Magna Carta/796e: Comment voulez-vous gouverner un pays où il existe cinq drapeaux et quatre fêtes nationales? (How can you govern a country which has five flags, four national days and as many national football teams?) voulez-vous gouverner un pays où il existe plus  de 300 sortes de fromage ? Charles DeGaulle
 L’Angleterre est une ancienne colonie française qui a mal tourné. Georges Clémenceau
 Voici une loi qui est au-dessus du Roi et que même le Roi ne doit pas violer. Cette réaffirmation d’une loi suprême et son expression dans une charte générale est la grande valeur de La Grande Charte « Magna Carta ». Ce qui en soi-même justifie le respect qui lui est accordé par le peuple. Winston Churchill (1956)
We all belong — for now at least — to the United Kingdom. There is a « Team GB » British side in the Olympics. So why not in international football? Englishness is ultimately, alas, a racial brand. Britishness, on the other hand, is cultural. Most second-generation — or even, dare it be said, first-generation — foreigners who live here can comfortably consider themselves British, but less so English. I, for example, am roughly three quarters Canadian and a quarter Scottish. My Scottish descent but London upbringing makes me Anglo-Scottish, and therefore British, not English. Which is why I feel like a stranger in my own land amid the creepy mass influx of St George’s flags — by definition exclusive emblems — now prevalent in cars and house windows. And why I felt so queesy at the Prime Minister David Cameron’s populist decision to fly the red-and-white flag over Downing Street during England’s (albeit limited) « campaign ». James Macintyre
We have to face uncomfortable facts that while the British response to July 7th was remarkable, they were British citizens, British born apparently integrated into our communities, who were prepared to maim and kill ellow British citizens irrespective of their religion. We have to be clearer now about how diverse cultures which inevitably contain differences can find the essential common purpose also without which no society can flourish. (…) What is our equivalent for a national celebration of who we are and what we stand for? And what is our equivalent of the national symbolism of a flag in the United States in every garden? (…) What is our equivalent for a national celebration of who we are and what we stand for? And what is our equivalent of the national symbolism of a flag in the United States in every garden? (…) The French have it with Bastille Day, the Americans have it, most countries actually have a national day and I think it’s probably time that we do too. (…) We live in a very multi-cultural society, perhaps the most multi-cultural society in Europe. What actually binds us together? Well, interestingly the thing that binds us together is our civic identity which is Britishness. Gordon Brown (2007)

Cinq drapeaux, quatre saints patrons (Saint George, Saint David, Saint André, Saint Patrick), quatre fêtes « nationales » (honorant ces quatre saints), quatre équipes de football, une devise en langue étrangère …

En ce lendemain de l’anniversaire de la Reine qui ne tombe pas le jour de son anniversaire …

Et en ce 796e anniversaire  de la signature d’un des premiers fondements de la démocratie occidentale

A savoir la fameuse Magna  Carta (Grande Charte) que les barons anglais réussirent à imposer à un Jean Sans Terre affaibli par une défaite militaire contre l’ennemi héréditaire français …

Comment ne pas s’étonner de cette incroyable anomalie que reste pour tout Français la « perfide Albion« ?

 Qui, après avoir quasiment inventé les premières chartes des droits (Magna Carta puis Habeas corpus en 1679) ou le premier parlement occidental (the Model parliament ou Mother of parliaments, 1295) …

Et été la première, après avoir, « colonie française qui a mal tourné », parlé pendant quelque trois siècles la langue de son ennemi héréditaire (1066-1362) et conservé plus de 80% de son vocabulaire (dont ses deux devises royales!), à exécuter son roi (1649) puis à fonder une république (1649-1660)  …

Se retrouve, près de 800 ans plus tard et dans l’une des sociétés les plus multiethniques du monde ayant de surcroit été la cible d’un terrorisme islamique intérieur …

Sans  constitution,  fête nationale, équipe de football nationale ou même carte d’identité (le projet travailliste ayant été abandonné, quatre ans après, par l’actuel gouvernement conservateur)?

Magna Carta tops British day poll

The anniversary of the signing of Magna Carta has been chosen as the best date to celebrate Britishness.

The charter imposed on King John on 15 June 1215 by rebel barons limited the power of the monarch and gave ordinary people rights under common law.

Its anniversary was picked by 27% of the 5,002 people polled by BBC History magazine, with VE Day, 8 May, taking 21%, and D-Day, 6 June, attracting 14%.

Chancellor Gordon Brown recently called for a new day for national identity.

In an address to the Fabian Society in January, he suggested the UK needed a day to celebrate « who we are and what we stand for ».

‘Surprising choice’

BBC History magazine editor Dave Musgrove said the choice of the Magna Carta anniversary may indicate the UK is moving on from a « dependence on World War II as the critical point in our island story ».

« It’s fascinating, and surprising, that an event from medieval history has come out above VE Day, all the more so when you consider that it’s a constitutional rather than a militaristic moment that’s been chosen, » he said.

Dan Snow, the presenter of BBC history programmes, described Magna Carta as a worthy winner.

« The idea that the will of the king can be bound by law is as important today as it was 800 years ago, » he added.


• Magna Carta: 27%

• VE Day: 21%

• D-Day: 14%

• Armistice Day: 11%

• Trafalgar victory:

• Slave trade
abolished: 6%

• Napoleon’s defeat: 4%

• Churchill’s birth: 3%

• Cromwellian republic:

• Reform Act: 2%

• SOURCE: BBC History magazine

« It didn’t work in practice but it set a precedent. It advanced the cause of liberty, constitutionalism and parliamentarianism, which Britain in turn has passed on to the world. »

But some historians pointed out that Magna Carta took place before the union of Great Britain.

« The problem with a Magna Carta day is that this was originally very much an English, not a British significant event, » said Linda Colley, Professor of history at Princeton University.

« Though to be sure, it acquired in the 18th and 19th centuries a resonance for radical and constitutionalists across the islands. »

Other dates considered in the poll were Armistice Day, 11 November; the abolition of the slave trade, 25 March; Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo, 18 June, and Churchill’s birth, 30 November. What do you think of this decision? Would you have chosen differently? Read a selection of comments

I feel that Queen Victoria’s Birthday would be the best day, also the date on which the British used to celebrate Empire Day.

Ross Bullock, India

The anniversary date of the Magna Carta signing is a noble idea, but it is hardly inclusive as a BRITISH celebration. I doubt the Scots would support it, for instance. So how about June 20, the accession of Queen Victoria to the throne in 1837. Her reign is probably the greatest in terms of ALL aspects of Britain’s impact on the world. Victoria Day would embrace the end of slavery, the works of Dickens, the era of steam, steel ships and an economy and political power unmatched in the world for a hundred years.

Peter Almond , Esher

My National Day would be the anniversary of the date in AD410, when the famous letter of the Emperor Honorius told the cities of Britain to look to their own defences, and as a result started a period where we have never again been occupied.

Robin Hughes,

Long melford, UK

This just highlights the mainstream ignorance of English people – to the fact that Britain is not England and vice versa. No wonder people don’t celebrate being British – there is NO SUCH THING. What you are all referring to is being ENGLISH – and I certainly am not. COME ON SWEDEN!!!

Jennifer, Glasgow,

I think it’s a great choice, and certainly better than the other options. It signifies the best that Britain has given to the world and reflects some of the finest attributes of the British people. The fact that it occurred
before the forming of Great Britain seems immaterial and should, in fact, appeal very much to everyone as a shared legacy.

Lisa, Cambridge, UK

Why isn’t the passing of the Act of Union into law in the list? Surely the day when the UK became the UK would be the best day to celebrate being in the UK? Unfortunately it came into effect on 1st May 1707, so we wouldn’t get another Bank Holiday out of it.

Toby Lamb, Canterbury, UK

I’m sure the choice was influenced by the time of year. On the off chance this does become a public holiday, Why pick a day in November or March, at least choose a date when the weather should be nicer.

Paul, Luton / Detroit

This proves even more that, we the English demand a national identity and we are proud to be English. The same as the Scots and the Irish. Because we English still see ourselves as English and not just White British, as the Scots majority in the present government are trying to hide the English Nationality on all official government forms.

Stephen Ellis, York

In the light of this choice it is interesting to reflect that these rights are now being trampled on by our current authoritarian government.

Stephen Cavender, United

The Magna Carta is the right choice for an English holiday . The Scots, Welsh and Irish could chose a day too . But for Britain ,D day would be a day of remberance and unity .

Chewbacca, Farnborough

Great day for the English, not so for the Scottish and Welsh. How about the date of the Unification of Nations? That’s when Britain became Great Britain.

Richard Walls, Bahrain

Clearly the signing of the Magna Carta, is a worldwide event,as it signaled the birth of Parliamentry democracy, which we in these Islands gave to the Planet.

One of many life enhancing thoughts that the british contributed, and as such it is a marvellous idea to dedicate it to a national holiday

Richard Holmes,
Cleethorpes england

It’s a fabulous choice, nothing is as inspiring as seeing and reading the magna carta. The vision and wisdom of our ancestors is breathtaking and it is as relevant today as it was in 1215.

chris french, brisbane

Space holidays throughout the year – Magna Carta Day would fall just after Easter/May Day/Spring Bank Holidays. Armistice Day in November is better, something between August Bank Hol and Christmas

Peter K, Sheffield UK

If English people want to celebrate their « Britishness », then fine. The Welsh, Scots and Irish already celebrate their heritgae on their individual Saints Day. I don’t think we need a British day at all, what about all the ethnic minorities in this country, will they celebrate being British. I doubt it.

Carole Winn, Port Talbot,

If you wish to celebrate an English date, then it can only be St George’s Day on 23 April.

Nancy Benham, Lyminge,
Kent, UK

Great decision, though there are other important constitutional flashpoints in this country’s history. The Bill of Rights, signed 13 February 1689, blocked monarchical absolutism and came 100 years before America’s.

Abraham, London, UK

Magna Carta is not and cannot ever be considered British. Surely the union of Parliaments 1st May 1707 is when Britishness was defined and if we do require to celebrate Britishness is this not it?

Keith Walter, Peebles,

One doesn’t have to be an Anglophobe to see that Magna Carta in 1215 is wholly inappropriate for a British national day. Assuming that the idea of a national day is a good one in the first place, which may well be a big assumption, it will have to relate to something that occurred after England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland had formed a political unity, which probably takes us into the 19th century or later. Something from the Industrial Revolution or the railway era, which probably did more to
link us together socially and economically than any of the things mentioned on the BBC site.

Hector MacQueen,
Edinburgh, UK

My choice would have been Admiral Nelson’s Victory at Trafalgar – shaped the face of the nation
for 200 years!

Graham Holland,
Porthleven Cornwall

I would propose the 1st of August, when the royal assent was given to the Act of Union bill in 1800, thereby creating the United Kingdom.

Graeme Phillips,
Guildford, UK

For sure the Magna Carta is one of the greatest contributions of Britain to mankind, but I’m surprised to see that three important dates have been omitted: September 28th (1066), which is the day William the Conqueror landed to Britain, October 14th (1066), when the battle of Hastings was fought and October 25th (1415), the day of the battle at Azincourt.

Cesare, Rome, Italy

I think we should
celebrate the occasion when all persons, male and female, over 21
were given the right to vote.

Christopher Watson,
Doncaster England

Why didn’t anybody consider St. George’s Day as celebrating « Britishness »? The government’s already stated that we in the UK have fewer bank holidays than most other EU countries, and that 23 April ought to be an official national holiday to help combat this. It was certainly the first date that sprung to my mind!

Donna Bright,
Stourbridge, West Midlands, UK

An excellent choice, not least because it’s my birthday! I for one will definitely be calling for a public holiday to celebrate!

Abby, London

Brown speech promotes Britishness

Britain should have a day to celebrate its national identity, Gordon Brown has proposed in a speech portraying Labour as a modern patriotic party.

The chancellor used his first major speech of 2006 to urge Labour supporters to « embrace the Union flag ».

In an address to the Fabian Society in London, he said it is important the flag is recaptured from the far right.

Mr Brown said promoting integration had become even more important since the London bombings.

« We have to face uncomfortable facts that while the British response to July 7th was remarkable, they were British citizens, British born apparently integrated into our communities, who were prepared to maim and kill fellow British citizens irrespective of their religion.

« We have to be clearer now about how diverse cultures which inevitably contain differences can find the essential common purpose also without which no society can flourish. »

He said society should not apply a narrow « cricket test » to ethnic minorities but needed a « united shared sense of purpose ».

‘Modern expression’

In the wide-ranging speech, Mr Brown said it is time for the modern Labour party and its supporters to be unashamedly patriotic as, for too long, suchfeelings have been caricatured as being tied up with right-wing beliefs, when in fact they encompass « progressive » ideas of liberty, fairness and responsibility.

« Instead of the BNP using it as a symbol of racial division, the flag should be a symbol of unity and part of a modern expression of patriotism too, » Mr Brown said.

“ We should assert that the Union flag by definition is a flag for tolerance and inclusion ”

« All the United Kingdom should honour it, not ignore it. We should assert that the Union flag by definition is a flag for tolerance and inclusion. »

The speech to the left-of-centre think-tank included references to the July 4th celebrations in the US and the common practice of many citizens having a flag in their gardens.

« What is our equivalent for a national celebration of who we are and what we stand for? » Mr Brown said.

« And what is our equivalent of the national symbolism of a flag in the United States in every garden? »

Labour MP Michael Wills, who has been working on the idea with Mr Brown, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme the chancellor wanted there to be a day to « focus on the things that bring us together… whatever our backgrounds ».

« The French have it with Bastille Day, the Americans have it, most countries actually have a national day and I think it’s probably time that we do too, » he said.

‘Absolutely right’

The Commission for Racial Equality welcomed Mr Brown’s comments.

« It is important to talk about and identify our shared common values and discuss ideas and find ways to celebrate being British, » a spokesman said.

Singer Billy Bragg told the BBC it was right to have a national debate about what it means to be British.

« I do think we need to talk about the issue of identity, about who we are, » he said.

“ The thing that binds us together is our civic identity which is Britishness ”

Billy Bragg

« We live in a very multi-cultural society, perhaps the most multi-cultural society in Europe. What actually binds us together? Well, interestingly the thing that binds us together is our civic identity which is
Britishness ».

Former Prime Minister Sir John Major told the Today programme the chancellor was « absolutely
right » to promote the concept of Britishness.

But he added: « He seems not to mention that many of the actions of the present Government have ruptured Britishness by their own legislation. »

American example

Mr Brown also described his drive to encourage volunteering.

The government has already allocated £50m for volunteering, but Mr Brown wants businesses to match this as part of a plan is modelled on the US’s successful GI Bill from the 1940s.

The chancellor unveiled his National Community Service scheme a year ago to encourage one
million young people into volunteering.

Shadow Chancellor George Osborne said the volunteering scheme was a « pale imitation of [Tory leader] David Cameron’s National School Leaver Programme announced in August.

« David Cameron is meeting 15 leading youth and community organisations to discuss taking this idea forward on January 24, and perhaps Gordon Brown would like to attend to learn more, » he added.

Are we subjects or citizens?

Dominic Casciani

BBC News community

Home Secretary Charles Clarke has floated the idea of citizenship ceremonies for 18-year-olds. But are British people subjects or citizens? The short answer is that we are probably both – a very British compromise – but it needs some explaining.

A subject is someone « under the dominion of a monarch », says the Oxford English Dictionary.

The subject has no say in how they are treated – although there is an excellent sketch in Monty Python and the Holy Grail on the merits of revolutionary government among the peasantry.

A citizen however is someone who does have rights. In ancient Greece and Rome that meant some citizens took part in government. So, in short, a subject does what he is told – but a citizen has the right to be heard.

Magna Carta

It was in the centuries following the Norman Conquest of 1066 that things really started to change in the British Isles.

In 1215 King John signed the Magna Carta. It was essentially a « code of conduct » for how a monarch should treat barons. But it also conceded the principle that the King’s power was not absolute.

This was the first time that the concept of the rights of an individual appears in British law. Over the next 800 years, Britain slowly developed these ideas.

One very early development was Habeas Corpus – the right not to be detained without
good reason.

As European philosophers increasingly questioned the nature of authority, more and more power was ceded to Parliament by the Monarchy: Indeed the English Civil War and the French Revolution came down to an argument over the power of the monarch.

In the last 150 years, ordinary people themselves finally got a proper say in the UK, culminating with universal suffrage of men and women by 1928 (only women over 30 got the vote in 1918).

Unwritten constitution

Each and every one of these steps created more rights for the people and more duties upon rulers – the fundamental shift from subject to citizen.

That transfer of power is not however absolute: the unwritten « social contract » declares that society only functions if citizens agree to be subject to the law made in their name – in other words we give up our right
to be absolutely free in return for the protection that society provides.

Here’s the tricky bit for the UK: When you search for the piece of paper explaining exactly when we stopped being subjects and became citizens, you won’t find it, although admittedly passports now use the word citizens (thank you to the correspondents who have pointed this out). Part of the reason for this confusion is that that our constitution is not neatly contained in a single form like other states.

Nationality laws introduced the word citizen during the break-up of the British Empire – but only as a means to differentiate UK residents from other British subjects for immigration purposes.

But if you do look what you find is a history of rights and duties flowing from Parliament, in the name of the Monarch, which create the concept of citizenship.

And it is the role of the courts in protecting these rights and duties as citizens, rather than just enforcing the state’s will, that is key to the idea of modern citizenship.

Take the 1998 Human Rights Act for example, which enforces a European-level convention: If your child cannot get a place at any school anywhere within in reasonable distance of your home, a judge may well decide the local council has breached little Johnny’s right to an education.

In other words, a public authority must consider how their decisions affect you, the citizen. If that effect is damaging without good reason, then it shouldn’t do it in the first place.

Today, the government talk is very much of « rights and responsibilities » within citizenship. Children get taught it, naturalized immigrants formally celebrate it. Home Secretaries make speeches on it and even employ lots of people to think about how to create it.

All leading politicians generally agree that citizenship is in the interests of a strong society – they just squabble over government’s role in achieving it.

So while we are legally « subjects » because there isn’t a single piece of paper that says otherwise, the sweep of history essentially finds that we are citizens, albeit in constitutionally different ways to other nations.

This, of couse, is just my interpretation of whether we are subjects or citizens – and is by no means the whole story. Some of your comments follow:

Whether I like it or not, I am a subject not a citizen. I look to an improbable scenario in which I and the Queen are trapped in a bunker, having survived a nuclear holocaust. If the Queen were to insist that she had the last tin of Spam all to herself, then as her subject, I would be committing treason if I disobeyed. However, I doubt whether she would be that unreasonable and I get my share. Does that make me a citizen, or just a belligerent subject? Fraser Irving, Sheffield UK

I have no trouble seeing myself as a subject of Her Majesty the Queen, especially as I still favour the monarchy over any alternative forms of rule. However, I am very glad to be able not only to vote for a government, but also to have freedom of speech. Andrew Beacham, England, UK

Without a constitution we merely have the liberty to do anything that is not proscribed by law and, in theory at least, we only have the right to do it until the Monarch/Government decree otherwise. This is good because I can do anything that is not against the law but bad because without a constitution there is no guarantee that this will always be the case.

Ged, UK

But I don’t live in a city. Can I have a villagership ceremony, instead? John Bainbridge,
County Durham, UK

Am I not a citizen of the European Union, irrespective of what the now obsolete British Crown
may think? Since our Sovereign no longer has sovereignty how can I be
a subject? Tom Pickering, European Union

Although British people are citizens in practice, being referred to as a subject is just a way of preserving the country’s unique cultural identity. The citizens of the UK should do what ever it takes within reason to
maintain their national identity. Jason Carter, United States

There are a significant number of long-term foreign residents (myself included) who would  quite like to become British citizens – but who refuse to swear subjection to any monarch! Sophy, Cambridge, UK

You say there isn’t a single piece of paper that says we’re citizens – but doesn’t the British Nationality Act 1981 make us citizens? Steve, Cambridge,

(DC writes: Yes, this Act and the 1948 British Nationality Act use the word – but for the purposes of immigration law. Neither Act concerned itself with the nature of citizenship, just its borders.)

Where does the idea come from that citizens and subjects are mutually exclusive? If people can be citizens of London and subjects of the Queen at the same time, why cannot they be citizens of the UK and subjects at the same time?

Alec Cawley, Newbury, UK

Either way, so long as people have pride in the country one way or another, then it’s all good. Peter, UK

The fact that politicians and members of the armed forces (among others) must swear allegiance to the Queen and not actually to the country speaks volumes for the argument that we are subjects, not citizens. David, Wales

I welcome the idea of still being a subject. The beauty of British democracy is the inherent right of the individual under the Monarch, which is why monarchy has survived. The Monarch should be the universal symbol that all British people can rally to and share cultural truths of identity and national unity. Lance, London UK

If former East Germany could laughably call itself a « Democratic Republic », I am more than happy to be labelled a mere subject. Regardless of the vestigial power the monarchy has, the balance of power lies de facto with Parliament and the people. Any failure to secure better rights and freedoms for ourselves these days lies entirely at our own door.

Michael Kilpatrick, Cambridge UK

I am a citizen in whatever matters I am related to a democratic government. But I am a subject in the sense that the government is still Her Majesty’s – and hence subject (for me hopefully) to her last word. George Hill

We are both citizens and subjects, that’s the beauty of the UK. The same way we are a country made of countries. And now we are more than ever EU citizens – a community of countries, made of more countries. I think I need to have a rest all this citizenship is making me dizzy… Richard, UK

With ID cards we shall revert back to being subjects again because we will have to justify our very right to be here. Being citizens via the ‘sweep of history’ does not protect us from the power of parliament to make any law it sees fit, as there is no UK constitution and no checks and balances to guard against their whim. Franchesca, Belfast

We are legally British subjects but that is overwritten by our being European citizens. The Human Rights Act’s purpose in the enforcement of European law is the dimension neglected in the article. Alan J Brown, UK

One of the reasons the British Monarchy is so good is because of Oliver Cromwell.

 John Ferguson, Ballymena, Northern Ireland

The day will pass when we are able to govern ourselves, in real democracy as opposed to being governed by so called « representatives ». Neither subject nor citizen! James, England

If it means not having to do stupid and pointless citizenship ceremonies then I’m quite happy to remain a subject. Luke A, York

Citizenship in the Roman Empire meant one who was free from slavery and knew the laws of the land. With more and more decisions taken by a small minority of modern day Roman senators, and the decision-making closed from the everyday person, I do not believe that we would fulfil the criterio of ancient citizenship: a hands-on approach to our law.

Rupert Myers, England

Charles Clarke is eleven years too late. Under the 1994 Maastricht treaty we all became ‘citizens’ of the European Union. God save José Manuel Barroso [president of the European Commission]. Justin Vogler, Briton resident in Chile

I am a citizen of my country and a subject of my Sovereign. God forbid I am ever a subject of a politician. S Moulster, UK

A written constitution does not guarantee our status but it does make it a good deal harder for our rights and freedoms to be eroded and for that reason I support the idea. Dec, UK

As a descendant of English/Scotch immigrants who came to America in the 18th century, I find it interesting that your rights are seen as flowing from Parliament. Our Founding Fathers (all good Englishman) put forth our rights as coming from God and not man. Therefore the fundamental rights of Americans are ‘unalienable’ and cannot be restricted by government because they are seen as God-granted.

Bradley Sloan, Georgia, United States

Can you pass a citizenship test?

The government is launching the citizenship test for foreigners who want to become British. If you want the passport, then you’ll have to read Life in the UK, a special book, and sit a 45-minute test on society, history and culture. But do you know what it is to be British? The following very unofficial questions are based on information in the official book – let’s see how well you do…

Question 1 Life in the UK says to be British means you should…

 A: « Respect laws, the elected political structures, traditional values of mutual tolerance
and respect for rights and mutual concern. »

B: « Share in the history and culture of an island nation with a character moulded by
many different peoples over more than two thousand years. »

C: « be part of a modern European democracy, one with a tradition of sharing our ways
with the world – and allowing the world to bring its ways to us. »

Question 2 Almost 60m people live in the UK. By what factor do the native-born English
outnumber their Scots or Welsh neighbours? A: By nine to one

B: By seven to one

C: By six to one

Question 3 « The origins of our Parliament were in the early Middle Ages. In 1215 the great barons forced rights from a tyrannical King John ». What is that document called?

A: The Mappa Mundi

B: The Magna Carta

C: The Bill of Rights

Question 4 When did all 18-year-olds get the vote?

A: 1918

B: 1928

C: 1969

Question 5 There are four national saints’ days in the UK, one for each nation. Which order do
they fall in the calendar?

A: St Andrews, St Patrick’s, St David’s and St George’s

B: St David’s, St  Patrick’s, St George’s and St Andrews

C: St George’s, St Patrick’s, St Andrews and St David’s

Question 6 According to Life in the UK, where does Father Christmas come from?

A: Lapland

B: Iceland

C: The North Pole

Question 7 According to the book, where does the myth of Father Christmas come from?

A: The Victorians

B: Pagan myths updated by Shakespeare

C: German/Swedish immigrants to the USA

Question 8 Life in the UK explains what to do if you spill someone’s pint in the pub (we’re not making this up). What, according to the book, usually happens next?

A: You would offer to buy the person another pint

B: You would offer to dry their wet shirt with your own

C: You may need to prepare for a fight in the car park

Question 9 You’ve unfortunately had that fight and are bleeding from a well-placed left hook. Which two telephone numbers can you call for an ambulance?

 A: 999 or 112

B: 999 or 111

C: 999 or any other digit
three times

Question 10 What or who
is PG (again, according to the guide)? A: One of the brand names for
the national British drink, tea

B: A Personal Guide, a
British-born mentor provided to each immigrant applying for

C: Part of the cinema
film classification system

Question 11 The British
are a nation of animal lovers, says Life in the UK. What must dog
owners do? A: Get a licence

B: Get the dog neutered

C: Get a collar with the owner’s name and address

Question 12 Back to that pub. The police turn up with the ambulance and an officer asks you to attend an interview at the station. What are your rights?

A: You don’t have to go if you are not arrested, but if you do go voluntarily you are free to leave at any time

B: You must go. Failure to attend an interview is an arrestable offence

C: You must go if you are a foreign national

Question 13 What’s the minimum time you must have been married before you can divorce?

A: Six months

B: One year

C: Two years

Question 14 And finally, what does Life in the UK tell you it is « very important » to do when engaging a solicitor? A: Ask if they have a potential conflict of interest

B: Ensure they are qualified in the area of law of concern

C: Find out how much they charge


2 Responses to Magna Carta/796e: Comment voulez-vous gouverner un pays où il existe cinq drapeaux et quatre fêtes nationales? (How can you govern a country which has five flags, four national days and as many national football teams?)

  1. jcdurbant dit :

    THE VERY ESSENCE OF OUR BRITISHNESS (No lectures from the frogs and the krauts: How the land of Magna Carta foisted its own bill of rights on the Europeans)


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