Sadiq Khan urges EU to offer Britons ‘associate citizenship’

Not sure how this would work or the likelihood of the EU agreeing:

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, will use a trip to Brussels to implore EU negotiators to be open to continued free movement for Britons through “associate citizenship”.

With the backing of the former prime minister of Belgium Guy Verhofstadt, Khan said the offer of such rights to those who wish to retain them should be at “the heart” of the coming negotiations over the future relationship.

The idea of “associate citizenship was first raised in late 2016 by Verhofstadt, who was then the European parliament’s Brexit coordinator.

The offer would be of continued freedom of movement and residence around the bloc for those who wished to retain such rights. Such a status would also protect rights in healthcare, welfare and workplace conditions and likely the right to vote in European parliament elections.

The chances of such an initiative making headway in the negotiations are extremely limited as it would be unlawful under EU legislation.

There is unlikely to be appetite for any rewriting of treaties among the 27 member states, given the UK government’s hostile attitude to the free movement of EU nationals who wish to live and work in Britain.

Khan, who will also meet the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, and the European parliament’s president, David Sassoli, during his visit on Tuesday, said he believed the idea still had merit.

“Like so many Londoners, I am heartbroken that we are no longer a member of the European Union, but that doesn’t mean our country’s future can’t be closely linked with the rest of Europe,” he said.

“The prime minister says his job is to bring the country together and move us forward and I cannot think of a better way of reconciling the differences between British voters who wanted to leave, and the millions of Londoners and British nationals who still feel and want to be European.”

Khan added: “There would be support from millions of Londoners and British nationals who are devastated they are losing their rights as EU citizens. As the UK and EU start their next phase of negotiations, I want this issue of associate citizenship to be at the heart of talks about our future relationship.”

Attempts by UK nationals in EU member states to argue in the courts that the loss of citizenship and its associated rights was a disproportionate and unjust consequence of Brexit have all failed.

Verhofstadt, who has the backing of the European parliament to be chair of a new conference on the future of Europe involving all the EU institutions, said he believed that Brussels should be open to the concept.

“The Maastricht treaty created the concept of ‘European citizenship’ and I am in favour of using this now as a basis for people who want to keep their link with Europe,” he said. “It is the first time in the history of our union that a member state leaves, but it is not because the UK government wanted exit that individual citizens have to lose their connection with the continent.”

Source: Sadiq Khan urges EU to offer Britons ‘associate citizenship’

UK: Sadiq Khan demands plan to charge EU nationals to stay in UK changed

Bringing the London perspective to the UK immigration debate:

Sadiq Khan has written to the government to demand changes to its planned post-Brexit immigration policy, saying that forcing long-established EU nationals to pay fees to stay showed ministers had not learned the lessons of Windrush.

In a letter to the home secretary, Sajid Javid, the Labour mayor said the wider immigration policy, including plans to restrict immigration to people earning above £30,000 a year, would badly damage London’s economy.

Khan has been a critic of Theresa May’s Brexit plans. He also differs from official Labour policy on the subject, supporting a second referendum.

In the letter, Khan said the immigration white paper, published just before Christmas, was disappointing in content and tone. “The promised ‘new conversation on immigration’ is off to a poor start,” he wrote.

The mayor criticised the £65 fee millions of EU nationals will need to pay to apply for so-called settled status, likening it to errors that saw some members of the Windrush generation targeted for immigration enforcement when they could not prove their status.

“There are hundreds of thousands of young people who were born in the UK or, like the Windrush generation, brought here as young children, who are prevented from participating in the economic, social and political life of the UK by the prohibitive cost of applying for leave to remain or citizenship,” Khan wrote.

“While the previous home secretary rightly waived fees for the Windrush generation, the government clearly has not learnt the wider lessons. There are many others still at risk from the same policies that led to the Windrush generation experiencing discrimination, destitution, and deportation.

“The Home Office now faces the unprecedented task of registering 3.4 million EU citizens resident in the UK. Many people will find this process inaccessible and unaffordable. As a matter of fairness, the government should waive the settled status fee for EU nationals and their families who were resident in the UK before the referendum took place.”

Khan also argued that the plan to restrict immigration to skilled people with salaries of £30,000 or more “simply won’t allow London to continue to grow its economy and provide crucial public services”.

The mayor added that the official “shortage occupation list”, which would help people move to the UK to take roles that need to be filled, should be expanded to assist the needs of London, and possibly devolved to the city.

Jasmine Whitbread, the head of London First, a grouping of leading employers in the capital, said a decision to reduce the minimum salary to the London living wage, currently £20,155, would “avoid a recruitment cliff-edge, keep the UK open to a range of skills, and ensure workers are decently paid”.

Source: Sadiq Khan demands plan to charge EU nationals to stay in UK changed

UK: Shaun Bailey’s views on multiculturalism are toxic to Londoners and his response is worse

Sigh …

Shaun Bailey, the Conservative candidate for the London mayoralty, is under fire after the Guardian obtained an old Centre for Policy Studies pamphlet in which Bailey said that allowing Hindu and Muslim families time off to celebrate their religious festivals would rob Britain of its community and turn the country into a “crime-ridden cesspool”.

The policy is toxic. No, having days off to accommodate religious festivals doesn’t divide communities and in fact the reverse situation (keeping schools open but having religious absences or parents opting out of mainstream education as a result) does. Added to that, for Bailey, the politics are more toxic still.

There is no plausible path for any Conservative candidate to 50 per cent of the vote plus one – necessary under London’s supplementary vote system – that doesn’t run through London’s affluent Hindu communities in west and north-west London. How is he going to get their votes if he is on the record saying their religious holidays risk turning the country into a “cesspool”?

His campaign’s response is a revealing insight into why Sadiq Khan’s aides believe that Bailey will be an error-prone and vulnerable candidate. Here’s their response to the Guardian in full:

“As a descendant of the Windrush generation, and someone who has worked with diverse communities for over 20 years, Shaun knows full well the challenges faced by BAME communities. Shaun has made it his life’s work to help those from migrant and disadvantaged communities, and to suggest otherwise is ludicrous. As someone who has received racist abuse from the Labour party, who let’s not forget branded the community worker a ‘token ghetto boy’, this is a little rich.”

There are a lot of bad political choices to unpack in a single paragraph, but let’s start with the last sentence. Put yourselves in the shoes of one of Harrow’s Hindu swing voters. You backed Sadiq Khan in 2016 but re-elected Bob Blackman, a Conservative, in 2017. You’ve heard that Bailey thinks that teaching people about Diwali in schools will rob Britain of its community and turn the country into a “cesspool”. Why do you give a flying one about Emma Dent Coad saying something racist about Shaun Bailey? Why is that relevant to your life? That’s not an apology.

But it’s not the only bad decision being made here.

Let’s imagine you are instead an older white voter in Bow. You voted for Ken Livingstone, Boris Johnson and Zac Goldsmith. You were suspicious about Sadiq Khan and you still aren’t wholly sold on him. Why do you care about Bailey being “a descendant of the Windrush generation”? Why’s he focussing on helping migrants? What about your grandkids? Who even is this guy who hasn’t even made it to Westminster who thinks he can become your mayor?

Or perhaps you’re a graduate in, say, Richmond. You backed Boris Johnson but you now have complicated feelings about him thanks to the referendum. You voted Liberal Democrat in Westminster and gave Sadiq Khan your second preference in London as you disliked Zac Goldsmith’s campaign. You think Khan is a decent guy but you aren’t sure what he’s actually done. You aren’t entirely sure what Diwali is about but you like living in a city where different things go on.

I just named three groups without which a Conservative candidate cannot win the London mayoralty and Bailey is appealing to none of them. And among liberal graduates and affluent Hindus he has probably suffered a wound that Khan will seek to widen and deepen over the next two years.

Source: Shaun Bailey’s views on multiculturalism are toxic to Londoners and his response is worse

Sadiq Khan: UK citizenship fees leave children in limbo

In Canada, issue is adult fees of $530 (plus $100 right of citizenship). Previous government did not change fees for children ($100 plus $100 for the same right of citizenship):

Children and teenagers born in Britain are being left in limbo without access to education or employment because of £1,000 fees to gain citizenship, Sadiq Khanhas said, saying the government may face another Windrush-style scandal.

The mayor of London said the fees many young people were forced to pay were unacceptably high, given that most had lived most or all of their lives in the UK, but did not officially have British citizenship.

Most of the young people involved came to the UK with their parents as babies or small children, or were born in the UK to parents who migrated here.

Most teenagers do not realise they do not have secure status until they apply for post-18 education and are rejected because they cannot access funding or student loans. Instead, universities will class them as international students, charging them tens of thousands of pounds.

Without settled status, young adults may find themselves unable to rent a home, access healthcare, open bank accounts or start a job, under “hostile environment” restrictions introduced by the government, once they leave full-time education.

More than 159,000 Londoners aged 24 and under were found to be in this position by research from 2007. Khan said he was commissioning research to understand whether the problem had risen since new immigration restrictions came into force over the past decade.

“The recent Windrush scandal has shone a light on an immigration system that is simply unfit for purpose,” Khan said. “These young Londoners have lived most, if not all, of their lives in this country.”

Khan said it was shameful that young people, many born in Britain, found themselves barred from working or learning.

The mayor said the government “profit on their circumstances, despite the amazing contribution they make to our city and our country”.

The government needed to both streamline the application process and waive the “astronomically high” fees to affirm their citizenship, he added.

In April 2018, the cost for a child to register as a British citizen was £1,012 and £1,330 for an adult to naturalise their citizenship. The charity Citizens UK has calculated that much of the fee is profit – about £640 – compared with the £372 administration cost.

Those who were not born in the UK, but were brought to London as young children, face additional immigration fees of £8,521 over a 10-year period.

The executive director of Citizens UK, Neil Jameson, said it was “a huge own goal to deprive young people with bright futures of education when now more than ever Britain needs to extend a hand of welcome”.

The sums can put huge pressures on families who wish to register their children as British citizens, which is possible after a child has been in the country for 10 years. Some parents may still have uncertain immigration status, with no right to work and no recourse to public funds, meaning they can be effectively destitute.

…A Home Office spokeswoman said the fees took into account the wider costs of running the immigration system, saying it was “funded by those who benefit from it” in order to reduce taxpayer expense.

“There are exceptions to visa application fees to protect the most vulnerable, such as for young people who are in the care of a local authority,” she added.

Source: Sadiq Khan: UK citizenship fees leave children in limbo

Canadians cannot be overly impatient with integration of immigrants, Justin Trudeau says

Worth noting the PM’s understanding of the integration process:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau used the example of Italian grandmothers in Montreal on Thursday to explain why Canadians shouldn’t be “overly impatient” with the integration of newcomers.

Being fearful of immigrants is “nothing new” in Canada and around the world, he said, explaining that Italians and Greeks settling in Montreal in the 1950s faced similar kinds of discrimination as do Muslims and other immigrants today.

“The first generation is always going to have challenges in integrating,” Trudeau said during a panel discussion with London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

“There are districts (in Montreal) where Italian grandmothers still pretty much only speak Italian and don’t speak that much French or English. But their kids and grandkids are seamlessly and completely integrated into Montreal and the only difference is they tend to be trilingual and not just bilingual.”

The prime minister was taking part in a day-long conference hosted by Canada 2020, which describes itself as a progressive think-tank.

Asked by the panel moderator what can be done to reduce fear of and discrimination against newcomers, Trudeau replied that what’s happening in Canada and around the world is “nothing new.”

Italians, Greeks faced ‘tremendous distrust’

Italians and Greeks who settled in the northern part of Montreal and in other Canadian cities “faced tremendous discrimination, tremendous distrust.”

“This country didn’t happen by accident,” Trudeau continued. “And it won’t continue without effort. When we think about integration and success we can’t be overly impatient.”

He said citizens should “keep a solid pressure” to ensure human rights and the country’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms are respected by all Canadians.

Trudeau also referred to his time visiting places of worship around the country such as mosques and temples.

He was recently criticized online and in some Canadian media for visiting a mosque in Ottawa where women and men were kept separate.

Engage with all communities, Trudeau says

The prime minister said Canadians should engage with all communities.

“The question is, do you engage or participate or say ‘I’m not going to talk to you until you hit the norm or the perfect ideal that we all aspire to’,” he said. “I think (the latter) is wrong.”

Khan said Canada “has become a beacon of how a civilized G7 country should treat those who are vulnerable and need help.”

He also praised Trudeau for his “progressive” politics and said the prime minister’s election in October 2015 inspired him.

Source: Canadians cannot be overly impatient with integration of immigrants, Justin Trudeau says – Montreal – CBC News

Why the election of London’s first Muslim mayor is a message of hope: Dominique Moisi

Tend to agree:

“I feel so proud of my city,” my interlocutor said, referring to the election of Sadiq Khan as London’s first Muslim mayor. She is Catholic, though she identifies first and foremost as British. But, like many other Londoners, she was inspired by Mr. Khan’s message of hope over fear.Mr. Khan’s election contrasts shar

“I feel so proud of my city,” my interlocutor said, referring to the election of Sadiq Khan as London’s first Muslim mayor. She is Catholic, though she identifies first and foremost as British. But, like many other Londoners, she was inspired by Mr. Khan’s message of hope over fear.

Mr. Khan’s election contrasts sharply with dynamics that seem to be at work elsewhere in the West. European populations – in Hungary and Poland, and with a close call in Austria – are falling prey to increasingly radical, openly xenophobic populism. In the United States, Donald Trump’s bombastic bigotry has made him the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

Londoners certainly had the option of intolerance. They could have voted for the Conservative candidate, Zac Goldsmith, who accused Mr. Khan of having ties with “radical Muslim figures.” The expectation that any Muslim person is linked to extremism is undeniably racist. Levelling such accusations against a Muslim running for public office has nothing to do with protecting the public interest. The purpose of such tactics is to reinforce the notion that no Muslim can be trusted to hold an important leadership position.

Many people attempt to justify this view by pointing out that the Koran makes no distinction between “what belongs to God and what belongs to Caesar.” But that implies that all Muslims behave exclusively according to the tenets of the Koran, without regard for secular law. That is simply not true.

In some cases, there are questions about how Islam’s adherents, including some of its most visible representatives, approach the subject of Islam’s role in the West. The scholar Tariq Ramadan, for example, has spoken of the rise of a “European Islam,” which anchors Islamic principles to the cultural reality of Western Europe. I fully support this notion, as long as this new Islam shares without reservation the values, beliefs and memories of Europeans, including recognition of Israel’s right to exist. (Unfortunately, when I expressed this to Mr. Ramadan in a debate years ago, he remained silent.)

The challenges that may arise when incorporating Islam into Europe’s already diverse societies do not, in any sense, mean that Muslims cannot be trusted to lead well.

Yet some, particularly in France, are now warning that Mr. Khan’s election is the first step toward a not-too-distant future in which Muslims impose Islamic law on European countries, a scenario made vivid by Michel Houellebecq’s latest novel, Submission. (The book, however, can be interpreted less as a prediction of a Muslim takeover than as a criticism of French political correctness, which seems to adhere to the mantra, “Anyone but the National Front.”)

The implications of Mr. Khan’s election are likely to contradict the bigots and fear mongers. Beyond acting as a slap in the face to Europe’s populist forces, his victory will deal a blow to the Islamic State, which for the purpose of recruitment depends on young European Muslims’ feelings of humiliation, marginalization and failure.

With a Muslim as mayor of London – a great Western city, which has suffered brutal terrorist attacks – it will be that much harder for jihadis to convince potential recruits in the West that their governments and societies are seeking to repress them. If young Muslims can succeed in the West, why would they give up their lives for IS, which is already losing ground in Iraq and Syria?

Of course, Muslim success stories such as Mr. Khan’s remain too few and far between. But there is much to be gained from recognizing, publicizing and multiplying them. This would probably be easier to achieve in Britain than in France, where the absolute separation of church and state remains at the core of French republican identity.

In short, by rejecting Islamophobia and reiterating their belief in the values of an open society, Londoners have dealt a blow to Islamists. But it would be dangerous to overestimate the implications of Mr. Khan’s election.

For one thing, London is hardly representative of the entire United Kingdom, much less the rest of Europe or the West as a whole. The city is more cosmopolitan than New York, as culturally dynamic as Berlin and much more self-confident than Paris. It is exceptional in its energy and openness. (If only Londoners were to vote in the June 23 referendum, they would most likely choose to remain in the European Union, despite its flaws.)

For another, London’s openness and confidence is dependent, at least partly, on economic growth and prosperity. After all, it is far easier to share a large and growing pie. The stereotypical “Polish plumber” who contributed to the beautification of London starting in the early 1990s was an economic asset, never a threat, and at least indirectly paved the way for workers from other countries and cultures.

Nonetheless, the openness of Londoners – especially at a time when so many of their Western counterparts are being tempted by bigotry – is worthy of celebration. Rather than answering fear with more fear, they elected the better candidate, regardless of religion. That is how it should be.

Source: Why the election of London’s first Muslim mayor is a message of hope – The Globe and Mail

The anti-Trump: Sadiq Khan and triumph of mainstream Islam – iPolitics

Shenaz Kermalli on Sadiq Khan’s win:

Last year, we saw Muslims in Canada unite strategically for the first time in a non-partisan, grassroots organization to achieve a single goal — to increase the participation of Canadian Muslims in the democratic process. This, coupled with the former government’s crude anti-Muslim strategy (not unlike the tactics employed by Zac Goldsmith, Sadiq Khan’s Conservative Party competitor), was a key factor in bringing Justin Trudeau’s pro-immigration party to power. We’ve also seen Maryam Monsef, who came to Canada an as Afghan refugee, sworn in as minister of Democratic Institutions in Trudeau’s cabinet, and Ginella Massa, a hijab-clad journalist, become an on-camera reporter for the Toronto-based CityTV.

Britons, too, have seen a rise in the number of British Muslims taking on high-profile roles. From Nadiya Hussain — winner of the popular television program The Great British Bake-Off — to Somali-born and London-raised Mo Farah, winner of two Olympic Gold medals in 2013, it has been exhilarating to see Muslims make headlines in stories that were not about suicide attacks or beheadings.

In the U.S., we saw videos of Dalia Mogahed, director of research at a DC social policy institute, go viral after she smoothly took on contentious questions about the hijab and radicalization on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah — using U.S. polling figures as evidence that there was no correlation between the two. We also saw professional fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad become the first U.S. athlete to complete in the Olympics as an identifiable Muslim.

None of these people ever publicly condemned ISIS’s abhorrent actions during their moments of fame for a very simple reason: It wasn’t in their remit. They are all skilled professionals in their own right — recognized as Muslims but celebrated for the extraordinary skills they use to contribute to mainstream society.

Which is the way it should be. Muslims are no different from anyone else. For that reason, their achievements should be commended no more, or less, than anyone else’s.

Perhaps the next step in fostering genuine equity in society is for news outlets to drop the ‘Muslim’ descriptor altogether. Would it have made headlines across the world if a Jewish or Hindu mayor had won the London mayoral race, or The Great British Bake-Off?

Canadian journalist Muhammad Lila asked the right question after Sadiq won the mayoral race: “Wouldn’t it be nice if one day Muslims could just do stuff, without pointing out their religion?”

Source: The anti-Trump: Sadiq Khan and triumph of mainstream Islam – iPolitics

Sadiq Khan and the Future of Europe: Mehdi Hasan

Mehdi Hasan on Sadiq Khan’s election, contrasting multiculturalism and integration in Britain and other European countries:

Mr. Khan’s resounding victory was a stinging rebuke to the peddlers of prejudice. Here is a Muslim who prays and fasts and has gone on the hajj to Mecca. But he sees no contradiction in being a card-carrying liberal, too. As a member of Parliament, he voted — despite death threats from Islamist extremists — in favor of same-sex marriage and he campaigned to save a local pub in his constituency from closure. He has pledged to serve as a “feminist mayor” of London and made his first public appearance after the election at a Holocaust memorial service.

The capital, admittedly, is a city apart — diverse, immigrant-friendly and home to around four in 10 of England’s 2.6 million Muslims. But even outside London, the more relaxed and tolerant British model of multiculturalism has done a far superior job of integrating, even embracing, religious and racial diversity than the more muscular, assimilationist models in Continental Europe.

While Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy have declared multiculturalism a failure, the truth is that their countries, Germany and France, have never tried it. As Tariq Modood, the author of “Still Not Easy Being British,” writes, multiculturalism is the “political accommodation of difference.” For the French, however, difference has never even been tolerated, much less accommodated. In contrast, British-style multiculturalism has treated integration, as even David Cameron conceded almost a decade ago, as “a two-way street” and never required, in the words of Will Kymlicka, the author of “Multicultural Odysseys,” that “prior identities” must “be relinquished” in order to build a national identity.

Is it surprising that polls find that British Muslims are more patriotic and take more pride in their national identity than their non-Muslim counterparts and studies show that ethnic and religious segregation in Britain is either steady or in decline?

That isn’t to deny the problems. Britain’s Muslims tend to have the highest unemployment, worst health and fewest educational qualifications of any faith community. But this likely has more to do with a history of racism than it does with an unwillingness to integrate. A 2013 study found that Muslim men in Britain were up to 76 percent less likely to get a job offer than Christian men of the same age holding similar qualifications, while Muslim women were 65 percent less likely to be employed than Christian women.

The situation, then, is far from perfect, but there is a good reason that British Muslims look across the English Channel and breathe a sigh of collective relief.

Source: Sadiq Khan and the Future of Europe – The New York Times

Exclusive: London Mayor Sadiq Khan on Religious Extremism, Brexit and Donald Trump | TIME

My favourite quote from London’s new mayor on the difference between tolerating and welcoming:

That shows what a wonderful city we are. We’re not simply tolerating each other — you tolerate a toothache, I don’t want to be tolerated. We respect, we embrace, and we celebrate, which is fantastic.

Source: Exclusive: London Mayor Sadiq Khan on Religious Extremism, Brexit and Donald Trump | TIME