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Home > Culture and Society

God Save Del Boy

The proposed new ceremony will cost 68 per person, but is it money well spent?

10 December 2003

David Blunkett is fighting his own battle for the hearts and minds of foreigners. He wants to win the hearts and minds of those foreigners who are applying to become British citizens.

Ever the romantic, Blunkett wants the process of becoming a British citizen to amount to more than just a few dozen application forms and 2 minutes in a photo booth. He wants it to be special. A bit of pomp and circumstance. A vision of the meadows of Albion, a tear in the eye for the old queen mum. The spirit of Tim Henman settling upon the head of each applicant like a silvery dove.

That sort of thing.

In real terms, he wants people who are granted British citizenship to sit (or stand) through a compulsory Britishizing ceremony in which they 1) wave the Union Jack; 2) sing God Save the Queen and 3) read an oath of loyalty to the Queen and to British "rights, freedoms and democratic values." Amen.

According to a PA News report: Home Office officials said the ideas had received widespread support in a consultation exercise launched in the summer.

Widespread support. If you read the small print you'll see that their findings are based upon 145 respondents to a survey. 145? Why not just ask David, his mum and his dog? The response would be about as meaningful.

And more to the point: does Blunkett honestly think that a couple of flags and a chorus of God Save The Queen is somehow going to make our new citizens more British? If he wants to imbue the incoming citizens with some genuine sense of being British, he needs to give them a proper baptism into our culture.

The ceremony should follow roughly the following course:

1) The citizenship ceremony is held in a realistic 'pub environment' - with the clocks set just before closing time. The new citizens are made to drink three pints of strong lager in quick succession while a rude barmaid shouts 'time to drink up now' and tries to snatch away their glasses.

2) The official in charge of the ceremony should make no real effort to hide his or her ingrained racism while teaching them the rules of cribbage.

3) Pork Scratchings are served.

4) Applicants are made to dance to Come On Eileen. If they fail to run very fast on the spot at the end of the bit that speeds up, their application is refused.

4) Applicants are then shown an episode of Only Fools And Horses, and are encouraged to boo whenever Racquel speaks.

5) Finally, the applicants are driven to the nearest motorway service station and left there to fend for themselves for 24 hours. They are only allowed to eat Ginster's pies or chicken bake from Julie's Pantry, and are obliged to spend at least 218 playing Time Crisis 2.

They are then free to enter society.

More citizenship here.

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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