Trenton Oldfield’s family aren’t the only victims of the vindictive British state

9:10 am - June 27th 2013

by Jim Jepps    

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Public opinion appears to be that Trenton Oldfield, the protester who disrupted last year’s boat race, is a bit of a dick. I’m not that bothered – the race is a fix anyway, the same two teams get into the final every year.

In the very week that his British wife is expecting their first child Oldfield has been told that, after ten years, his presence is no longer welcome in this country. Theresa May’s decision to seek to have him transported to Australia for his crimes (on top of the two months he’s already served inside) goes against all natural justice but, more importantly, seeks to split up his family to make some cheap political point.

The collateral damage of May’s callous punishment is his British wife and soon to be born child, a child whose right to a father she seems unwilling to consider.

The terrible truth though is that Oldfield’s family are not alone. For many British born people it is harder to settle with their spouse and children in this country than it is almost anywhere else in the world.

It is even easier for EU citizens to settle here with non-EU spouses than it is for a UK citizen to be reunited with their own children if they were born outside the EU.

Imagine only being able to see your mother on Skype.

Imagine being separated from your own children because they were born abroad by a non-EU citizen.

Imagine having an elderly relative who desperately needs your support, but being unable to look after them because they come from outside the EU, or being separated in your old age from your only remaining family members because of where you were born.

That’s hundreds of broken hearts before we even consider the cases of refugees and asylum seekers where we split 200 children from their detained or deported parents.

None of this is because they have committed a crime (even a fairly trivial one, as in Oldfield’s case), but purely because they had the audacity to fall in love with someone with the wrong colour passport. The toxic debate around immigration bears little relationship to the reality.

If you are wealthy life is, naturally, easier. If you seek to be reunited with your family you need to demonstrate, among other things, that you are earning at least £22,400 with a further £2,400 for each additional child – a burden even harder to meet if you live in a poorer part of the country or belong to a group of people who earn less than the average… like women.

If you cannot meet the financial and other tests then your family will be one more victim of this government’s desperation to drive down the immigration figures in any way they can think of. You don’t have to disturb the rich at play to have your family torn apart.

British citizens might feel it is their natural right to have their children live with them, no matter where they were born, but this is not always the case.

The first anniversary of the government’s decision to change the family immigration rules (Tuesday 9 July 2013) please help keep up the pressure.

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About the author
Jim Jepps is a socialist in the Green Party and formerly blogged at the Daily (Maybe). He currently writes on London politics, community and the environment at Big Smoke.
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Conservative Party ,Immigration ,Law ,Westminster

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Reader comments

1. Merrymaker

I have posted before on the iniquity of the disparity between the treatment of British Citizens and other EEA nationals and their family rights. However, I should point out that foreign born children of British Citizens, irrespective if one spouse is not British, are themselves British Citizens by descent. They are entitled to a British Passport, to enter the UK without hindrance, and are not subject to the financial requirements listed above.

2. Planeshift

Party of family values and marriage strikes again.

Whilst it is undoubtedly unfair, he has to shoulder at least half of the blame for being split up from his family by making it so likely that the government would do this.
If you are staying as a guest in a foreign country and want to make sure you aren’t deported, it’s probably best not to disrupt one of the summer’s main national events shown on live TV. The boat race may be elitist (which is apparently the point he was trying to make), but don’t be surprised if the elite tell you to sling your hook after you spoil their party.
Part of being a parent is sizing up that sort of risk and the effect it might have on your family.
So yes, he is a bit of a dick.


Thats all well and good, but what about the parents of that British citizen? If the mother is non EU then can she stay with her newborn baby if some requirements cannot be met?

5. Merrymaker

@ Dad. No the family will be split. My point was to make sure everyone knew the correct position vis a vis the children. Nevertheless, there are some things that can be done to circumvent this cruel law. If the British spouse can first obtain a job in some other EU country, they can can unite their family there. Next, provided the spouse holds the job for six months they can then return to the UK as a united family using the EEA travel permit. Many British citizens can also claim Irish nationality. If the returning spouse returns to a job in the UK as an Irish national, rather than a British national, then they are entitled to bring their family with them.

He should have thought of his responsibilities to his family before jumping in the Thames. He is as you say “a bit of a dick”.

7. So Much For Subtlety

British citizens might feel it is their natural right to have their children live with them, no matter where they were born, but this is not always the case.

British citizens do have a perfect right to live with their children. This man has a perfect right to live with his children. They just do not have a right to do so here.

If he wants to see his children grow up, his wife and child can follow him back to Australia. The British government is not splitting up this family. Their own decisions are. They will have to choose whether the mother and child wish to remain here or keep the family together. The question ought to be asked why this woman is denying her child the right to see her father. Not why the State is. Because the State isn’t.

Two things here, I think:

Firstly, it’s a message not to piss off the ruling élite. Spoil their fun, threaten their sense of invulnerability, and you will be stitched up – just like so many young people were a couple of years ago when Catwoman and ‘Dave’ all but instructed the judiciary to throw away the guidelines (and some of those sentenced for minor or invented offences are still in prison).

(And this isn’t necessarily a party thing; I’m sure that if the wretched Straw had been able to figure out a way of deporting Walter Wolfgang to Germany, he’d have tried it).

The second may be more calculating. As any challenge Oldfield makes under the HRA/ECHR is likely to be upheld (especially as judges in the ECHR would raise a collective sardonic eyebrow at the thought that someone could be put in prison for what Oldfield did), then this may be another way in which those who wish our rights to be confined to whatever the British ruling class say they are at any given moment would be able to confect another shit-storm in the scum press about the HRA, and so hasten the end of any effective protection many of us will have against goalpost-moving Home Secretaries in the future.

Either way, it’s a nasty decision taken by a nasty minister in a nasty government of what is, increasingly, a nasty country.

9. Just Visiting

The Judge

What country is ‘not nasty’ in your view then? And why?

JV: fairly obviously, a country which doesn’t kick out the spouses and soon-to-be parents of its citizens for trivial offences.

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