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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 November, 2003, 15:45 GMT
Union flag plan opposed
Flags
Councillors are
Plans to use the union flag and the national anthem God Save the Queen in new citizenship ceremonies for immigrants have encountered opposition in Glasgow.

The city council will be among several local authorities to pilot the ceremonies in the new year before the scheme is extended across the rest of the UK in the spring.

Those applying for naturalisation or who are able to register as a British citizen will be required to attend a ceremony and take an oath of allegiance to the Queen under plans announced by Home Secretary David Blunkett.

But some councillors in Glasgow claim the union flag has sectarian connotations in the west of Scotland, while the national anthem, God Save the Queen, is offensive to Scots.

They want Glasgow ceremonies to feature the saltire and use the song Flower of Scotland instead.

I think the symbols are all about context and if we have the Union Jack in the context of a UK citizenship ceremony, I don't see what the problem is
Alan Britton
Councillor George Ryan is among those backing the alternative plan.

He said: "There is a reference in the national anthem to the 'crushing of Scots' which is not very socially inclusive, especially to new citizens.

"We would rather concentrate on what the ceremony is about and have a Scottish flavour to it rather than an entirely British feel."

However critics of the proposal said the council would be "giving in" to those who hijack traditional symbols.

Alan Britton, of Glasgow University, said: "We begin to identify the union jack for example with the British National Party. We are losing the battle if we concede that ground.

"I think the symbols are all about context and if we have the Union Jack in the context of a UK citizenship ceremony, I don't see what the problem is."

Council officials will meet with representatives from the Home Office on Wednesday.


SEE ALSO:
Citizenship classes for new Britons
03 Sep 03  |  Politics
Tea and cakes for the new Britons
25 Jul 03  |  Politics
UK 'citizenship test' unveiled
31 Jan 03  |  UK News
Blunkett names 'Britishness' chief
10 Sep 02  |  Politics


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