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PEOPLE Now – The Royal Record

Posted by on Apr 15, 2015 in Blog

Curious about my work for PEOPLE Now? You can check out the Royal Record and more here!

A Cheat Sheet… On the US Immigration Process

Posted by on Apr 19, 2013 in Blog

A born and bred Brit, I admit that I have a limited understanding of the UK�s immigration process � I�ve never needed to know the specifics. Since moving to America, I�ve realised that unsurprisingly many Americans have similar knowledge gaps about their own system. Fellow �pundits� on cable TV news shows have asked me for mini tutorials about the topic. Many of the lovely people who bother to follow me on Twitter thought that when I received my Green Card it meant I�d become an American citizen. With the Boston suspects today, the way in which foreigners can settle in the US is once again front and centre of what I�ve discovered is a conversation that too easily confuses.

So back to basics. Although the US immigration process is incredibly complex, for foreigners who relocate to the Land of the Free, it essentially involves three stages and they progress through each one in turn.

The first step is the Nonimmigrant visa. Thereâ��s a variety of these – from the student to a diverse range of work visas. As we keep hearing, there are flaws in the system. The Obama administration recently announced that the quota for this yearâ��s H1B visa, the temporary work permit for skilled foreign workers, had been filled within five days. Meanwhile, there are around 11 million people in the US who donâ��t have a valid visa at all.

Once you�ve been in the US on a non-immigrant visa for usually at least three years, there is a possibility that you qualify to become a Legal Permanent Resident, i.e. can apply for a Green Card. Again, there are a number of different types. The process to get one is expensive and thorough � mine included a medical examination and in-person interviews, along with submitting a portfolio of my work that ran to several hundred pages. It�s worth noting that once you become a Legal Permanent Resident, the IRS has its hooks in you forever, although you can�t vote. Taxation without representation indeed.

Finally, after at least five years of living in the US with a Green Card, you can apply for the privilege of American citizenship, whereupon you can vote if you so choose.

The US immigration process is rigorous and lengthy � as it should be. It is of great credit to America when the shortcomings of the system are acknowledged and attempts made to address them. Too many highly skilled workers, people whom the IRS would benefit greatly from having on their books for the rest of their lives, struggle just to get US work visas, let alone manage to upgrade them to Green Cards.

As for the 11 million people living in America without the correct paperwork? If they were brought here as children, it seems morally right that they should be eligible for a path to citizenship. Perhaps the endless debate swirling around what is fair to those who arrived as adults suggests it would be far less emotive to give them a path to legal permanent residency and stop it there. For although to live in America is a long and difficult journey, it is an honour that around one million people legally manage to embark on and succeed in every year.

Thatcher’s Children

Posted by on Apr 17, 2013 in Blog

Just written some thoughts on Thatcher for The Huffington Post:

The Age of Impoliteness

Posted by on Mar 20, 2013 in Blog

Just written a rant for The Huffington Post on (the lack of) modern manners:

The Single Girl�s 10 Point Survival Guide to Valentine�s Day

Posted by on Feb 13, 2013 in Blog

Dug this one up from the archives… enjoy…!

To the Single Girl (SG), Valentines Day (VD) can be about as welcome as an STI – and as impossible to ignore. However, although VD could be construed as a conspiracy against the fabulously free, forced to witness the lovers exchanging bodily fluids on street corners, the lurve songs on the radio and every retail outlet literally making you see nothing but red â�� there are a few survival strategies that can help.

1. Close observation of your attached friends will reveal that VD has much in common with Christmas, its closest over-commercialised and thus fundamentally message-lost neighbour (Baby Jesus and Love being drowned by a sea of tack). Any event demanding jollity as a prerequisite rarely is jolly � even if it involves presents (25th December) or, in the case of VD, sex. The pressure to perform amidst heightened expectation will almost always lead to disappointment, and not just in the bedroom. Those who pine for restaurants and rings will inevitably have a commitment phobic partner who will dissolve into such a panic that they either ditch them or forget about the occasion altogether and after a screaming row offer a peace offering of some dead flowers from the local garage. Vice versa will be true for those who believe that the VD experience is overrated and should be ignored � their beloved will be going all out to impress, and just as much discord will ensue.

2. In the unlikely event your attached acquaintances actually appear to relish VD, and are of the obnoxious ilk who perpetually flaunt their blinged-up left hand whilst glorying in their over-priced plans, then let them have their moment and simply tune out their chatter. For their excitement is simply because they don�t have as much of a life and don�t get out as often as an SG. They and their disposable income are tied up with the demands of other people, both large and small. You, on the other hand, get to play after midnight if you so wish, since you do not have a partner lacking the stamina or a babysitter on double time, both desperate to return home.

3. The SG too has reason to celebrate the 14th February – being single means that everything is possible. You may still end up with Bradley Cooper; the smug girl who sits opposite you at work cannot, as she is too tied up taking trips to IKEA with Wayne from IT.

4. You also have the option to make mischief with your attached work colleagues, and ensure they, not you, are possessed by the green-eyed monster. If you really feel the need to fight back by showing off something tangible from someone who loves you, employ the reciprocal arrangement. You and a friend send each other a delivery of flowers/chocolates/gift of your choosing to the office, and when it arrives you can be as mysterious as you like.

5. There is nothing wrong with marking the day with acts of kindness to people who will always love you and never ditch or divorce you � your friends and family. You are at liberty not to comply with the big VD commercial cabal, but you can embrace it if you feel the urge, and make calls and give chocolates to all those who mean something to you.

6. Of course a bullish perspective on VD can sometimes be hard to attain for an SG, especially for those recently single. If you suspect it is going to be tough, don�t put yourself in harm�s way of cooing couples wrestling with an unappetising set menu in an overcrowded restaurant, and instead give yourself the chance of finding fun. Attend a house party for singles, or go with fellow SGs and your gay best friends to a nightclub of the pink pound persuasion.

7. If your relatives are going through a tactful phase you can even visit them. The best 14th February Iâ��ve ever had was the one I spent with my Dad, who needed a wingman to a mind-blowingly good party. My enjoyment of the evening was further enhanced by what I had viewed from my cabbage (taxi-cab) window enroute – a queue of grumpy couples for Aberdeen Angus steak house, the restaurant chain so dubious that every other day of the year it is the sole realm of particularly clueless tourists.

8. You the SG has the advantage of not having to succumb to any pressure that is attached to VD. Give yourself a break â�� this is the one of the few days of the year where you are absolutely allowed to stay in. The â��special someoneâ�� gets to be you – a bit of self-pampering is no bad thing, and you can actually take charge of what you really want. You can just have a â��big duvetâ�� moment in front of a DVD, accompanied by the delicious dessert and/or rabbit of your choice (always keep spare batteries). If you long for love from a partner, you need to start by loving yourself before someone else will properly, so indulge yourself this 14th February.

9. Unlike many an attached soul, you will wake up this Friday having not had to fake anything the night before and wallet intact.

10. Best of all, you have reached February 15th, a date which is always a cause for celebration and congratulation. You have made it through the worst six weeks of the year � the Christmas cash flow issues, the dark long nights. You�ve got over VD and can move on to the pleasures of Spring and those long Summer nights so tailor made for SG footloose and fancy free fun.

Literati, Digerati & Twitterati Combine For The Twitter Fiction Festival

Posted by on Nov 28, 2012 in Blog

The Literati, Digerati and Twitterati are finally officially coming together – today marks the start of the first Twitter Fiction Festival.

From a historical perspective, this will no doubt be seen as a natural progression of serialised writing. Publishing got a new breath of life from Dickens� serialisation success and I�ve no doubt that the festival will similarly benefit the literary world in the twenty first century.

Hosted by Twitter, writers from five continents will showcase creative storytelling experiments in five languages.

Obviously, Iâ��ll be watching the official hashtag stream – #twitterfiction – with much interest. I co-authored a book published by Bloomsbury this year, The Twitter Diaries, with my friend Georgie Thompson. We met in real life at a New Yearâ��s Eve bash, she jetted back to London while I remained in NYC and we became fast friends from transatlantically tweeting. A novel seemed the obvious step â�� and I was rather proud to see it described in Metro today as a â��fluffy piece of chick litâ�� â�� yes it is! We set out to write exactly that â�� we all sometimes need some pure escapism in our lives. Our two heroines, @StellaCavill and @TuesdayFields continue to tweet suitably fluffy new material â�� whether it be about Daniel Craigâ��s Skyfalling, Maggie Smithâ��s Downton one-liners or a not so profound tweet yesterday from Stella about teeth whitening.

I�m imagining the #twitterfiction on offer will often be somewhat more highbrow, but the authors will face the same challenges and delights from the 140 character discipline. Having to write in tweets made Georgie and myself sharper. Funnier. We agreed that everything should be properly spelt � we were writing a book after all � and sometimes our characters would go onto a second tweet, but The Twitter Diaries in the end read like a fast paced conversation. It will be fascinating to see how the authors taking part in the festival narrate their stories, to what extent they write �standalone� tweets.

One thing is for sure � the literary and digital worlds will be all-a-twitter for some time to come.

My New Book

Posted by on Nov 15, 2012 in Blog

I’m very happy and excited that the following has just been announced in PubLunch. It’s a huge privilege to be working with St Martin’s and I know that I will learn so much from the legendary Michael Flamini. A massive thank you to my long time literary agent Sam Hiyate for his support over the years through thick and thin.

“Writer and television commentator Imogen Lloyd Webber’s THE CHEAT SHEET: HOW TO BE NEVER KNOWINGLY SHORT OF AN OPINION, a compendium of facts, formulas and philosophies that will make you the savvy star of any conversation in Obama’s America, Cameron’s United Kingdom and around the world, to Michael Flamini at St. Martin’s, by Sam Hiyate at The Rights Factory (NA).”

James Bond’s “Granddaughter”?!

Posted by on Nov 9, 2012 in Blog

Just written a piece for in celebration of the new Bond movie “Skyfall”…

Huffington Post: Glass Half Full, America

Posted by on Oct 25, 2012 in Blog

My latest piece for the Huffington Post about America’s place in the world economy has just been published: