So you think you’re a Brit?

We boast about our 350 years here. But would JC read­ers pass the Gov­ern­ment’s cit­i­zen­ship test?

The Jewish Chronicle - - Features -

For­eign­ers wish­ing to be­come Bri­tish cit­i­zens now have to pass a mul­ti­ple­choice test about this na­tion’s his­tory and in­sti­tu­tions. The new edi­tion of the Gov­ern­ment’s Life In The UK hand­book — the study guide for the Bri­tish Cit­i­zen­ship test — was re­leased at the be­gin­ning of the year. The test cov­ers sub­jects rang­ing from the work­ings of the Euro­pean Union to the Scot­tish As­sem­bly and the Civil Ser­vice. As well as learn­ing English, those want­ing to ap­ply for nat­u­ral­i­sa­tion need to know the his­tory of im­mi­gra­tion in this coun­try and how laws are made. In short, they are tested on things that many Brits are a lit­tle hazy on.

Jews, of course, have just spent 12 months cel­e­brat­ing how well-in­te­grated this com­mu­nity has be­come in Bri­tain in the 350 years since re-ad­mis­sion. But are we suf­fi­ciently up on our Bri­tishkeit to be con­sid­ered true cit­i­zens of the UK?

Us­ing a prac­tice test from the book, we put four good sports from this com­mu­nity to the test, to see how well we have in­te­grated. To pass, they needed to an­swer cor­rectly 18 out of the 24 ques­tions. So were the Jewish ex-ser­vice­man, the mum-of-two, the stu­dent and the Lon­don Is­raeli knowl­edge­able cit­i­zens?

The ex-ser­vice­man

Leonard Stern is a 72-year-old vet­eran who served in the Royal Air Force be­tween 1952 and 1954. The semi-re­tired Ajex mem­ber grew up in the East End of Lon­don and now lives in South­gate.

He says be­fore he starts: “I have lived here a long time and I think I know how the Gov­ern­ment is run. I’m not so cer­tain about the more re­cent changes in Europe and the re­gions.”

The re­sult: Pass

Leonard scored an im­pres­sive 20 out of 24. He showed a sound knowl­edge of how gov­ern­ment is run, but he was stumped on a ques­tion about how lo­cal au­thor­i­ties are funded. He also thought the cabi­net meets daily rather than weekly. In a valiant at­tempt to give an an­swer rel­e­vant to the present day, he said Box­ing Day cel­e­brated the ap­pre­ci­a­tion of gifts re­ceived on Christ­mas Day, in­stead of the ap­pre­ci­a­tion of staff or trades peo­ple. Bad luck.

His re­ac­tion: “I’m pleased. I think I’ve done pretty well,” said Leonard. “But I don’t know if the broader pop­u­la­tion could an­swer all th­ese ques­tions. Some are quite hard.”

The mother-of-two

Jane Con­ley, 40, a fi­nan­cial di­rec­tor and the mother of Ge­or­gia, three, and Jamie, two, grew up in Manch­ester but now lives in North Lon­don. She reads The Times and watches the news to keep her cur­rent-af­fairs knowl­edge up to date.

She says: “I don’t re­ally know how I’ll do.”

The re­sult: Pass

Jane also scored a very im­pres­sive 20 out of 24. But she was also stumped on the lo­cal-author­ity-fund­ing ques­tion. Jane wrongly thought that the pop­u­la­tion of Eng­land is 58.8m when in fact it is 49.1 mil­lion — she did not re­alise the ques­tion did not in­clude Scot­land, North­ern Ire­land and Wales. Her other mis­takes in­volved ques­tions about the role of the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment and the Welsh As­sem­bly.

Her re­ac­tion: “I feel fine, but there were some tricky ques­tions. Some were easy, like the ones about sport­ing events, but oth­ers were dif­fi­cult — par­tic­u­larly the ones on Europe. And some of the po­lit­i­cal ques­tions were quite hard too. I would have thought you would have to do a lit­tle re­vi­sion be­fore tak­ing the test. You wouldn’t nec­es­sar­ily know all this stuff just by read­ing the news­pa­per.”

The A-level stu­dent

Chan­tal Se­gall stud­ies Span­ish, English lit­er­a­ture, bi­ol­ogy and psy­chol­ogy at Im­manuel Col­lege, Bushey. She is also on the ex­ec­u­tive of AJ6, the As­so­ci­a­tion of Jewish Six­th­form­ers. At 16, Chan­tal would be too young to take the test in real life — you need to be at least 18. Chan­tal has not stud­ied pol­i­tics or cit­i­zen­ship at school, but she says she does watch the news some­times and read the news­pa­per oc­ca­sion­ally.

She says: “I don’t think I will do amaz­ingly well, but I won’t do too ter­ri­bly.”

The re­sult: Pass (just)

Chan­tal scraped through with 18 out of 24. She wrongly thought that non-de­part­men­tal bod­ies are a di­rect part of the Civil Ser­vice. She was not clear on the role of the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment and Welsh As­sem­bly or how it is de­cided which party forms the Gov­ern­ment.

Chan­tal thought the pop­u­la­tion of Eng­land is just 38.1 mil­lion, which lost her a point, and, like Leonard, she wrongly as­sumed that the pop­u­la­tion has grown faster than the av­er­age Euro­pean growth since 1951. But she was the only one who knew that the Cabi­net does not meet daily. She she also knew about the role of the Euro­pean Union’s Coun­cil of Min­is­ters — even if it was an ed­u­cated guess, hav­ing spent time on the school coun­cil.

Her re­ac­tion: “I feel good. I think it’s quite dif­fi­cult. Ques­tions on the Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion and that kind of thing are not so dif­fi­cult. But I guess that’s a rel­a­tive thing. It’s cul­tural.”

RAF vet­eran Leonard Stern

Jane Con­ley, a mother-of-two

Stu­dent Chan­tal Se­gall

Lon­don Is­raeli Si­mon Pos­ner

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.