April 8


This is the title of a piece by Boris Johnson in The Spectator of 27 March 2004. He says the challenge of immigration is causing Labour to change its mind on what it means to be British. He writes that almost seven years after New Labour came to power, vowing to do away with Old Britain, they have rediscovered the vitality of old symbols in away that is hilarious and also rather moving. On 26 February this year, members of the Hatterjee family became British citizens in a ceremony in which they were serenaded by the national anthem and they shook hands with the Prince of Wales. And all these people, thousands a month, are not only swearing or affirming their allegiance to the Queen, her heirs and successors. There is now a new pledge: I will give my loyalty to the UK, and respect its rights and freedoms… I will uphold its democratic values. I will observe its laws faithfully and fulfil my duties and obligations as a British citizen. And it seems, immigrants love this! I suspect it was the same in Australia when immigrants were allowed to swear allegiance to their Sovereign.


In the meantime, and despite the overwhelming vote in 1999 against the republican model- the one chosen and designed by the official republicans themselves, too many authorities in Australia have removed the traditional symbols of Australia from public offices, from official documents and from our national ceremonies.


They tried to do that with the flag, too. When they realized they had gone too far with the flag, which has proved to be the overwhelming preference of the Australian people, they then pretended that we could keep our Flag under their republic, which is very kind of them. And they are silent on the RAN and the RAAF, and the proud use of those initials, HMAS. And as we have seen from a recent Hot News, The Age has let the cat -out ofthe bag on that one. Does anyone seriously believe, says The Age, that under a republic, we will be able to keep our Flag? It was fortunate indeed, that against the advice and wishes of his advisors, and those who run thegovernment's civics programme in our schools, the Minister for Education, Dr Brendan Nelson, sent a kit and videotape on our Flag prepared by the Australian National Flag Association to all of our schools. Congratulations to Dr Nelson for standing up for Australia!


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