What does it mean to be British? Monarchs, Margaret Thatcher and Monty Python are all important parts of the nation’s heritage, according to a new guide for immigrants introduced yesterday.
The government is revising the Life in the UK handbook and test taken by those seeking to become British citizens or settle here permanently.
While the previous version, created under the former Labour government, included some practical questions about daily life, the emphasis is now firmly on British history and culture. There are questions on sports, music and historical figures from William Shakespeare to Winston Churchill.
The Conservative-led government says the new handbook also features “an exploration of Britons’ unique sense of humour and satire,” alongside an explanation of aspects of cultural life including the national love of gardening, the novels of Jane Austen and the musicals of Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Immigration Minister Mark Harper said the book “focuses on values and principles at the heart of being British.” But Don Flynn, director of the Migrants’ Rights Network, likened it to a private school entry exam, “which requires complete identification with elite views of British history and culture.”
The handbook asks migrants to learn a potted history of Britain from the Stone Age to the present day.
Those eager to find out if they could pass the UK citizenship test, can test themselves with 10 sample questions online. To take the test visit http://bit.ly/SMjbfb.