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The Windrush Betrayal by Amelia Gentleman

(8 Posts)
foxie48 Wed 24-Nov-21 15:21:32

It is hardly surprising that so few of the people, denied their right to be accepted as British citizens by the Home Office, have come forward to receive compensation. The treatment they received was absolutely appalling and I doubt that they have any trust in the Home Office. I have recently read The Windrush Betrayal by Amelia Gentleman and tbh it made me feel ashamed to be British. I would urge you to read it as it explains the political climate behind the cruel and unjust decisions made by the Home Office and why so many British citizens were treated as illegal immigrants who were then denied employment, benefits, housing, NHS treatment and then finally deported. It is a shocking tale and I am disgusted that these completely innocent people were treated so badly despite having paid tax and NICs etc for several decades as the British citizens that they are. Amelia is married to BJ's brother, it made me wonder what the conversation round the Christmas tree is like. Oh to be a fly on the wall!

Kali2 Mon 29-Nov-21 11:25:14

I will have to read it.

What happened to the Windrush people is so so close to OH's family. His father arrived from SA in 1947, and his mum a few months later, once he had found work and somewhere to live (yes, just as is happening know with young men...). And the two first children, including OH, arrived aged 7 and 2 accompanied by an aunt in 1948- by ship /The Carneavon.

Older sister was told at Uni she had to register with the SA Act- and OH, 14, told his dad he had to do the same. But he said there was NO need, so OH was not registered.

He only found out by chance, when he went to register our mariage, that he was NOT officially British!!! It came as such a shock- but it was all sorted within a couple of months- he was 25 and had just finished his Medical Studies at UCHL.

Had he not found out, by chance almost, in 1971- we shudder what could have happened at a later stage.

foxie48 Mon 29-Nov-21 21:04:54

Kali please read it. I was so shocked that we could treat legitimate British citizens in this way but equally shocked that although I'd read a little about it, I had not understood just how dreadful it was.

theworriedwell Mon 29-Nov-21 22:45:48

Kali2 my husband came to UK as a baby in 1948. Sometime in the 80s he found out if he didn't sort out his nationality he would lose the automatic right to British nationality. So he filled in the forms and then got a British passport. He was annoyed about it but I pointed out to him if he didn't do it then he would only get British nationality by being naturalised which would be more complicated, expensive and no guarantees.

Maybe it wasn't publicised enough but it was easy enough to do at the time. I think it was something to do with a nationality act sometime in the 70s and you had so many years to sort it. I assume all the Windrush Generation would have been able to do the same?

I don't know enough about it and I've wondered if it would have been easy for them if they had known to do it at the right time.

I'm glad he listened to me and got it sorted, I'd hate to have gone through this although I suppose as I am British born at least the children wouldn't have had any issues.

Kali2 Tue 30-Nov-21 13:49:38

Yes,, the thing is, those like my OH and mine knew nothing about this- as they were too young on arrival and still just kids when the nationality act came about. As said, mine was 14 when he asked his dad if he should apply, and his dad told him there was no need, as his father was British born and bred.

Then no more was said about it ... years went by ...

and he found out, totally by chance, when 25- that he was not actually British. Although mixed race, he is white- and never ever considered being anything else but British, and never known anything else either.

Kali2 Tue 30-Nov-21 16:17:34

edit- your OH and mine ...

theworriedwell Tue 30-Nov-21 19:24:02

My husband came here at 14 months old so he always felt British, it was all he knew. I think he was tipped off about the cut off date by a group he and his mother belonged to for ex service men and families of men who came here to fight in WWII. We were lucky really. My husband isn't white.

foxie48 Tue 30-Nov-21 21:20:37

People who came over to the UK before 1973 from commonwealth countries had British citizenship provided they had not left the UK for more than 2 years. The Windrush generation and others in the same situation, were British. The problem arose if they had lost their original passport with the necessary stamp which confirmed their British status, which often happened as children came over on parents passports etc which became out of date. These totally legitimate British citizens were generally not well off, hadn't taken holidays abroad and had not had to prove their citizenship until much later in life. The Home Office had destroyed the paper records which could be used if someone had lost their passport and refused to accept the evidence of schooling in the UK, employment over decades with tax and NI paid etc. This was because Cameron wanted to reduce net immigration and deporting legitimate UK citizens helped with this. May's decision to create a hostile environment to immigrants also affected how they were treated. They didn't need to apply for naturalisation (which costs money) because they were British already. It is a truly shocking story which led to completely innocent people being made homeless, unemployable, unable to access NHS free treatment and deported. Absolutely dreadful.