immigration, mobility, hypocrisy

Bee's picture
Wed, 04/06/2011 - 21:00 -- Bee

The UK Government has announced a new social mobility strategy.

Nick Clegg, David Cameron and pals have made public statements condemning the "who you know" culture that gives preferential access to educational opportunities and jobs based on social connections. They say that under this government everyone should get a "fair chance."

The initiative is fascinating, not least because Clegg, Cameron, Osborne and associates were all privately and expensively educated. They are, one and all, people who obtained internships and career placements through family connections.

Social mobility is of course a good thing. Though achieving such is incredibly difficult, and comes at a high cost. I survived childhood cancer, worked my way out of poverty, and emigrated to a new country, all to improve my economic status - none of which can be said about the Tory or Lib-Dem leadership. I'm just about the perfect poster child for social mobility, but these politicians don't speak for me or to me.

They don't understand what I gave up when I left my home and family. They don't know the abject despair of poverty, or the piercing uncertainty and pain of immigration.

They don't know what it feels like to go hungry so you can feed your kids. They don't understand that debt is a deterrent to education. They do not grasp that normal people make difficult choices based on rational economic principles and limited budgets.

Why, or how, could they?

One example: last year a close family member committed suicide. I couldn't go home for the funeral, because of UK immigration travel restrictions, and because I was broke. Has Nick Clegg ever had to consider a scenario of that nature? No. If he has encountered trouble of any kind, he has always had plenty of cash to throw at the problem.

I would like the same kind of "fair chance" Nick Clegg enjoyed. Also, David Cameron's dining room furniture.

But if I had depended on family connections to make my way in life I would be working at a gas station in Silverdale, Washington.

Instead, I went to college and grad school and built a precarious new life, without help or assistance from anyone, and the corollary, no respect or acknowledgment. I worked harder than you could imagine to get here, and the reward? I get to watch with amazement as the coalition dismantles the immigration policies that brought me to this country, seemingly without even a vague understanding that they are hurting the exact same business community they seek to improve.

I get to listen to deceitful, sanctimonious speeches about education. While my academically gifted elder child takes out large education loans. And my talented, inquisitive fourteen year old son moulders on a wait list for an entire year because there are no state secondary school places whatsoever in Central London.

The main problem with the coalition is not their policies (they don't seem to be in agreement even amongst themselves). No.

The problem is the smarmy hypocrisy.