Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Citizenship Cart Before The Monarchical Horse

There's a basic flaw in linking the swearing of allegiance to the Queen by school-leavers to 'citizenship'.

Under a monarchical system (even a constitutional monarchy), we are not 'citizens' at all, but 'subjects'.
We are not citizens of the British State but 'subjects of the Crown', in whose name all State business and legal process is conducted.
It follows that the first requirement for having any form of 'citizenship' process or ceremony is to abolish the monarchy and become a republic.

Personally, I would be no happier swearing allegiance to a republic, a nation state or any other abstraction than swearing allegiance to the Queen.
I am allegiance-free and that's the way I like it. That's probably a very common attitude in Britain.

I originally wrote 'a very common British attitude' but then realised I was falling into the trap of defining national characteristics.
It's the trap that Lord Goldsmith's report falls into, for it is reported as saying that volunteering is a British characteristic. So nobody does voluntary work in other countries?
That's the kind of nonsense you end up spouting when you try to define national values and national character: smug, arrogant, divisive, meaningless drivel.

Fortunately, a lot of young people are intelligent enough to recognise it as such and swear a few oaths of their own in their characteristically colourful, idiomatic way, probably featuring the words 'oath', 'allegiance', 'up', 'stick' and 'arse'.


At 4:11 PM, Blogger Vicus Scurra said...

Pretty much what I've just posted myself.
Just a slightly different choice of words....but I endorse every one of them.


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