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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  • Stu

    Theresa May has lost the plot and there’s still 6 weeks to go.

    Lynton Crosby seems to have decided that British people are racist and dumb, ‘election interference’ got huge tract in the USA where people are racist and dumb. Therefore Maybot accuses foreigners of election interference.

    This also could be the strongest sign so far that the Tories have decided no deal is a possibility.

  • Georgia Bassett

    This deportation makes absolutely no sense whatsoever and saddens me greatly.

  • Anon1

    Not exactly a Highland clearance is it? More an inhumane outcome of bureaucracy.

    • Republicofscotland

      Dungavel detention centre has been bursting at the seams in the past with people who the HO says do not meet their criteria, in truth no one really knows how many folk, those bureaucratic b*stards have denied access to Scotland.

      The sly b*stards attempted to try and build a new detention centre next to Glasgow airport, well away from access to Scots laws. The plan was to make it easier to deny immigrants the chance to live work and build new lives in Scotland, by whipping them out of the detention centre and straight onto a plane.

      Thankfully the local council told the HO to f*ck of pronto.

      • Anon1

        Yes because the UK is so anti-immigration, what with more than 350,000 net immigration per year. Theresa May presided over more immigration as Home Sectary than any of her predecessors, if I am not mistaken.

        Millions of immigrants every decade! But it’s still not enough for RoS, so the Tories must be anti-immigrant and waythist!

        Basically what you are saying is that to impose any kind of rules or restrictions on people coming here is anti-foreigner and waythist. Just like Craig in fact. Perhaps we should invite the whole of Africa to settle in Scotland. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? Wouldn’t you feel thoroughly enriched and pleased with yourself?

        Or would the SNP then decide that enough is enough and you would flip-flop and change your opinion in accordance with the SNP much as you do with every other important issue?

        • Republicofscotland

          I think you’ll find that immigration was a good thing when those in the South East of England were getting cheap labour.

          However now those immigrants are surplus to requirement, they’re no longer wanted.

          However in Scotland the denying of entry of immigrants to Scotland never really skipped a beat. Those useless b*stards at the HO, have decided a one size fits policy on immigration. In other words there’s too many immigrants in England already, so there’s no way we’re letting them in through the back door in Scotland.

          BTW, Theresa May-hem, made a complete arse of immigration when she held the office, such was her incompetence that she tried to blame the head of the Border Agency.

        • Maren

          Net immigration was 320K in 2015, lower in 2016, but the stats have not yet been released. Over half of that number are students who contribute billions to the economy every year. Yes., that’s 168K students for 2015. Included as economic migrants in UK immigration statistics for reasons only Theresa May knows.

          Btw if you do reduce net immigration to the tens of thousands, a move calculated officially to cost the UK economy at least £6bn annually, which public services do you want to cut to make up for that? Which taxes would you like to raise? Bear in mind though that the IMF has already said that for every £1 you cut, you reduce the country’s GDP by £1.70. Great isn’t it? Even better is that Tory austerity policies, those cuts that have killed tens of thousands have cost more money than they were meant to save…

          It would benefit all of us to be a little more economically literate (including the Conservatives) and then have a grown up discussion about what happens when a government prioritises corporate welfare, tax cuts for the rich and ridiculously expensive and pointless weapons systems over investment in infrastructure and its own people. And a sensible immigration policy would be part of that – one that takes account of local needs.

    • JOML

      I’d agree, particularly as the Highland Clearances have been described as “racist genocide”. Hardly a description for current events, despite the gross unfairness of it all.

  • Brian Nicol

    It really is sick this family having to move what have the scottish government done looks like very little.

    • JOML

      Brian, immigration has not been devolved, so they are largely powerless. This family are not the first and previous attempts to get Westminster to make exceptions fell on deaf ears, with the UK government desperate not to be seen bowing to SNP demands.

    • Republicofscotland

      What can they do, immigration is a reserved matter for Westminster. The Scottish government can only complain, and write appealing letters on the immigrants behalf, and hope for common sense to prevail.

      It very seldom does.

  • anon

    Never heard of anything like this and why is it not “on the news!.

    how is this actioned….local police or who?? Local police…are they not under Holyrood juristiction?

    if so why not a policy of non-compliance??

    All seems simply nonsensical.

    • Stu

      They are here on a specific type of visa which means they have to employ two people full time in their business. It looks like they have not done this and the turnover over of their business suggests they never will. Going by Craig’s post it seems like the business is a facade and they are supporting themselves via AirBnB.

      • Ian

        Oh, what a dirty little snide comment. People in the Highlands commonly pursue several ways of making ends meet. Their business is clearly based on the shop, providing tourist accommodation, home baking and whatever else gets them by. But the expert commentator manages to make that somehow a terrible crime. These people are exemplary, more enterprising than many of the locals, contributed enormously to the life of a small town, and are now to be punished because their business didn’t grow quickly enough to hire two people; So instead they are to be made destitute, their employee unemployed and no significant interest in anybody else running their business, so a service to the local community is lost. And you manage to make that sound justified. You tosser.

        • Ba'al Zevul

          Why, I wonder, is there ‘no significant interest in anybody else running the business’? Could it possibly be that it doesn’t pay?

          • fred

            Twenty years ago the town where I live in the Highlands had two butcher’s shops, two general stores. Then the opened a Tesco in Wick and now there is no butcher’s shop and one general store.

          • Ba'al Zevul

            Exactly, Fred. Where I used to live, there was, and possibly still is, a local shop with a local shopkeeper: he and his wife ran it – no employees. He had hell’s own job finding someone to take on the business when he gave up on it, but eventually an incomer did – there was no property sale involved, just a lease. Incomer and wife ran it for a few years, but it didn’t pay and they bailed out too. After a long interval, another romantic incoming sucker+wife have run it for the last year. Being 20 miles from Tesco probably kept its nostrils just above water, but I don’t rate its chances.

        • Stu

          “Their business is clearly based on the shop, providing tourist accommodation, home baking and whatever else gets them by. But the expert commentator manages to make that somehow a terrible crime. These people are exemplary, more enterprising than many of the locals, contributed enormously to the life of a small town, and are now to be punished because their business didn’t grow quickly enough to hire two people”

          Renting out a room and home baking can never grow enough to hire to people.

          A shop/cafe in an out of the way place like Laggan – which isn’t particularly well placed for passing trade – will never generate enough turnover to provide two full time minimum wage jobs (£35,000 a year).

      • Pamela Crummay

        A prime example of the heartless stupidity which seems to be this government’s forté. As for the comment by Stu…….They appeared to be providing a small Scottish village with a shop and coffee shop – and apparently, it would seem, a very good AirBnB – how wonderful! They were definitely not “scroungers” and had taken nothing that they hadn’t worked hard for…..what is this country doing….? I can quite understand why most Scots will vote for autonomy next time.

  • George Dunbar

    My best wishes to these lovely people who through no fault of their own are now destitute, unemployed and homeless! Well thank you Teresa bloody May, you utter bitch!
    Ok strong language for a Canadian but I’m also a Scotsman and as far as that’s concerned I totally disown my “britishness” to my fellows here in Alberta. I am after all a Scots-Canadian not a british-Canadian.
    To the Zeilsdorfs I would say “Hold on there and look forward to being able to return once Scotland is free of Westminster shackles!

  • RobG

    It’s like The Stepford Wives.

    And every dystopian novel you’ve ever read (and I’m not referring to the case of the Zielsdorf family).

  • Gordie

    Deporting people sickens me, it is happening a lot now. I would like to think that the Zielsdorf’s would at least be compensated for their losses but I suspect the will get sweet FA. I wish them all the best. Maybe they can come back when we are independent.

    The British nationalists mindset sickens me. They take pleasure from these deportations. No doubt they are expecting folk from the EU to be booted out next next followed by people from Asia and Africa. Its probably a path that they follow their minds on the way to their fantasy Britain. It;s a twisted ideology. Deeply racist and Scotland is still a threat to them. If we stay in the British state for any more than a few more years we are going to be right in the shite. We will be hammered by their lunatic government and their lick spittle press will cheer it on.

    • Brian Fleming

      Gordie, it’s not the press that’s lickspittle. They’re calling the shots. It’s the government that’s lickspittle.

  • Brianfujisan

    The Post @ October 20, 2016 at 06:1`, was Not me, so how TF did it appear

    I am sickened by the Treatment of the Brain Family. How can we allow it?

  • Gregg & Kathryn Brain

    The real insult to injury when Angus Robertson MP was speaking on our behalf in Parliament on 25 May 2016 at best to get our situation sorted, at worst as a last resort to get a further extension for us while we went through yet another visa application process, was George Osborne’s response to Angus Robertson, stating that “Scotland now have very substantial tax and enterprise powers”… (which we don’t, but that’s beside the point) … “and if they want to attract people to the Highlands of Scotland, why don’t they create an entrepreneurial Scotland that people want to move to from the rest of the United Kingdom, where they can grow their business and have a successful life”… well Mr Osborne, the Zielsdorf family did do such a thing (moved from Stirling to Laggan), but your Immigration Policy and your then Home Office Secretary and Immigration Minister reneged on the agreement they made with the Zielsdorf family, which had in writing from your government regarding their Entrepreneurial Visa application. And this is the way entrepreneurs are treated in Scotland by Westminster.

  • H Stewart

    How ridiculous. How heartbreaking. How disgraceful. What right does London have to evict this family? How is this eviction helping to solve the immigration problem – in England?

  • June Davies

    Why deport a loved and respected family when there are quite a few people who do deserved deportation—–those who do not respect the UK and it’s values.

  • Elizabeth Neill

    There are no words to describe this action by the UK government. This family has supported the economy by running their business for the local community, holidaymakers and hill walkers. They have employed people. Yet, this government supports and pays money to people who, in my opinion, do not deserve any support as they are too lazy to go out and find work.

  • Sheila M Clarke

    I think this is an absolute disgrace and reflects the sorry state of our country. Where is our own Prime Minister when she is needed? Nicola Sturgeon – you should be ashamed of yourself. You welcome refugees from places such as Syria and yet you cannot help this family. Here is what we want to encourage in Scotland – people who are willing to work hard, provide a service where few people would, not asking for anything except to be allowed to live in a country they now call home. They should not be deported. They should be welcomed with open arms. I wish there was more I could do to change their situation.

    • defo

      Sheila, take a bow. You’ve won the stupidest, racist comment, and we have a week to go until comments are closed.
      Firstly NS is Scotlands FIRST Minister.
      She has eff all to be ashamed of. She/we have absolutely no power over immigration. It’s a reserved matter. (look it up) All she/we can do is lobby the Fascist UK government on their behalf.
      It’s the UK home office who are hounding this, and many other families out, (see the Brains comment above) on rules that were devised to address the immigration ‘problem’ drummed up in UKip England.
      Tip. Try really reading the posts, and if all else fails, ask a grown up to explain it to you.
      I won’t trouble you over the ‘Syrian’ jibe, it’s obvious to all where you’re coming from.

      • fred

        Yes but maybe if the Zielsdorfs had been prepared to have numbers tattooed on their arms and go to the SNP conference Nicola might have put more effort into arguing their case.

          • defo

            To the sound of barrel scraping…”But the shocking reference to a Nazi badge system that was used to identify Jews in concentration camps in WWII, immediately sparked a storm of protest online.”
            Murdo Fraser presumably. Dribbling, sycophantic, un-electable idiot that he is.
            I doubt the Nazi’s bothered with labels inside the camps, when tatooing was their chosen method of keeping track of those not sent to the ‘showers’.
            Quoting the Express doesn’t cut much mustard amongst the sentient Fred BTW.
            The analogy Mr Brain used (news to me, but heyho) really wasn’t that far off the mark. The NS used the Jews as their whipping boys, to stir up resentment and division amongst the German people.
            Our imperial masters use immigrants, and the most vulnerable amongst us. And you approve, nay encourage such behaviour.
            Nice to be nice, and all that eh!

    • James Fleming

      Sheila, our ‘own’ PM – Theresa May is behind this. She was atnthe Home Office when the decision was taken, she’s the PM now and could have blocked this. Her mi ister refused the promised meeting. What in the name of whatever you think is holy makes you think that May would help and that this is Nicola’s fault?

  • hugh johnstone

    time we were running our own country.if they are working and are legally here they should stay ,end of.
    no deportation.

  • hugh johnstone.

    time we were running our own country.if they are working and are legally here they should stay ,end of.
    no deportation.

  • Resident Dissident

    ” but there are some deeply unpleasant people out there in the unionist community”

    While on the other hand the SNP is the first nationalist movement to never have attracted any racists.

    The decisions re the Zielsdorfs is of regulation gone mad with the bureaucrats and politicians concerned not showing commonsense and discretion in bending the regulations. Which of course reinforces my argument from a previous thread that what is needed is smart regulation not just regulation or deregulation.

  • James Fleming

    Absolutely shameful decision. Jobsworthiness at its lowest. Just one more reason to hate Westminster and want to get out from under its thumb.

  • Maurice Frank

    Ah, so we can comment on this.
    I have always wanted the chance to ask how you justified calling No voters “evil or quite extraordinarily thick” if we were voting to stop the astounding and appalling racist horror that Yes policy was actually not going to make one of the natural types of citizenship for keeping families together, parental descent citizenship, automatically available and unrefusable. The whole way from this discovery converting me to No in the White Paper’s aftermath, to polling day, I made every possible enquiry and no source would commit that it would be unrefusable, and several answers at Yes meetings indicated that it would be refusable, according to Alex Neil it was because of “undesirables”, which obviously could mean the poor or unemployed. That they would not change it even when I circulated a campaign about it headed “No to a New Clearances”, and petitioned the EU (1448/2014, on ECHR article 8) to disown a Scottish state if it does this, showed they had to be targetting a parochial racist vote that even dislikes our diaspora: the type of school bully that thinks parental descent Scots are not Scots, even though emigration was supposed to be a Yes issue! I have disturbingly encountered several Marxist-inspired voices who argue quite earnestly to condemn descent citizenship in order to show disbelief in genetic races, and clearly feel virtuous arguing for hateful rejection and exclusion.
    I have never had any liking for the UK Border regime, my vote for something better than it was always there for the taking. I support and sign to all efforts for the Zielsdorfs, and every family who these stories happen to, share all your anger at them. In the face of them, conscience remains crystal clear to vote against replacing the UK with a terribly worse system of making this possible to happen to any parental descent Scot who has come home and did not chance to be resident on day one of indy.

    • defo

      “The whole way from this discovery converting me to No in the White Paper’s aftermath, to polling day, I made every possible enquiry and no source would commit that it would be unrefusable , and several answers at Yes meetings indicated that it would be refusable, according to Alex Neil it was because of “undesirables”, which obviously could mean the poor or unemployed.”

      Obviously, it could mean something else too…
      Daily Heil headline circa apres Holyrood has control of immigration…
      “Child killer granted Scottish residency, and thanks to those nasty SNP baddies there’s no way to stop this”

      Evil, extraordinarily thick, and/or with a not so well hidden agenda.
      2 out of 3 aint bad Maurice.

      • Maurice Frank

        Which does not refute an inch that it could mean the poor or unemployed.
        If you want to propose refusability explicitly confined only to murderers convicted in judicial systems that stand up to ethical scrutiny, then good, you will establish the due unrefusability for everyone else.

        • Maurice Frank

          and it would be the same for a child killer granted residency for being resident on day one of indy or being a preexisting British citizen born here. Admitted a not so well hidden agenda for yourself unless you say they should be refusable.

          • defo

            Your point is parental qualification. Fair enough. But to make that “unrefusable” without caveat, is ridiculous.
            I smell unionist propagandising.

          • craig Post author

            I do not quite understand you.

            Nationality criteria would be established by the Scottish government on Independence and could be varied by future Scottish governments. I assume initially they would use the same criteria the UK currently uses, so if your parent was born in Scotland you would indeed qualify.

            What is not possible is an ethnicity based definition of citizenship. So if your name is Hamish Fraser MacPherson that still doesn’t qualify you if your family were six generations in Australia. The EU forced Germany to change from its “german blood” definition on the grounds it represents racial discrimination and is illegal in EU law.

            You appear to have become obsessed with something that is not really a major issue. Nobody knows what regulations on nationality the government of an Independent Scotland will eventually decide.

  • Enid

    Appalling heartlessness. But I can’t help feeling that it is yet another instance of Westminster ‘punishing’ Scotland, just because it can. If they want the Union to stay intact, they are absolutely going the wrong way about it. Bullying and shows of strength will not endear Scotland to the Union. The sooner we’re out – by any means – the better.

  • David Taylor

    Just wrong for Scotland and these lovely people who made a financial investment to improve local business! No body to take over and no harm was being done. Just plain stupidity.

  • Roger Mortimer

    If they are Canadian, their deportation (however pointless and destructive) is obviously nothing to do with Britain leaving the EU. And there is no plan to “rejoin the British Empire” , which no longer exists.

  • Roger Mortimer

    PS And if you think the problem is that the highlands are run from London, then don’t chicken out next time you get an independence referendum. I doubt there will be a third.

    An before an independent Scotland immediately tries to rejoin the EU, ask yourself whether the highlands being run from Brussels is really any better.

  • Harold Gunn

    This story is incredible. A working, productive family (Caucasian, of course) that assimilates into Scotland is being kicked out for reasons defying common sense, while the UK continues to gleefully soak up tens of thousands of useless “refugee” scum who contribute nothing but dissent, hatred and disruption of Western culture – and will NEVER assimilate. This example of totally mindless “home rule” provides one more justifiable reason for our having broken away from Britain back in 1776, even though our country’s liberals are now so into their “White Guilt” that they would probably do the same thing – given the chance. Oops, wait, they already have. I recall an equally productive Swiss family that had developed a successful business in Missouri but was given the boot by our bureaucrats back in the ’80’s for similar reason. Another fine example of government run amuck.

  • David Drummond

    Everyday, these days, you wake up and find another reason to feel ashamed of being British!

  • Joan Lacy

    I am appalled by this story. I can hardly believe in such callousness and stupidity! I fear for the future when any government can do this, in the face of great opposition . Shame on them. I am so sad for the family and the village they served.

  • Irene Kidney

    One crazy society we live in and people wonder why I don’t like CONSERVATIVE PARTY.

  • Georgia H

    Wow…how many persons resides in the highlands..minus 7…this sounds like Australian ethinic cleansing deportation strategy in the early 1900….takes a certain type to enforce this…


    If this is genuine this a very cruel decision and appears to make no sence

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