Do you ever get the feeling when you see a news story that you’ve been redirected to a carefully disguised satirical website? Or that someone is having a laugh, and that the story will be pulled before you get to the end of it?
Well, here’s one. For quite some time now, people wishing to become UK Citizens have had to pass a test on various aspects of life in the UK. As Cory Doctorow, who went through this process comments on Boing Boing, the existing test is not exactly ideal, requiring candidates to memorise such essential details as the number of seats in the Welsh Assembly, the exact years of particular political changes, and so on.
But never fear! Our government, or at least Theresa May, has a plan to make it Much Better. And when I say “better”, I mean slightly odd.
Out go dangerous modern notions like “rights” and in comes the Battle of Trafalgar and Lord Byron, who was described as “mad, bad and dangerous to know”, so I can see why Ms May would feel a certain affinity.
But the bit that made me think it was a bit of escaped satire was this:
A Home Office official said: “It’s a move away from the old one – stuff on rights, practical info that has little to do with British culture – to one that is clear about responsibilities and requires people to have a grounding in our history.”
That’s right, we don’t want our new citizens knowing how things work now, we want them to know how it all was a couple of centuries ago. Much better, of course.
You might recall that I just about passed the practice test when I gave it a try last year. I wonder how many of us who were born here would pass the new version?