A national “Britain Day” to promote a stronger sense of British identity has been suggested by two prominent government ministers the BBC reports.
Communities Secretary Ruth Kelly and Immigration Minister Liam Byrne say it could be a new national holiday.
In a BBC interview Ms Kelly said: “The point of it would be to celebrate the contribution that we all make to society.”
In a pamphlet on the plan the ministers also suggest immigrants could have the chance to “earn” British citizenship.
Under a points-based system, credit would be given to migrants for doing voluntary work but lost for breaking the law.
Ms Kelly told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that a Britain day would recognise the “local focus” of people’s contribution to society in particular.
“It might be, for instance, that local areas come together, they decide for themselves about the contribution that they might make,” she said.
“And then people who live in that area would have the opportunity to get involved in local volunteering, local service to their neighbours, and to celebrate their sense of being a citizen of the country,”.
The two ministers say UK communities need a stronger sense of what they have in common, and they say the proposed national day would celebrate British values and achievements.
Mr Byrne, currently overseeing the introduction of the Points Based System for entry to the UK, said: “At a time when we face the threat of a new extremism, I just think it’s important now for the law-abiding majority to stand up for the values that we’ve got in achievements.
“One of the ways that we can do that is just taking a bit of time out each year to actually celebrate what we’re proudest of in this country.”
In 2006, a survey by BBC History magazine suggested the anniversary of the signing of Magna Carta in 1215 would be the most popular day for a Britain Day.
The 15 June date was favoured by 27% of the 5,002 people polled, ahead of VE Day (8 May) with 21%, and D-Day (6 June) with 14%.
At present there is no single day which is celebrated by the whole of the UK. Confusingly, Brits celebrate different ‘patron saint’ days for each of the four countries which make up the United Kingdom.
Do you know your patron saints?
Pay attention now because this question may well come up in the ‘British Test’, when you apply for settlement.
The English celebrate St Georges Day on April 23, the Welsh have St David’s Day on 1st March, the Scots mark St Andrews Day on 30 November and the Irish have the biggest party of all on St Patrick’s Day, held all over the world on 17 March.
Still confused? Don’t worry, so are most Brits, which is why they want to introduce a single national day. In fact when I was interviewed last week on BBC Three Counties Radio by a well known Scottish presenter, he couldn’t even name the date of St Andrews Day!
Students coming here to study should learn more about the UK. There are plenty of resources on the web, at the British Council or in our book “How to Come to the UK to Live Work Study or Visit”.
Questions on the UK are frequently put to visa applicants by Entry Clearance Officers at British Embassy postings. Preparation is key. Do your research and make sure that “London” is not the only place you know in the UK.
For more information on studying in the UK see: http://www.visas4students.com/
If you are worried about you situation or have any questions please email firstname.lastname@example.org.