Posted by: lucylastic | March 11, 2008

There’ll always be an England!

The first two items on the 8 O’Clock news this morning on Radio 2 struck me as oddly contradictory.  First, was the report that, in an effort to instil some semblance of pride into our ‘yoof’ we make them take an oath to HM the Queen and to the State as they leave school – according to the report – ‘this will make them feel some ownership of the theory they have been learning, and they can go forth as true citizens to apply that learning’.  Hmmm.  We’ll see.  If all it takes is an Oath taking ceremony, then I am all for it, unfortunately, I think they might be missing something.  Second item was that the Govt is becoming increasingly concerned that large numbers of Asian children ‘disappearing’ from school in their mid to late teens may be being coerced into arranged marriages.  It’s estimated that as many as 3000 Asian teenagers ‘disappeared’ in the last year alone and the Govt are being urged by the Schools Dept to ‘dig deeper’ as to their whereabouts – but what will this accomplish?  As far as I can see, there is a proportion of the population that wants the benefits, but is not prepared to conform – what will we do if we find these missing youngsters?  We are powerless – both as individuals and as a State.    

As someone who has spent around 25% of my life living outside of the UK, (which is where I was born), I have always worked on the assumption that I had to adopt the laws, rules and regulations of the country I was entering.  In Singapore – where it’s against the rules to do almost anything in public except walk along quietly – I walked quietly with the rest.  In Germany, where they take up to 57% of your salary in some sort of tax or another I paid without complaining, but benefited from living in a City where one could leave a laptop, phone and whatever else on the front seat of the car and they would still be there several hours later – there was virtually no unemployment and the streets were clean and well cared for.  In Spain, where I paid a paltry amount in the equivalent of Council Tax I got my bins emptied daily, the streets swept morning and night, my old fridge taken away from a central collection point 50 metres from my door at no charge and without having to request it specially several weeks in advance.  My son, who attended the local village school was faced with teachers who spoke no English and he got on pretty well in Spanish within a couple of months.  No building of English schools at state expense there.  Join in or lump it.  Now, I know my experiences don’t compare with being forced into an illegal marriage, but I do think we’ve been very soft with the parts of our population that are non White – we tiptoe around their sensibilities lest we offend anyone and are paying the price.  It’s going to take more than a rousing chorus of God Save the Queen and Rule Britannia to fix it.

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