I am on Twitter and I have made some very good friends on there. It is not somewhere you can pretend to be something you are not, the truth will out! And so, you learn which people have the following qualities : integrity, inspiration, a caring nature, a happy nature, leadership skills, a genuine nature. Personally, I admire assertiveness but cannot stand arrogance ~ and there is plenty of that coming out on social networks!
One of the lovely girls I have met is Maureen, lovely lady, charming and genuine. We started chatting in 2009. Maureen’s Mum is British and her Dad is not. And in these days of equality and transparency, Maureen’s right to be a British citizen had been denied. That is, until last January – but after being promised so much, the new law put into place is an absolute insult to her and anyone else in the same position. There was a huge outcry about it, and quite rightly so, but the promises of equality were completely broken. But more than that, Maureen’s Mum is given the position of not being as important as a British Dad! Her position is inferior – so wrong!
Maureen wrote the following post on the International Women’s Day this week – it explains it far better then I ever could and makes me very embarrassed that this is happening here in England. Those civil servants in grey suits have a lot to answer for! The irony is that Maureen’s blog is called Brilliant Britain – ha!
So today is the 100th International Women’s Day, and we still have an ongoing inequality in the UK regarding the right for British mothers to pass on their citizenship to their children.
The UK government has always given this right to the children of all (married) British fathers automatically but not always to the children of British mothers. My mother is English and therefore I should be eligible for British citizenship but up until recently this right was denied.
Last year (13 January 2010), the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009 came into force which meant I was finally granted the right to claim British citzenship. Incredibly, it was only “a right to register as a British citizen” and I would also have to pay £540 to claim my British citizenship! This was absolutely outrageous since anyone born in the same circumstances after 1983, or at anytime to a (married) UK father, could simply complete a passport application without the need to register and without any fee.
I considered this path to citizenship to be unaccepable and I did not take up the offer to attain my British citizenship in this unfair way. There was a public outcry (quite rightly) from myself and many others about this blatant discrimination. Consequently, the law was amended in November 2010 and the application fee (which had actually gone up to £550 during the year!) was removed.
However, we still have to register and need to pay an administrative fee of £80 to cover the cost of a citizenship ceremony.*
As the law stands now the following two cases are exceptions to automatic British citizenship:
- Children born abroad before 1983 to British female citizens
- Children born before 2006 to unmarried British male citizens (and in fact they are even denied the right to register)
While it’s true that the £550 application fee has been removed, it’s completely unacceptable that we must provide two references and fill out a form intended for immigrants, not to mention pay £80 and attend a citizenship ceremony. I find these “conditions” before I can qualify for my claim to British citizenship, insulting to my mother as well as to myself.
We still don’t have 100% parity with the children of British father’s! If my father had been British, citizenship would be automatic – no registration required, no fee at all and no ceremony!
It’s unjustified discrimination.
*Registration and the citizenship ceremony is meant for those without a British parent. In other words, for foreigners who wish to become UK citizens.
Now do you understand what I mean when I say I am embarrassed by the law? It is just so insulting to any British Mother’s children who find themselves in this situation and, indeed, to the Mothers themselves. Maureen is not an immigrant from another country, she is the daughter of a British Mum and, as such, should be automatically given citizenship of this country. Sex discrimination is alive and well in the corridors of Westminster!
Makes me mad, but we can do something about it! Pop over to Maureen’s blog http://brilliantbritain.blogspot.com/ and on the right hand side you will see where you can sign the petition.
The following link, http://findyourmp.parliament.uk/ allows you to select your MP’s details and write a letter or send an e-mail. Please do so, so that we may put right this blatant discrimination and stop an awful lot of heartache. Thank you.