The British government is
considering a ‘cash bond’ scheme in an attempt to curb immigration from ‘high
risk’ countries. The proposal, as I
understand it, is to charge immigrants from countries such as India, Pakistan,
Sri Lanka, Ghana and Nigeria a £3000 deposit to enter
the country on a six-month visa. It’s repayable
when they leave, forfeit if they overstay.
This sounds like a brilliant commercial
idea, as far as it goes, but it doesn’t go nearly far enough. I think we should charge not just Asians and
Africans but everyone coming in who wants to stay six months. That means other Commonwealth countries – Australians,
New Zealanders, South Africans, Canadians and the like (what have any of them
done for us lately?). And while we’re at
it, let’s raise the figure to £10,000 and make it non-refundable. It’s surely worth a lousy ten grand to stay
in this wonderful country of ours. Disney
World charges more than that for a week in Orlando.
Anyway, for most people from
developed countries, that kind of dosh is not much more than a month’s salary.
Americans should pay more,
naturally. I’d say £20,000. They can easily
afford it with the Dow Jones up at 15,000.
And there’s another point: charging them a higher amount will go some
way to offsetting the UK
taxes their greedy corporations avoid paying by diverting their profits through
subsidiaries in Antarctica, or wherever. Fair’s fair, after all.
I’m sure the government, even
now, is drawing up an explanatory brochure.
This should include, I suggest, a schedule of charges based on countries
of origin. The last we need is any more
mass confusion at Heathrow than we have already. Anyway, these are all details that can be
Implementing such a plan will, of
course, have to include retraining our UK Border inspectors. They do a wonderful job, but they’ll have to
become just a teeny more user-friendly than they are now. They’ll have to bear in mind, for a start,
that all those people in queues stretching round the perimeter of the airport will
no longer be sponging foreign devils but valued paying customers. They’ll no longer be potential terrorists but
valued new members of an extended family.
Immigration officials brusquely demanding
a family’s passports, while eyeing with disdain the busload of bug-eyed brats
staring up at him, will now have to be more commercially aware. This is business, now, not police work. That is why they will no longer be called
inspectors. What should we call
them? I suggest Welcome Hosts. Both words have a nice accommodating ring to
There will be no more barking,
“Who are all these people, all yours?” Instead, our Hosts will be pleased to offer a
sincere smile and an extended hand. Perhaps
even a slight bow. “Welcome to Britain,
Mr. Chattanoogachoochoo, er, Jaz, if I may call you that. And of course welcome to your lovely
family. And how are we all today, boys
and girls? Having fun yet?”
Our Inspector, sorry Host, will have
to collect the entrance fees, of course, but that’s not a difficult chore. Arrangements to accept payments by credit
card must be considered essential.
“Just swipe your card through this
little machine, Mr. Chattanoogachoochoo, and we’ll have you and your loved ones
into the country in just a jiffy.”
Mr. Chattanoogachoochoo may have
a few questions. Our Hosts will be happy,
and full trained, to answer them.
– “No, Jaz, this is the last
payment you’ll have to make, I promise you.
However, there may be a tiny charge, nominal really, to get into London itself. But, ha, ha, that’s not our jurisdiction, ha,
ha. I’m afraid that’s down to the Mayor,
our good friend Boris.”
– “Yes, Jaz, I’m afraid a further
payment will be due if you wish to extend your visas. The good news, however, is that there’s a 10
percent discount if, while you’re here, none of you is convicted of anything
– “Yes, Jaz, from time to time,
we do offer specials, including some pretty good deals for longer-term
stays. They are well worth considering,
I would say. Here’s a brochure. Your local high street Fun Borders branch
will be happy to give you any assistance you may need.”
No, Jaz, there’s no complete refund, but under certain circumstances – a
record of good behaviour, for example – there are partial rebates. Again, you might enquire at your nearest Fun Borders
– “Yes, Jaz, it’s been a pleasure
for me, too. And I hope you’ll be sure
to include us in your travel plans in the future. Meanwhile, have a nice stay.”