So the news today is full of this story about how the first ‘citizenship ceremony’ has taken place today, with people becoming UK citizens by swearing an alliegence to the Queen… Don’t know about you, but if that was a requirement of being a citizen of anywhere, count me out! I won’t sing the national anthem, wouldn’t swear an allegience to any flag or monarch, and find the notion that people wanting to become british citizens have to do so really distasteful. So people who are anti-monarchy on principle aren’t entitled to become british citizens? Or are they just required to lie? Either way, it’s pretty odd.
But it has got me thinking about what it means to be a ‘citizen’ of anywhere. Why do we need any sense of alliegence to a monarch, flag, piece of land or culture? What is the value system that I subscribe to, beyond finding most of what goes on in the world pretty distasteful. I’d find it hard to swear an alliegence to any group that a) contained humans, and b) would let me in… :o)
And why do we need to – surely people are required to agree to obey the law of the land – as they are when visiting. But beyond that, what does citizenship mean over and above that? Why should someone switch their ‘alliegence’ away from their country of birth because their life circumstance means they’ve ended up having to live here?? I mean, If I was born in a war-torn country, I’d want to get the hell out of it, but it wouldn’t neccesarily mean that I didn’t still love it, and that appreciating the generousity of my host country would be enough?
Maybe the key is in the application – to become a british citizen. Can you live in the UK long term without that? I guess so… so where’s the advantage? travelling in and out again…? I dunno, it’s all very strange, but I’m still not happy with swearing alliegences to flags and monarchs, especially given what the monarchs have done through history, and what the flag represents round the world now…
I swear an alliegence to the independent republic of steve, one nation under the influence…
Anyway, gig tonight in Petersfield – looking forward to it. See you there!
Soundtrack – mainly BBC Radio London, but also the recordings with BJ from ‘tother day.by