English - Clan unity.
The majority of Australian and Americans speak English language. The words of our language are in the Oxford dictionary. There are subtle differences from pure Queenâ€™s English as used in Britainâ€™s fine society, but anywhere in the â€œOld Dartâ€ we can make ourselves understood.
The British Home Office has other ideas. Reports from Britain say Australians applying to become British citizens must prove they have a good grasp of English.
Itâ€™s the same with Americans, Canadians, New Zealanders and South Africans. Just because English is your first language, perhaps your only language, the Home Office is not automatically convinced you can speak it.
According to â€œThe Guardianâ€ newspaper, a public figure who has been knighted and has lived in Britain for 44 years has been rejected for British citizenship on the basis that he cannot prove he can speak sufficient English. An Australian writer with degrees in English and Public Communications also has been refused her application on the basis that she has not proved she can speak English.
The Home Office says the best way to overcome the problem is to gain an English for Speakers of Other Languages certificate. O.K., but if English is your first tongue, you do not qualify for a certificate. The Home Office, instead, says people with English as their first language must obtain written confirmation of language skills from a designated person. Proof can be obtained by having a chat with one of these faceless people. However, the Home Office has not yet decided who the designated people are so the situation is now a farcical stalemate.
The problem with this sad example of rampant bureaucracy is that it could happen in America or Australia as some Scottish, Irish and even Liverpudlian people have such broad accents that they are difficult to understand even though they are speaking perfectly good regional English.
This sad example also highlights a possible disturbing future problem of a "class" split in the worldwide Clans.