pulling the door handle up from the inside, which makes it impossible for anyone outside to get in…unless they use a crowbar ,that is ! Had we locked the door with the key, like we do every single night before going to bed, then they would not have managed to enter via the front door – the hatches on the door hooks into the frame of the house, so it would have been pointless trying to break in.

But we never felt safe being in the living room at night,we never felt safe sleeping at night – what if they tried to come back ? What if someone else tried to break in ? Any sound, even a knock on the door, a passing car, would make us jump.

A week or so after , there was a knock on the door. Well,not really a knock, the person was violently slamming our letterbox, then he went away. Before I got to check who it was through the window, he returned and did the same thing again.  My daughter who was int he livingroom with me literally flew upstairs in panic, thinking that the burglars might have returned! Through an open window, I asked who he was and what he wanted . He replied ‘ I am from British Gas, I need to check your meter !’. I explained to him ‘ It’s under the staircase, so I will call it in’. He insisted on coming in, and I repeated what I had just said, adding ‘ We just had a break in, and I don’t feel comfortable in letting anyone in’. The meter reader shouted back ,adding a laugh at the end ‘ So what the fuck has your break in got to with me ?!? Ha ! Now, let me check the meter !’. I told him I would not let him in, and he went mad ! I looked out of the window as he was cussing at me in West Indian. My neighbours saw him walking down the road, and thought he was just a madman, shouting out randomly as he walked off with a face like thunder. So.I reported him to British Gas who confirmed that he was working for them. A few hours later I logged on to my tele class as I was doing an evening course. I heard this rattling sound outside as I was trying to listen to my tutor. I looked out and saw these two teenage girls trying to steal my daughter’s bike  ! I banged on the window, and the girls scarpered ! My daughter was in tears…this was the third incident to have happened in the space of a week or so ! No wonder she did not feel safe, and did I feel safe ? No !

I burst into tears randomly, I had nightmares. My daughter could not relax either, and I asked her teachers to please keep an eye on her ,informing them all about what happened the morning after the break in.

Luckily we had two holidays coming up, one week in Sweden and one week in Italy. As our plane left Stansted for Stockholm , I noticed that tears were flowing down my face. I didn’t even know that I was crying until I felt that wetness on my cheeks. The stress of the past weeks was slowly coming out. Then the same thing happened again as we stood on the ferry taking us to Djurgarden in Stockholm…out of nowhere I burst into tears. Ever since that break in, we had not been able to relax at all, we had not had a proper night’s sleep, we had not felt safe at any time of day when in the house. Now finally, we could let go. But my daughter had bottled things up far more than I had thought. We had discussed what had happened almost daily, and my partner and I were doing all we can to make her feel safe again. But it does not matter how safe you make a house or what you say after a break in…the trauma is in your mind, no matter how much you try to push it out.

We were sat at a restaurant in Gamla Stan, Stockholm, with my sister and her family, when suddenly my daughter couldn’t breathe. We thought she may have had an allergy attack as she ran to the bathroom, trying to throw up. My partner took her outside,and I now worried that it may be an asthma attack – she had had a few many years ago, and maybe all that stress she had been under, had brought one on ? Should we call the ambulance ? What’s the number ? We’re in Sweden now, not the UK…is it 999? Or 90000 ? My partner recognised that it was a panic attack , and as I ran out after them, I saw in his eyes that he was dealing with it with a calm that I could not have managed , just what she needed to help her breathe slowly and calm down. They stood on the pavement hugging, he was calming her down with his words and his actions, and slowly but surely, her very rapid heart beat slowed down, as did her breathing. My sister and her family came out, and my sister distracted my daughter with cracking some jokes and telling her some stories. My daughter was feeling full of nausea with the shock, but we found a quiet cafe to sit down and give her some time to recover. This panic attack was all because of the stress caused by the break in, and the aftermath of it .

We went to Italy the following week, and had a wonderful time, really enjoying ourselves. We finally managed to really let ourselves go and relax after all the trauma that we had been through. Towards the end of the holiday, we were staying with my partner’s mother on the 4th floor. My daughter had my partner’s mother’s dog with her in her room. My partner and I were drifting off as we heard my daughter’s horrified screams . My partner ran into her room and I followed. We had no clue what had happened, but my daughter was shaking like a leaf, crying hysterically.  Her bedroom door had opened with a loud sound (it was a strong breeze coming from the window that had caused it, I’d think ) , but that sound caused my daughter to suffer with flashbacks from the break in. She heard people talk outside, and it did not matter that we were on the 4th floor…in her mind they were right outside the room. That night she slept with me, holding me so hard …I could feel that huge fear she had.

Back in London ,my partner increased our security even further. We now have cameras alerting us to anyone coming near our house. But my daughter has not managed to sleep in her own room yet out of fear. I have chased up Victims Support again. Turns out they had no records of my previous calls (just like the police previously !) . But this time I spoke to a very supportive man who has promised my daughter to get her counselling for PTSD.

You feel absolutely helpless as a parent when you cannot help your own child. You feel helpless when you cannot make them feel safe in their own home. Your heart feels as if it is being torn out when you see their hurt and fear.

These burglars may not have taken any of our possessions, but they took away our ability to feel safe in our own home. And as someone who practice buddhism and believes in the power of karma , I truly hope that they will suffer for the pain that they have inflicted on my daughter, our family, and all the other families that I am sure that they have also hurt.

Isn’t it funny how certain songs can trigger memories that you otherwise would never had remembered ? Back in 1989 I was a 15 year old moody teen, sitting in the living room in a Stockholm suburb ,watching MTV’s ‘ Headbangers Ball’ with Vanessa Warwick. Suddenly this song came on that totally blew my mind, the intro stopping me in my tracks and then came THAT voice that send shivers down my spine and covered my body in goosebumps. That song was ‘ Louder Than Love’ by Soundgarden.

From that moment on I left the love of poodle rock bands like Poison behind, and became a firm grunge convert. Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, Pearl Jam and Nirvana became the soundtrack to my teens, but also to my twenties, thirties, and still in my early 40’s, my love for the songs that these bands wrote live on as strong as ever.

I got to see ‘Alice In Chains’ live in 1993 in London, and got to meet Layne Staley courtesy of one of their crew who did the lights or sound on the tour (my memory is failing me in old age)  He wanted to impress me ,I suppose, by introducing me to Layne. I felt very awkward as I didn’t want to be mistaken for a groupie (which I was sure there was plenty of ). I loved the band’s music, but that was as far as it went. And besides, meeting your musical heroes can be a great disappointment. What if they were complete a**holes ? Then your favourite songs would become tainted. But I went along as my Italian friend Marina ,aka the firecracker, was throwing a hissy fit  and said she would never forgive me if she didn’t get to meet Layne, and all because of me !

We went into this room backstage and there were lots of people. I can’t remember who was in there. All I can remember was being introduced to a woman in their entourage, their manager possibly ? And next to her sat Layne. I felt that I had no business being there, not because anyone made me feel that way, but because it was a very surreal situation to me. I knew this band’s songs inside out, they were in my life almost daily, but I didn’t know them. Why should I be here ?

I recall being taken aback at how very fragile Layne looked , he looked cold, he was shivering, think I recall him being wrapped in a blanket. Marina was in her element, but I really couldn’t see the point in being in that room, and I left. I wanted to continue listen to this band’s songs as I always had, I didn’t want to know what they were like as people, their music meant too much to me.

The following year , Kurt Cobain took his own life. Nirvana was no more. In 2002, Layne dried of a drugs overdose. I was devastated. In 2011 Alice In Chains former bass player Mike Starr died, also of a drugs overdose. Then yesterday came the news that completely shook me…

I picked up my phone to check my Facebook notifications when I saw that my sister had posted a Swedish news article ,and I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. I had to re-read the headline again and again, before I Googled it, just to see if it was a very sick hoax. Both my partner and I work from home. I walked up the stairs in shock ‘ Nooooo! Nooooo ! Noooooo ! This can’t be right, it just can’t be, this isn’t happening!’. My partner asked what had happened . I replied ‘ Chris, Chris Cornell…he…he is dead !’.

The tears came out of nowhere, I was stunned, I was devastated, heartbroken. I was sad when David Bowie died, I was very sad when Prince passed away. But Chris Cornell ? I was shell shocked ! It felt very strange to be so deeply affected by the passing of someone who I had never met, but he had been in my life for 27 years. All the memories that Soundgarden’s songs trigger in my mind, happy memories, sad memories, memories spanning over 2.5 decades. I remember being that moody teen who wanted to escape my life. Not in a morbid sense, I had a very happy home life, but school was a living hell for a bullied teen, and all I wanted to do was to escape and build a new life somewhere where no one knew me. And when I did just that by moving to London at 19, Soundgarden was still with me, getting me through it all with their songs. In my 20’s I went through some difficult times when I was in a very toxic relationship, Soundgarden was still there in the background . And my love for their music stayed with me throughout my 30’s and into my 40’s, their songs playing in my ears on my Spotify playlist when I go for walks.  If you need to let of stress ? Go on a  very brisk walk with ‘ Jesus Christ Pose’ blasting through your earphones, I guarantee it will help !

So that is why it hits you so hard when one of your favourite artists pass away. You didn’t know them, but their music is part of the soundtrack to your life, creating memories that will forever remain with you.

To find out the cause of Chris Cornell’s death made his passing all the more tragic. To feel so incredibly low that you cannot see a way out is unthinkable to many of us. My heart is breaking for him, and for his family who is left behind .

May you now rest in peace Chris Cornell. Thank you for being a great part of the soundtrack to my life.

FROM TODAY, I’M ONLY PASSING THROUGH

I now live in a country, which officially does not have my interests at heart. The government has decided to use my presence here in the UK as a means to negotiate a better ‘deal’. Let’s get it straight: from today I’m a little chunk of bargaining fodder, not a person made of flesh and bone, not a life entrenched in the tapestry of this country for over thirty-two years.

Yesterday I called this country ‘home’. ‘Home’ is about respect, about belonging, about feeling safe and valued, about being one hundred per cent welcome. But I don’t feel welcome anymore. I’ve been spat in the eye, stabbed in the back, lied to and lied about.

Thanks for asking (no one ever asks), but no, I don’t feel safe or valued anymore. I won’t be able to call this country ‘home’ again. It’s a broken home and it’s breaking my heart. From today, it’s just a place I live in. I’m only passing through.

I’m a foreign tree in the garden of England, my roots uprooted, my branches broken, my leaves dying.

I applied for Permanent Residence on November 4th ,2016 and finally received my Permanent Residence certificate on February 22nd 2017. The months of waiting were some of the most stressful times of my life. I have been through some truly difficult times in the past, but this situation was completely different as I felt that mine and my family’s future in this country was at stake. Don’t believe that nonsense that you automatically qualify for Permanent Residence after 5 years. It really is not that simple. You have to prove that you have exercised your treaty rights, and in my case I had genuine fears that my application would be refused. For all but one of my qualifying years I was a lone parent, and had to receive some public funds although I was running a business. Renting a home in London is expensive at the best of times, but add to that the cost of bringing up a child and being the sole breadwinner. I was convinced that for these reasons, I would not qualify for PR. The amount of documentation that I had to provide as I am self employed was frankly ludicrous. Gathering the actual documentation to send with my application took weeks.

Back to the waiting…the endless waiting. The first few months were fine. I did not expect to hear anything for the first 3 months. Then in January and beyond, post after post popped up in various Facebok groups by fellow EU citizens receiving their PR after having applied only 3-4 weeks earlier . What had happened to my application ? Had it been forgotten about and left at the bottom of the pile ? I received messages from other people in my situation who were frantic with worry, who couldn’t sleep, who couldn’t eat, who were close to tears 24/7 as they kept seeing these same posts and wondered why they were still waiting for theirs when they had applied before me or around the same time as me. You try to put the constant worrying out of your mind, because you know that it’s not healthy. And you think that you are managing relatively fine until you hear a knock on the door and there’s the postman asking you to sign for a parcel…but it’s not That parcel. So your heart sinks again and those damn worries return with full force yet again. Not that they ever went away, you just pretended that they weren’t there.

One night it went so far that I actually dreamt that I received my PR.  I woke up in the morning thinking I had lost the plot ! I told my partner about my dream, and as I did, I saw the Royal Mail van pull up outside our house, and there was a knock on the door, and I was told to sign for the parcel…FINALLY there it was ! But I was frightened to open it in case my application had been refused…what would we do then ? Where would we go if I couldn’t stay here ? Because I for one had absolutely no faith in the government’s guarantees that EU citizens living here for the minimum of 5 years would be able to remain. After all, the referendum win was built on nothing but lies. So with my partner standing next to me, I opened the parcel with hands trembling like leafs. I saw this letter but I didn’t see a certificate. I read the letter, expecting to see those words “Your application’s been refused on the grounds of…”. But it said “You now have a right of permanent residence in the UK”. It didn’t quite sink in . I looked through the documents,and there it was…that blue card that I had waited so long for and never thought that I’d get. Tears of relief came instantly ,the weight of Mount Everest had just came off my shoulders . This is not a dramatic exaggeration as you will know if you are a fellow EU citizen who has been worried sick about whether or not you would qualify for PR. After all we hear almost daily of EU citizens who has had their applications refused for the most ludicrous of reasons, even though they have been settled and working here for decades, in some cases. I finally feel like some kind of normality has been restored into mine and my family’s life. I will still have to go through the process of applying the citizenship process and that entails, but at least I’m a step on the way.

But many of my fellow EU citizens can’t get onto that very important first step of getting PR as they don’t qualify. They may be women who are married to British men, and who are staying at home, raising their children, thus not exercising their treaty rights unless they have CSI. And who actually knew about these requirements until after the referendum ? Who were actually told about them ? And why weren’t they told about them ? Then there are all the EU students who also don’t qualify for PR for the very same reasons. Then we have the case of Bruno Pollet, as told by The Guardian .The Home Office told him its decision to refuse his application was because during his 25 years in the UK he had spent three years in South Africa, as part of his professional development as a scientist. This simply does not make any sense whatsoever ! Now Bruno and his family are relocating to a Scandinavian country where  his specialism in renewable energy can be harnessed. A great loss to this country, but a great gain for the Pollet’s family’s new home country. Britain will continue to lose a huge amount of exceptionally talented and hard working EU citizens who have been contributing to this country in so many ways. This country would not survive without us, and I don’t think this is in anyway a bold claim. How many Brits would do seasonal work ? How many Brits would work in coffee shops ? And where would the NHS  be without all their EU staff ? I could go on and on and on. We contribute to the British society in so many ways ,not just financially. But by treating us like bargaining chips, by treating us like second class citizens who don’t really belong here, this country will cause irreparable damage ,not just to it’s economy, but to it’s global reputation.

I am very worried to what will happen to so many of my fellow EU citizens. Not just those who has been refused PR, also but those who cannot even apply because they haven’t been living here long enough .I know fellow EU citizens who are too afraid to visit their families in case they won’t be let back into the country again upon their return. And it saddens me greatly that there is nothing that I can do to reassure them . But there is one thing that could be done NOW to stop these worries and anxiety that so many EU citizens are experiencing. Something that should have been done as soon the referendum result was announced. The only DECENT thing to do…to unilaterally grant  EU citizens the rights to remain in the UK post Brexit , a move  backed by British expat organisations in the EU. But the chances of this actually happening before the triggering of Article 50 seems very slim indeed, because in the eyes of Theresa May and her government, we are not people, we are simply bargaining chips.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope it is appropriate to post this message here, if not do feel free to remove it. This is my answer to Theresa May’s question about her 12 point plan on her FB page (why not leave her yours too?):

“I have no faith at all in your plan, Mrs May. It reads to me like a lot of empty words and promises, and nothing you’ve done or said so far has inspired me with any trust or optimism. Actually, it’s the exact opposite.
Britain, the tolerant and open country I have loved dearly ever since I arrived here in 1984 as one of the very first Erasmus exchange students, has changed beyond recognition within the space of a few months. The deeply divisive and disingenuous Leave campaign led by cynical politicians and right wing newspapers has been followed by your equally divisive and disingenuous government. You have betrayed tolerant Brits and non-Brits alike in embracing the current anti-immigration narrative to cover your party’s lack of care and investment in this country and its people. In doing so, you have served your own and your party’s political interests instead of the country’s interests.

Thirty odd years ago, I was warmly invited to build my life here. I was told it was my home from home. I was told I could settle down, marry a Brit and make my life here. Yet today I am told I’m a bloody foreigner and should go back where I come from. Things have got so bad that many of my fellow EU citizens hardly dare to speak their own language on the streets for fear of being insulted or attacked. Our very own identity is being challenged, our future, our life. And never, not once, have you as the PM stood up against this hatred, although you have been formally warned about it by the Equality and Human Rights Commission. You may believe that dividing is the way to conquer but it is not, Mrs May. You are destroying what has made Britain so special, what has made Britain great: its soft power, a mixture of charm, tolerance, creative spirit and openness. And you have encouraged the massive rift that is now tearing your country apart, destroying friendships, families and even couples.

You call yourself a Christian. I am a Christian too. Never have I read anywhere that Christ encouraged lies, hatred or divisiveness. He opened his arms and heart to all who were in need, and I can’t help feeling that refugees would be his first concern these days, instead of rich people who try to evade taxation. Your decision to leave the single market and your threats to turn Britain into a tax haven betray both the 48% of remainers but also many of the people who voted to leave the EU but not the single market and who didn’t think immigration was bad for the country (which of course, as you well know and have said yourself in the past, is not the case).

I’m sure you will not read my comment but if ever you do, please stop using the term “the will of the people” to support your open hostility or your glib promises to the Brits that voted to remain in the EU (virtually half of the referendum votes) and to the Brits who are married to EU citizens. Stop pretending you care about the fate of EU citizens here or UK citizens in the EU, while you are ready to use human lives as bargaining chips and you approach the EU (you have decided unilaterally to leave) with boasts and threats.

Remember please, Mrs May, that you are not the PM the people have elected. Remember too that the xenophobes you are blindly serving are thankfully not the majority in this country. And, finally, remember that when the people who support your UKIP inspired agenda realise it leads to more hardship and was all a lie, you will be very much in their firing line.”