I have just taken the Life in the United Kingdom Citizenship test. This is a test which people must pass in order to become citizens, and is also mandatory for those who want to extend their visas. As they say themselves:
This practice test is presented in a format that closely resembles the Official Test. Whilst the questions that we have selected are not the actual test questions, you can use them to find out whether you are ready to take the actual test.
With a website replete with links to bookshops and official websites I think there may be an attempt at making the test look harder to sell more stuff, but I still think it is a fairly good meter by which to judge the citizenship test.
For the record, I have just graduated from a Good University with a Good degree in Modern History and Politics (In Politics mainly China’s Economy and in History specifically Immigration) and I feel I can confidently describe myself as culturally middle-class. I work in a call centre and I’m definitely white British, and three sixteenths welsh at that. I should be able to ace this test, or no one can.
Charlotte Gore has just asked “who’d be an immigrant?” Good question, despite all its flaws I still like living in Britain, so what sort of questions would a citizenship test throw at me?
I get up to 11 fairly easily. It’s all stuff on 1980s migration and the Church of England (I later find that I got a couple of these wrong, but at the time I think I’m doing really well), but 11 is a hard one. I cannot work out how anyone is meant to know this without looking it up and learning it rote. But another thing strikes me, it is utterly irrelevant to whether I would make a good citizen or not.
Oh dear, another question on demographics. I don’t honestly know the percentage, but I know it is fairly low, better plump for 1.6% (wrong, incidentally). I’m glad they stuck this one in, something for the Tabloids, but I can’t help thinking it is utterly irrelevant to whether I would make a good citizen or not.
Voting rights are restricted to citizens of this country aren’t they? Well I guess it will be citizens of the UK Commonwealth and Ireland. How we like to pretend we still have an empire. However, if I knew the answer to this I probably wouldn’t need to be taking this test so it is utterly irrelevant to whether I would make a good citizen or not.
Oh dear, I was only there 4 years ago finishing my A levels, I should know this. But then again although this is pretty important stuff if you are running a school, it is utterly irrelevant to whether I would make a good citizen or not.
This is in no way relevant to citizenship and it is very obscure. I know the answer, but only because I had to trawl through various volumes of Hansard for innumerate essays and mind numbing seminars. However, it is utterly irrelevant to living a happy and full life as a productive and active citizen in this country.
So this is not only hard but it is utterly irrelevant to whether I would make a good citizen or not.
Good Citizens, Bad Government
It appears that a “model” citizenship test contains 5 out of 24 questions that are utterly irrelevant to being a citizen. That’s 23% of the test. The other 67% is little better than rote learning and hoop jumping, little of what is included is of any use in telling if some one will be a “bad egg” or not.
This test is an exercise in vindictiveness. It is not designed to ensure people are good citizens, it is designed so the Government can appear to be “doing something.” The Libertarian part of me despises this, sometimes you just need to ignore calls for action. It can lead to you promising some very stupid things.
You promise to fix problems that don’t exist, hoping to attract voters with racist dog whistles. I am a citizen already, so one would assume I would be able to pass this test. After all, this is what “we” are requesting immigrants do before we allow them to become our compatriots.
Do not pass go, do not collect £200 go straight to a detention centre and then repatriate yourself to where you came from, which is Lincolnshire unfortunately…