Getting Irate So That You Don't Have To

Getting Irate So That You Don't Have To

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

1st April Come Early ?

I wish I had Lord Goldsmith's job. I'd love to be paid thousands for talking twaddle.

Apparently the ex-attorney general is serious when he says that school-leavers should be encouraged to swear an oath of allegiance to Queen and country. He also wants a "Britishness" public holiday. And suggests, if you please, that our kids might be encouraged to sing "We Are The World". Give me strength. If this were 1st April, you'd really be thinking that this must be the day's spoof story. Unfortunately it's 11th March, and it isn't.

It is symptomatic of new-Labour's "big government solves everything" thinking that they really believe it desirable to stand teenage children in a line and ask them to swear an oath of allegiance. It is also clear that they do not understand one of the key results of devolution; that the genie is out of the bottle and we are moving to ever-greater separation of the four nations. People's feeling of "Britishness" cannot be rekindled through gimmicks such as bank holidays.

Slightly lower under the surface of these dreadful proposals lies another misconception - that patriotism and royalism come down to the same thing. Is every republican unpatriotic ? I love my country (that country being England, by the way, not Britain). I believe there is much in our history and the values we stand for today that I can be proud of. But I'm dammed if that means that I am automatically loyal to an unelected Head of State.

And then there is the assertion that getting children to take this oath will in some way increase unity and a common sense of belonging. Doubtful. If the government really want to give young people the feeling that this country is worth having an allegiance to, then it could do worse than:
..getting politicians to behave honourably and honestly instead of ripping us off and treating us like idiots; the English the same trappings of national identity than they have bestowed upon everyone else;
..stopping invading other countries; us some of our hard-earned money back.

If this comes in by the time Womble On Tour Junior I & II come to leave school I won't indoctrinate them with my own prejudices, I'll let them make up their own minds. When I was 16, I'd have taken the oath, no question. And they may well do. But if Lord Goldsmith seriously believes that that, itself, will make them better citizens in a more unified country, then he's even crazier than this idea suggests.

1 comment:

Shades said...

I don't think it would get taken seriously in Government either, but mainly because it doesn't fit in with the Regionalisation Agenda. The cynic in me thinks though that it will be easier to pledge allegiance to the European Soviet if we are already in the habit of pledging allegiance to a leader and a flag already.