If They’re Foreign, Then I’m Foreign Too.

Nicola Sturgeon happily posed with Theresa May after she was announced the new Conservative leader, and by extension, Prime Minister. This was supposed to be a victory for women, something for our daughters to aspire to. There are plenty reasons I wouldn’t want my daughter to be like either, but particularly the latter.

Theresa May becoming Prime Minister was a humanitarian disaster, seeking the opportunity to make her unpopular party more popular with just about any of the electorate, she’s exposed a horrible right wing under belly to the Conservatives, which although lurking in the wings during Cameron’s leadership, never fully revealed itself, until now.

Until now we are left with shadows and echoes of other governments, other times, other regimes; history, we were told at school, gives us a framework to learn from. Who learns? Who learns what? Is this how she learnt to govern?

And so we come to the ugly, the screening of foreigners in employment, those others who come here and dare to steal our jobs. How quickly it seems we forget the plunder, the pink map of the early 20th century, the golden age of the empire, rule britannia, the things we’re meant to be proud of. Well, you can keep them, you can have your days of pillage and spoil, and if they are foreign, then I’m foreign too.

We have not been told yet exactly how foreign-ness will be defined, how arbitrary the lines will be, how far back they will go in their endeavour to protect our hallowed shores. My father is South African, my grandfather Polish and grandmother Russian. I was born here, but I am not of here, I am not of anywhere; Theresa May sees me then, as a citizen of the world, as a citizen of nowhere. Let that be the case, let me have no history, no shadow, no culpable responsibility for our awful history, for the history the government have not, will not learn from.

My father was a doctor, worked for the NHS, but now, we would keep him out, not welcome here signs, barbed wire maybe, how far do we go, how do we define the other? What does it mean to be British? What does it mean to be foreign? What does native mean? Home mean? We tumble into problematic definitions, what does it mean to be a citizen, what does it mean to be useful?

If we start to unravel the complexity of what it means to be foreign, what it means to be alien, do we leave it at country of birth, or do we muddy the waters just that little bit more, do we start to define people not by where they came from, but their genetic capability, do we screen out undesirables in the immigration offices and the womb?

How the hell did we get here?

What the hell happens next?


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