The Price of Being British

Becoming French, German, Italian or Spanish costs, on average, £156. As of April 2018, becoming British costs £1330, plus £65 for the prerequisite Permanent Residence document and about £200 for tests fees, authentications, language skill certifications and document translations. And then, if after many months your application is finally approved and the finishing line is in sight, you are likely to be asked to pay another £130 for the citizenship ceremony (unless you can afford to take a day off work to attend the free weekday morning ceremony)[1]. This does not, of course, include the hours invested in filling in forms, memorising test questions and waiting in various queues for document services, biometric enrolment and test administration.

 

I am not lamenting the gaping hole in my wallet. Having lived and worked in the UK for 22 years, I am fortunate to have a good income and will not suffer significant hardship as a result of becoming British. Not everyone is as fortunate. More importantly, not everyone should have to be in order to be eligible for Britishness. This is important because it goes to the heart of what this government seeks to construct: a society ruled by those who can pay, and a ‘hostile environment’ for those who can’t. A de-facto tax on voting.

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Azi Ahmed on Heathrow & Greg Hands' resignation

Some would say Greg Hands' protest against Brexit and Heathrow’s third runway was a ploy to win the next election, but I see it differently.

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H&F LibDems call on MPs to vote against Government's Heathrow expansion plans

Today members of Parliament will vote on wether to expand Heathrow airport. The Liberal Democrats are the only party to have consistently opposed this expansion including blocking plans put forward by the Labour government as early as 2006 and the Conservatives in 2010.

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Amplify Your Voice

EU citizens in the UK may only have one more chance to influence decisions in their country of residence.

Tomorrow’s elections are more than just a vote on local issues. They are the voice of those who did not have a chance to vote in the EU referendum and the general elections, those who did not get a say on Brexit, on the treatment of immigrants by the Home Office, on negotiations with the EU or third countries – in other words, those most directly and harshly affected by political decisions in the UK.

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Pink Is The New Green

For three weeks every April, parks and streets in Hammersmith and Fulham explode in the pink blossoms of cherry and almond trees. More than just pretty accessories, trees create a link to nature and are a much needed antidote to the concrete cityscape of West London. They also help to counteract the carbon emissions choking our streets and produce the oxygen needed to breathe cleaner air.

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Lib Dems are the only pro-EU party in H&F

Many residents have asked me what our party’s position is on Brexit. When you’re part of a group of like-minded people, it is easy to lock yourself inside an echo chamber and forget that your message may not be reaching everyone. So I say unequivocally: H&F Liberal Democrats will keep fighting for continued British membership of the European Union. We reject the Conservatives’ and Labour’s ‘Hard Brexit’ plans, and we have welcomed and signed the European Movement’s pledge to ‘Stop Brexit’.

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Liberal Democrats CAN win here

Traditionally in H&F the battle has solely been between the Conservatives and Labour. Throughout this campaign Labour have consistently said the Lib Dems cannot win seats in H&F. This messaging actually suggests that the opposite is the case: for the first time in recent elections they view the Lib Dems as a real threat in certain wards.

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A “New Centrist Party” Already exists

Recent calls for the formation of a ‘new Centrist party’ à la En Marche have rekindled the debate around ‘First Pass the Post’ (FPP) and Proportionate Representation (PR) voting systems, extremism and the decline of the duopolist party system.

Ironically, the FPP system which was designed to keep extremist factions out of parliament has enabled the two largest parties to move ever further away from the moderate centre, leaving a gaping hole in the middle.

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Crime and Youth Services

One of the most important issues for me as a candidate for councillor in Sands End is Crime. I recently wrote an article on this and how CCTV would be most welcomed in Sands End where there is none.

I can think of no stronger validation for that article than the recent shocking arrests in Sands End and other areas of London of the members of the highly dangerous MDP Gang, and the discovery of a submachine gun and 1kg of a class A drug.

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Council puts profits before residents’ health

Billboards on virtually every lamppost in the main shopping areas of King Street and Shepherds Bush Green are promoting Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Hundreds of local children are being exposed to this advertising on a continual basis. A standard pack of Reese’s contains 21g sugar. A single pack alone almost contains the daily maximum intake of sugar as recommended by the NHS for a child.

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