Insights from the UK and beyond
Should we have an oath of allegiance?
Lord Goldsmith’s suggestion that students swear allegiance to the Queen when they leave school has prompted a fierce reaction.
Civil rights lawyer Baroness Kennedy said the proposal made her groan and described it as a risible and empty gesture.
Teaching union boss John Dunsford of the Association of School and College Leaders told the BBC it was “a half-baked idea that should be left to go mouldy”.
Goldsmith says he welcomes the debate, noting that similar cynicism greeted the introduction of citizenship ceremonies for new immigrants in 2004, which he says have been a great success.
He says it is up to the government — if it accepts his recommendations — to decide what form that ceremony should take.
But he told BBC radio on Tuesday that he personally favoured students swearing their loyalty to the Queen.
The ceremony would be just one of a number of measures to reverse a “diminishing sense of national pride”, which include a national public holiday along the lines of Australia Day.
Has the reaction been too swift? Is there a place for an American-style oath of allegiance in our schools? Or is that just not the British way?