Friday, October 19, 2012

Letter to the PM

Ömer Çavuşoğlu                                                                                19 October 2012, Friday
LSE Cities
London School of Economics and Political Science
Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE

David Cameron, MP
The Right Honourable Prime Minister of
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
10 Downing Street
London SW1A 2AA

Dear Prime Minister,

Thank you for your letter of recognition regarding my contribution to the 2012 London Olympic Games as a volunteer cast at the Opening Ceremony. Your letter has arrived at a time when I have been highly anticipating another delivery through the post.

Dear Prime Minister, the 12 weeks spent rehearsing for one of world’s biggest shows was one of the most exciting periods I had gone through during the 5 years I have been living in London. The solidarity between us fellow volunteers and the meticulous care given by the organising committee left deep marks in my apprehension of how such ambitions can be delivered by highly-motivated and committed individuals. This country and its culture have it embedded in their genes.

Your Conservative peer Lord Seb Coe mentioned this during your recent Conference in Birmingham. I would put my signature under his remarks, as I was among the few to also see his devotion during his visits to our rehearsals. We also heard from the Mayor of London and Yourself, as well as the Culture Secretary, who remarked on how Britain’s confidence has been restored over the last summer.

Dear Prime Minister, it was an honour to be applauded as a contributor to what was seen as a magnificent piece of collective work. You even joked about how this group displayed the notion of the “Big Society” you have been championing since your election campaign. But, Sir, it is also saddening to be diminished into a subject of the State that you have so often criticised the scale of which, at such a quick turnover; also at the expense of another election pledge you had made.

I am a Turkish national, residing in this country as a “Highly-skilled Migrant”. I came to this country, 5 years ago, to attend a Master’s programme at one of its most appreciated institutions, during which time I was able to secure a part-time job, that evolved into a full-time job at a period when the economy started to go through one of its most devastating phases since the Great Depression. During the past 4 years, I have gained immeasurably valuable experiences through my work, and my new social environment. I did my best to contribute to the economy, culture and the philosophy of this country, and I believe, and have been told, that I have done a decent job.

Sir, I have unfortunately missed out on a trip to Istanbul, where I was invited to attend a workshop involving a group of international young experts. This was because my passport has been at the UK Border Agency authorities for the past 8 weeks, as I applied to extend my work permit, the fourth permit in the last five years that will allow me to continue contributing to this society. As you can imagine, it was a great disappointment to miss the occasion in Istanbul, one which you might appreciate as a natural consequence of being a “high-value migrant” in this country, and, in line with the sorts of professional activities that is expected to be carried out by such people. I have another trip regarding my professional engagements in the first week of November, and I am afraid I have no information as to whether I will be able to make it.

Dear Prime Minister, I find it difficult as to why someone like me should have no rights to make plans for at least 6 months into the future, let alone to receive information on their application process. Of course it would be unwise to ask someone like you carrying the duties you carry to try and sympathise with this; but how would such constraints in your freedom feel in your pre- or post-ministerial lives?

There is a large debate over immigration in this country; one that I have been following very closely since I moved here to continue my higher education and then start contributing to its economy through employment, and paying my share of national insurance contributions and income tax. Whilst the larger argument for cutting the total immigration numbers may clash with the convenience of groups of individuals, whether they be prospective students of London Metropolitan University, or residents who have spent a considerable amount of time being part of this society, there may be more at stake than representing the United Kingdom as a less hospitable country towards international students, young experts, and enthusiastic medium-weight entrepreneurs.

This nation’s identity, partly built on its openness to people, to diversity and to businesses is receiving a blow from recent developments. I have my theories on how a more successful immigration regime could be achieved, and I would be more than honoured to share them with you, should you wish to receive them. However, for sake of simplicity and succinctness, I shall refrain from doing that in this letter.

Dear Prime Minister, this is a very personal and a very individualistic letter. I know that it is one that you may appreciate because it is also a sincere and a true one. I felt the obligation to respond to your letter thanking me “for the part I played in making the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games such a huge success”. I would like to continue to play my role towards future successes and I know that I am not alone in this. It would be a massive benefit to everyone if I and people who are in my situation could feel that Your Government share the same view.

Thank you very much for taking the time to write to me and for considering my letter.

Sincerely Yours,