Christmas day some new friends joined us. They are from Pakistan and so the news of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s assination takes on new meaning. Christmas day we spoke of the politics in Pakistan, the culture, the traditions. I mentioned how around the table we can know one another in a special way – the same way Jesus and his disciples came to know one another.

This news makes me sad and we mourn for their loss as this touches deep into their hearts, and thus ours. Why does this happen? 

Residency here we come!

Today we passed our ‘Life in the UK’ test, a requirement for becoming permanent residents. We studied a book on the culture of the UK, covering everything from politics to religion. Overall, it was a good process and I value it as a critical part of entering into the British culture. However, some questions were really obscure and I find them rather amusing. For example, Q: What regional dialect is spoken in Tyneside? A: Geordie. I cannot understand much of the Glaswegian accent in Partick so why do I need to know Geordie? Others were as specific as 0800#’s for various organizations and you might be asked what number to call! In the end, I got a bunch of questions about Scotland (yeah!) and was the first finished. I finished before Carol 🙂 but she probably beat me on the test; although you just get pass or fail without knowing what questions you missed.

After getting the obligatory passport photos taken at a photo kiosk and paying – get this – $1900, we can apply for our permanent residence visa (aka ILR visa). This visa is an important step for us as it means we are on our way to citizenship here (dual) and citizenship would then free us to do whatever we want throughout the EU without restrictions. It affects travel, citizenship, getting into the pension system, and being eligible for other benefits. For now, the visa enables us to stay as long as we wish, we can all hold paid jobs, and it means we knit ourselves deeper into the fabric of society. For that we are very grateful!

Let your yes be yes!

If you ask my wife or those that know me well, I’m a political junkie. Scottish politics, American politics, the inner workings, how the MSM skews reporting (I show my bias), etc. I am a maverick when it comes to my politics. Fairly ‘green’, low tax/no tax (due the impact on the economy), anti-union, strong corporate oversite, the list goes on. I voted for Perot the first national election – it really peaved my wife that I did – I’m not a single issue voter, not a Republican because of being an American Christian, and I think most people shouldn’t vote as they don’t know the issues well enough and they merely vote their wallet. I’m fed up with politicians lately and really wish they said what they thought, voted their conscience rather than the lobbyist who convinced them or the other politician that is ‘sratching their back’. So over the last couple months I’ve been looking for those that really let their ‘yes be yes’ and their ‘no be no’. I read this article recently that gave me a laugh but it shows how low things have gotten:


regarding the late night U.S. Senate proceedings. I thought it was a stunt and that they should all get on with the nations business.

After a couple of Republican amendments failed, Mitch McConnell took to the floor and offered his own amendment, which was a Sense of the Senate that Guantanamo detainees not be allowed released or moved to U.S. soil. To conservatives, this obviously makes sense. To liberals, especially California’s Dianne Feinstein, one of the chief proponents of the effort to close the detention center at Gitmo and relocate these detainees into the American justice system, especially when tagged onto a student loan and grant bill, you’d think this measure would go down in flames. Except a funny thing happened. The bill was titled in a way that you had to vote yes to vote no, and no to vote yes. The final vote was 94-3, officially putting the Senate on record as saying terrorist detainees shouldn’t be moved to the U.S. Before the Democrats, who clearly hadn’t read the amendment, realized they screwed up, the vote was recorded.”

Now the issue I see is that this is going to be used like a cheap parlor trick (or some other means of achieving the same), and in the end we lose because a yes isn’t a yes anymore and a no isn’t a no. I wish they would get on an govern as we elected them to do! Mike