Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Non-British citizen

I have no national loyalty whatever. It makes little difference to me whether I'm British, Swedish, Namibian or Nepalese, as long as my life's going well. So I'm rather pleased I failed the Practice UK Citizenship Test by getting a mere 50%.

Hardly surprising since the questions are so obscure and so irrelevant to what you might think Britishness is actually all about - democracy, equality, fairness, decency etc.

I mean, what is one to make of esoteric questions such as:

Name two places where the European Parliament meets
Give the number of children and young people under 19
Give the percentage of people who are Muslims
Give the number of MPs' constituencies

These aren't questions about Britishness, they're questions about Europe, age groups, religion and parliament. They're questions about official statistics. They have virtually nothing to do with the everyday life of the ordinary citizen.

Of course the alternative questions, the ones actually to do with such concepts as democracy, would be far too embarrassing to ask. For example:

Why do the police stop people taking photographs on the grounds of terrorism?
Why are there so many CCTV cameras?
Why are so many black people in prison?
Why do so many old people die of hypothermia?

Now that type of question would sort the desirable British citizen from the undesirable, deferential forelock-tugger we could do without. Toadies go home, I say.

PS: I'm jolly partial to tea, marmalade, boiled eggs and chips. Dash it, how can I not be British?

14 comments:

Baino said...

Ah but they are questions to which the answers can be 'learned' giving the applicant a better chance of achieving citizenship or residency. We have a similar test but it's easy to pass if you take a little time to study. Although there is a question about embracing freedom and democracy. The questions you pose apply equally here. Tragic that we're so concerned about what a "Baggy Green" is as a cultural identifier.

For those who don't know, it's the flat cap worn by the Aussie cricket team. Best way to get into Australis? Play elite sport.

Nick said...

Baino - Not sure if mugging-up on the basis of the practice test would work. Presumably the actual questions are different. I would have guessed a Baggy Green was a waterlogged lawn, lol.

Rummuser said...

You are as good as your promise Nick. I have been receiving some other emails from non blogging friends which are truly hilarious. The site that offers to teach people to pass the examination is another big joke. Have fun and laugh.

Nick said...

Ramana - Several of the questions are about the British welfare system. So the more you know about obtaining (and fiddling?) benefits, the more British you are?

Cinnamon said...

Very good- lol- I couldn't answer those questions either- maybe I shouldn't be British!

Quickroute said...

I had to take a similar test to get my US citizenship - stick it in the short term memory for a week - pass test - remember none of it now as do 95% of citizens

Nick said...

Cinnamon - Your deportation papers are in the post....

Quicky - That shows how farcical these tests are, just swot-and-forget answers that have nothing to do with real life.

kylie said...

so why do so many old people die of hypothermia and shouldnt you put a jumper on?

Wisewebwoman said...

I had to pass a test before becoming a Canadian, and I don't believe I'm a real Canadian as I crossed my fingers behind my back when I pledged allegiance to the queen.
Bad girl.
XO
WWW

Nick said...

Kylie - They do put jumpers on, but they can't afford to heat their houses properly on the miserable state pension. And if they aren't taking enough exercise, their bodies aren't warm enough.

www - I would have done the same. So if I want to abolish the monarchy, am I even less British?

Megan said...

That first sentence really interests me.

None whatsoever? Really?

*turns and looks at self*

Yes, I agree. Me too. How interesting. I don't think I ever thought about that until just now.

Nick said...

Megan - My feeling is that all the things Britain can boast about are more than equalled by all the things it does amazingly badly, so why should I be rooting for Britain? And the same equation applies to most other countries.

Grannymar said...

If the questions for that test were printed as a Quiz, I wonder how many MPs with degrees in fiddling expenses, could answer them?

Nick said...

Grannymar - I'm sure even the MPs would be stumped by some of the questions. Unless they were on the lines of "What is the maximum an MP can claim for reroofing the conservatory?"