Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Swearing Allegiance

Part of the Government's review of citizenship is to suggest that teenagers swear allegiance to the Queen. Mmm, this is a tricky one for me. I am an absolute monarchist, I believe the Queen has been a wonderful head of state and abhor the idea of a republic. Yet this makes me feel slightly uncomfortable.

I can't help feeling its a cheap stunt. Teenagers who feel alienated and at odds with the community won't all of a sudden change their minds just because they've been forced to attend a special assembly at school and recite some meaningless words. And presumably that's how they'll view them - the same way I viewed having to participate in Catholic masses at school. And is it a quick jump from swearing allegiance to the Queen (something I would have no problem doing) to swearing an allegiance to Her Majesty's Government?

And what about Republicans? I don't agree with the view, but to many people it is a passionately held opinion. Can it be fair to demand that they swear allegiance to the Queen? To some Catholics in Northern Ireland and the West of Scotland the monarchy represents repression of their faith.

Also, it seems ridiculous that we're asking young people to consider their rights and responsibilities as citizens at the age of 16. By then its far too late. And why only teenagers? Why not everyone?

There's nothing wrong with swearing allegiance to the Monarch, but I fear this is a poor way of encouraging good citizenship and loyalty to the country.

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