Nigel Farndale, writing in the Sunday Telegraph has an interesting article about the British citizenship test that immigrants are required to take. Apparently Channel 4 aired a programme entitled Make Bradford British and as part of an experiment asked a group of born-and-bred Bradfordians to sit the British Citizenship Test, the one introduced by Gordon Brown in 2005. A staggering 90 per cent of them failed it. Farndale notes that most of the questions seemed to be about the welfare system, the inner workings of the European Union, multiculturalism, and sexual harassment law - noting that it was like being stuck in a lift with Harriet Harman.
Compare and contrast with that operated in Switzerland where cantons and communes can grant citizenship. It will be noted that listed among the requirements of those seeking Swiss citizenship are integration into Swiss society and familiarity with Swiss customs, traditions and lifestyle - plus 12 years residence. It has to be said that perhaps a little more attention paid to those three 'conditions' would have resulted in a lessening of the problems presently experience in our society.
Why should not those amongst whom an immigrant lives be the deciding voice where citizenship is concerned? Of course this is not acceptable to some and the BBC, in 2007, reported a case of a disabled man originally from Kosovo. Although fulfilling all the legal criteria, his application for citizenship was rejected by his community on the grounds that his disability made him a burden on taxpayers, and that he was Muslim. Leaving to one side the man's ethnicity, as 'benefits' in Switzerland are paid by local communes and cantons the people of his community decided they they weren't prepared to foot the bill. As it is their money, who can deny them the right to decide how and on whom it should be spent?
Now of course, if we had direct democracy.........................
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