Citizenship, Identity and Community in the UK
What does it mean to be British? Do you have to be born here? Do your parents have to be born here? Should you speak English? In fact there are many things which contribute to being British. To become a British Citizen, people have to take a 45 minute citizen test in which they need to get 75% of the answers correct. They are then able to carry on being themselves and what they did before. Sometime people who move to Britain don't mixe very well and continue to speak their own language.
Good reasons to allow immigrants to live here: they share their skills with us; they make our culture richer by introducing new ideas about food, clothes, religion, etc.
Some problems which may arise: a mix of loyalties; some don't mix and so society can become divided; people may feel that they take jobs which British people could have.
Last year there were over 15,000 immigrants workers in Lincolnshire doing jobs in fields and farms. 19,000 jobs available and about 4,000 jobs were available with noone to do them.
Qualities of the British
The British were once famous for having a "stiff upper lip", which means that they didn't make a fuss in dangerous or difficult situations.
Some qualities which the British are meant to have include: -
- Values of personal freedom
- Tolerance and respect for diversity
- Equality of opportuntiy
- The rule of law
A lot of those qualities are base on respect for other people.
Diverse National, Religious, Regional and Ethnic g
National - Could you understand someon who spoke in welsh, corninsh, or gaelic? No, yet these are all British languages. They give a sense of community to those who can speak them but other people might feel left out. Is this any different from people who come into the UK and speak a different language.
Religious - Britain is very tolerant of other religions and people can worship any god they like, so long as it doesn't interfere with anyone else's life. Is this a good thing?
Regional - People in England don't all speak English the same way, even if they are born here. Someone who lives in the south will have a different accent to someone who lives in the north, and sometimes one group of people won't be able to understand the other. People in different parts have special foods such as Cumberland sausage or Cornish Pasty.
Ethnic - Britain has many people from different ethnic groups (different cultural and racial groups).
Changes in Communities over Time
Communities tend to be constantly changing.
- People move around and live in different areas, so taking new ideas with them.
- Different employers might open or close business premises in an area so people with different skills will move in and out.
- New people might move into an area with a good school, or might out if the school is bad.
- People might move into an area after escaping from a country where they are in danger (asylum seekers).