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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 March 2008, 11:27 GMT
Your very British oath
Spike Milligan and the Prince of Wales
Spike Milligan (left): Not one to undertake an oath lightly
British children should swear an oath of allegiance to boost their sense of citizenship, according to an official report. But what would a very British oath say? Write one for us.

"I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

As a statement of values the American oath of allegiance is big on sincerity and small on sarcasm, self-deprecation, teasing and ridicule.

Yet it's these last four characteristics that help differentiate the British sense of humour from that of our cousins across the Pond, according to a recent study by researchers at the University of Western Ontario in Canada.

SCOUT'S PROMISE
On My Honour, I promise that I will do my best
To do my duty to God and to the Queen,
To help other people
And to keep the Scout Law


That's not to say that the British can't solemnly swear to anything. Girl Guides, MPs and jurors are among those who have to.

But former attorney general Lord Goldsmith said on Tuesday, that his research tends "to show that there has been a diminution in national pride in the sense of belonging and it is a particularly generational thing".

Plans to get children to undertake a duty to the Queen don't sit well with everyone. Some say it is unfair on those with republican sympathies, while others may feel it's just a bit un-British.

When comic Spike Milligan refused to take an oath of allegiance to get a British passport, the Prince of Wales retorted that he himself had to.

To which Milligan replied, "Yes, but it's your mother isn't it? You don't get board and lodging at Buckingham Palace if you don't swear an oath."

Perhaps the solution is all in the wording. What better way to make an oath inclusive than to have it written by the public at large. Write us a suitable British oath of allegiance using the form below. The best will be published on Wednesday.

Name
Your e-mail address
Town/city and country
Your very British oath

The BBC may edit your comments and not all emails will be published. Your comments may be published on any BBC media worldwide.





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