Thursday 13 March 2008

Swearing allegiance

I don't know whether to laugh or cry at reports of plans to make young people swear allegiance to Queen and "country". The Labour Government in Westminster is surely in dire straits if they think this is a good idea, and I don't see what's in it for them at all. It makes them look crazy - there's no popular demand for this idea outside of an Orange Walk, and everyone from Labour peers to the Scottish Government think it's completely unnecessary.

Leave aside for a second the fact that education is devolved, and therefore entirely outwith the jurisdiction of the Prime Minister. Personally, I would be completely offended if a teacher insisted I recited some pledge against my will. I can see young people (and indeed, plenty of teachers!) in Scotland rebelling against the idea, which can only help to highlight the need for Scottish Independence.

People who know me know that I've no particularly strong views on the Queen, but I know plenty of people who do hold strong republican views. I expect they will be aghast that Lord Goldsmith

...could not see why Republicans would not want to swear an oath, even though they may not believe in the present system of government.

Perhaps because they have strongly held principles? Ah, wait, right enough, New Labour do have a problem recognising such things!

I was fairly reassured that even
people who do have a fairly favourable opinion of the Queen think this is a daft idea. Brian Taylor rather neatly points out the many flaws of the idea, and there's even a facebook group. I'm pretty nervous however that this puts me on the same side of the fence as Terry Kelly...

I don't understand why Lord Goldsmith thinks that this idea will give teenagers a sense of belonging over anything else. I don't think that this will benefit anyone. I don't believe that it's right that people should be forced into reciting this kind of thing against their beliefs (I've been uncomfortable about this since a primary teacher made our entire class recite the Lords Prayer every morning). The whole idea smacks of a last gasp attempt to patch together the British state.

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