Right royal row over potty pledge
WHEN I was a kid and went to the cinema with my parents – and even when I was older and began going with friends – there was no mad rush for the exit when the film ended. Instead, viewers sat through the credits then stood up as the national anthem was pl
WHEN I was a kid and went to the cinema with my parents - and even when I was older and began going with friends - there was no mad rush for the exit when the film ended.
Instead, viewers sat through the credits then stood up as the national anthem was played.
True, some disloyal subjects tried scuttling out as The End came up on the screen but they were met by disapproving looks from the rest of us. Paying respects to The Queen was the done thing.
That was in the days when many people cycled to the cinema for the simple reason that they did not have a car. But times and society change and as more and more people disregarded the national anthem ceremony, cinema owners finally got the message and stopped playing it at the end of the evening.
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Now, it is almost laughable to think that people obediently did what they did years ago.
There's no doubt that royalty does not command the same respect these days as it did.
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And knowing that makes it even more incredible, in my mind, the news this week that a report commissioned by Gordon Brown on British citizenship proposes that school leavers should be encouraged to swear their allegiance to Queen and country.
It would give teenagers a sense of belonging, says report author Lord Goldsmith, the former attorney general.
Come off it. You are a good few years late in trying to get disaffected youth to climb on board the national bandwagon, your lordship.
Even a spokesman for prime minister Brown, the Scotsman who seems to be going a bundle on promoting "Britishness", was no more than lukewarm over the report, describing it as "interesting" and noting that it had prompted "quite a lively debate".
Elsewhere, the citizenship ceremony idea was described as half-baked, puerile and rather silly.
Perhaps Gord's spokesman did take note, but Lord Goodman did not, of a survey result which came out four days earlier.
It was commissioned by a holiday company to mark the 60th anniversary of the Commonwealth and revealed that the organisation meant little to the great majority of Britain's young people.
They really don't know too much about it - and it seems are not bothered.
Just under half of the 16 to 24-year-olds questioned knew that The Queen headed the Commonwealth (one in 10 thought it was George Bush) but three quarters believed that the USA is a Commonwealth state.
Long gone are the days when many parts of the world map were a pinky red colour to denote they were British colonies or territories.
Older people may know but ask youngsters when is Commonwealth Day and the odds are that they won't know because it is not important to them.
For the record, the annual event is on the second Monday of March - so it was this week, but went unnoticed by most.
As well as young people swearing allegiance to the Queen, Lord Goodman is also proposing that we have a British Day.
And he wants a Deliberation Day to be held before each general election to encourage political debate and other events. I bet that would go down a storm.