The Nightmare of Government 60

I am wasting enormous energy lately in an absolute nightmare of visa applications. The insolence of office is to be seen in its most extreme forms, everywhere around the world, in those connected with the organised atavism of immigration control. I was chatting with a charming young lady, one of those wealthy young women who pass a brief season as interns and personal assistants before marriage to some dull heavy jowled banker. She was on her seventh visit to the Indian High Commission visa office, each time being sent back for reams more documents, which are nowhere asked for in the official guidance and checklists.

The British are even worse. The very experienced chief engineer on the electricity project I work on in Ghana, a man with engineering degrees from the UK and US and substantial international experience, was refused a visa to visit the Siemens factory in Lincoln from which we have bought over £13 million of British engineering exports so far. I genuinely have no idea why this baffling decision was made.

The British and Indians have one thing in common – they have both privatised their visa handling process out to profit making companies who employ cheap and unqualified labout to accept, sift and pass on the applications. The lady who had been sent back six times had got nowhere near an immigration officer. Experienced immigration officers still exist, locked away in back offices being fed trays full of less straightforward decisions, made a great deal harder to cope with as they have never set eyes on the applicant. I have line managed one of the biggest British immigration offices in the world, before the processing was privatised, and the best immigration officers never forget you are not granting entry to a pile of documents, but to a human being. The look in the eye is worth a thousand sheets of A4.

We have of course a similar experience to look forward to in the NHS, as the government decides that the profit motive rather than the desire to heal and to relieve pain is the best way to motivate a health service. This will, inevitably, result in de facto triage by sixteen year olds with no fixed contract and paid on various government job subsidy schemes, while the Tories will get a whole new raft of billionaire donors from our taxes, and private health insurance booms among the middle classes. This is the inevitable and highly predictable result of the government’s current NHS plans, and if the process is not stopped will be the situation come 2017.

To return to visas, added to the apparatus designed to reinforce fear at the airports, just moving around our world has changed from a great pleasure to a total misery. Within my lifetime, we have allowed state control over the individual – as a worldwide phenomenon – to intrude to the point where people have little more free will than farmed animals. The quality of life for the majority of people has declined, is declining and appears set to continue to decline. Meanwhile an elite super rich get richer and are free from any kind of restraint at all. The control of a stupefied population appears not in the least difficult.

Sometimes I despair.

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60 thoughts on “The Nightmare of Government

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  • Mary

    O/T Pillay.
    13 December 2011
    Syria should be referred to ICC, UN’s Navi Pillay
    Navi Pillay on Syria crackdown: “Five-thousand killed, including 300 children.”
    The top United Nations human rights official has told the Security Council that Syria should be referred to the International Criminal Court over its crackdown on anti-government protests.
    Navi Pillay said she felt widespread killings and torture in the country “constituted crimes against humanity”.
    Ms Pillay put the number of those killed by security forces in the nine-month uprising at more than 5,000.

    She should try getting Bush, Blair, Powell, Campbell, Rice, Straw, Cheney, Rumsfeld et alia there first.

  • Vronsky

    Hi wayfarer,
    Sadly interesting post. Are you new here? Can’t remember a previous post, but you’ve very quickly got the hang of the paragraphing thing. Dot. Dot dot dot.

  • mark_golding

    Jon – I agree breathtaking – What about America and Britain supporting al-Qaeda in Syria?

    The truth is out? Not really we have known pre-destruction of the twin towers that this global terror organisation is franchised by Anglo-American intelligence and exists to create sectarian violence among Muslims; exactly the modus operandi in Syria where regime change to a puppet that serves the West, the dismantling of Hezbollah and severing unity with Iran is Britain’s sortie undeterred by blood-shed, butchery, carnage and the murder of hundreds of children

  • Mary

    In a supermarket cafe today, I read a report about this Black and White Ball, a fund rasiser for the Tory boys and girls. The sums bid in an auction for shooting, dinner with Johnson, dinner with Osborne, etc etc were phenomenal. The word ‘austerity’ does not feature in their vocabularies.

    Cameroon and SamCam were there of course.
    In the Register of Members’ Interests you can often see mention of donations of tickets to this ball. £1,000 a pop or £10,000 per table.

  • boniface goncourt

    Immigration would not be a ‘problem’ if there were no immigration controls! A hundred years ago, you could move freely around the world, without passports, and population found its own level. Gilliam’s ‘Brazil’ and Orwell’s ‘1984’ are the modern world. Dostoevsky called it ‘administrative
    ecstasy’. Unfortunately, the sheeple conspire in their own oppression. They do not want to be free, they want to be safe.

  • Martin

    You’ve just had a question asked about you on University Challenge by Paxman. Congratulations!

    Back to visas. I live in Bangkok, but as I am a Brit I have had to fly to London to go to the Indian visa processing, what a pain!

  • Anon the one and only

    This is nothing to do with privatisation – the process for obtaining UK visas has been a nightmare for a long long time. I speak from long bitter experience – even when under FCO control the who process was often in the hand of none to intelligent officials who liked to operate in an arbitrary and often racist manner – while the high flyers at the FCO (such as Craig) just didn’t give a damn and would happily bend the rules for their friends.

  • DownWithThisSortOfThing

    “You’ve just had a question asked about you on University Challenge by Paxman. Congratulations!”

    Yeah, but nobody knew the answer. 😛

  • Fedup

    The bastards have been deregulating (pissing away the laws and repealing them) at the top for so long that these days, bankers can do no wrong, and regardless of their fuck ups they still get their cut, plus bonuses, the top earners all of these somehow related/friends/cronies have no regulations on their activities/jobs/clubs.
    I the poor, along with the rest of you commenting here, have been legislated for so much that, these days working to earn a living has been made illegal, and any initiative for any kind of business activity needs umpteen permits, permissions, and training courses. The only viable business option remains in setting up new hurdles for earning a living and setting exams for the punters to sit and pass, as well as printing 80 page application forms, that ask what did your eight times removed great grand father did for a living, and if he had hearing troubles?
    The whole stinking affair has got out of hand, the fraudsters presiding as the legislature in trying to cover their own arse, have gone wild and legislated enough laws that makes each and everyone of us on this board and elsewhere, guilty of some kind of crime, without even having tried or being in cognisance of it.
    The most annoying part of it all is, we the destitute people get blamed for our own demise, it is akin to blaming the victim of rape for getting raped. There are no jobs, and the laws are designed; to stop anyone from earning a living, those with the audacity then punished for their efforts.
    PS. Anyone watched the panorama about the poor in US? Did you notice the heritage foundation rep? The fat wanker in the best traditions of conservatism was disputing the existence of hungry people in US!

  • Lilian El-Doufani

    In 1982, I met a Libyan postgrad at University. We lived to gather for ten years before marriage. We could not afford to marry. How well I recall trips to the British office in Liverpool. My chap asked me to sit quietly and watch. he wanted me to see how rude they were. They were indeed rude. My chap just ignored it all.
    But the worst were the Libyans. Trips to London could cost £100, even in those days. We lived in the north-west, you see. The Libyans would send him back and forth half a dozen times. Chaos reigned supreme. It was kafkaesque (if there is such a word).
    The only light-hearted moment was when he once got his passport stolen. He never found out where it went. But every official we met laughed to hear that. After all – who’d want a Libyan passport in the aftermath of the Yvonne Fletcher affair. What use could it be?

  • Iain Orr

    Wayfarer was dead right about “the arrogance of petty jobsworths”. That’s what we all face when dealing with the public face of government and commercial departments providing services to the public (when one has navigated the triage trial by opaque number options on automatic answering machines.

    However, the root cause is lack of leadership of those who get paid increasingly large salaries for “managing” large numbers of under-trained and underpaid
    employees. If you get bad service from HMRC the fault lies with George Osborne and his ministers and senior civil servants. If the organization for which you are responsible fails to treat people with respect, the blame should fall on you.

  • Clydebuilt


    Don’t despair, you’re now involved in a process that can throw the whole Westmonster establishment into disaray, An independent Scotland will change England, and for the better.

    Cheer your self up read the speech Alex Salmond made in Liverpool tonight

    Eck (Scottish Slang For Alex) said he would
    “back the English masses over Westminster classes”.

    Arra Best


  • boniface goncourt

    Just seen the Girlyman’s condemnatory editorial on the horrific regime in Uzbekistan [good for them], yet without a mention of Craig. Of course, along with Chomsky, Pilger, Finkelstein, Atzmon etc, he is an unperson in zionist Girlymanland.

  • Anonymous

    As things continue to degrade, a greater priority will be placed on trapping people who sincerely with to leave a country. (Not pointing any elbows, USA…)

  • Klaus Korbitt

    Don’t worry — virtual travel will soon obviate the need to physically travel to another part of the planet. Your hologram self will be able to “visit” anywhere on the planet, without the need for your physical being to be there. So don’t sweat the bureaucratic nimrods. They will soon be irrelevant.

  • kaycee

    The one thing that i remember the most clearly over the past 39-40 years of my school days at Brandeis University in1970’s are my student adviser’s words that when he was growing up that his grand parents and parents used the term “‘goyishe kup,’” meaning that the “Non-Jews are Stupid”

    Later in life I learned that the exact translation of “GOYISHE KUP” means that the “Cattle are STUPID”..

    I remember him recalling whatt his father told him when he was growing up in Eastern Europe. One of them being that when his father was in high school he and a group of friends would skip school early on Fridays and go over to his friend’s father’s butcher shop. That they would buy at cost any cows , that had not been butchered by the end of the day on Friday before the begining of shabat . They would take the cow home and wash it and then the boys would procede to “beat the udders of the cows so that they would swell up and turn pink” so as to sell them to the “GOYISHE KUP” as milk producing cows.

    The part that I remember him asking me if the East Europeans are so naive, so gullible and so stupid to buy old “non milk producing cows” from a bunch of young Jewish Boys.

    So thinking of it now I agree with the Jewish saying that the “GOYISHE KUP” are indeed” Stupid” as they believe that a Bunch of Arab Muslim Kids who were not able to Fly a Cessna Airplane took it upon themselves to FLY a Boing Jumbo Jet outwitting the US Military and Civilian authorities. The “Jewish Lightning Insurance Scam” of the 1960’s is still alive and well has been put to good use by Larry Silverstein with the help of his sayanim jews made a financial killing in imploding wtc by putting 15 million down and comming out with 7 billion dollars for buidings that no one wanted to buy because it would have cost a billion dollars to remove the asbestos from. Then on top of that the people in America actually believe that they actually decide who is elected President or for that that actual VOTE is really counted and makes a difference in deciding who represents them in the White House and congress.

    Yeh I agree that the AmericanNon-Jews are indeed American “GOYISHE KUP” or “STUPID CATTLE”!

    The Israeli Defense Firm That Tallies The Iowa Caucus
    By Christopher Bollyn

    The Iowa caucus is only a few days away and the nation’s attention will be directed to the results, which signify the beginning of the U.S. presidential race. But does anyone watch who tallies the results of the Iowa caucus?

    The Iowa caucus results were tallied in 2004 by a company that is headed by a man whose company was bought by Elron Electronics, the Israeli defense firm. I suspect that it will be the same this year. Don’t expect to see any grassroots political activists doing the tally in Iowa. The Israeli defense establishment takes care of that part of the American “democratic” election process.


    In the summer of 2004, I first learned that a foreign and out-of-state company using Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology tallied the Iowa caucus results.

    The system used to tally the 2004 Iowa caucus results was provided by a company called Voxeo, which was apparently based in Orlando, Florida. (Yellow flag goes up in the mind of those familiar with Orlando and electronic vote fraud history

  • Michael MacDatho

    Craig, do not despair about the apparatus of fear at the airports, for it does not have to be that way.

    I recently came back home to the UK and was utterly appalled at the circus of international students, families,and elderly travellers milling around to get through the non-EU immigration at LHR.

    I’ve long since sold my soul to the devil and am quite happy to use IRIS to return to the UK, nothing could be simpler, and it’s reportedly much better than Clear in the US.

    But for the unfortunate non-EU arrivals, what a disgraceful, degrading cattle-processing experience awaits them. Welcome to the UK – not!

    And what a contrast to my return to the People’s Republic of China, where the immigration process and staff at the airports could not be more efficient, courteous, and just downright pleasant.

  • Samenleving

    I’m reading two interesting books at the moment – All The King’s Men by Robert Marshall, and Colonel Z, the biography of Claude Dansey – the SIS/MI6 deputy head who deliberately betrayed SOE’s Prosper network, led by the immensely brave Francis Suttill, during WW11. Which is treason.

    Your post reminded me of the fact that it was SIS that created the network of Passport Control Officers at British embassies as cover for its spies.

  • Mary

    Radio 4 Today were naturally making the most of the Abu Qatada story this morning and giving it full welly. I switched off when the second of these segments came on finding Quilliam and Neville Jones too much of an emetic at that time of day.
    Most of this bureaucracy being experienced by travellers has flowed from Bliar’s war on terrrrr and from a false flag event that occurred in NY just over ten years ago whose name cannot be mentioned on this blog.
    Abu Qatada, accused of being one of the UK’s most dangerous extremist preachers has been released from a top-security jail following a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights. Peter Neumann, professor of Security Studies at Kings College London, reflects on what this means for his ability to influence people.
    As extremist muslim preacher, Abu Qatada, is released from prison under strict bail conditions, how should the government proceed now. Maajid Nawaz, chairman of the anti-extremist organisation Quilliam and Baroness Neville Jones former Security Minister and current adviser to the government on cyber security discuss how much of a threat he now is.
    The links are not live yet
    PS Does anyone know the actual dangers of the scatterback X ray machines that air passengers are subjected to?

  • Vronsky

    It’s worth reading the Salmond speech linked to by Clydebuilt. It’s quite clear that on this site there is (a) high anxiety at the state of the nation and (b) no idea what to do about it. I have in the past suggested that one of the reasons for the success of a relatively progressive party in Scotland is local identity. I suggested that the same dynamic could be applied in England, presenting not independent candidates but candidates from an organised political party with a strictly local base and local agenda: Yorkshire, Cornwall, whatever. The three ruling conservative parties are ill-equipped to deal with a well-organised local movement – attacks on it run a high risk of being counter productive. As the local party gains support establishment opposition to it becomes ever more splenetic and self-damaging – in the week that Cameron made his first contribution to the independence debate in Scotland SNP membership surged, taking new members at the rate of one every seven minutes.

    When I first suggested this here the idea was met with some ridicule but I’d respectfully point out that thus far nobody has come up with a better idea. Interestingly a Cornish party does/did exist but was quickly hijacked by the political right, perhaps an indication of establishment fear of such an initiative. As the Greens say, think globally, act locally.

  • Parky

    I think many of the “jobsworths” mentioned above working at the coal face are as bored with the whole process as are the “customers”. Of course having the right paperwork helps alot as does a sense of humour and patience with the process. Mass immigration became a hot-topic thanks to new labour policy and now that tougher selection is in place the decisions made may look arbitrary and discriminatory.

  • Mary

    How much did this nonsense, introduced in 2005 and now being abandoned, cost?

    Eye scanners at England airports turned off
    The UK Border agency is reviewing its use of airport scanners Continue reading the main story
    Hi-tech eye scanners have been switched off at two out of four English airports where they were operating.
    The scanners, which were introduced in 2005, have been mothballed at Manchester and Birmingham airports.
    They will continue working at London’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports until after the 2012 Olympics.

    A UK Border Agency spokeswoman said the government was reviewing the use of the scanners in the light of new technology

  • Rhisiart Gwilym

    Don’t despair, Craig. Just wait whilst the Limits To Growth de-complexify our insanely over-officious society.

    At the same time that they’re doing that, the Limits will be removing hyper-prosperity just about completely from the swollen middle-classes of the over-rich countries, thus awakening them (us) from our decades-long lotus-eater trance. Then we too shall become as unmanageable as Greeks. Can’t happen too soon.

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