UK Acts to Boost 'Britishness'

Lord unveils proposals to strengthen citizenship
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 11, 2008 4:18 PM CDT
Lord Goldsmith says his proposals will "make it clearer what it means to be a citizen."   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – The British government is considering a set of proposals intended to increase British pride and strengthen citizenship. An American-style pledge of allegiance—to the queen, not the flag—a new holiday to celebrate "Britishness," and a citizenship ceremony for schoolkids are under review, the Guardian reports. The peer who produced the proposals calls his ideas "practical measures that may help enhance a sense of shared belonging."

Lord Goldsmith suggested that the new holiday could debut in 2012, to coincide with the London Olympics. One of the most controversial proposals is the citizenship ceremony, which has been attacked as hollow and meaningless. "To ask 16-year-olds to troop into a hall and like Americans put their hands on their heart and take an oath of allegiance is risible," scoffs a civil rights lawyer.