Tuesday, 4 August 2009
Who Wants To Be A British Citizen?
I also blog at Cambridge University Labour Club Blog - www.cambridgeunilabour.blogspot.com - and this is a post originally from there.
A new Home Office paper on tackling immigration is proposing a "points test for citizenship". These points come out of a speech given yesterday by the Immigration Minister, Phil Woolas. There is so much I dislike about how they are going about this, but I'll try and keep it short.
First, potential migrants can increase their chances, and the speed of their application being processed if they canvass for a political party. This is pretty low of Labour. Migrants are quite naturally going to vote for the party in government - it's the 'Do not bite the hand that feeds' principle. Labour are more sympathetic to immigration than are the Tories, so Labour are essentially blackmailing the migrants into canvassing. Who else would the migrants vote for? Most British don't know what the Lib Dems are, so migrants are less likely still. By encouraging this canvassing by aspirational citizens, Labour are getting a few more dark faces on the street, with use a few more languages thus increasing the numbers of people they can contact. Something just doesn't seem right with it.
Next, so-called 'Orientation Days', which the aspirational citizens will have to attend, where they will be taught about British values, norms and customs. I can think of nothing more precise to say here than 'what the fuck'. Who really defines themselves as British? I don't think there really is a Britishness at all. Any geographical identity is much more tightly focused - Yorkshieman, Londoner, Country Bumpkin, Welshman. I wonder what these 'British values' might be - I dare say these will be values that are pretty rare amongst the general population. I'd hazard a guess it will consist of telling them to respect others, queue politely, please and thank you and other such condescending crap that exists only in the mind of the dementia-addled elder generations and in the rhetoric of middle-market journalism. These orientation days will essentially be preaching passivity and compliance. And as for norms and customs... by god. Binge drinking and getting reamed twice weekly in an alleyway? Competitiveness in every sphere? Not knowing your neighbours names? Giving your kids a good smack around the chops if they do something wrong, or more likely, if they just piss you off? These are the real 'norms' we face.
On from this, an 'active disregard' of UK values will lead to penalisation for the applicants. Isn't this just the spirit of multiculturalism? You WILL do things our way, or else we won't let you in. Phil Woolas has said that migrants would be expected to show their allegiance to Britain. Bollocks to this! All I'll say is that I'm lucky I was born here, else I'd never get in.
Essentially then, our Labour government are here saying that unless migrants do as we ask and expect them to do, support our government and indeed canvass for it, unless they support our actions and do not protest, their chances of entering the country and receiving a passport will be hacked down.
And there is more. Upon their arrival, migrants can expect to wait 3 years before they receive citizenship, but this can be cut down to a year if there is proof that they are demonstrating integration into British life. The government proposes 'active citizenship' - getting involved in institutions such as being school governers, joining Unions, doing voluntary work and joining political parties. But oh how quick people would complain if they DID truly integrate into British life! If they integrated with white British life by climbing the career ladder and taking the well-paid jobs. If they integrated into the working-classes by joining the fight for the meagre rations of employment that are occasionally thrown into the estates. How quick people complain, and how quickly then the government will pander to their whims, when communities become as racially ghettoised as they are along class lines.
To bring this to a close, there is also the existing Citizenship test which must be passed (Life in the UK), but there will also be a 'more challenging test on British politics and history'. My knowledge of British history consists of sitting with grubby knees after playtime in Year 4, reciting the names of Henry VIIIs wives. And heaven forbid, a true appreciation of British politics, and few would want to come!
And the price of all this - just seven hundred and twenty of our Queen's (pbuh) own pounds. And of course, it is the migrants themselves who will be paying for the privelege of having their feet walk upon Englands pastures grim - or probably not, since the majority will be turned away for having 'bad character'. Unlike the 90,000 Brits in prisons of course...
The whole thing makes me feel dirty.