Increasing the immigration statistics by one

I thought I’d write a more personal blog article this time, so that you can all know what my plans are for the coming months. Readers, I’m getting married. My partner Peter and I have set a date, the wedding will be on Friday 26th October and will be celebrated on the coast of the US state of Maine, where most of Peter’s family come from originally. He’ll be coming back with me to Scotland afterwards for a week, and we’ll be having a second celebration here in Scotland for our friends and family on this side of the Atlantic who aren’t able to make it to the USA. Then he’ll have to return to the USA, and we’ll start on the arduous and ridiculously expensive process of getting him a visa to live with me here in Scotland. All going well we hope that can happen sometime next year.

This is going to be my first “proper” wedding. My late partner Andy and I had a wee party to celebrate holding an entirely unofficial humanist wedding that we had back in the early 1990s, but that ceremony was not legally recognised. When, many years later, we had a civil partnership it felt as though it was just a matter of regularising some paperwork. This time, Peter and I will be having a real wedding. Naturally we’re both wearing kilts. He’s coming over here in the summer in order to get fitted for one. I told him that weddings are not legally recognised in Scotland unless you wear a kilt. He believed me for all of five seconds.

This is not an easy time to try and bring a foreign spouse into the UK, and I have never despised the Conservatives more than I do just now. Their policy of making life as difficult as possible for migrants separates families, separates loved ones, and means that only those who are wealthy can have the confidence of knowing that they can live in the UK with their spouse. It’s very easy when you’re Prince Harry and Megan Markle. It’s not so easy for the rest of us.

On top of the cost of the wedding, which is going to run into a few thousand even though we’re trying to keep things simple, it’s going to cost £1600 in payments to the Home Office for a spouse visa, a further £600 in fees to the NHS so that Peter is eligible for health cover, and around a further £1500 in legal fees. That’s some £3700 which is on top of the £18600 annual income that you need to prove to the Home Office that you’re earning before they’ll even consider an application for a spouse visa. The Home Office won’t take into account my partner’s earning potential, it’s all dependent on the income and earnings of the British citizen. What’s really annoying is that he is highly skilled, he works in IT, and is precisely the kind of person that Scotland needs. He can earn considerably more than I can, but the Home Office won’t take any of that into account. He’s not going to be a drain on public resources, he’s going to be an active contributor.

I recognise that I’m in a far more fortunate situation than many because it is possible, albeit difficult, for me to fulfil the Home Office’s heartless criteria. I know of a woman who has a small child. Her husband, the child’s father, isn’t able to live in the UK, and because she’s got childcare commitments she’s unable to earn anything like enough to get her husband into the UK. That’s the reality of Theresa May’s “hostile environment”. It means children separated from parents, it means families split up. It means lovers who have to keep their relationships alive through Facebook and Skype.

So I’m in for a very expensive year, and it’s not easy earning a living as a writer and commentator on Scottish politics from a pro-independence perspective. Just ask Hardip Singh Kohli. In a recent talk he confirmed what many of us have suspected for some time, that the BBC has an active blacklist of pro-independence activists whom it will not invite onto its news and current affairs programmes. We’re biased, and that’s why the BBC doesn’t want to give us air time. Naturally people who oppose independence aren’t biased at all. Oh no.

Hardip’s own name is on that list, and I’m pretty certain that mine is too. It’s not just that we are unable to earn the appearance fee that you get from going on the telly, it’s also that we don’t get the publicity and name recognition amongst the public that comes from it. It makes it harder for us to get writing and other gigs from other media outlets because we don’t get the same exposure that British nationalists get. It makes it harder for us to get our message across to the wider public. It makes it a lot harder for us to make a living out of writing and commentating. And that’s precisely why the BBC bans us. They want to marginalise the cause of independence and silence independence supporters. Personally I wear it as a badge of pride. If you want to know why independence campaigners are more likely to rely on crowdfunding than opponents of independence, this has a lot to do with it.

In order to boost my earnings and ensure that I can keep the Home Office happy and pay for the wedding and the visa and associated fees, I’m going to produce some new stuff for sale. I’d far rather offer something concrete for sale than to ask for donations. Asking for donations and doing crowdfunders only seems to breed resentment amongst people who are less successful at it. That doesn’t mean I’m not grateful and appreciative for the support that so many readers of this blog show me. It means a lot to me.

I earn money from writing for The National, but that is nowhere near enough to take me over the Home Office’s earnings threshold. I’m planning to publish a couple of new books later this year. There’s going to be a third volume of Barking Up the Right Tree published by Vagabond Voices, an anthology of articles which previously appeared in The National. And there’s also going to be a self-published collection of my articles from iScot magazine. I’m also looking into producing some other merchandise, and have been discussing with Chris Cairns the possibility of him doing a cartoon of the Dug which we can put on t-shirts, mugs and other merchandise. I’m also planning to do a revised and corrected version of the Gaelic map of the whole of Scotland.

The bottom line is – I need to earn some money, because I’m not Prince Harry. No one is giving my partner a free pass to come and live in the UK. I’ve got to pay for it. I’ll keep you all posted about the progress of the books and the merchandise. In the meantime, the four volumes of The Collected Yaps and the first two volumes of Barking Up the Right Tree are still available online, and Gaelic maps of Glasgow, Kintyre & Arran, and Fife are available for sale when I do public talks. Just email me for details.

Grassroots is what the independence movement does best. British nationalism is about keeping people out of the country, Scottish nationalism is about bringing people in. British nationalism is about creating a hostile environment for migrants, Scottish nationalism is about creating a welcoming one. I hope you’ll help me to increase the immigration statistics by at least one.

The Wee Ginger Dug has got a new domain name, thanks to Indy Poster Boy, Colin Dunn @Zarkwan. You can now access this blog simply by typing into the address bar of your browser, the old address continues to function, the new one redirects to the blog. The advantage of the new address is that it’s a lot easier to remember if you want to include a link to the blog in leaflets, posters, or simply to tell a friend about it. Many thanks to Colin.

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Many thanks.

0 thoughts on “Increasing the immigration statistics by one

  1. Paul – we all, I am sure, admire your principled approach. But we are also the ones who donated when you asked before. We need you (and your new spouse) so please just ask for the cash to help with that. Start a crowdfunder and be amazed (again)

  2. Congratulations. I will buy something from you. You need income, not donations. Print some of your wise words on t-shirts, they always sell. Mugs and other lowish value items, people will always buy things like that. Have you got a website up and running to sell your stuff? Good luck to you both.

  3. Woohoo! Many congratulations, Paul. So happy for you for your forthcoming nuptials. I’m certain that you’ll reach your minimum earnings so that you can both live happily together in Scotland.

  4. Congratulations Paul.
    All the best.
    Selfishly I’m glad you’re not going to leave us.
    Happy to contribute to a crowdfund also

  5. Massive congratulations to you and Peter, we love him as much as we love you so of course he must come over here, and as soon as possible.

    Molly of course is desperate to be bridesmaid, but I think that’s so she can dance wi’ wee Ginger at the Reception. She’ll huv tae shave her beard off first right enuff………

    I am definitely up for Ginger merchandise, ask @Calton Books, I am always easily persuaded to add to my collection of radical t-shirts 🙂

    Also, one thing I have been waiting for and would gladly purchase as soon as one is available, is a Gaelic map of Ayrshire. Anytime you have such a thing, please let me know and I will raid the Molly Bank as we would love one on the wall, here in our wee Ayrshire farm cottage

    Oh yeah and crowdfunding…..that’s a given……whether it’s for the visa, the cake, the wee Ginger wedding favours or the sgian dubh you have an extended family out here who want to contribute to the wedding list. Feck, even if it’s just for the toaster who gives a ….. just let us know

    Oh it’s all so lovely…..can’t we exchange hostages, they can have Meghan back and we’ll have Peter instead 🙂

  6. Congratulations and best of luck with everything – If you want a nice quiet honeymoon venue I can recommend Moniaive – could even let you have a bedsit for free. There are still some of your books I don’t have so I’ll be getting those ASAP and might even treat myself to the maps. So glad you are both going to live here – I was worried we’d lose you to the USA. Happy to come and sing at your Scottish wedding:-)

  7. Congratulations, Paul! Peter will be a very welcome addition to Scotland and we all look forward to his arrival 🙂

  8. But Paul surely you are wrong! I only heard Harry described on BBC Radio 5 earlier today as “poor prince Harry” – something to do with the poor soul not going to be king.

  9. Congratulations, I’m sure like me, we’ll all do what we can….we need you and yer man here and active and helping us all. So excited for you both, love will find a way xx

  10. Wonderful news Paul many congratulations and all the luck in the world. Will be sure to buy all the new books to add to my collection.

  11. Great big heartfelt congratulations. Welcome to your new home Peter.

    Can you put the Gaelic map of Fife aside for me and I’ll contribute later.

    And I really want Chris Cairns fabulous Cartoons on T shirts and Bags for Yes and Mugs, etc.

    You’ve fair cheered me up with your good news. Best wishes to you and yours.

  12. Couple of things.
    First an most important, I hope you and Peter have many happy and contented years together – which makes an independent Scotland all the more important. But, best wishes to you both.
    Secondly, you refer to a black list. Over the last couple of days I have cross swords with David Leask at the Herald, about RT. Briefly my stance on RT is that it has a propaganda value for the Russians, but no more than the BBC has for WM, and that the British and Russian versions of what happened to the Skripals are both inadequate narratives. Today Leask wrote an article highly critical of RT, but more or less by assumption – to be fair this is right up front – the first words are “RT is propaganda.” (you can find the whole thing here if you are interested – . I contributed my own views on the online forum, arguing that the BBC (mainly via the licence fee) is funded in a very similar way to RT. That the BBC is managed by the state in a way similar to RT. I suppose I did showboat a wee bit when I concluded that Leask’s “assertions to be built on nothing more than sand, prejudice and a particular political narrative. This actually got me a reply – that RT peddled propaganda, that the BBC while owned by the British state was not managed by it (which I found quite extraordinary for someone of Leask’s standing), and repeated they were not funded in the same ways. However the best was yet to come with this “So I am afraid you are one the folk who have been duped. Please try to be more responsible in your contributions to our Comments section. All the best, David Leask ” So, in his view to disagree with David Leask is not just to be wrong (lets face it we all are from time to time) but irresponsible. But the very best was to come yet. Obviously I responded to this – if you want to know I can let you know – but when I went back to see if by some chance I had been lucky enough to get another reply, all if found ” comments on this article are closed”.
    Now that might have been a one-off but I also crossed swords with Leask (and Tom Gordon who co-authored) about an article they wrote which was supposed to be about the Ofcom inquiry into RT, but also took in Salmond losing his Ofcom complaint about the Herald. I complained inter alia about the lack of balance in the piece – that it was 2/3 about Salmond with the Skripals getting mentioned as an aside. Again I got a lecture from Mr Leask, which I duly replied to (he didnt – maybe you only get one shot). I was looking for that to write this but I cant find it. It seems to have disappeared
    And that gets me to my point which is an affirmation of your observation from Hardip Singh Kohli that “the BBC has an active blacklist of pro-independence activists whom it will not invite onto its news and current affairs programmes. We’re biased, and that’s why the BBC doesn’t want to give us air time. Naturally people who oppose independence aren’t biased at all. Oh no.” But its not just the BBC Paul. Its the msm – or at least the Herald, whose strategy seems to be to patronise and in Leask’s case, if what you say doesn’t suit, to lose the whole thing!

  13. Jings! You go out the door for five minutes and there’s a waddin announcement. 😀

    Congratulations Paul. A long and happy life to you and Peter. (Also? Loved the kilt ploy) I’ll have to get Mrs M to put an Argos toaster on order. 😉

    The books are super and well worth the coin folks. Merchandise though? Looking forward to the selection. We’re getting spoiled.

  14. Very wise to marry in America – you’d have gatecrashers over here !

    Be happy and make sure you post the photos .

  15. Many Congratulations Paul & Peter!! What did Ginger say? Looking forward to the new books to add to all your others I have and will always go for a cheeky/funny/dare I say rude t-shirt!!! Bring it on!! Don’t think you & WGD & Peter realise your ”wee” party over here may end up not so ”wee” if all your followers manage to get in!! Much love and keep up the good work.

  16. All the very best to you and Peter. I wish you very many happy years together – in an independent Scotland.

    I would love to have a T-shirt with the dug on it. Looking forward to that.

  17. So happy for you Paul, send me wedding photos!! Lots of love to you and Peter. I’m definite going to try and phone you this week. If I don’t have your right phone number expect an email, either way I’m going to hung you down and….er….talk to you about weddings 😁 ❤️❤️

  18. Och, jings, congratumalashins 2u both 🙂
    Big celebrity hitchins go down well in the glossies, do they not ?
    A few official snaps could rake in a few well needed visa expenses (& that’s just ginger & Molly I’m talkin aboot, hehe)
    Best of luck to u both
    (Honeymoon in the he-brides, perhaps)

  19. Paul,

    As a Scot married to an American I would advise you to talk to a US immigration lawyer ASAP if you have not already. You may have no intention of obtaining a Green Card or becoming a US citizen, but the US INS will assume that this is your intention. When you enter the US in early October and they ask your reason for visiting the US, what are you going to tell them? If you say to get married, you are going to trigger a red flag and you’ll be quickly escorted to an interview room. If you just say to visit, that might cause US entry and other problems at a later date.

    If you don’t have an immigration attorney, I’d suggest at least having an initial talk with one. My suggestion:

  20. Congratulations Paul I wish you both well.

    I have family in Maine when I go there I think its a bit like Scotland.

    The nice bits of Yarmouth and the noise in Portland.

    Love the lakes and the Town of Bridgton and not an Orange man in sight.

  21. Even though the dug has bit my ankle in the past I would love to buy a dozen mugs with the dug on them.

    I would quite enjoy giving them as presents to friends and family who are anti independence who are unaware of your blog and wait to see how long before they find out.

    I would find it extremely amusing to think of them having a cup of tea out of one of you mugs.

    You never know they may tune in to your blog and change their mind.

    All the best for your wedding.

  22. Congratulations to you and to Peter. Whatever you decide to do you can count on a “widow’s mite” from me – whether it’s buying or contributing. Scotland needs both you and your future spouse.

  23. Good luck to you, Paul. I married an American, and it didn’t work out for me, but I am sure it will for you. All the immigration stuff is a horrible and costly hassle, but the end result will be well worth it for you. Slainte.

  24. Hi Paul
    Very many congratulations. On the wedding funding. It’s not a question of one or t’other on organising a wedding. Couldn’t the family (you know who we are) help to pay for it, as all families do, and the blogging, journalism, merchandising etc be seen as your weekly wages.
    Nobody pays for a wedding from their weekly wages. If your partner was Scottish, you wouldn’t incur all these extra expenses.

    So, these are additional costs most people won’t have. A wee example. I went to a wedding recently. The young couple didn’t want a present. If you wanted to help them “get started” you were asked to donate to a travelling fund for an extended trip to the far east, via a website usually used for wedding lists.

    Why can’t we get we get Peter over as a collective present? Other people do this kind of thing all the time.

    Wouldn’t take 5 minutes!


  25. Wonderful, Paul, but does your US beau realise that he is entering into a ménage-a-trois?
    Woof, woof.
    My wife, as some on here know, is Irish.Doesn’t make her a bad person.

    If Brexit bombs and No Deal is a Good Deal, she may be escorted to Troon and chucked on a ferry back to Europe in April 2019.

    Everybody needs somebody to love.
    We are all with you.

    I commented on the BBC Blacklist over on WoS.

    Tom Harris, Mags Curran, David Torrance, and a whole gaggle of Brit Nats trouser thousands in
    appearance money on the Brit Nat MSM, some even posing as film critics on BBC Radio Jordanhill.

    We shall overcome.

    It is to be hoped that you convince your new husband to wear the kilt in ‘the traditional way’.

    I have done so at weddings in England and Ireland.
    The reaction from the males is one of fearful horror, and from the ladies, a knowing twinkle in their eyes.
    May your god bless you both; sorry, all three of you.

  26. As an American who has been through this process, just before he moves over here, have his name added to your gas bill or something like that that gets delivered once a month. Keep a file of any correspondence he recieves at your Scottish address, preferably at least one document a month starting as soon as he takes up residence here. When he applies for indefinite leave to remain they are going to ask for proof that he was living here covering from the time he arrives to the ILR application. If you don’t prepare for that ahead of time it’s a pain to try to cobble together at the last minute and you will probably have to pay extra for an in person interview to have any chance of a successful application.

  27. Although I love reading your posts, I never usually make comments on your posts, but I’ll make an exception this time to wish both you and your partner all the best on your future marriage,,,,

  28. Congratulations Paul and very best wishes for the future. I hope everything works out well for you. X

  29. As someone who has gone through the process of getting a foreign non-EU spouse a UK ILR, and subsequent citizenship, why are you paying legal fees? I can’t see how you would need a lawyer, and people notarise documents for free.

  30. Oh, and when you rock-up to the Glasgow immigration office, you don’t actually need the ‘video evidence’, or photos 🙂 Enjoy the chairs that are chained to the floor!

  31. Congratulations on your upcoming wedding. Hope all goes according to plan. As for the t-shirt idea – get them printed as soon as! Sure they would be a great hit.

  32. Congratulations. So thankful Peter is happy to live in Scotland. One thing for sure, he’ll be made most welcome.

  33. Good news Paul, best wishes and I am glad you are not leaving Scotland, we need you for the indy movement to be successfull. I am sure Peter will find us no to bad to live among.

  34. Congratulations paul hoping you really kick the home offices butts teach rudd not to mess with people and there lives.

  35. Congratulations on your forthcoming wedding. I wish you and Peter a long and happy marriage. When Scotland achieves its independence, I’m confident that we can look forward to more civilised and welcoming immigration laws. The current UK regime is a disgrace.

  36. The sun’s shining, there’s blue skies and it’s warm – must be because of your good news! 🙂

    Every best wish to you both – and hugs tae the dug xxx

  37. Congratulations Paul!

    If it is any consolation to you, I happen to know (slightly) a Tory councillor who is having to pay through the nose to get his new bride (& her son) the right to be in the UK. I personally wish him well but I can’t help but feel an element of “get it right up ye!” as well.

  38. Wish you all the best. Home office are evil. When we wanted to come home from Nigeria, we couldn’t satisfactorily prove income (self employed, wife was a practicing barrister) and they refused a visa. We didn’t want to be separated for two years so we came to Ireland under EU treaty rights. That was a year and a half ago. Best descicion we could have made. I’ll always and always hope for independence but I wouldn’t change how things have worked out even if I could.
    Who would raise children in a country that would choose to be governed by Westminster. Repulsive , elitist, inbred, thieves.

    I was in Lagos during the referendum. A lot of Nigerians were genuinely interested. Eventually, I tired of making excuses for the no vote (confidence, colonisation etc.). Now I just tell people that Scottish unionists are the biggest losers on earth. A pathetic effete people. Unsuprisingly, a lot of Irish and Nigerians would agree.

  39. Davie; nailed it there, sir.

    Paul/Peter; I’m delighted for you both, congratulations! Hopefully the bureaucracy can get resolved with minimum fuss.
    Ginger as Best Man? 😊

    Anyway, you can certainly put me down for a ‘Dug on a Mug’ and a Gaelic map of Glasgow!

    Nice news to read first thing on a sunny Cumbrian morning!

  40. Congratulations Paul from me also. Marriage keeps you content, it is a great thing that warms the heart.

    I will purchase goods within the next two days. I have two of your books already.

  41. I do not envy the task ahead. My son and his non EU wife went through this 4 years ago. They had the temerity to fall in love with each other and want to be together. Of course in the else next phobic , racist , fascist atmosphere that exists in some parts of the U.K. and in particular the part that controls immigration and border control, that is a major problem.
    It took them 6 months , three attempts , a slew of email correspondence to show the progression in f their personal love history. It took an enormous toll them mentally and financially. They had to provide photos of them both in different places , different times and with different hair styles to prove theirs wasn’t a whirlwind romance or arranged affair. It wasn’t. They had to understand the complicated forms that required Higher English skills and powers of deduction worthy of a forensic scientist. They weren’t given any help. The agents employed to process the application ( s) moved three times to three different countries. They had to fly from Scotland to London , twice , Dublin once and drive to Glasgow twice because the first time they didn’t manage to process their “ expedited “ application before the office closed at 4 pm on the Friday, even though they had paid extra and were assured that it would be done and they had been there since the morning. She had to sit three English exams even though she has a degree and a masters both of which were taught in English. Her English was more fluent than those testing her. The strain was unbelievable. There were many tears along the way. And if you don’t get through the mine field of the 20 off page form and have it rejected , they don’t tell you why , they just reject it. And you have to apply all over again. And pay all over again. Then as you say you have to prove the native spouse had enough money, which is more than the average wage , to provide for them, even if their partner is going to be working. And yes as you said your partner has to pay towards the NHS and cannot claim any benefits for 5 years.
    My daughter in law is fantastic. I love her to bits. Her family is fantastic. They weren’t allowed a tourist Visa to come to their wedding. So, sad. Their Visa was refused three times. The first because the father couldn’t prove he had enough money. They second refusal was because he had too much money and couldn’t show where it had come from. The third was because he couldn’t prove the money was his.
    She has been in Scotland 4 years. She is working in finance. Next year she has to apply for permission to stay. I am no doubt we are in for another expensive and stressful and perhaps not even successful nightmare.
    All to live with your husband.
    I do not envy you the task ahead.

  42. Congratulations Paul I wish you long and happy life together with Peter. Wedding stuff I do a plenty and would be a pleasure to give you a useful present to keep wedding costs down. Also as I am a computer programmer then I would be happy to pass on Peter cv to my workplace when he is ready to look for job. Will drop you a wee email over next couple of weeks. Congrats u

  43. Congratulations!!! And ah I feel you here. It has been very difficult for me as I applied for visa. People don’t usually understand unless they are in our shoes. The stress is overwhelming. All the best to you🙏💕

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