Tuesday, 11 March 2008

You can stick your oath...

So Lord Goldsmith wants all schoolkids to swear an oath of allegiance to "Queen and country", tax rebates for those who volunteer in the community and a public holiday to celebrate "Britishness" and foster "national pride."

At the risk of a lifetime prison spell, let me say this: Lord Goldsmith, your plans are idiotic.

There are so many holes in his proposals that I'm finding it difficult to find somewhere to start. To begin with, which "nation" is he talking about? The UK? Britain? Scotland? Or does this only apply to the commonly-mistaken-for-Britain: England? And while he wants an allegiance to the Queen, what of republicans? Especially those in Northern Ireland, for whom such a pledge could spark a renewal of anti-British hostility.

Now before anyone starts banging on that I'm being unpatriotic or partisan, let me say this. I understand the value of nationhood - possibly more than most, being a nationalist and all. And I do see some good in American-style ceremonies - they foster a sense of belonging and allegiance to a nation. But that allegiance is to a nation, and not to a figurehead whose role is undemocratic and hereditary.

I'm not alone in this either. Government figures in Scotland and Wales are against the proposals, as well as Labour peer Baroness Kennedy who calls the whole idea "rather silly."

Now I guess I am (in our sense of the word, not the American) a bit of a republican so I'm not that keen on the notion that, were I finishing school now, I'd have to swear allegiance to the Queen. And I'm even less keen on the suggestion that Lord Goldsmith sees no reason why a republican would have a problem with swearing such an oath.

So... these proposals will end up along with all of Gordon Brown's other hair-brained "British" ideas - somewhere near a landfill site.

2 comments:

Jeff 12 March 2008 at 13:13  

"I understand the value of nationhood - possibly more than most, being a nationalist and all."


Now there's a red rag to the unionists if ever I saw one...!

Malcolm Harvey 12 March 2008 at 14:49  

Just waiting to see who bites first...

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