Steve Forman

You’ve possibly heard this week that Steve Forman, percussionist on Pink Floyd’s A Momentary Lapse of Reason album among so many other things, is fighting to remain in the UK.

Steve, originally from Los Angeles, has worked as a teacher at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow for four years. He has lived in Scotland for the last six.

Absurdly unable to renew his work visa because his academic salary is not deemed high enough (he would need to be earning in excess of £31,000 a year), should his appeal prove unsuccessful, he will be required to leave Scotland and return to the US within seven days. In the meantime, he has been suspended from his teaching post.

His students have started a petition to allow him to stay.

“We need innovators and mentors like him. I find it very odd that he is being faced with being sent back to the US when he clearly has so much to offer the next generation. It is wonderful that he has chosen to channel his unique talent into teaching. His skills and approach are totally his own and as far as I know there is nobody I know of like him teaching rhythm in the UK or even Europe.” – David

That’s the UK for you, folks. Convicted murderers can come in and kill again, maybe kill themselves if they wish. Drug dealers, hate preachers and other assorted wasters who cause such tremendous grief are allowed to stay. We’ll take a decade and spend millions of pounds trying to get those who we decide pose a threat to our national security to leave. We’ll house and pay benefits to their families whether or not they contribute anything to society. I mean, it’s not like there aren’t better ways of spending that money.

We’ll pay six-figure sums in compensation when we let the wrong person in and they raise hell. We’ll allow killers to exploit Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects the “right to private and family life,” or use Article 14, which protects against discrimination, as a reason to bleat about their real or imagined “suffering” so that they too can stay.

We’ll grant asylum to boastful Sudanese war criminals who have wiped out entire villages, murdering countless innocent civilians.

So why exactly can’t Steve stay? And why isn’t £31,000 enough to support yourself when millions of us are getting by on far less?

We let the low-paid and low-skilled in – for whom £31,000 is, frankly, a small fortune – and, if you believe the hysteria, this causes great social unrest, which is why immigration continues to be the topic people won’t shut up about. But don’t you go worrying about that, silly old capitalism. You’ll always get your way.

I cannot grasp why anyone who is law-abiding and successful, who has a (part-time) job that pays above the national full-time average wage, is paying taxes and making a positive difference to people’s lives within the community he has chosen to make his own, should be turfed out when he is clearly welcome and wanted.

The Scottish Government, rightly pointing out that “immigration policy in the UK is inflexible and does not address Scotland’s particular economic and demographic needs,” has asked the Home Office to reconsider. Yesterday, a motion was lodged in the Scottish Parliament in support of Steve’s case.

(I promise to say nothing about how all this wouldn’t even be an issue were Scotland independent now, because then it would be for Scotland to decide who stays in Scotland, not London…)

The very best of luck to Steve with his appeal, and have a good weekend, everybody. May common sense and justice prevail.