Sunday, March 16, 2008

Liverpool's Citizenship Ceremony

I took part in my first British Citizenship Ceremony today after being invited, along with all 90 city councillors, to get involved.

A month ago I sat in on a ceremony to see how they worked, and what would be expected of me, today it was my turn to formally welcome people into citizenship.

There were 24 new citizens from all over the world, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Iran, China, Yemen, Argentina and others I don't recall.

I was offered the opportunity to read the standard speech or prepare my own, and I chose the latter.

It is hard to know exactly how to pitch it, so I was interested in the comments that people left in the book afterwards.

Some found the ceremony just right, saying it was warm and welcoming. One person said the speeches went on too long, I think I spoke for about 6 or 7 minutes, the Registrar for about the same time, but in two different places. One peson said it was too informal and they would have liked more ceremony. Another wrote that there was too much emphasis on the persecution some had experienced, another that not enough was made of this nor the long wait and the patience and the saving-up that had gone into it.

I know from the staff that the majority of the new citizens are in Britain because they are professionals in the NHS and the Universities, perhaps I might make more direct reference to this next time, and shave a few minutes of my speech more generally.

I did get in the reference to Operation Black Vote, it would be great if even more people signed up for this.

We took lots of photos afterwards and many were particularly keen to get the Union Jack flag which hangs on a flag pole at the front into the picture.

Apparently someone wrote in the book last week that we ought to sing the national anthem and not just stand up for it, that would be one way to clear the room I think, in my case.

I thoroughly enjoyed the service and look forward to my next one.

1 comment:

same old Dick said...

As Marek and myself entered into a same sex Polish marriage ceremony I am assuming that this now classes him as a "brit" instead of a "poll". I have asked him to check this out as the last thing I would wnat is for him to be deported after all who would then wipe my jacksy, get the Anne Summers Chocolate sauce, or cook my tea.
When I broach the subject of him becoming English, he becomes very surley, spitting and mumbling under his breath "yu fukin engleesh", "I go see my cownsellor Frank he help" there's gratitude for you, 5 zlotys a day and a day a month off....he should be grateful-