So anti-immigration Minister Phil Woolas has announced his new points system for migrant workers.
No surprises to see that the new system is intended to make the life of migrant workers more difficult and essentially legitimises the propaganda of the racists. "Qualifying for citizenship will become harder, and applicants will be judged by various factors, including their ability to speak English."
When interviewed on Radio Four the Minister said that;
"We think it's right to say if we are asking the new citizen, as incidentally other countries around the world do, to have an oath of allegiance to that country, that it's right to try to define in some objective terms what that means. And clearly an acceptance of the democratic rule of law and the principle behind that we think is important and we think it's fair to ask that."You see he knows protesting is meant to be illegal, but he'd forgotten it wasn't actually against the law. As an aside I can't help reading the words "show that adherence" without assuming he said it in a Dalek voice. <
But, when it was pointed out that demonstrating was not illegal, Woolas suggested that an applicant could also lose points not just for breaking the law – but also for engaging in certain activities that were legal.
Sarah Montague, the presenter, asked: "Are you effectively saying to people who want to have a British passport, 'You can have one, and when you've got one you can demonstrate as much as you like, but until then don't'?"
Woolas replied: "In essence, yes. In essence we are saying that the test that applies to the citizen should be broader than the test that applies to the person who wants to be a citizen. I think that's a fair point of view, to say that if you want to come to our country and settle, you should show that adherence."
So it appears that if you want our freedoms you must not rock the boat, like going on political protests, because protesting against the government is anti-British and does not accept the "democratic rule of law". Leaving aside the fact that chilling phrase I think Mr Woolas is making two very basic errors here.
First of all it is not anti-British to oppose foreign policy disasters. Protest is one of the reasons why democracies are more effective than dictatorships, because the people can assist the government by letting them know when they're being wankers. It's helpful and gives the government an opportunity to correct their mistakes rather than repeating them over and over again.
I'm not saying they'll take that opportunity but it creates that possibility.
Secondly, he confuses the government with the people, which is possibly connected to his understanding of democracy as a place where everyone does what the government tells them to do.
More British people protested against the Iraq invasion than protested against anything else in the entirety of human history. If there's one sort of demonstration that definitely *is* British, it's an anti-war one. We should be giving immigrants extra points for dissent not taking them away.
Signing a petition - that's one point.
Going on a demo - that's two.
Go on strike - that's twenty.
Occupy Phil Woolas' office and you're made a member of the Royal family.
After all, how else are we to instill British values in those guests new to our country? They might not know that you're *supposed* to oppose the government, they might not know it's the *duty* of every citizen to speak out for what they believe in.
Phil Woolas is trying to undermine the British way of life by making us all good little boys and girls who just do what they're told without making a fuss. That's not our way and never has been. Woolas wants deference but frankly the age is more suited to defiance.