When I moved here people would ask why I left the states, and I inevitably replied Because I wanted to live in a place where everyone has equal access to medical care.
I am so shocked by the reckless, destructive actions of the UK coalition government it is difficult to articulate exactly what is most disturbing.
Of course the cuts to arts funding and the changes in immigration policy are infuriating, but those issues have quickly been subsumed under the tidal wave caused by "reform" of the education system.
We don't know what precisely will happen, but do not be confused. This is not about money. This is about ideology.
Uh. Britain. Are you serious about these new immigration policies? Really?
When I moved here six years ago my visa was issued on the merits of a spouse who had to prove that nobody in the United Kingdom could do his job. The visa allowed all four of us to remain for five years, during which time we had no recourse to public funds, although we were obligated to pay local and national tax.
Recent political reports reminded me that I do not claim allegiance with any political party because I find them all equally - and therefore repugnantly - flexible.
Call me naive but I expect politicians to stick with their own stated platforms. The Lib-Dems were elected in large part on a pledge to reduce or eliminate UK tuition fees. Now they have not only retreated from that promise, they are the critical factor in approving the massive fee increase.
So, basically, Lib-Dems are liars.
Good to know.
Economic indicator: Taxes & surcharges on a single roundtrip ticket to the states? £254.90.
That, my friend, is more than the ticket itself. Business people don't care, but a family? It can hurt. Although, for the first time ever, I can afford to buy myself a ticket without worrying about how we will pay for food this month.
With stunning efficiency, the authorities just noticed I pulled my kid out of school. Two years ago. In a different county.
Since I followed the correct procedures, this means that it took the council exactly that amount of time to process the paperwork. Amusing for me, as my family does not require support or intervention. Not especially thrilling for the people who might need help - namely the kids who drop out of school for significant financial or social reasons.
My household has for the last twenty or so years been funded by high-tech dollars. I dwell more on the entertainment side, my sweetheart more on the infrastructure side, but we are both hardened veterans of the industry. We are also, like most of our colleagues, immigrants.
Now I read that a recently elected Prime Minister who promotes anti-immigration policy wants to take credit for an industry that grew up organically around people like me, while restricting immigration of people like me.
Does that make any sense whatsoever?
The other day I had a painter in the flat to work on the windowsills and when I offered a cup of tea we started chatting. After a few minutes this very nice fellow - a lifelong resident of Hackney - asked why I moved to England.
I offered the true and short reason: I came here because I wanted to live in a more equal society, where everyone has access to health care, education, and housing.
He looked puzzled and asked "But don't you miss your mum?"
Seventeen years ago I went to a conference with my friend and colleague Jenni. We were both students, idealistic and outspoken, committed to making our society accessible to people with disabilities. We were making this happen by forcing the campus to comply with the ADA, and coordinating a task force for the Governor's office with the objective of reforming structural (translation: boring) policies.
Census kinda dude (what do they call that here?) came by today and I was able to proclaim my status as a British citizen for the first time! Then I registered to vote.
Oh, the power!
Except of course I always live in places where my vote is rather incidental. I still cast a ballot in Seattle, for instance, but that city is so progressive (with a sincere and bombastic devotion to retaining military dollars and encouraging assorted sinister industries - oh, hometown! The contradictions!) it hardly matters.