I helped conduct a Citizenship Ceremony on Wednesday. Eight people pledged their allegiance to the Queen and their new country as they formalised their decision to make Britain their home.
I enjoyed speaking to the people from all parts of the globe who were brimming with pride and had a real enthusiasm. Previously, applicants had to swear an oath of allegiance in front of a solicitor and had their certificate sent in the post. Apart from the fact that I wouldn't trust the new Border and Immigration Agency to post me anything, this ceremony does instil a degree of civic pride. Marion, (photo, left) hosted the ceremony with a mix of professionalism and genial host.
Immigration is one of the very biggest political issues of our time.It is a real problem that the government have absolutely no control of. However, this doesn't mean that we need to lose all perspective at every mention of the word. Some will baulk at the very thought of such a ceremony. We rightly hope and expect people settling in this country to assimilate and adopt our culture and society. This will never happen by putting our head in the sand hoping everyone will go away. By giving the warmest welcome to those who can make a contribution to the UK and toughening up our border controls against those who have no such intentions, we can maintain our historical position of adopting the very best of the world whilst not being a soft option for those only seeking a better life to be funded from the State.