This country is turning into a game show. Welcome to Who Wants to Be a Citizen Here? Collect as many points as you can and go for the ultimate prize, a British passport. Your host is the immigration minister, Phil Woolas, who yesterday unveiled his calculator for awarding points towards “earned citizenship”. To become a permanent British citizen, you have to earn your points, and – take careful note – points will be taken away from you for bad behaviour. It’s like being at public school.
I blame Tesco. It started this whole points business. You just don’t feel like part of the gang if you don’t have a club card. It’s government by Tesco. Except Tesco doesn’t threaten to take your points away.
Under Woolas’s scheme, new migrants who behave with “active disregard for UK values” are likely to struggle getting a UK passport. It would be, at the very least, unwise for any would-be Briton to think about taking part in a protest, or being spotted at parades for returning troops. They’d be much better advised to put all efforts into contributing to the “democratic life of the country” – just as any upstanding Good British Citizen would.
But Woolas’s search for the Good British Citizen hits a snag as soon as it gets to “British”. I’m very British. I love sport and support Britain in everything -except cricket, when I support Pakistan. I have a friend who says she’s British; she wears a hijab and a union-flag G‑string. That’s real integration.
Woolas will struggle, too, if challenged to define “the British way of life” that he trumpets. For some, it’s getting inebriated every Friday night, rolling in the middle of a dual carriageways, singing “I will survive”. Then jumping in a cab driven by a man called Muhammad, stopping off at a 24-hour shop to buy fags, which is being run by a man called Mehmet, and arriving home to find a roof on your house, which has been put there by a man called Tomasz. A very British way of living.
Scratch the surface even slightly, andwhat you find is the truth about how this government would like all its citizens – new applicant or not – to behave. Do not complain. Do not question authority. Do not protest. This government is behaving worryingly like an online predator who grooms children. It is grooming a population for unquestioning compliance. Not just migrants – everyone is being groomed.
The Ten Commandments should be rewritten to help both newly arriving immigrants and schoolchildren. The most important being: thou shalt honour thy mother and thy father and thy home secretary. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, unless the is an MP. Thou shalt not steal, unless thou has a parliamentary expense account. And thou shalt not kill, unless thou work for the Metropolitan police.
And for the hopefuls lining up outside the passport office: thou shalt not quibble about freedom of speech. Thou shalt put up and shut up,until such time as though gets a passport. Once you’ve got that passport in your hand, however, you can properly assimilate by celebrating with a dozen £1pints and a late-night alfresco vomit.