Julia’s journey to citizenship, testing Brown’s Britain

2009 September 10
by Henry

There’s a great post over on the Labourhome blog by Julia Svetlichnaja about her observations having taken the British citizenship test.

There were no questions regarding history, current affairs, how the country is governed, culture or politics. All the questions were related to Government policies: such as the preconditions for taking paternity leave or who has a priority in free housing. There were also lots of questions about the subtleties of Council Tax. When are children allowed to work? What is their minimum wage? The majority of questions were very specific about such topics as solicitors, credit and debit cards and property leases. In short, all about how to navigate through endless policies and rules, clauses and exemptions, it was all very instrumental; questions did not seek any understanding of what society is about, only how to obey the rules. I was quickly aware that I was in the power of the people paid to create these rules and I would not escape easily.

The government is running a consultation to see if the test should “made more difficult” by adding history and government questions. I’m doubtful whether such additions will make the test more difficult – however it might make it more relevant to what Britain is about and what makes it one of the best countries and democracies in the world.

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