Wednesday, 25 April 2018

This whole Windrush generation fiasco - questions

Background here.

So some people grew up and lived here all their lives on the reasonable assumption that they were British citizens (for most things, being permanently resident here is good enough), even though technically they weren't.

What strikes me, is that only UK and Commonwealth citizens are entitled to vote at most elections (different for EU Parliament elections, which we won't need to worry about any more).

So, with the benefit of hindsight, either all their votes were invalid; they were de facto accepted as British citizens (in which case the matter is settled); or there is some leap of bureaucratic logic that says they were notionally citizens of their [parents'] country of origin (most likely a Commonwealth country), despite that country probably having no record of them?

I also wonder why this wasn't noticed decades ago, at the latest when they were old enough to need their own (British) passport to go abroad on holiday, which surely plenty of them must have done.



jack ketch said...

* is very glad, and not for the first time nor he fears for the last, he did 'a Farage' and made sure his kids claimed their German Citizenship*

God only knows what sort of balls up the yUK.gove is going to make of EU Citizens residency...thank god also I kept The Bestes Frau In The Entire Universe's 'landing card' (or rather the 'perm.Res' sticker in her passport from the early 90s) all these years. Mind you it isn't yet certain that even that will be still valid after BrexSShite.

Bayard said...

"I also wonder why this wasn't noticed decades ago, "

I'm sure it was. What I wonder is why something that must have been obvious for decades should suddenly be headline news now.

jack ketch said...

should suddenly be headline news now.-Bayard

The timing of it is....interesting, just before the meeting with the Commonwealth and with all the 'customs union' stuff. Without wanting to sound like one of the tinfoilhatters who've been on the Brexit-KoolAid I'm guessing there are some very committed remainers in very senior positions in the HO.

Mark Wadsworth said...

B, that is the same question as I asked :-)

Curtis said...

When you register to vote today, you declare your citizenship on the form, but this is not checked. There is no way for local councils to check unless having a passport becomes a pre-condition to voting, since there is no database of British citizens (there is only a database of British passports issued since a certain date, probably in the late 1980s-early 1990s, but not all British citizens have passports or even know they are British citizens).

This has been the case since at least 2006, which is when I first registered to vote. I don't know what the voter registration process might have been in the 1970s and 1980s.

Furthermore, British citizenship did not exist until 1983, although all these countries became independent before that. All Caribbean countries have birthright citizenship, so they were citizens of their birth countries.

Plenty of these migrants did figure out the problem years ago, and applied for citizenship and got British passports, because they wanted to go back to their origin countries to visit relatives or whatever. The affected people are mostly poor, and have never left the UK since they first arrived, so the issue has never come up.

Mark Wadsworth said...

C, ta for extra info. That sort of makes sense now.

George Carty said...

Given that the Windrush generation were working-class people encouraged here to do menial jobs, isn't it likely that many of them didn't have passports because they'd never been abroad since they first arrived in Britain?