Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I vow to thee my country

Swearing an oath of allegiance? Nope. Let this one sink like the stone it undoubtedly is. While I back the idea of citizenship ceremonies for adult migrants to this country, who are changing their allegiance, I think that this kind of public ceremony for kids is extraordinarily un-British. Besides, how is swearing allegiance to the Crown going to work in Cornwall, Wales or Scotland – let alone with a large chunk of the population across the sea in Northern Ireland – some of whom have no desire to be citizens of the Crown? It seems to work better in the US, but there the daily Pledge of Allegiance has been kicking around for over a century and has been legally recognised since the 1940s. All traditions have to start somewhere, but this one should stop here for us.

By all means, let’s educate children about how society works, give them an understanding of what politics is, how it works and what it can achieve. Above all, teach them that they have rights, but that those rights carry heavy responsibilities that provide the basis of society.

Mind you, if it would help the England rugby and cricket teams remember that they are supposed to win things, perhaps it isn't such a daft idea.

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