Monday, March 10, 2008

PLANS FOR BRITISHNESS BANK HOLIDAY



It looks like an extra Bank Holiday could soon be on the way. A review commissioned by Prime Minister Gordon Brown has recommended that we should have a special Bank Holiday to celebrate Britishness. The day will be similar to the American 4th July day, Australia Day and the French Bastille Day. It is proposed that the new Bank Holiday would be introduced from 2012 to coincide with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year, marking her 60th anniversary as ruling monarch and also the London Olympics. Under the new plans, schoolchildren would take part in special citizenship ceremonies at a special “coming of age event. In addition they would also pledge an oath of allegiance to the country but not necessarily the Monarch and to having respect for the law. The review has suggested that youngsters could pledge an oath of allegiance to the country or flag and an understanding of the rights and responsibilities of what it means to be a British citizen. In addition, foreign immigrants who could not afford language lessons, would be given “language loans” to help them to learn English. Also people would be encouraged to do volunteer work in their local community. Those who do will be rewarded with a small council tax rebate for their efforts. Former Attorney-General Lord Goldsmith who made the recommendations believes that his proposals will promote a sense of unity and belonging in Britain, encourage national pride in the country and strengthen British citizenship. Gordon Brown is also keen to introduce a new Bank Holiday but unlike Lord Goldsmith would like it to focus more on our British heritage and in particular the Armed Forces. A petition on the Downing Street website to introduce a Bank Holiday to mark the contribution made by British service personnel has already attracted over 500,000 supporters.

Lord Goldsmith’s proposals have come under fierce criticism from many of the population who think they are a waste of time. Also many anti-Royalists say they would never pledge an allegiance to the Monarch and wouldn’t want their kids to do so either. However my personal view is that the idea of pledging some kind of allegiance is a good idea in theory. Things have gone so wrong in Britain in recent years with rising crime rates, the best thing that could come out of this is it could restore a sense of national pride in the country and promote some kind of unity amongst the people living here. I visited the U.S. a few years ago and was surprised to see how many flags were displayed everywhere. There were flags in shops, offices, churches and some people displayed flags proudly outside their homes. When did you last see any flags on display in this country? If you didn’t know better, you would think that we didn’t have a flag and the Union Jack was non-existent. People’s attitude towards their country in America seems to be so different to here. Everywhere there seems to be that sense of national pride that is sadly lost in Britain. I believe that pledging an oath of allegiance is the norm over there. It might not be such a bad thing to introduce it over here, although I’m sure I’ll come under a lot of criticism from many of my fellow Brits reading this blog, for saying so. I’m already waiting for a rush of comments to flood in on this post! Please keep all comments clean, no matter how strongly you feel about this. Comments containing bad language will not be published.

Making youngsters swear an oath of allegiance to having respect for the law, might be a good thing with the recent frightening rise in youth crime. I also think it would give children, particularly younger children a sense of belonging and appreciation of their country. I personally would never want to live in a republic with a president. Britain is a country steeped in history and tradition. I like the fact that it is one of the few countries of the world that still has a Monarch on the throne. I’ve always been a Royalist. I know some members of the Royal family have let the Queen down badly by their behaviour. But the Queen has always served the country well and even in her eighties is one of the hardest working members of the Royal family. Long may she reign over us!

3 comments:

SandyCarlson said...

This sounds like a wonderful holiday, Naomi. Our age has fallen into the habit of fault-finding, and in this light patriotism is seen as a sign of being naive. There is so much that is beautiful about your culture; a celebration of it can only be a good thing. Studies have shown that children who know about the history of their communities feel a stronger commitment to it and do better in life. This can only be a good thing. I hope I'll somehow be able to enjoy your celebration!

Thanks for visiting me today and taking the time to comment.

Sank said...

Hey Naomi,
I might just have to disagree with on this one. Loyalty pledges arn't going to stop any crime. We've had one here recited by every school ever day of their lives and it hasn't really done anything.
I've never been all that impressed with most folks patriotism, in this country we're quite prone to folks who fly the flag and pledge allegiance with out understanding what it means, what the country is really about, they just assume. Our Pledge of allegiance is a great example. I've had so many people tell me teh Founding Fathers intended for us to be relgious which is why Under G-d is in the pledge... All not true.

Sorry for the rant.
BTW, If I were living in the UK I'm not sure if I'd be a Royalist or not. Seems not good that simply by brith you are "entitled" to the status, money and property they are. On the other hand, the tradition is nice, but you have to find a way to retire the old ones when they aren't relevent.

Naomi said...

Hi Sandy and Sank

Thanks to you both for stopping by and giving your different viewpoints on this subject.