People who apply for naturalisation as British citizens after November last year are required to take a 45 minute citizenship test to help officials decide if their applications should be granted; the Home Office confirmed that because of the deadline they were overwhelmed with apllications trying to beat the 1st November deadline and that the backlog of about 70,000 will take until May or June this year to clear.
However, I amused myself by taking the test the BBC had concocted out of 'Life in the UK', the book produced to help applicants learn about what it means to be British, to see if I would (if I were not a native-born Briton) qualify. Luckily I do, but I still got 4 of the 14 questions wrong! The questions I didn't get right:
Life in the UK says to be British means you should...
- I answered 'c' (be part of a modern European democracy, one with a tradition of sharing our ways with the world – and allowing the world to bring its ways to us), instead of 'a' (Respect laws, the elected political structures, traditional values of mutual tolerance and respect for rights and mutual concern), mainly because I was fooled into thinking that 'c' must, under a Labour government, be the PC answer. If I had gone with my first instinct I would have put 'a'.
According to Life in the UK, where does Father Christmas come from?
- I answered 'a' (Lapland) instead of 'c' (The North Pole); I'm afraid I still think I was right and that the official answer is complete nonsense!
According to the book, where does the myth of Father Christmas come from?
- I answered 'b' (Pagan myths updated by Shakespeare) when it apparently should have been 'c' (German/Swedish immigrants to the USA). Alright, but who cares? Who cares if an immigrant applying for citizenship knows such trivia - not me, that's for sure!
Back to that pub. The police turn up with the ambulance and an officer asks you to attend an interview at the station. What are your rights?
- I answered 'b' (You must go. Failure to attend an interview is an arrestable offence), instead of 'a' (You don't have to go if you are not arrested, but if you do go voluntarily you are free to leave at any time ) which admittedly sounds more logical and traditional. Maybe I've got it into my head that this Labour 'junta' had already introduced the response at 'b' - even if they haven't, it wouldn't surprise me if they tried to. In any case, I'll remember that one for the future - one never knows, I suppose, when that little snippet of knowledge might come in useful (unlikely if one is within a mile radius of Parliament or any other place the Police choose to desginate as being 'restricted' when being arrested would seem to be almost automatic if the Police, for whatever reason, take a dislike to the 'cut of your jib').