Author Topic: 'Britishness' test  (Read 1300 times)


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'Britishness' test
« on: November 02, 2005, 10:03:00 pm »
Alright, post your britishness questions below!
 'Britishness' test required of would-be citizens
 Government wants immigrants to integrate more
 - Mary Jordan, Washington Post
 Wednesday, November 2, 2005
 London -- As a child in the Soviet Union, Konstantin Volosov studied Lenin and Marx. But now, 30 minutes before taking Britain's new citizenship test for immigrants, he focused on the queen's ceremonial duties, the Liverpool accent and the rituals of Boxing Day.
 "It's a good idea to learn these things," said Volosov, 32, a mathematics student working on his doctorate at a London university. "I find it ridiculous that people are living here 25 years and know nothing about this country."
 The tens of thousands of immigrants who apply for British citizenship each year must now pass a new "Britishness" test, designed to test familiarity with this country's politics, life and customs. The prime minister's official residence is at 10 Downing Street; a dog must wear a collar bearing its owner's name and address -- those who want to hold a British passport are to learn this and much more.
 The test was designed by government officials who are increasingly worried that immigrants are not integrating into British society, preferring to live in urban enclaves where language, culture and food are separate from this country's traditions.
 Fears about immigrants feeling no connection or loyalty to their new country surged following the London transit bombings in July, which killed 52 commuters and injured 700 others. Police have said that the men who carried out the attacks were immigrants or sons of immigrants who were radicalized against Britain while living in this country's South Asian or Caribbean communities.
 Last year, in another effort to encourage connection with Britain, the government also instituted a ceremony in which new citizens are required to declare their allegiance to the queen, as well as promising loyalty to Britain and "its democratic values." In the past, a new citizen simply swore an oath of allegiance before an official and received a citizenship notice later in the mail.
 British commentators have poked fun at the test, wondering how many native-born citizens would know some of the more arcane information the newcomers were being asked to learn -- that about 25 percent of British children live in single-parent homes, for instance, and that women, and initially only those over the age of 30, won the right to vote in 1918. Others have also expressed doubts that the test will make immigrants suddenly feel an overwhelming craving for fish and chips and a pint of ale.
 People applying for U.S. citizenship also must pass a test, but its questions have tended to focus on history, the system of government, the symbolism of the flag and other civics class-type subjects.
 Volosov, 32, who came to London from Moscow nine years ago, said he believed the British test was a good idea, though he would rather be working on his thesis than his 145-page government handbook, "Life in the United Kingdom," which among other things explains that if you spill someone's drink in a pub, it's good manners to offer to buy another.
 Volosov said that if he got citizenship, it would be "easier to get a job, a mortgage, even tuition would be cheaper." He hopes to work in risk management for a financial firm.
 Sitting in a test center last Friday, waiting for the exam to begin, he reviewed underlined passages in his handbook, including: "Until 1857, a married woman had no right to divorce her husband."
 Seated next to him, Abi Sirokh, 27, a film producer from Morocco, asked a potential test question out loud: "How many countries in the Commonwealth?"
 Answer: 54.
 Sirokh, who has lived in London for 17 years, said he was eager to get citizenship because of the growing hassles of international travel. As young male born in Morocco, he said he often fit the profile of a terrorist and was constantly chosen at airports for extra screening. He said he did not mind taking the Britishness test, but doubted it would have much effect.
 "This test is about knowledge," he said. "It's not going to help people integrate with one another."
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Re: 'Britishness' test
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2005, 10:58:00 pm »
You know there had to be one of  these.