13 October 2011

I hate to be a killjoy, but...

...I hope the jokes about the Life in the UK test (it is not called the UK Citizenship test) are over for now.

It is easy enough making light of it, but for thousands of people, the test represents a life-changing culmination of years of uncertainty.

Its merits are easily dismissed...it is a means to an end...a necessary evil...a bit of a joke of facts and figures to memorise.

But, for some, taking the test means that their life could soon be their own again, free of restriction.

Some struggle to remember what life free-of-restriction was like.

Most days bring a reminder of being miserable and stifled in work for which they've lost all passion, yet are unable to do anything about it; feeling reluctant to form relationships or put down real roots - because they've no idea if they'll soon be chucked out of the land which, in their heart, is their home...making the last several years feel a waste or failure.

So - if you must - laugh about making tea and knowing the difference between Ant and Dec.

Giggle that you've got only 8 of the 24 mock test questions right and joke that you should be deported.

Snigger that the government think it important that people who've sacrificed much should take more of an interest than you in your country's facts and figures.

But also please consider, just for a moment, that you are unwittingly laughing in the face of what is a vital part in someone's future and long journey to be not only British at heart, but also on paper.

Someone out there who thought they'd never in their life pledge allegiance to a Queen, but is counting the minutes until they get to do so.

That person may be your friend's partner, your work colleague, a writer from your favourite magazine or the barman who pulls your pint. Or me.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This is not meant to sound curmudgeonly or overly-dramatic about what people consider 'just a bit of fun' - perhaps simply philosophical. This is what happens when you get old(er) and realise that in a couple of months' time, you may finally have something for which you sometimes feel you've waited your whole life.

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