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PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2008 4:02 pm 
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Location: In the early days of a better nation
Oppressive proposals like this will only highlight division
Posted on 14 March 08, 1:23 pm by ourkingdom
Bethan Jenkins (Neath, Plaid AM): The headline of Lord Goldsmith’s proposals on British citizenship and Constitutional reform is inevitably that of calling on young people to swear an oath of allegiance to the Queen. The reason - to foster a sense of ‘shared understanding,’ and a sense of National pride (though in fact it will be more of a punishment for children, I suspect!)

As a Republican, I am naturally against such a proposal, but I’m also against it as a Welsh Nationalist. Forcing our young people to embrace an archaic system of royalist thinking is one thing, but for those of us who do not consider ourselves to be British, this debate will only serve to alienate large sections of our society and backfire on Lord Goldsmith’s aim to create a newly united Britain.

Earlier this week, I took part in a phone-in on Radio Wales about this subject, expecting a tirade of abuse from ardent Monarchists. That wasn’t to be. “We are Welsh and proud. We shouldn’t have to take an oath like this,” said one caller. “We are subjects of the Queen! We aren’t even equal, so how can that encourage ’shared understanding’ and equality?” said another.

The plans outline how young people and immigrants would together take the oath in organised ceremonies. This idea alone conveys how vulnerable groups in our society are being used by the system as guinea pigs in Gordon Brown’s desperate attempt to create an artificial concept of Britishness. We need only look at how the Government intends to roll out ID Cards to understand that it is the voiceless in society that fare the worst from such ideas.

The media lapped up the debate surrounding the oath of allegiance, and so too did Alex Salmond, Scotland’s First Minister, who stated that it was “partly daft, partly political.” He is right to say that it is partly political, as it again reflects the vulnerability of Gordon Brown as Prime Minister in a British state which is waning as devolution progresses. It is an effort by the Prime Minister to clutch onto a power base which is diminishing with the rise of individual National sentiments, not only in Scotland and Wales, but in England also.

The other proposal of contention from Lord Goldsmith’s report is that of introducing a British National day to coincide with the Olympics and the Queen’s jubilee. Now, considering that Wales will lose out in Lottery funding due to the Olympics, the idea of such a day is already going down terribly in Wales - not to mention the fact that we have gathered cross party support for a National Bank holiday on St. David’s Day (although we cannot introduce this until a new legislative competence order is accepted). If a British National day is introduced, a St David’s Day holiday will again be put on the back burner - further example of how proposals that are aimed at fostering unity will instead only highlight division.

"The thistle rises and forever will" - MacDiarmid

NB - I am not the same person as the poster "Scottish republic".

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