The UK’s Home Secretary, Priti Patel, has placed for debate and implementation a new policy, which would allow the UK government to strip UK citizens of their citizenship without warning, nor written justification.
This comes in a context wherein the move to declare Hamas’s political wing a terrorist organisation passed, without opposition, even from Labour. The two are not coincidental, since opposition to UK policy on issues, including Palestine may lead to a loss of citizenship. Further, this is especially chilling as many fear providing aid to Palestinians, since Downing Street may seek to argue that this is supportive of Hamas, allowing for jailtime and now even the possible revocation of citizenship. Britain is now fully in support of Middle Eastern autocrats and Israel, while domestically the country is slowly creeping toward a system of attempted cultural homogenisation. Worryingly, this is also creating a system of tiered citizenship, which would see citizens of different backgrounds being legitimately fearful of their citizenship, and, therefore, resolving to remain silent on UK domestic and foreign policy issues.
Speaking to Radio Islam International, Naseem Ahmed, a close follower of UK politics, alluded to this creeping authoritarianism. Of specific concern would be the government’s ability to revoke citizenship without warning. He said, “with the new proposal that’s been introduced, the government can simply strip away your citizenship, not tell you why, and you will not know anything about it. So, you could potentially go on a holiday and your citizenship becomes [revoked], and then when you return, you find no, you’re no longer a British citizen.” Ahmed argues that this is unlikely to have a blanket application, but that more and more may become entrapped as the government’s authoritarian net widens.
Ahmed argued that this has a lot to do with the ‘terrorism’ discourse in the country, and is definitely linked to Hamas’s political wing being declared as terrorist. Citizens of other origins, despite being born in the UK, will likely be forced to adopt and/or remain silent on UK policy regarding its support of monarchs, and Israel, or risk having their citizenship revoked for supposedly supporting terrorism. Ahmed argues that this is not really good for UK interests, both in the short and long term, especially as London seeks to provide the impression that it is compliant and supportive of human rights.
It is noteworthy that Patel had to resign her position heading the UK’s International Development Agency in 2017 for accepting an Israeli sponsored holiday, and meeting people such as Netanyahu and Lapid, without alerting the UK government; she is a right-wing Zionist supporter.
Meanwhile, Ahmed noted that UK citizens, even amongst the middle classes, are now debating whether or not they need to secure their futures by maintaining savings and homes in countries such as Pakistan and India, putting pay to the notion that a secular democratic system such as the UK would protect their rights and not discriminate.