The largest part of my morning was taken up by accompanying my wife to her citizenship ceremony, the last step in her becoming a British citizen. She is excited at the prospect of being able to vote Mayor Livingstone out of office on 1st May.
The ceremony took place in the Norwood Suite at the Town Hall. This is one of the smarter parts of the building and the ceremony was on the whole well run and moving even. As the participants were registering a selection of appropriate music was played including Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance and “I vow to thee, my country”. It would have been nice if Duncan, the registrars’ assistant, had been wearing a tie. At the end the usual one verse of the National Anthem was played and I had to sing on my own as I don’t think anyone else in the room knew the words. My wife was a bit sheepish about not singing. It was a shame that the celebrants couldn’t rouse themselves to at least mouth along.
The oath you have to say is reasonably full-on even for a product of New Labour:
I (name) swear by Almighty God that on becoming a British Citizen, I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second; Her Heirs and successors according to law.
I will give my loyalty to the United Kingdom 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.
One thing I was very impressed with was the two well turned out ladies from the Library Service. They introduced themselves during the registration and helped people to fill in applications for library cards. They then gave out completed cards after the ceremony. A brilliant service and it is great to see the Library Service using some imagination and panache to recruit new users. They managed to give out 16 library cards. Big well done.