Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Hilariously bad ideas about immigration.

This is too funny. The UK government is apparently manufacturing a big crisis of non-Britishness amongst its immigrant population. (When your best evidence of a problem with immigrants is the WAR ON TERRAH !!! and the BNP, then you're pretty fucking clueless.)

To solve this non-problem, they want to (I swear, I couldn't make this up if I tried): a "citizenship pack" distributed to UK teenagers when they turn 18, including information on "democracy, volunteering and civic duties such as jury service"; requiring immigrants to "demonstrate good behaviour and a willingness to integrate" in order to become British citizens; and create a "Britain Day".

Actually, the median of those three may be a snark from the reporter. Lower in the article, there's mention of a points system whereby immigrants would earn points for time spent in the country, bringing in investment, following laws, etc. and lose points for criminality. There's also a good suggestion about local governments providing better access to English-language training and employment.

The former, though, is clearly stupid. How many 18-year-olds will bother to read, let alone understand, any information in a "citizenship pack"? Particularly when the information covers such a broad spectrum of issues, most of which probably won't be pressing when a given teen receives their citizenship pack. Wouldn't it make more sense to inform new voters about how voting works when there's, say, an election actually going on? And to inform teens about jury duty when they're actually called? That is, when the information might actually be useful and, hence, actually absorbed?

Britain Day is even stupider. The component countries of the UK -- Scotland, Ireland, England and Wales -- already have their own national holidays (St. Andrew's Day, St. Patrick's Day, St. George's Day, and Wales National Day, respectively). Granted, you probably won't get the day off for them, but is that really crucial? What do Canadians do on Canada Day (or Americans on Independence Day) that really requires time off from work? Further, the connection between a national holiday and furthering some sense of "community" or "nationhood" or what have you is extremely suspect. How does giving people time to avoid society at large help to integrate that society?

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