Highland Clearances – Zielsdorfs Deported Tomorrow 415

The Zielsdorf family will be deported by the UK Home Office tomorrow, in an act of pointless Tory cruelty that enforces immigration regulations designed for SE England and totally unsuited to the needs of the Highlands. Laggan village store is now closed down.

We called on the Zielsdorf family again two months ago. Having been unable to find anybody else to buy and run the business in Laggan for a sum which would anywhere near clear their investment, they literally have no home to go to in Canada. Jason is hoping to buy an old bus for them to live in. Yes, a bus. They are however a resilient and cheerful family buoyed by their religious faith.

You can find worse acts of Tory cruelty – the cutting of benefits to the terminally ill deemed able to work a few more weeks, for example. But it is hard to conceive of an act of Tory cruelty which is more absolutely pointless than the deportation of the Zielsdorfs. Laggan loses its store, they lose their home and living, and the store/cafe’s employee loses their job. Not to mention the Tory fantasy of leaving the EU and rejoining the British Empire as rather strangely kicking off by deporting Canadians.

I was simply horrified by the nasty comments underneath a story on this in the Scotsman a couple of weeks ago. I will not link to it. I like to think that the nastiness of May does not reflect our society, but there are some deeply unpleasant people out there in the unionist community. The comments also made a large number of totally incorrect assumptions. In fact the Zielsdorfs have claimed no UK benefits of any kind and have used neither the NHS nor the school, they home educate. Personally I think as fully participating and tax-paying members of the community they should have used those state assets, but they were scrupulous in not doing so.

Original Post 17 October 2016:

There is so much injustice in Tory Britain you trip over it when you are not looking. We just enjoyed a long weekend in the Highlands, and stayed through airbnb at the Wayfarers’ Rest in Laggan. Our hosts were the delightful Zielsdorf family, who could not have been more friendly and welcoming. Their kindness and attention were particularly remarkable given they are every second awaiting the arrival of the border force to deport them.

Cameron and some of the Zielsdorf children on the banks of the Spey (with permission)

Cameron and some of the Zielsdorf children on the banks of the Spey (with permission)

Jason and Christy Zielsdorf are Canadian. They have been in Scotland for eight years, legally, and several of their children were born here. After studying theology at St Andrews, Jason decided to stay on. Armed with an entrepreneur visa, two years ago he bought the general store and bothy in the small Highland village of Laggan. The premises had been empty for 18 months, because there is not a rich living in providing this community service. The Zielsdorfs reckoned that by investing in the accommodation and opening a coffee shop highlighting their excellent home cooking (and it really is excellent), they could make a go of it and cater not just for locals but the passing hillwalkers. And they have done.

It took some time and a lot of work for the business to find its feet, and to date they have only been able to give full time employment to one person, not the two their visa stipulates. Although they argue given time their business will reach a stage to employ two people, the Home Office says their time is up and is insisting on their deportation; a month ago they were told they will be deported imminently.

Deporting children who have only ever known Scotland is ludicrous. Fairly well the entire community of Laggan has written in support of the Zielsdorfs. Both Jason and Christy have Scottish ancestry.

It is not easy to run a business in the Highlands and Laggan is better for what the Zielsdorfs have done. Local MP Drew Hendry has worked hard for them, but met only unhelpfulness from the Home Office, who have not even given a ministerial meeting promised in response to a parliamentary question.

We do not know when they will get the 5am knock on the door and be taken into custody. They have been unable to sell the Wayfarers’ Rest, in which they invested £240,000, because just as before they came, nobody else wants to run it. In an act of supreme pettiness, the Home Office have confiscated Jason’s driving licence, which makes life in the Highlands near impossible. Also as a former pastor Jason used to pay community visits on elderly and vulnerable people in isolated locations, which he cannot now do.

The truth is, having set arbitrary numerical limits on net immigration, if the Home office deports the Zielsdorf family that reduces net immigration by seven – and they are low-hanging fruit, easy to find, not able to disappear and defenceless. Their plight is Tory Britain’s heartless xenophobia in action.

This case is a prime example of how ridiculous it is to rule the Highlands from London. The law is framed to deal with the immigration situation in London or Birmingham. It is totally inappropriate to the Highlands, where the problem is under-population, where a village store is a precious thing and providing even one full time job to the community is invaluable.

It is also of course worth noting that it takes a special kind of government stupidity to embark upon post-Brexit relationships by picking on the Canadians.

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415 thoughts on “Highland Clearances – Zielsdorfs Deported Tomorrow

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  • Kerry Clarke

    Easy pickings that will actually be detrimental to the uk, not beneficial. Blind, Illinformed and down right stupid logic!!!

    • fred

      I agree entirely.

      Lets just hope the SNP haven’t done too much damage by politicising the Brain family and they get their visa.

        • Ba'al Zevul

          No, mate. If you don’t want the brown ones, you can’t have the white ones. (fine by me)

      • Jimmy Lee

        Naw Fred, get yer facts straight!!
        Its mair likely tae be, because o the SNP that their still here, cos withoot them, Scotland’s people and other incomers are in for a hidin, an mak nae mistake aboot it, when their feenished wi us, they’ll turn oan aw you unionist anaw..

        • David Forbes

          Jimmy. Some folk just don’t understand. If there’s a will, there’s away and hopefully these people will somehow find a way. I’m Scottish, and I live in Canada. I wish the Zielsdorfs all the best.

  • nevermind

    For weeks I have asked that the UK take over the calais camp and move it to the UK, all of those, not just the eligible few who happen to have relatives here.
    To show France how to deal with them, after all we are so much more experienced in dealing with refugees and immigrants.
    According to the speculators, le Brexit will ensure that in the next 8 years, EU citizens will carry on paying taxes here and carry on doing their bit. Eventually, when you got control back and have ratified the EU laws that you are moving into UK law, the UK’s top planners and paddle designers will have to find a mechanism that tears EU citizens out of your societal fabric.

    If the plans for that reintegration of EU citizens are as well thought out as those plans that have caused the pound nosediving into the muddy depth, then we are in for some hilarious times.
    rest assured the Bozo’s, Gove’s, Davises, Fox’s and Redwood’s will have some great plans, If their careers survive the next year or two that is, once the first few session of article 50 re-negotiations have commenced.

    • Ba'al Zevul

      Relax, Nevermind. The pound’s been overvalued for years (on the back of cash-printing and derivatives trading), so that was bound to happen sooner or later. Indeed, we may have pre-empted a situation like Greece’s – at least we won’t have to get Merkel’s agreement every time a House of Commons cleaner asks for overtime. And the world economy isn’t looking too bright, either. It’s cool to blame Brexit, but it was just the trigger for what’s happening, and will continue to happen.

      As long as we decline to train the workforce for the jobs they will be required to do, and to invest in productive industry, and to sell what production we can manage to overseas buyers, our lords and masters will continue to have an excuse to import cheap labour. As long as we regard ‘growth’ as some kind of globalist god – immortal, invisible and as dumb as a sack of hammers – and hedge funders as the new priesthood, we’re going to be told how great immigration is*. Well, it is great…for the immigrant, by and large. That’s why they’re queuing at Calais. And you’re probably safe enough. At length some kind of fuzzy Brexit compromise will be worked out by which ‘growth’ is not endangered, the fat cats continue to get the cream, and the taxpayer pays nice immigrants to come here rather than funding adequate technical training for already-residents. This will be spun as just what UKIP wanted, and our masters will sigh with relief. I don’t think you need worry much.

      * And you’re going to believe it, much to my surprise.

      • Ba'al Zevul

        Damn. I meant: As long as we decline to train the workforce for the jobs they will be required to do, decline to invest in productive industry, and as long as we sell what productive capacity we have left to overseas buyers,…

    • Old Mark

      For weeks I have asked that the UK take over the calais camp and move it to the UK

      Nevermind- thanks for confirming the suspicions I’ve had for a while , namely, that you are clearly not the full shilling.

  • Dave Chapman

    Which is more sensible – leave them alone and they will hopefully employ an additional person making up the two required or – deport them and guarantee that one person will lose their job and a second will never be employed?
    Let them stay. Is there not a petition in place?

  • Mary

    It’s getting totally ridiculous. One law doesn’t fit all sizes, and especially up in the Highlands, as you pointed out! It’s well know that it takes at least two years for a business to become established (I know – we had one!), so what are these bureaucrats on about. They should be mightily glad that people WANT to go and populate these sparse areas!

    • Ba'al Zevul

      Why? Why not leave them ‘sparse’? Feel lonely there? That’s a wonderful selling point for me. Do we have to turn them into cities? Isn’t enough of this island paradise concreted over already? Aren’t there enough twee teashops north of Stirling? English-owned second homes? Had a look at the Zielsdorf’s website, incidentally. It looks about as Highland-oriented (other than as a tartanised selling-point) as the White Heather Club. Tourist Speyside’s always been a bit that way, sure, but it’s not representative of the Highlands, or anything like.

      I mean, half the SNP’s raison d’etre is to prevent an anglicised – or atlanticised – monoculture prevailing in Scotland Yet most of you are endorsing its infiltration. Beats me.

      • fred

        Those wanting to re-populate the Highlands mostly live in Edinburgh and Glasgow, they see it as a cash cow. The population has been rising at record rates but unfortunately the number of hospital beds is falling, the number of teachers is falling as well. Council services are declining too largely as a result of the SNP imposed council tax freeze. They have decided next year council tax can increase in bands E to H but they will reduce our block grant by the amount raised, we pay more local taxes but the money goes to Edinburgh.

        • Ba'al Zevul

          There speaks someone who actually lives there and works within the real Highland context. Fair play to you there, Fred. Having done something similar myself, my irritation with suburbanites wishing to spread suburbia transcends anything I might have to say in defence of the SNP. There is certainly a divide between the SNP heartland (urbanised, or low ground agricultural) and most of the Highlands, which is where the SNP poll is traditionally low.

  • Helen mandley

    What is wrong with the Home Office, these people are supporting our old and other members of their community that nobody else has the vision or willingness to do, investing hundreds of thousands to establish themselves and due to financial difficulties of not employing a second person, they are being penalised.. they are being treated like criminals.. but criminals get to stay in the country.. secondly they haven’t vanished and their children don’t deserve this treatment, after all they are British nationals born and bred.. let them stay for gods sake

  • Scott Lindsay

    It’s time to unchain the unicorn.

    This is another disgusting example of tory supported xenophobia – we desperately need to encourage incomers to our sparsely populated highlands & islands.
    The U.K. government don’t care, are unwilling to understand & will continue with this type of draconian, heartless behaviour to appease the reactionary right wing voters they depend on for a mandate.

    This is not being done in my name & it shouldn’t be in your’s either.

    • Bob X

      These poor people’s problem is that they’re the wrong type of non UK for the Tories. Now if they’d been some kind of dodgy Chinese or Russian oligarch then there’d be no chance of them getting evicted. But be a decent man-in-the-street and all bets are off. I’ve come to loathe Westminster governments, and the current one in particular, with a passion. If Indyref2 has less holes than the last attempt then I can really see gov.uk being on the losing side,

  • Davie Kerr

    I wish the Home Office would put as much effort into ridding us of both non-working and illegal immigrants as they’re doing into trying to get rid of people like the Zielsdorfs and the Brains, who are actually benefitting the communities in which they live. The SNP has spoken on behalf of the Brain family, but so far I’ve heard nothing from them about the Zielsdorfs. I’m not saying that they HAVEN’T said anything: I’m simply saying that, if they have, I’m not aware of it.

  • Sharp Ears

    There are Highland Clearances and then there are Palestine Clearances.

    It’s been a time since I looked at this site. Nothing has changed in the daily log.

    IOP headlines for 17 October 2016:
    In Occupied Palestine
    Zionism in practice

    Israel’s Daily Toll on Palestinian Life, Limb, Liberty and Property

    Israeli Navy opens fire on Palestinian fishing boats

    Israeli Army position opens fire on Gaza farms

    Israeli Army opens fire on workers repairing power lines

    Israeli Army home invasion and armed robbery

    Israeli Army disrupts olive harvest – 4 harvesters taken prisoner

    Night peace disruption and/or home invasions in 8 villages

    3 attacks (3 Israeli ceasefire violations)

    11 raids including home invasions

    1 beaten – 1 injured – 22 taken prisoner – 1 detained

    11 abducted (aged 15 to 17)

    4 acts of agricultural/economic sabotage

    Detail on http://palestine.org.nz/phrc/index.php

  • Alex Thorburn

    No words that I could add would help this family that is being victimised by an ideologically driven Tory Government that is totally remote and indifferent to both the plight of a hard working couple who have committed themselves to improve lives and services in a very rural area of Scotland and the depopulation issues that they cannot possibly understand.

  • Cathy Campbell

    How absolutely ridiculous! The climate and economy doesn’t always make life easy in Scotland. Yet this family have chosen to live in a location that is remote (from West-monster anyway!) … They are trying to succeed, contributing to the local economy – financially, culturally and in an enterprising and inclusive way. They are not ‘stealing anyone’s job’, they are bringing up a family which will bring diversity and retain population in the area, not relying on benefits … and some “authority” in LONDON wants them to leave?! … It’s high time that Scotland became independent and got to decide who is welcomed and able to live in Scotland! Not the politicians, bureaucrats and jobs-worths in London who serve only themselves and their own interests!

  • Sheila

    So sad if they are good for the area then why should they leave .I am sick of the government telling and asking them to be a part of the community with one hand and then taking it away with the other . Where is the justice in that . The government does NOT speak for me and I say LEAVE these people alone to live there lives in peace.

  • Neil Andrew Simpson

    This is really well written. I completely agree with the sentiment too. As a Scotsman I would like to say that they would always be welcome here. London does not care about anything north of Westminster. They dont even care about north London for goodness sake. It is easy to feel like livestock nowadays. Even if you are born and bred here. Thanks for this article. I am sharing this on twitter and fb. Wee Neil.

  • David Trayhorn

    The Zielsdorf family are precisely the people the UK should be welcoming with open arms – hard working, realistic, appreciative, wanting to contribute to the community and the country. I wish them success in their battle with some petty and insignificant ‘officials’ (and it sounds to me as though the ‘officials’ belong in another time and another place!).

  • Anna Kroutl

    I agree this is ludicrous. Nobody sees the individual trees because of the forest. Shame on the Home office!!!

      • Ba'al Zevul

        Yes. Normally a fan of Bell – though his muse seems to be in the process of divorcing him these days – but that was a weak as anything I have seen, And Steel’s definitely playing to the PC gallery. The debate’s been polarised, though – emotion v. reason.

        The responsibility for housing the people who are queuing up to be housed by us has been handed on to councils. They appear to have had no say in the decision, and neither have those eligible residents who have been on council housing waiting lists for years*, while watching the stock being flogged off to the buy-to-let market. Which somehow manages to fill the space at higher rents without loading up a minibus in the Jungle.

        Charity begins at home.

        *in hope rather than realistic expectation

  • Blair paterson

    I am always puzzled why some people seem to be more concerned about Incomers than they are about their next door neighbours or in some cases elderly relatives I believe in the saying charity begins at home

  • Rosie Beimers Furness

    Is there an internet campaign to support their case to stay, can’t think of a more deserving case, or a more clear example of the creativity and generousness of spirit they have demonstrated in wholeheartedly embracing their new life in Scotland.
    It has ALWAYS been the case that movement and ‘cross fertilizing’ of cultures, enriches everyone concerned – ideas, breadth of world awareness, tolerance and hospitality. This family have worked so hard to achieve this ‘Scottish life’ – we are one world, and the sooner everyone really wakes up to this fact, the better. My own father was an economic (Dutch) migrant after the Second World War, and brought his intelligence, his hard work and good humour to the UK, making a valuable contribution through a career in meteorology and climate research. His children have been ‘citizens of the world’, teaching, travelling, learning mainland European languages, intermarrying with different nationalities. We are to be a ‘coffee coloured’ people ultimately, and how wonderful and beautiful that will be! EVERY shade from ‘black’ (deep brown) to ‘white’ (beige!). I hope our descendents will live to see it. Please let me know if there is a campaign I can contribute to to support them. And which to which people to direct correspondence.

  • Terence Jack

    Bureaucracy at it’s best I thing a lobotomy is required to obtain those positions in government.

  • Kirsten

    And they leave the ones that are a scourge on society living on benefits and claiming anything they can in peace whilst picking on people that have made a difference to a community and are hard working, makes sense not! Perhaps if someone who is retired or out of work up there could go and work for a minimal sum a week they might be able to stay…

  • sue

    Why isn’t this info on the headlines ? what a crazy stupid home office we have they’d rather risk admitting I S terrorists to this country & give them everything & let them live off tax payers!

  • Sharp Ears

    Child Refugees: Age Checks
    21 October 2016
     11.00 am

    Philip Davies (Shipley) (Con)
    (Urgent Question): To ask the Minister for Immigration if he will make a statement on what age checks are being carried out on child refugees to ensure they are children.

    The Minister for Immigration (Mr Robert Goodwill)
    I thank my hon. Friend for tabling this urgent question, which enables us to put the Government’s position on the record.


  • Parky

    simple really the Zielsdorf family are clearly the “wrong sort” of foreigner – If they were from a non-Christian heritage that has a culture and custom alien to the mainstream and were likely to soak up resources and keep human rights lawyers in profitable business for years to come then the red carpet treatment would be laid on as per the physically advanced “children” now being fast-tracked through Lunar House. The Zielsdorfs need to pretty quickly convert to Islam and all their troubles will be over. Other than that Mrs. Z should become perpetually pregnant and so be unable to be deported due to human rights violations. She and her many off-spring would then become a burden on the state and automatically promoted to “desirable”. May even become Celebrities too. Happy Days !

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