Yesterday I was invited onto BBC’s Asian Network’s Thought for the Week and shared my thoughts on the proposed Oath of Allegiance – see below……
I love this country, I want to see it succeed – not just for me and my family but for my neighbours and fellow Brits. That’s why when Sajid Javid announced earlier this week the Government is considering adding an Oath of Allegiance for public office holders I was over the moon. Having our public officers embrace British values sets an example for everyone else to do so too.
The values I’m talking about are respecting the views of others, even when you disagree with them. About believing in freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and upholding basic human rights. I’m talking about a belief in equality, democracy and the democratic process. And respecting for the law, even when you think it’s wrong. And when you do disagree, getting involved to change it. That’s what freedom and democracy is all about.
And it doesn’t matter about your race, your religion, your status or even how long you’ve lived here – we all have a role to play in making society a success. That’s something we seem to have forgotten.
Personally I think we need to go further than this proposal. I believe all students should learn the national anthem and our British History. We should have the Union Jack flying high outside all public buildings and schools. We need to instill a pride for being British in our next generation so they can instill it in the generation after.
With the opportunities that Brexit allows – such as the ability to introduce a fair and controlled immigration system – where any individual from across the world can come to Britain on the same rules and the same process, this oath of allegiance is more important than ever. We should welcome new talent and fresh ideas to Britain but also teach about our history, our culture, we should encourage those who make Britain their home to integrate with the communities they join and learn about our values.
There is a reason why people from all across the world want to come to this country. Yes we are an economic powerhouse and yes there are plenty of job opportunities. But more fundamentally people want to live in a country underpinned by values they agree with. Britain is underpinned by great values and ultimately it is those values that make this country such a success.