Monday, November 20, 2006

I'm a bit sad tonight

We have a family friend who lives in the village. He is mid 50's and has been on his own following a divorce for years, and has had zero luck with women. He works really hard but scarcely earns the minimum wage, and he suffers with chronic asthma, but he is the kind of person who will do anything for a friend.

Nearly two years ago it looked as though his luck had finally changed. He nearly died from a particularly bad asthma attack which was or was not lucky depending on your point of view I suppose, but whilst recovering in intensive care he fell in love with a nurse on that ward, and she felt the same way about him.

She moved in with him and he was a man transformed by the love of a good woman and she really is a good woman. She is South African and was working here sending money home to support her family. Last Christmas though my friend's luck seemed to revert to normal and she had to move away as her work permit would no longer allow her to work in our local hospital. I guess I should have sensed something was a miss at that point but maybe I chose not to think too deeply about it.

My friend was distraught by the gap she left in his life. He had no money or means of transport to get to see her due to the distance she had moved, but some six, seven months later he rang me up and asked if I could take him to meet her at the railway station. She was coming back to him.

Being there to see their joy when they met again was a privilege. They were just so happy to be with each other again. All was right in the world.

Or at least it was until the police came and arrested her at 2.00 am a few weeks ago. We couldn't find out what the hell was going on. My friend's house was searched form top to bottom. Stupid rumours circulated eg she was drug pusher. She was held in custody and my friend was denied any contact with her.

So we now know what her heinous crime was and the punishment she has been given for it. She took a felt tip pen and tried to make the '6' in the year '2006' look like a '9' on the work permit in her passport. In fact she was planning to go back in February next year anyway as she missed her daughter so much but she wanted to see this year out with the man she loved. As the report of her trial last Friday says - she showed no one this alteration,and if she ever had it would have been blindingly obvious it had been clumsily altered so no advantage could ever have come from it. She made no financial gain by means of it as no one had asked to check she was still legally entitled to work here. Her lawyer is quoted as saying"In my opinion this is at the absolute lowest end of the scale. The passport has never been used and no gain has come from it."

For this dreadful crime which fully deserved the house raid in the middle of the night I am can't be too careful with these evil middle aged nurses after all...she will be in prison for 40 days and will then be deported. The only good thing I can see in all of this is that the money she would have had to spend on her fare home next February can now go towards her family who she was only here in the first place to look after as I suppose the Home Office will pay for her deportation. Not that I could say that to my friend who tonight is more upset than I have ever seen any man before.


Steve said...

Is this why I voted Labour?

This is the type of scenario I would have expected in the dark days of Thatcher's absolute power.

This just makes me so angry and impotent. Is there nothing we can do?

J.J said...

Thinking about this has kept me awake much of the night Steve. There are a few phone calls I intend to make this morning but don't hold out any hope.

I really do think I need somehow to highlight the night raid. How on earth could that over reaction have been approved to arrest someone suspected of over staying their visa? Would we treat wealthy white visitors to our country that way? When all is said and done, all she, a highly trained nurse, was doing was a series of cleaning jobs which we wouldn't want to have to do ourselves. It is truly sickening the way she has been treated. All so the government who I voted for can tell the Daily Express they are tough on illegals.

Arthur Clewley said...

it is very sad and it does seem rather disproportionate considering the scumbags both homegrown and imported who seem to be able to go about their business unchallenged but the whole philosophy of the boys in blue is 'why bother to catch the criminal when you can just criminalise the catchable'

Yorkshire Pudding said...

When the dust has settled, perhaps he should be utterly and bloody stupid, ditch everything and go to South Africa to be with her. It might be his only chance of happiness. Tell him Yorkshire Pudding said so. South Africa is a lovely country. He could see out his days there.

JoeinVegas said...

Um, how did they find out about it and raid the place if she never showed it to anyone?

Foilwoman said...

Maybe I'm just a pragmatist who says, "Sure it's screwed beyond bejesus, but what's the way to fix this" when I suggest that the two parties marry and go through the necessary paperwork so that this woman can live in England? If they can't (Romeo and Juliet thwarted by modern bureaucracy), why not? Just my thought. If legalities were keeping her from staying in the U.K., why not legally change those legalities?

J.J said...

It's true Arthur. She was just an easy target. Her address was known to the local council. She wasn't in hiding. They did not have to go in at that time of night.

YP, it is a lovely idea. Think we will have to start fundraising to send him there.

Joe, it seems that finding the passport had been altered was simply a bonus for them. The raid was carried out because she had over stayed and it seems that it is normla pratcice as this news item demonstrates she is not alone in experiencing this treatment.

Foilwoman, I do wish he would marry her. I fear now immigration have her he will have left it too late, but maybe she could get back again.

The Fatalist said...

Surely he can marry her IN prison? Isn't that what they have prison chaplains and priests for?
I know it's not your constituency, but try contacting a decent MP there are some out there, like Jeremy Corbyn, or even George Galloway(forget party politics if you're not left wing, he will have the contacts). Or even the National Council for Civil Liberties. They changed their name quite a few years ago, I think they may be known as Liberty now.
Or try the great gay activist Peter Tatchell. He has his own website. True you are talking about a straight relationship, but he's not ONLY a gay activist, and again, will have contacts for support.
Good luck!
Perhaps you can let us know her full name, prison number, and address of HMP. I'm lucky enough, but for the grace of 'god' never to have been inside, but know people who have, and no how important it is for them to get letters of support from people, even ones they don't know, something as simple as a short 'good luck' message on a postcard is the difference between getting through a day with some sort of semblance of a positive attitude.
If you do this maybe all of your regulars could appeal on their own blogs for their readers to highlight the case, and write to your local MP, or whatever. There may seem no hope, but from little acorns...
Thinking of you and them!
(I don't find much time to look at your blog, and wasn't expecting to read this!)

Lisa Rullsenberg said...

Happy to lend vocal support to the cause. A disproportionate action that does nothing except assuage certain groups of voters that 'them evil middle aged nurses' are being dealt with. URGH. How can someone making a legimate contribution to society get treated in such a way? Can we all send support in the form of letters etc and make this a campaign of some kind?

J.J said...

Thank you both Fatalist and Lisa. I will try and get those prison details and post them.

Nat said...

Surely love will find a way?

Phil Collins told me so!

Give him my best. Everyone deserves a bit of hollywood happiness.


David Duff said...

Deported? With our 'not fit for its purpose' Home Office? You must be joking!

Still, it's an ill wind and all that sort of thing because at least the abandoned daughter back in SA will be pleased to see her missing Mum back again, as will the hard-pressed SA nursing services who are desperate to hang on to their nursing staff.

Honestly, you lot are as soppy as an under-cooked Yorkshire pudding which reminds me ... no, on second thoughts, I won't bother.

J.J said...

Hiya Nat, Yes Phil collins did say that, but I have always wondered something. What on earth did he mean by Sussudio?

David, yes, those are two silver linings. Incidentally, my Yorshire puddings are neither soppy or soggy. In fact they are a thing of beauty - a piece of art. The secret is in the choice of a strong bread flour doncha know?

David Duff said...

I'm sure they're as delightful as your "sun-blushed tomatoes" and anyway, they couldn't be as wet as that Yorkshire Pudding who appears so regualrly on this column!

George Walks said...

And meanwhile The Sun comes out with, 'Stop This Immigration Madness!'. Or rather, 'Fear, fear, fear, and buy my paper'.