Author: Hamish MacPherson Journalist
Thanks to Gavin, today’s column is dedicated to a UK Government publication that supposedly prepares intending immigrants for their life in Britain.
Every person wanting to live in the UK must now take the “Life in the UK” test set by the Home Office.
On the website about the test its states: “Everyone who applies to become a British Citizen or for permanent residence has to show their knowledge of the English language and of life in the United Kingdom in one of two ways. They can either take a special ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) course, or they can take the Life in the UK test.
“The test covers a number of topics including local customs and traditions, history of the United Kingdom and the laws and political systems that govern the country.”
The test is made up of 24 multiple choice questions; the official questions are not published anywhere so you cannot see the exact questions you could be asked before the test; questions are chosen at random by computer; you get 45 minutes to complete the test; and the pass mark is around 75 per cent.
Oh, and the test costs £50. Nice and welcoming, eh? And there are books published by The Stationery Office – privatised in 1996 and now owned by a private equity firm – which will cost you £7.99 to prepare for the test.
Gavin Brown was curious and from his local library he borrowed the latest edition of Life in the United Kingdom: A Guide for New Residents.
It opens “Britain is a fantastic place to live: a modern, thriving society with a long and illustrious history.”
On reading it closely, Gavin found some interesting bits of history. His comments and mine follow the excerpts from the book’s chapter on that history.
“The Emperor Hadrian built a wall in the north of England to keep out the Picts (ancestors of the Scottish people).” Gavin said: “The reference to the Picts is on a level with a Ladybird history book.”
It states: “Check that you understand the history of the UK before the Romans.” As Gavin says, there was no entity, the UK, before the Romans so there can be no UK pre-Roman history.
“The Norman Conquest was the last successful foreign invasion of England.” Really? Later on in the chapter it states: “In 1688, important Protestants in England asked William to invade England and proclaim himself king.”
As Gavin states, that was the last successful foreign invasion of England. But it doesn’t fit the Glorious Revolution propaganda that William and Mary did not invade and usurp James VII and II’s throne when they absolutely did.
The book goes on: “[In the Middle Ages] The English kings fought with the Welsh, Scottish and Irish nobles for control of their lands.” That ignores the existence of Scottish kings, says Gavin. And Welsh princes and Irish high kings.
“By the middle of the 15th century the last Welsh rebellion had been defeated. English laws and the English language were introduced”. Resistance to English conquest is defined as rebellion? They’ll love that in the Valleys.
Gavin got annoyed at the next section. As he said: “There are 90-plus words on Magna Carta and no mention of the Declaration of Arbroath. More than half of page 27 is taken up with a list of Henry VIII’s wives and their fate.” As I always say, British history is really English history.
The chapter continues: “During the reigns of Elizabeth I and James I…” thus using the English regnal number for James VI and I.
“James I and his son Charles I were less skilled politically [than Elizabeth I]” Gavin says (and I agree): “That is absolutely not true of James VI and I.”
Back to William and Mary’s religion-inspired coup: “The event was later called the ‘Glorious Revolution’ because there was no fighting in England and because it guaranteed the power of parliament.
“There was support for James in Scotland. An attempt at an armed rebellion in support of James was quickly defeated at Killiecrankie. All Scottish clans were required formally to accept William as king by taking an oath. The MacDonalds of Glencoe were late in taking the oath and were all killed.”
That almost defies comment and is just plain wrong. Killiecrankie was a Jacobite VICTORY and not all the MacDonalds were massacred in Glencoe.
The next section is intriguing: “The Act of Union, known as the Treaty of Union in Scotland, was therefore agreed in 1707, creating the Kingdom of Great Britain. Although Scotland was no longer an independent country, it kept its own legal and educational systems and Presbyterian Church.” Gavin states: “If Scotland is no longer an independent country, by extension neither is England. In addition, Acts of Union were passed by their respective Parliaments north and south of the border.” Not a word on the sheer cheating, fraud and corruption that brought about the Union.
His conclusion on the chapter: “Its Anglo-centric focus and condescension is truly remarkable and it is appalling that a Government publication was issued with such a slant and with such howlers, especially as an aid to learning about the UK.”
Thank you Gavin for drawing my attention to this appalling propaganda. I leave it to the readers of the Sunday National to judge the truth and facts of “UK history”.