True patriotism is more than a pledge…

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 Today when perusing through the BBC News website (as I do every morning) I saw the top story had a big picture of Her Majesty. Naturally my attention was well and truly captured. Then I noticed the title… “Pupils to take allegiance oath”. My initial reaction was one of joy, “Have the Royalists staged a coup?!”, however as reality set in and as I digested the story I found myself becoming…wait for it…opposed to the idea of an oath of allegiance.

A report commissioned by Gordon Brown on British citizenship suggests that School-leavers should be encouraged to swear an oath of allegiance to Queen and country. The report author, ex-attorney general Lord Goldsmith, says it would give teenagers a sense of belonging. I contest this. I believe it will be nothing more than hollow words to them and words are cheap. I think forced patriotism would actually devalue the notion of patriotism.  It shouldn’t be force, it should be natural. In principle I support the idea of the nation becoming more patriotic but I don’t feel that a pledge of allegiance is the best way to achieve it.

We need to educate our children about the importance of our country, our monarchy and our history. We need lessons to instill them with pride about our nation and the instituions and traditions that shape it. I don’t know about anyone else but I can’t remember one single lesson about what it is to be British, what the monarchy is, what the Queen does etc. Further to this lessons on British government were confined to an opitional module, funnily enough government and politics, and one brief seminar in General Studies. This is where the problem lies we aren’t educating our children so how can we expect them to be bothered about anything in this country?

National identity has been greatly eroded, the country once had pride, respect, loyalty and deference to Crown and Country. No longer. Contemporary British society has few such qualities. As is typical of New Labour they feel that they can sort it all out with mere words. This wont wash and it never has. New Labour came in to power with their slogan “Education, Education, Education”… well go on Gordon… let’s see some British education not a bloody pledge.

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12 thoughts on “True patriotism is more than a pledge…

  1. First i am annoyed you beat me at putitng a blog up on this,

    second you shoudl be doing your essays,

    third well done.

    on the whole part i agree with you it is a ridiculous it is ridiculous to force an oath us style it does not fit with out British sensibilities. if we want children to understand more about Britain then it is about time history was respected as a sub ject in schools, and not have its time erouded by citezenship, pse and every other new subject which is seen as a good replacement to a proper understanding of ones own history.

  2. haha glad to see there is a deal of consensus (don’t expect this to continue) and Ryan in regards to your essay point… I quite agree! 7000 words to do with only 7 days left and counting!… eeeekkkkkkkk

  3. Daniel,

    Your fascination with an octagenarian, philistine granny is a source of fascination to me. Not sure who is sadder.

  4. haha… its in the news gareth. It is a legitimate story to comment on and as Ryan has already pointed out… if I hadn’t of done it… he would have. Your negativity and hostility toward what you dub the “octagenarian, philistine granny” fascinates me also!

    Further, I reiterate that I am AGAINST the notion of swearing allegiance to the Queen in this instance. My respect and admiration for the Queen and the institution is unquestioned however there are certain circumstances where even I acknowledge we do not need to or should have to “pledge our allegiance” to the monarch, it smacks to me of “Americanism”. However in the post I call for a greater understanding and education of what it means to be British… not how low your knee can bend to the Queen. I see no reason as to why this should be seen as a “fascination” with the Queen.

  5. I was going to blog about this, but found that all would have happened would have been me complaining I had to learn about America in History at school rather than the Empire and the Monarchy like I wanted to. I’ve got to say that a lot of people I know at college are republicans, and so it would be ludicrous for them to swear an oath to the Queen, and religion is a big enough issue before complicating even more with something like this. On the whole, it’s stupid. Well done on a cracking blog.

  6. I dont think they could have come up with a more un-english way of instilling national ‘pride’ in young people. Just remind the little gits what it would have been like growing up under Stalin or Saddam Hussein.

    What are they going to do when one of them says no? The Tower of London only has so much room…

  7. Dan,

    You mistake indifference for hostility. I’m sure she’s a perfectly pleasant old dear with interesting things to say about geraniums.

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