Sunday 18 December 2016

Sajid Javid's oath of Britishness could prevent me being a councillor

Originally posted on Stuart Parr for Brookside

Sajid Javid MP, the Communities Secretary, has proposed that all public office holders should have to swear an oath of allegiance to British values.

Local government and civil service is devolved so Javid is the Communities Secretary for England, not Britain. That means that if his proposals become law it will only apply in England and only people in England will have to pledge an oath of Britishness.

I consider myself English, not British and was a director and patron of the Campaign for an English Parliament until a few years ago. I would never make any pledge of Britishness but in the future that might find me and others banned from being a councillor. Is it really reasonable to expect people who don't have a British identity - SNP and Plaid councillors and MPs, people who identify as English, for example - to pledge allegiance to something they don't believe in?

If Javid really wants to promote community cohesion then he should stop trying to impose a one-size-fits-all Britishness on an unwilling population and end the divisive doctrine of multiculturalism. Acceptance isn't something that people can be forced into with laws.