Sometime between 7 and 8 am this morning I heard something on the Today programme (BBC Radio 4) that stunned me.
It was a piece about the government’s thoughts regarding a point-based immigration system, which favours highly qualified individuals who are going to contribute to the high tech economy the government is aspiring to. It mentioned that individuals who are not highly qualified, will not be able to enter the UK in the future, including people who supply catering and care providers with a high proportion of the required work force.
None of that stunned me – it’s been on the cards since BREXIT was on the cards. No, it was the government’s statements that the lack of care workers will be compensated for by introducing ‘automation and technology’. That stunned me on two counts:
1) People who need care are apparently not valued. They are not worth a decent wage for their carers. Even after BREXIT, people who want to work as carers, and are eligible to live in the UK, are not going to be offered an income that enables them to take up those jobs.
2) The skills, personal touch and conversation carers bring into the lives of people who require care are not valued – we can replace that by ‘automation and technology’, which means that the carers themselves are not valued.
I suggest the ministers and their advisers, who came up with this, spend a week as residents in a care home, so that they can experience what carers do for the cared for. And I suggest that they spend a week in a care home that provides ‘automated care’ and lots of ‘technology’. Maybe then they will finally realise that we Europeans were not such a blight after all….
I arrived in the UK in 1993 from continental Europe. I have learned here and invested a lot of my life in this country. I love living here, especially because I thought to be among people who are generally good at ‘live and let live’ while still caring – maybe people here are not perfect at this, but appear much better at it than where I come from. I’ve got a job I like and that allows me to give something back to society through education and research. I’ve got family and friends here.
I thought I could continue to shape my life without worrying about whether or not I have a right to be here. That right was a given and as I’ve always felt more European than anything else (except, maybe, eine Unterfränkin, but that’s a parochial joke and irrelevant here), I could not imagine this ever to change.
But it has. My world, as it relates to living in the UK, has become uncertain by the result of a referendum that was called for the wrong reasons, the campaigns for which were at best poor and at worst misleading on all sides, the outcome of which was not thought through by those who were responsible for thinking it out.
I’ll be applying for permanent residence to keep my options open. I know that it is irrational, but at the moment, I refuse to accept that my options should be curtailed by BREXIT after living here all this time.