Greg's Occasional News & Views

22 April 2018

At last! We’ve had some half decent weather this week. There have been a couple of days when it was actually warm and sunny! What are the chances of that? The decent weather gave me the opportunity to mow the lawns for the first time this season and, more importantly, allowed Ms Playchute to get out and start digging her vegetable garden. We’re easily two weeks behind where we should be by now and stuff that should have been in the ground is still awaiting the opportunity. Unfortunately, as far as the lawn-mowing process is concerned, the damn grass will now grow like a teenager during a growth spurt to make up for lost time.

And, if that weren’t enough, the swallows returned this week, a few days earlier than their normal arrival date. They are swooping about looking for the best vacant apartment from last season and several have adopted nests in our eaves. It’s always fun to see them but I’m afraid the ones who have started nesting just above our bedroom window better get used to a shocking sight each morning as I throw open the window blind. 

We had a splendid visit with some old friends this week. A couple with whom we went cycling in France on that magnificent trip in 2005 were passing nearby Moreton Pinkney and asked if they might call in. Are we glad they did! Jane and Arthur live in France and were in the UK visiting family and friends and we were delighted to make it on to their shortlist of the folks with whom they hoped to visit. We had a great time in 2005 and enjoyed some serious laughter reminiscing about the cycling trip we enjoyed together. I was even able to dig out the photos and video from all those years ago to remind ourselves what a great time we had.

I’ve written occasionally recently how I am not often right about much of anything but that I did see the writing on the wall when the racist Tory government was elected in 2010 with their determination to stamp down on immigration. Almost immediately I started the application process and became a UK citizen.

As it happens, in recent weeks and months thousands of immigrants who were here legally, working and paying their taxes the whole of their lives have been threatened with deportation as they could not document their right to remain.

This whole nightmare began when Theresa May was Home Secretary during the Cameron years. She was charged with appealing to the racist core of the Tory party (and the looney Ukippers) by transforming the UK into a “hostile” environment for immigrants, a policy which she carried out with gusto!

The NHS, schools and other public bodies were required to check the immigration status of anyone applying to access any public services. If someone couldn’t prove their entitlement to be here they were to be refused access to services.

Now, the proverbial s**t has hit the fan as thousands of immigrants who came to the UK as children, especially from Commonwealth countries, have been in the firing line. They came as children when Britain made a big push to attract immigrants, especially from the West Indies, in the early 50s. Thousands never formalised their immigration status or applied to be naturalised and, as a consequence, are now unable to prove their right to remain.

To make matters worse, when she was Home Secretary her department destroyed the Landing Cards of those immigrants from the Caribbean, over the protests of case workers who argued that, in some instances, the Landing Cards were the only evidence of an immigrant’s arrival date. The Landing Cards were frequently used to prove an individual’s right to remain – hey presto, they’re all gone! Good luck with trying to prove that you’re entitled to be here.

This cartoon was in the Guardian on Saturday – Martin Rowson is always clever and this one is perfect – a toxic Theresa May being decontaminated while the Commonwealth Heads of State gather for their conference in London this week. She initially refused to meet them to discuss the appalling manner in which Commonwealth citizens in the UK have been treated because of the policies she introduced, then finally caved in and issued a grovelling apology. 

And just in case you are missing your latest Brexit rant:

And finally, from the New York Times:

Some days, you wish the news would just stop.

That was the case for the BBC on 18 April in 1930, when its 8:45 evening bulletin was surprisingly brief: “Good evening. Today is Good Friday. There is no news,” the radio announcer said. That update was followed by 15 minutes of piano music.

We’re off to the States for a couple of weeks on Thursday. If you’re lucky there may be no “news” for a while.

Love to you all,



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