Dysfunctional Motherland: Reclaiming Ancestral Birthrights in Post-Imperial Britain
June 23, 2009
For a long
time, I dated, and was subsequently engaged to, a ghost.
This is because, for nearly four years, my now wife did
not legally exist.
She was born
South Africa during the
Apartheid years. Her father was German and her mother English. Her father passed
away when she was very young. Her mother was born in
South Africa of British parents, one of whom had been
born, in turn, in
Southern Rhodesia, back then a
self-governing colony of the British Empire. Beyond these overseas imperial
Britons, my wife`s blood ties to Britain and Germany go
mother spent a number of years in South Africa, working
in various corporate roles during the 1980s and 1990s.
By 1999, however, she decided to return with her
daughter to the British motherland.
wife was young at the time, she entered the
United Kingdom with a South African child passport on the basis of
her mother`s British citizenship. Subsequently the child
passport was upgraded to a full 5-year passport.
began when the latter expired in 2004.
In a sane
world, it ought to have been a straightforward procedure
for my wife to reclaim her British citizenship in 1999,
given her ancestral heritage. Indeed, at the time of
World War II, anyone born anywhere in
the British Empire
automatically a British subject.
Unfortunately, however, my wife was born in the
postmodern age, where a person`s heritage has been
redefined by enlightened politicians as a social
construct with no ancestral basis. Consequently, the
small matter of one`s nationality is a legal construct
to which any featherless biped has
equal right of access, pending a bureaucratic process involving
politically-correct forms—and (of course) the
The U. K.
Home Office`s naturalization forms, therefore, only took
into account the applicant`s parents` places of birth.
It ignored said parents` nationality and country of
residence. Because my wife`s mother had been born in
South Africa, the forms effectively rendered my wife`s
mother a non-British national, even though she was
English, had been a British subject from birth, had
resided in England most of her life, and her British
parents had merely opted to have their daughter be born
in one of the imperial colonies because during the
Apartheid years South Africa had better hospitals.
And since my
wife`s mother was regarded as a non-British national, as
far as the bureaucracy was concerned, my wife could not
naturalize on the basis of having a British mother—not
without a complicated legal process.
was compounded by my mother-in-law`s loss of employment
aftermath of 9/11, which was in turn further compounded by the fact that
she was grotesquely
over-qualified for almost any job, with a fellowship, two PhDs, two
Masters` degrees, a BSoSci. Thus, by the time my wife`s
passport expired, the costs of legally challenging the
bureaucracy had grown well beyond reach. This led to a
Once my wife
was in a position to engage specialist lawyers, it took
endless months, cubic light-years of paperwork, and
torrents of money to ascertain that, as a step prior to
reclaiming her British citizenship, she had to, first,
renew the South African passport, then, second, obtain
indefinite leave to remain in the United Kingdom.
For that, a
special application had to be made with the
courts—mysteriously, only after my wife had confirmed
that she was
sufficiently well versed in foreign cultures and
by passing New Labour`s
U.K. citizenship test.
the indefinite leave to remain was the more desirable
route was that it made it possible to apply for
naturalization on the basis of length of residence.
Applying without an indefinite leave to remain, it
seemed, would have led to the application being
(ironically, like many of those keeping the gates within
the civil service, of non-European extraction) stated
that the process of naturalization would have been much
easier, and indeed less costly, had my wife been
And indeed, it appeared that applicants from
Sierra Leone, poor, uneducated, instrumentally motivated, and with
no blood-ties to Britain, were, after only a few years of residence in the United
successfully naturalizing themselves without comparable legal hassle.
You might be
wondering why my wife did not simply renew her South
African passport in 2004. The reason: Presumably because
De Klerk`s abandonment of white rule have
instigated a furious and still-ongoing
brain-drain, the South African Embassy had made it a condition for passport renewal
that my wife present them with a letter from the U. K.
Home Office (which was to be held on file permanently)
stating that she did not already hold, nor had plans of
ever obtaining, British citizenship.
this was untrue. Not inclined to permanently renounce
her ancestral birthright, my wife was left unable to
This was, in
fact, how my wife vanished from existence. She was
effectively locked her out of having a legal identity.
It made her unable to
open bank accounts, obtain a
register with a university.[VDARE.com note: All of those
things are available to illegal immigrants in the United
States.] Moreover, it also put her at risk of
deportation—but not to South Africa or any other
country, for she no longer held a valid passport, but,
as she often said, probably to a
dinghy in international waters, where she could be conveniently forgotten.
much wrestling with, and throwing gold at the maw of,
the shape-shifting anaconda of politically correct
jurisprudence, my wife`s lapsed passport, an accident of
birth and a product of
Britain`s imperial past, remained an immovable obstacle.
with no other apparent option, she decided to chance a
new attempt at renewing the South African passport.
Here, we had
a stroke of luck: either because the rules had been
changed, or the forms had been re-designed, during the
intervening time, in 2007 my wife found herself able to
submit her application without the letter from the Home
African passport took many months to arrive. Once she
had it, she made an application for indefinite leave to
remain in Britain. It took months and cost hundreds of
And once the
indefinite leave to remain had been issued, it had to be
endorsed into the renewed South African passport. This
took more months and also cost hundreds of pounds.
the paperwork came through in time for our wedding. My
wife and I were able to marry in the summer of last
London School of Economics allowed my wife to enroll for a
[= distance learning] degree, so she was able to obtain
a university education.
That I write
an article complaining about the
bureaucratic perplexities and contortuplications of current British nationality
VDARE.COM, an American immigration reform website, will seem ironic only in the
largely foreign-originated Freudo-Marxist scholasticism
of postmodern academia. For VDARE.COM readers, it will
be obvious that a Motherland that is generous to distant
strangers while reneging on her own children is a
least, a Motherland forced to do the inexplicable by
ethnic radicals, and
corrupt political opportunists—both the product and the beneficiaries of the
worldview of the intellectual elite, who have held
Britain hostage since the end of World War II.
ascendance in the wake of the British Empire`s
dismantlement has left many overseas Britons without
adequate legal sanctuary or a cogent legal identity.
academic fraudsters and the
corrupt political elite are fumigated out of the centers of learning and
purged from the seats of power, not just
Mother Britain, but also Mother Europe, will continue increasingly to spurn her own
progeny—however bright or capable—in favor of distant
strangers of arguable merit and questionable motivation.