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Our Crack Tongue & Groove

Aug12comment.jpg When your future depends on our past

Yep, this cultural test is set for a big revamp with May seeking to replace sections from ‘Life in the UK: A Journey to Citizenship’ on the Human Rights Act, with a lot more information about British history. (And, to be fair, the government seems hell bent on disbanding the Human Rights Act for the rest of us, too.)

The new book is due to include profiles of the Queen, the Duke of Wellington, Isambard Kingdom Brunel and Gustav Holst which, at the very least, should give migrants an idea of the kind of stock that us Brits come from. (The Queen is descended from a German family and married a Greek migrant; the Duke of Wellington was born in Ireland; Brunel is the son of a migrant; as is Gustav Holst.)

Conservative ministers are also insisting that migrants should be able to recite the first verse of God Save The Queen, which, I’ll concede, is a decent move. Everyone should have at least a basic grasp of who The Sex Pistols were. (And if there are any migrants reading, here’s a heads-up on that one: “God save the Queen, the fascist regime, they made you a moron, potential H-bomb”.)

What’s not so clear is why the government are placing so much emphasis on all of these historical figures. It seems that they’re not too bothered about migrants being able to fill in home insurance claims, just so long as they can form a shit-hot pub quiz team.

No: I propose that people really wanting to fit into life in the UK should be asked if they can truthfully answer in the affirmative to the following questions: Could you mutter the words “That was lovely” to a restaurant waiter while he’s taking away your unspeakable gristle and gravy combo? Could you look as though you were enjoying yourself while stuck at a hideously ironic Eurovision Song Contest party at someone’s house while secretly hating it? Will you buy one (but preferably multiple copies) of that Adele album? Give a hearty “Yes!” to all of the above and you’ll be integrated quicker than you can say “Florence Nightingale? Isn’t she out of Florence and the Machine?” RM