Does Monica Ali Know Enough to Be British?

2009 July 31
by Henry

Monica Ali writes in The Atlantic about the British citizenship test and how it fails to present a true picture of the real Britain.

I remember taking one of the online tests that immediately sprang up, to see if I knew enough to be truly British. I did fine on the historical questions. The other stuff was trickier. I couldn’t name the four national saint’s days in order (Saints David, Patrick, George, and Andrew). PG, I guessed, was one of the nation’s favorite brands of teabags. It is—but in the book, PG was the “Parental Guidance” part of the cinema classification system. I did guess right that if we spill someone’s pint in the pub, what we are supposed to do is offer to buy them another. (Although I had been tempted to plump for another option, which was to prepare for a fight in the car park. That might be more accurate, in certain pubs at least.)

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