Politics. It's always been said to be a dangerous game. A group of human beings who claim to work for the people, but most of the time, have nothing but their own self interests at heart. Give them power, and then it's a recipe for chaos. And most of the time, it's the innocent followers/citizens that end up paying for their mishaps.
Let's take a look at some stories from the last few days:
1. Pakistan: Sadly, Benazir Bhutto was assassinated yesterday, and has been laid to rest in the last few hours. Her killing has left her country, Pakistan in political turmoil, and as I type this, the country is erupting in violence. The military dictator, Pervez Musharraf is now in a difficult situation. Some accuse him of having her killed, as she was set to become prime minister after next month's elections. The obvious suspects are the Muslim extremists, who disliked her liberal stance. However, what happens now? Who will clamp down on the extremists? Pakistan is crucial in the West's 'war on terror', and the stability of that country is essential. The next few days will be interesting. What will the West do, sit back and hope things work out, or interfere? Sadly, the Bhutto's have seen this before, her father was executed after a military coup, and both her brothers died violently.
2. Nigeria: The EFCC has been doing a stellar job in tackling corruption. While some might say that they have been a tool in the hand of the government, oppressing the opposition, what cannot be denied is that Nigerians believe that you can no longer steal money when you are in power, and get away with in. At the moment, seven ex-governors whose terms ended this year are being prosecuted, and three of them are in jail, including the 'all-powerful' James Ibori. So what does the government do? Sideline the head of the organization by sending him on study leave. Nuhu Ribadu has done a wonderful job heading the EFCC, but has stepped on several toes. Now, it seems that politicians have had their way, and this will be a major blow to Nigerian president, Umaru Yar'adua's credibility. Again, what happens over the next few days will be very interesting.......
3. UK: The government has been talking about immigration for a while now, as British citizens believed that it is out of control. Sadly, immigrants like myself are those that suffer the backlash, as the government squeezes out out of existence. I currently have the right to apply for British citizenship, but let me add up how much it has cost for me to get there:
- £500 - Priority application for 2 years resident's permit in 2005
- £35 - Life in the UK test (Does not include cost of study materials and a day off work to take the test)
- £950 - Priority application for indefinite leave to remain November 2007
- £710 - Citizenship application + Nationality checking service
Total : £2160 in the last 2 years. That's a lot of money, and that's only because I'm the only person in my household applying. I met a man at the Home Office applying for indefinite leave to remain for his family of five.
If it costs so much to be a legal migrant, no wonder people are going down the illegal immigrant route.
The government has been talking about 'the biggest shake up of the immigration system ever' which is about to happen, and at the heart of this is a points based system for non-EU migrants. But this my friends, is just politics. The UK has had a points based system for migrants since 2002 called the Highly Skilled Migrants Programme. And for all the government's huffing and puffing, the 'new' points based system is identical to the Highly Skilled Migrants Programme. So nothing new there, just a massive announcement about nothing. They are also talking about banning non-skilled non-EU people from coming to the UK. Again, nothing new there. There is currently no visa or scheme for a non-skilled migrant to settle in the UK. What programme are they canceling? Which visa have they announced they will get rid of? None. Because again, it's just a massive announcement about....nothing. A new clampdown on forced/sham marriages? These measures have been in place for a few years, a foreigner cannot get married without applying for permission to marry from the home office, despite the high court saying this was illegal and a breach of human rights. Another announcement without substance.
The only new things in all the proposals? Shortening standard visitor visas to 3 months from 6, which to be honest is not a bad idea, but for family visas, the government is 'considering' making UK based people pay a cash bond of up to £1000 when they invite people to visit the UK, and this will be forfeited if the visitor does not return home. What? this year alone, my wife and I have invited almost 10 people to visit, all of whom have returned home, but this measure would mean that we might have to think twice about it. And a lot of people agree that this is just a bad idea and that innocent people would be the victims.
So what do the conservatives come up with. Well, for them, a £1000 bond is not even good enough. No sir. Under a conservative government, if you invite someone to the UK, and they don't go back home, you could go to jail. So the government lies through it's teeth, and the opposition gives us a completely senseless alternative. Nothing new there then.
This is what happens when you put politicians in charge. You get a whole lot of hot air, no real decisions made, and a bunch of men in suits, just looking after themselves, ready to do anything to prolong their tenure. Or in the case of Benazior Bhutto, senseless, unnecessary death.
May her soul rest in peace.