Azara Blog: School-leavers might be forced to swear an oath of allegiance

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Date published: 2008/03/11

The BBC says:

School-leavers should be encouraged to swear an oath of allegiance to Queen and country, says a report commissioned by Gordon Brown on British citizenship.

Report author, ex-attorney general Lord Goldsmith, says it would give teenagers a sense of belonging.

Council tax and student fee rebates are suggested for people who volunteer - as well as a "Britishness" public holiday.

The PM's spokesman said he welcomed the "interesting" review, adding that it had sparked "quite a lively debate".

However, John Dunford from the Association of School and College leaders said the citizenship ceremony was "a half-baked idea".

Dunford hits it in one. It looks like we might discover in a few years that most of the crackpot ideas emanating from the Blair government were not Blair's but Brown's. This particular idea of swearing an oath is more likely to breed total cynicism than "a sense of belonging", since teenagers will evidently be forced to mouth something they don't particularly believe, and they're not stupid.

And council tax rebates "for people who volunteer" is another crackpot idea. What does "volunteer" mean? Does publishing material online for the public free of charge count as volunteering? Does looking after stray animals count as volunteering? Does carrying out tasks associated with one's job but for which one is not paid count as volunteering? Who is going to decide what "volunteer" means? What kind of crazy bureaucracy are we going to have to introduce to vet all the claims of "volunteering"?

Fortunately for Goldsmith, he will not be remembered in a few years for this silly report. Unfortunately for Goldsmith, he will only be remembered for illegally allowing Blair to start an illegal war in Iraq.

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