Archaeology and Brexit

Today, the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, signed a letter officially notifying the European Council’s president of the UK’s intention to withdraw from the union as required under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. This ‘historical moment’ is what the press love, but it is part of a long and complex, ugly and acrimonious process […]

via Brexit and Archaeodeath — Archaeodeath

EU citizens’ myths that should die #Brexit

I have meant to write a list of this sort for a long time. Surely, it should be shared a lot online to actually make an impact, I hope my followers will give me a hand for this task. Many Leavers who are quite happy in continuing to be wilfully ignorant won’t even bother to read it. However, some of them who have been genuinely misinformed should take note that they have been conned. Because the Daily Mail, Express, May/Johnson/Gove/Davis/etc., have ALL an interest to make you believe otherwise. They don’t want British readers to know. They want you TO REMAIN IGNORANT.

Remember something about history, now and forever: the elites have always used ‘media’ available at their time to convince the ‘lower’ classes that what the elites were doing was something right. This lasting long enough to allow them to get richer/more powerful until the lower classes are under too much strain and tired to be fooled, then they rebel. Many revolutions and wars started this way, just for your information.

So here’s the list of myths about EU migration that should die, as quickly as possible:

“You’re married to a British citizen, you’ll be fine”

This has been a huge pile of nonsense paraded since the referendum. It makes me furious and unfortunately I haven’t seen many trying to dismiss it.
British citizenship is a ius soli type of citizenship. It can be acquired by being born on UK soil (with some conditions, as nationality of the parents) or by naturalisation (there’s also regulation for overseas territories but I won’t go there as it is off topic).
Here are the main points cause of major misinformation:

a) “British citizenship cannot be transmitted to spouses of any nationality” (EU citizens included).

b) “The marriage to a British citizen does not offer protection of any kind nor it can confer a right to reside”.
A EU citizen married to a British citizen need to obtain a Permanent Residence card as well as all the others in order to acquire British citizenship. Right to reside based on being the spouse of a British citizen DOES NOT EXIST (since 2012, courtesy of Theresa May’s rule at the Home Office)

c) “British citizens are NOT included as valid sponsors in PR cards forms (the infamous 85-page form EU citizens are required to fill in if they want to get the Permanent Residence card)”.
This point could likely change but there’s even disagreement between lawyers about it.

d) “Being married to a British citizen offers a reduction of time to acquire British citizenship”. This was the case until November 2015, when the immigration regulation for us changed. It’s not 3 years anymore, it’s 5 years; EU citizens also need to have Permanent Residence cards before applying for British Citizenship.

“You should get British citizenship, that should have been easy for you, you’re educated and speak English well”

Apart from the fact that many countries do not allow for dual citizenship and many would lose their birth citizenship if they were naturalising as British citizens, I’m a citizen of a country (Italy) that allows it. However, the process to acquire British citizenship in the recent years has been so terribly disorganised and very expensive, that unless you are a professional who worked for many years in UK you will likely be rejected. I passed the Life in the UK test in October 2014, because I had been a UK resident for more than 3 years (at that time it was still possible to have the reduction for spouses of Brits). My application never went ahead because I was missing the second referee, meaning a ‘reference from a person of social standing knowing me personally for more than 3 years’; the reference had also to be in English so lawyers or engineers I’ve known in Italy for more than 20 years didn’t fit the bill if they could only speak Italian. Here the only people I know of social standing are all my husband’s relatives and they are excluded from it (no relatives on each side can be used).
Since then, the Home Office moved so much the goalposts to obtain British citizenship that at present I’m even ineligible for it, as well as being ineligible for a permanent residence card.
This without even mentioning that you need about 1,500 pounds for PR card plus British citizenship papers.

“You’ve been here for more than 5 years, you will have acquired permanent residence already”

There’s no such a thing in UK. I wish they were stopping to spread this nonsense on TV too.
If you refer to the ‘big con’ appearing on the government website, that’s a ruse for EU citizens who just don’t bother to read the PDFs of the forms and the guides. I’ve even written to MEPs highlighting this. It’s there to fool people. EU citizens automatically acquire permanent residence in countries where they are registered from the start. In UK a register of that kind NEVER existed. Thus, the burden of proof of entrance and all that entails is on the EU citizen, not the Home Office as it is in other countries. If you haven’t kept all records/papers during your permanence in UK (that could even be 20-30 years), you are not eligible to acquire permanent residence because you cannot prove it……..

“You’re self-employed, you will be easily confirmed as a permanent resident”

Eh, the Home Office doesn’t give any guidelines for that in terms of income. Surely, if your income is about 100k a year, I’d say you won’t have any problems. Many lower incomes won’t be considered as providing  self-sufficiency. It is advisable that anyone who’s self-employed should consult a lawyer before even attempting to fill the forms in.

“You’re not a EU low skilled worker, you will be welcome to stay” or “we didn’t mean ‘you’ when we were speaking about ‘those’ EU citizens”

Ugh. ALL EU CITIZENS ARE EQUAL IN FRONT OF THE IMMIGRATION LAWS. From all the 27 countries in EU. We are all bargaining chips, no matter if you are a surgeon on a 200k yearly wage or a minimum wage worker. Anyone who think differently (whether a EU citizen, Leaver or Remainer) needs to come down from Cloud Cuckoo. There are no EU citizens with special powers and unicorns and others without them. We will be all entered in the negotiations on equal footing.

“Once you pay for CSI (Comprehensive Sickness Insurance) you’ll be fine, right?”

CSI, the requirement actually blocking a lot of EU students/self-sufficient/stay-at-home mums and carers, has two issues connected with it: 1) if you take it out now, it doesn’t cover you retroactively 2) the definition CSI is not very clear, meaning that unlike many other countries, Home Office doesn’t provide list of official health cover insurers or things that should be included in the cover. Therefore, I’m currently covered by a health insurance for inpatient/outpatient treatment and I will get health treatment if necessary, but it doesn’t allow me to apply for a permanent residence card because I was not covered in the past whilst I was studying.

“We don’t want open borders like you enjoyed in coming here” or “many only come for benefits or to scrounge”

There’s no such thing as open borders anywhere, those are just lies peddled to confuse uninformed people. Free movement has rules as well and if you don’t find a job in a country, you either have money to survive or you go home.
I’ve also not spoken to many EU citizens who had to claim benefits. Sorry but all the people on benefits I have known in 7 years and a half were British born and bred. It needs to be added (thanks to Craig on Twitter!) that not claiming benefits has also meant for many EU citizens a rejection after applying for a permanent card. Because one of the requirements for a PR card is to ‘genuinely seek employment‘ and that can only be demonstrated through registration at a job centre; but people who do not seek to claim benefits cannot register! Therefore, at the epitome of ridiculousness, anyone who has been on benefits has more chances to get a permanent residence card than someone who never claimed a penny from DWP.

“Many of the EU citizens in UK are a burden on schools/housing/NHS/etc.”

Another stupid lie, this one also conflating EU citizens with illegals. If you are a Brit working in Italy you get access to schools, housing and Italian NHS as well. So? Just say you’re xenophobic and hate forriners at that point, at least you’re being honest.

“If you already got Permanent Residence, you will be fine”

This is tricky and not necessarily true. There is no indication, at present, that the Permanent Residence card, based on EU law, will be actually passed into UK law. Please take note that this will be subject to negotiations as all the rest concerning EU citizens. The fact that many are rushing to do it is of value only if it leads to the path of British naturalisation. In any other case, there’s no guarantee of anything even if you have the card.

“If you don’t like it, you can always leave and go home”

When someone tells this to an immigrant, it says more about him/her than the immigrant. There’s no such a thing as upping sticks and going…. Anyone who prepares for a move or migration knows that it takes a long time to settle things and move, whether you are doing it from city to city within the same country or abroad. Things can also get quite complicated if you’ve a house, family, children, etc. etc.
It’s stupid to suggest that people can realistically only have clothes to put in a suitcase and fly away unless they have just arrived somewhere.

If anyone has suggestions or anything to add to this post, please let me know. I’d say this is a ‘work-in-progress’ post where I want to address all the misinformation and nonsense about EU migrants (not refugees, another issue altogether!).

Merlin

 

 

 

The defeatist attitude of an (ex) artist

This will be a melancholic post with a dressing of reminiscence of the past. Usually, I adhere to the philosophy that whatever lies in the past cannot have any effect on the future whatsoever and I generally refrain from indulging in ‘good ole days’thoughts. However, now more than ever the past is coming back on a worldwide scale. Reasons behind Trump’s election and Brexit referendum success are witness to this. Why is that?

Historically speaking, the past often offers a glimpse into a ‘golden age’. At any time in the last 3 millennia, lots of authors have looked back and thought “well it was awesome back then, wasn’t it”, with many scholars even re-elaborating whole periods of history to fit their contemporary thinking and their bias. In some cases, some golden ages have included mass genocides, famine, Black Death, never mind that a few centuries later we found a way to justify or gloss over these little, inconvenient details.

It’s the same with us, in our little inconsequential lives… we look back and romanticise some events. And here I’ve fallen victim to the same trend.
There is a part of me I never fully accepted and that is why the past often came back to haunt me or to be seen as ‘golden’ in some regards. First of all, I was born in a Tuscan village in 1972; local mentality only allowed us girls a couple of things: 1) getting married and breed (I use this verb fully knowing the connotations!); 2) until (or if) number 1 was available, it was necessary to find a job, no matter if it was something we liked, any will do if it provided ‘cash’ (nobody was ever bothered about pay slips and such bureaucracy in those days, we kept count of our worked hours on a paper sheet hung in the factory).

‘Little me’ started working in such capacity at 12. Perfect (right?), I was on schedule! Apart from being illegal, never mind again… But then, everybody knows that teenage years wreck havoc in our lives and that is what exactly happened to me too. Around the age of 16, I fancied to get a higher education, I wanted to learn languages because travelling for work was my dream. Heresy! ‘Girls don’t need an education!!!‘, my father yelled. He yelled so loudly I can still remember it. It was not just ‘heretic’ to get an education though; the worst part was that instead of using my savings to prepare for my wedding, *gasp* I was using them to put myself in the condition of finding a job that required me to stay out of the house! In the end, I did get married but I was 40 already, needless to say my savings would have not lasted that long!

At 17, a far worse event happened, total total heresy! I wanted to use more of my savings to attend a drama school. My mum was an ex opera singer, whose aspirations and ambition had been shattered by ‘real life’. Or so she recounts the whole thing nowadays. But not all lives need to end up the same way, right? Her father, still alive at the time, supported the idea. My father was yelling all the time as you can imagine, even threatening to kick me out of the house, which didn’t happen… although I wasn’t actually allowed to rent a piano until I was 18 (damn father!). I was enrolled in a proper music school, learnt to play piano/singing/read music; unfortunately, I did not attend any drama course but found a way to appear in a movie anyway (I hope it got burnt, it was a weird indie thing!).

As you can imagine, given that you have never heard of me, nothing came to fruition. Since I stopped studying in 1995, I did many jobs until I definitely left Italy 8 years ago. I also found a way to migrate nearly everywhere since I was 24 but… the artistic thing never took off. As I am reminiscing about it these days, I wonder if my chronic defeatist attitude played a part in it and to what degree. I have the same attitude to my studies, “oh no, I’m not going to make it, I will get a fail, etc etc.”. As of today, I’ve only had a C in my degree course and it was in Level 1, so it’s not going to count for my final mark.

So, would my artistic career have taken off if I wasn’t so down-beaten by my own attitude to it? Possibly. I even scored auditions I never went to, auditions I was ill-prepared to face but sabotaged them on purpose (God knows why!), and even offers for one of my scripts that I never bothered to pay attention to!!
At this point you would think I am an idiot…. Why would anyone be threatened by success to the point that once you get the chance you don’t go through with it? Well, here I am, call me idiot if you like, but I was overwhelmed by the idea. Every. Single. Time.

You would also think I regretted that. Actually, I do but surely my number 1 reason is not what you are thinking about. I never really cared about being famous, having fans or making a crapload of money. Many of these chances might have not led to any of the above anyway. However, it led to something I have regretted: I gave up on the opportunity of doing a job I would have liked. The mindset of my upbringing “do any job because you need money”, drilled into me since a young age, has kept ruining my life over and over again, even when I didn’t actually need any money. It still does because I’m getting a degree in archaeology and history but if you asked me which job I will likely do after I graduate, I wouldn’t probably answer “archaeologist or historian”. I would fall on the old mindset ‘I need a job, whatever that is’.

And this brings a lot of dissatisfaction, a sense of ‘impossible achievement’ as regards anything I ever endeavoured to study or pursue. And given that in two days I will be 45, these thoughts heavily weigh on me. The ‘artist-that-will-never-be’ sounds now ominous and leaves a bitter taste in my mouth any time my mind wanders there.

Merlin, The Big Loser

P.S.: Silver lining: Considering the entertainment field’s obsession with youth and artists who are required to botox themselves to death, at least I’m not paraded around in retarded selfies like the one below where I need to keep my mouth open all the time (“I’m too sexy for this selfie, too sexy for this selfie” ahahaha)

20170324_153939

Dear followers… alive and kicking here!

Dear all,

I haven’t forgotten about you. I haven’t stopped writing either. But this is my graduation year (only 5 months and it’ll be over) and all my energies and time have been spent in academic research, for one module or another and for my dissertation.

I have tried to keep up with the news though and I hope to write a new post as soon as I have submitted my mid-term work this Wednesday. So I’m asking you to be patient and please remember, I’m still here alive and kicking, not gone or deported from the UK (yet) and still fighting.

Merlin xx

Brexit per italiani… e ora?

Ciao a tutti,

Un brevissimo articolo giusto per riassumere gli ultimi eventi anche se… a sto punto io direi che possiamo archiviare la non-Brexit (perche’ Brexit sia femminile in italiano non si sa…). Il governo britannico, da fine 2015, aveva cominciato a ‘bollire’ in materia di immigrazione. Leggi su leggi, paletti su paletti per fare diventare la regolarizzazione dei cittadini europei un inferno, anche se mentre in Europa tale regolarizzazione non era obbligatoria. Strano che lo sia diventata con la Brexit. Questo secondo me è il dettaglio piu’ importante… è da mò che non siamo i benvenuti.

Allora, riassuntino per chi si e’ distratto negli ultimi mesi:

  1. Smettetela di pensare che la Brexit non ci sarà. La May sta cercando di andare alla velocità di un TGV per attivare l’art. 50. Se siete tra quelli che pensano che tornerà indietro, o avete vissuto in una grotta preistorica per gli ultimi 8 mesi, o vi siete fatti come pochi (per lo stesso lasso di tempo!), o siete così illusi che credere agli unicorni è normale per voi.
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  2. Al 52% dei residenti britannici gli stiamo sul CULO. Inutile che ci giriate intorno. Inutile che troviate scuse che il vostro amico di banco o collega di scrivania vi adora e quindi quello che dicono i giornali non è vero, è Fake News o scaremongering. Macché scaremongering della beata m**chia, gli stiamo sul culo come se avessimo la peste, punto.  E se poi cambiate scuola, cambiate lavoro, trovate uno di quel 52% che vi odierà per l’eternità e siete fottuti. Smettetela di mettere la testa sotto la sabbia come gli struzzi adducendo che noi italiani siamo benvoluti perché il vostro vicino di casa britannico compra la pizza una volta la settimana al locale pizza kebab turco.
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  3. Smettetela di pensare che italiano non significhi europeo. Ho sentito lo stesso discorso da olandesi, tedeschi, francesi “odiamo gli immigrati e i cittadini europei ma non tu”, se credete alla suddetta frase fate solo la figura dei creduloni imbecilli. Al momento siete nella massa dei cittadini europei, sia che abbiate inventato una navicella spaziale, sia che stiate facendo il cameriere a Londra.
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  4. Londra è ‘ancora’ in Inghilterra e nel Regno Unito. Al di là del fatto che il Regno potrebbe essere o non ancora Unito al momento della Brexit (Scozia, work under construction LOL), Londra è e rimarrà sempre in Inghilterra. Non la spostano e non fa caso a sé per Brexit. Se l’Inghilterra fa la Brexit, Londra gli va dietro. Quindi togliete la vostra testaccia dal di dietro e ogni tanto guardatevi le news che valgono per tutto il Regno Unito. Dopo Brexit, seguirete il fato di tutto il resto. Il fatto che viviate con britannici o pakistani o altri italiani non fa differenza, la xenofobia del governo ve la ciucciate come tutti gli altri europei.
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  5. FATEVI l’assicurazione sanitaria. Perchè ricordatevi che l’accesso al NHS sarà la prima cosa che perdete. Io l’ho fatta già. Se non ve la potete permettere 1) state alla sorte, cazzi vostri ma poi non vi lamentate 2) ritornate in Italia o emigrate altrove 3) riportate la residenza in Italia (anche da mammà e papà) e ri-usufruite della Asl.
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  6. Se siete interessati a rimanere nel paese, potete farvi la permanent card se lavorate da 5 anni. La EEA QP è praticamente inutile e poi non è comunque indicazione di residenza permanente perché è un documento per professionisti qualificati che non hanno intenzione di restare nel Regno Unito. Anche se al momento non si sa se la Permanent Card verrà accettata come Indefinite Leave to Remain, è meglio averla. Pensateci appena possibile, specie se avete pure i requisiti per la cittadinanza britannica.
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  7. Se non siete interessati a rimanere in  UK, non aspettate fino all’ultimo minuto per guardarvi intorno e cercare lavoro all’estero (questo sempre se non siete in un’azienda che sta pensando di trasferirsi altrove). Perché ci sarà panico totale di europei che se ne vogliono andare se alcuni paesi non soddisfano ciò che la May vuole da loro. Stiamo parlando di 3.2 milioni di persone, se anche il 30% leva le tende, è un milione di gente che si muove, non proprio un numero piccolino!
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  8. Ricordatevi che una volta che l’inflazione sarà alle stelle, chi guadagna tra le 14mila sterline e le 20mila sterline annue sarà come stare in Italia con stipendio da fame. Con l’addizionale che qui magari non avete i genitori che vi riprendono in casa o vi aiutano…. Chi sta a Londra con stipendio che ora gli basta appena, potete guardarvi attorno subito… Tra tagli e aumenti, è previsto un incremento annuo di spesa di 4,300 sterline all’anno (questo detto da Arron Banks, che è un fascistone dell’ukip ma è anche miliardario, quindi i conti gli sa fare!). Fate voi…
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  9. Il governo britannico dal 1 Aprile va ai negoziati. Gli italiani in UK che non hanno doppia cittadinanza, come tutti gli altri cittadini europei saranno inseriti nei negoziati. In poche parole, siamo ostaggi, sia che abbiamo tanto, poco, o nulla. Nessuno è esente, incluso cittadini europei sposati con britannici o con figli britannici. L’eccezionalità in questo caso non esiste, nemmeno avere il cugino del cugino, amico dell’amico. Se lo prendiamo in culo, lo prendiamo collettivamente. Meritocrazia britannica 😀
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  10. Se avete avuto pazienza di arrivare a sto punto, vi dò un consiglio spassionato… pensate al domani senza curarvi del Brexit, fate il vostro, dando giusto un’occhiata agli updates ogni tanto tramite stampa o tv. Il Regno Unito, per almeno dieci anni, andrà  in recessione. Se siete giovani… mandate a fanculo tutti, UK e inglesi, non perdete tempo a star qui. Se siete vicini alla pensione, fatevi due conti, magari vi conviene prendere la pensione qui e andare poi a San Paolo in Brasile per il resto che vi rimane da vivere. Se avete una famiglia con figli piccoli, pensate al loro futuro che qui saranno sempre trattati da cittadini di seconda classe e che la situazione migliorerà tra vent’anni… Sempre se Trump e Putin non trasformano l’Europa in un deserto nel frattempo.

 

In quanto a me… me son rotta di pensare al Brexit e farò il mio. Se non mi vogliono, grande pernacchia. Dove la trovano un’altra Merlin? Da nessuna parte. Fanculo Inghilterra, Regno Unito e Brexit 😀 😀

P.S. dimenticavo, buon San Valentino!! 😊❤

Brexit, Trump… too much going on!!

So here I am back to write for my blog, swamped in study issues (starting new trimester tomorrow, old one was over on January 18th, dissertation draft proposal to submit before the 22nd!) and totally worried about the incessant vomiting of news any time I turn an electronic device on, whether it’s my mobile phone or just the TV.

Apparently, in 6 months we have gone from Brexit doom mongering scenarios to nuclear war or world war three. Because we all know ‘they’ want the latter. Who wants it? The ones who represent the 1%. Because they are tired of us peasants asking and pretending and demanding and then protesting if we don’t get what we were promised. 

The Trumps  (or Putins or Mays) of this world only see ‘us’ in one way: we are a burden.

Once there was the Black Death. Once there were conquest wars in the name of a God or a flag. But how would you justify a war in the 21st century? They cannot, right? He he. They can instead, we will give them the pretext, worse.. we will help them.

Have you noticed how much denial there still is in common people? “Oh it cannot happen, history cannot repeat itself this time”. Really? As a history student, I am aware that history has repeatedly itself so many times that if I could count them I would need a calculator. How many conmen/powerful men have made ordinary people believe some wars were ‘necessary’? 

It is only sufficient a reason: to make people feel attacked first. This can be done through appeals to xenophobia (“foreigners are swamping us, they are taking over, etc”); through attacks on the judiciary upholding national constitutions (“judges are enemies of the people, they are stopping democracy, etc.”); through appeals to faithfulness to a national ideal (“Make blah blah great again, taking back control, etc.”). List of appeals can come endless, the main aim is to make the population at large feel scared about something  (whilst we are all worried and scared,  we also forget to check the eventual red flags blown in our faces; a bit like living with an abuser….).

When the above mentioned happens, a division ensues. On one side, the part of the population listening to those appeals and agreeing with the conmen; on the other side the one opposing them. At this point, the whole population is already fucked, because the 50% opposing it has either the option of resisting or to try to join/reach to the other 50%. I might scare you shitless here but if we follow historical precedents, there’s often no way out of this conundrum without any form of violence. 

Even if it’s not nuclear war or even world war, we could totally be part of civil wars in UK, USA, France, etc. Or… entire groups of people will be defined as dissidents and incarcerated, in the name of a flag/belief under a dictatorial regime.

Believe me if I tell you that the world as we have known it for so long won’t last much longer. Unless we get invaded by aliens and exterminated. Hopefully,  because I have totally lost hope in mankind, human species is showing itself as something totally dumb and incapable of learning.

Merlin x

P.S. I would be all for to give the world to chirping Maine Coons like my Thor… at least, I am sure the planet would survive unscathed because they would have all they need without destroying it first.

Merry Christmas and Happy 2017

Dear Followers,

Unfortunately, for many people this has not been the year we were expecting at the end of 2015.

In many regards, many events have made 2016 become the annus horribilis. It is not over yet and here I am, reading online media news and feeling lost. The world around me has changed and a new direction is needed, actually many new directions and plans are needed.

I wish life was not so complicated sometimes, but… I’m a historian and I know that in the past everything was much more complicated. Should I really complain about anything? Maybe not.

Maybe it is time to take action and to take risks. Whether it will pan out or not, nobody can know. For many years I adopted a strategy of ‘I’ve nothing to lose and I throw myself in the new adventures with no regrets‘. However, now I have many things to lose and decisions have seemed impossible to make. But time has come for a overhaul.

Best Christmas wishes to all of you. I will update you in 2017.

Merlin x