After much searching, wondrous friend Kea of Arcadian Functor has a great new job at Oxford, and was scheduled to speak at Imperial College January 7. Unfortunately, she has been delayed by bureaucratic madness.
"It turns out that I will not be talking at Imperial College on Jan 7 after all, because unknown representatives of the UK government are holding my passport while my visa application is being processed. I was informed that the application had been deemed non standard (I cannot imagine how, having answered all the questions and, as far as I can tell, obtained the maximum possible score on the points system) which sounds ominously like 'you'll be waiting a while to hear from us'."
Trouble like this has occurred before, on a speaking trip to Imperial College no less. UK immigration officials are truly out of control. Even when one has a job, letters of acceptance, and a speaker schedule; petty tyrants can close the gate. This silliness did not stop July 7, July 21 or the 2007 London-Glasgow bombs. Home secretary Jacqui Smith admits that London streets are no longer safe at night. Perhaps the cowards in uniform should start pestering criminals and not innocent citizens. At this rate no sane scientist will want anything to do with Britain, but the bad guys will still come.
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