Monday, March 24, 2008

Its not just the Ghurka's we should be ashamed about

The plight of Ghurkas not being allowed to settle here has, quite rightly, raised public concern. It is summed up quite nicely by Philip Johnston in The Telegraph:

There are times when the routine irritation we all feel with the idiocies that take place daily in government is supplanted by splenetic anger caused by something truly outlandish.

The sight of Gurkha ex-servicemen gathered in front of the Palace of Westminster to return the medals they had received for fighting with the British Army was just such a moment. They were objecting to the fact that many of their number are denied the right to settle in Britain because they retired before 1997.

I spent 9 months on a course with 4 Gurkhas* and saw them land in the Falklands and like anyone who has served have nothing but admiration for them and support every move to give them equality and treat them as fellow citizens.

However, lets not forget that because they are a Regiment with a high profile they get most of the best PR but they aren't alone in being badly treated. Fijians have just as good a record serving in the army and are just as badly treated. This is an old article but gives yo goo background. Again I served with a number of Fijians and there loyalty and professionalism cannot be disputed.

Update: via Tmmy, EU Referndum points out that the real reason those who served in the Gurkhas befor 1997 can't be geive citizenship is down to the EU. Well, there's a surprise:
However, the admission of third-country nationals to the UK and the rules for citizenship are set out not in UK law but by the EU, specifically
Council Directive 2003/109/EC of 25 November 2003, "concerning the status of third-country nationals who are long-term residents".Within the framework of reference of this EU law, Ghurkas who were based on Britain – i.e., post 1997 – conform with the entry requirements set out. Those who were engaged prior to that do not. It really is as simple as that.*The first Saturday morning of the course I was woken up at about 11am, we had been out until daybreak, by the 4 Gurkhas who promptly thrust a curry under my nose and sat in my room until I had eaten it. They and the rest of the Gurkhas who were on other courses were given the run of the cookhouse on a Saturday morning and this was the first of many curries I enjoyed during that course.

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