Colin Grant remembers his father, ‘Bageye’ Grant:
Though Bageye never really expressed much enthusiasm for Britain, he had an uncomplicated attachment to his moral right to be here. His British passport bore the stamp ‘Right of Abode’. And so what more was there to discuss?
What more indeed? Paulette Wilson, also from Jamaica, had exactly the same uncomplicated attachment, only she had no passport. And because she had no passport, and because the Home Office was not inclined to listen, she ended up, aged sixty-one, in a prison van on her way to Heathrow to be deported to a country she hadn’t seen for fifty years. Having entered the UK under a definition of nationality that was light on paperwork and heavy with hope, here she was being brutally expelled from a country where she’d lived all her adult life.
Paulette Wilson wasn’t the only one, although exactly how many there were is difficult to assess in a scandal where the numbers are usually sliced and diced according to whether people self-deported or were detained, deported or refused re-entry. Amelia Gentleman’s book is based on thirty cases, but