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Carol Craig is the Centre's Chief Executive. She is author of The Scots' Crisis of Confidence, Creating Confidence: A Handbook for Professionals Working with Young People, The Tears that Made the Clyde: Well-being in Glasgow and The Great Takeover: How materialism, the media and markets now dominate our lives. She is Commissioning editor for the Postcards from Scotland series. Carol blogs on confidence, well-being, inequality, every day life and some of the great challenges of our time. The views she expresses are her own unless she specifically states that they reflect the Centre's thinking.

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Posted 01/04/2010 | 1 Comment

It has been another busy week for us at the Centre. The event on Tuesday involved 420 people and, surprisingly given the weather and traffic  disruption, there were very few 'no shows'. We'll shortly be putting the powerpoints and audio from the event on-line.

Many people at the event got a lot out of the contribution of both American psychologists who participated. What they didn't know is that they were lucky to hear Dr Amy Canevello at all. When she arrived at Glasgow airport on Sunday she said that she was here to 'work' given that she had originally decided to come to Scotland to give a one hour lecture at the event. This meant that she was branded 'foreign labour' and told that she had to go back on the next plane as she didn't have the necessary paperwork under the new immigration points system. We were also told that we should have registered as a sponsor of 'foreign labour'. This means that we have to keep detailed records (including fingerprints) for anyone we bring into the country to work. I was dumbfounded at how the public interest could be so disregarded by the imposition of these draconian new rules. Dr Canevello was in fact being paid very little to give her lecture - once she had paid her fare and other expenses she would be lucky to have had a few hundred pounds to spare for her trouble. After various calls to border security at the airport and our insistence that they show us exactly where it says that an organisation like ours who brings in someone to talk for an hour needs to register as a sponsor of foreign labour, they relented. Instead of Amy and her partner having to get back to the airport for 4 am the next morning to be put on the 6 o'clock return flight they were allowed to stay. The border control people found a clause which said that 'business visitors' were allowed to give a one off talk at a non-commercial event. This fitted what she was doing exactly.

Nonetheless Amy was very lucky as various academics, musicians and artists have been sent back in this manner. If she had been speaking at two events for us she would have been on that six o'clock flight.  Indeed I have now learned that there is a major campaign in the UK on this very matter and so there should be. None of this makes sense. The UK is seriously going to tarnish its image as a free country which encourages the free flow of ideas.

For more information on this issue see http://www.manifestoclub.com/

 

Comment By Comment
Alex Smith

Comment Posted: 05/04/2010 17:18
I am not surprised by what happened to Amy and it is our fault. We have let this government become more and more authoritarian and now we are paying the penalty. It is unlikely that I shall ever fly again becsuse of the nonsense that air travellers have to go through and none of it makes us one jot safer. Despite the claims to the contrary.

I meant my opening sentence. Remember Pastor Niemoller when he said 'When the Nazis attacked the Communists, he was a little uneasy, but, after all, he was not a Communist, and so he did nothing; and then they attacked the Socialists, and he was a little uneasier, but, still, he was not a Socialist, and he did nothing; and then the schools, the press, the Jews, and so on, and he was always uneasier, but still he did nothing. And then they attacked the Church, and he was a Churchman, and he did something but then it was too late.'

I thought carefully before I wrote this. I have experience (during the Thatcher government - most of us expected better from Labour; it is worse) of having been targeted by the Ministry of Defence Police because I innocently parked my car about a mile from the Faslane Naval Base. It took a long time and a lot of work by my then MP (Labour) to get an apology from a junior Minister who agreed that I was not a danger to state security. Anyone knowing me would know how preposterous that I idea was. But it almost cost me my job when my employer was asked to say who was driving the company car at that time.

I expect this posting to bring me to the attention of the authorities again. I no longer care.
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