Sunday, June 14, 2009

Putting the flags out for the new citizens

26 new citizens and their children joined the British family in a service this afternoon in Liverpool. As I planned my speech I felt strongly that I should briefly reflect on the BNP's winning of a seat in the European Parliament last week. I told the new citizens and their family and friends that although 6% of people who voted in Liverpool had voted BNP, 94% had not and that I believed the city supported the politics of hope, not the politics of hate. I said I felt it was important, on a day that they were becoming British that they understood that they were welcome.

One nice touch has been the introduction of small flags standing on the Registrar's desk at the front, representing the original countries of the new citizens. We had 17 today including Australia, Afghanstan, Iraq, India, Pakistan, Jamaica and the Saychelles.

It seemed to go down well, people were having their photographs taken at the table, with the visitor's book and all the flags surrounding them, with the full scale Union Jack flying in the background. The staff took a lot of photographs themselves, during the ceremony, as we want to build up a portfolio which can go on to the website and show people what to expect and also allow new citizens to download photos where they forgot to bring their own cameras, but we have not got this organised yet, so watch this space.

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