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Citizenship - opt in

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
Hey all. I was thinking about this earlier. Do you think you should have to opt in to become a citizen?

This really starts from an immigration point of view. Lots of people complain about polish people stealing 'our' jobs as if we have some god given right to them. The fact remains in many cases they would work harder for less. The problem is that people born in the UK won't move out when better, more productive workers come here, they will just go on the dole.

So I was thinking about that, and thinking about things like volunteering - how people these days on the whole don't give back so much. If you think of OAPs and how little they get in pension, but how much they give to different charities - why do the young who earn a fair wedge just blow it all on themselves?

There is nothing wrong with this as such, I don't think it's wrong to be focused on yourself at all. But I think maybe if you are a citizen maybe with that comes responsibilities to your society. So maybe - and this may be a terrible idea but it's just something I wanted to talk about - people are born with 'resident' status and need to opt in to citizen status. There would be certain obligations like volunteering etc. maybe even a form of national service i.e. a 2 year stint as a nurse or something but also certain perks like access to certain careers (politicians etc.), being able to vote and about conciously buying into the idea of being part of the state, not just living in it. I guess also you may have to prove you are of good character, and serious criminal convictions could remove your citizen status.

If you think about it, none of us made the choice to become british citizens, we just had the fortune of being born here. And despite the moaning and groaning I would far rather be a british citizen than a chinese citizen so I see it as something of a priveledge. Is it outdated and oldfashioned to give people such a priveledge just because they were born here?

BTW, I think residents should still have access to national services such as the NHS and police and pay tax etc., they just aren't recognised as a 'citizen' as such.

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Mmmm *runs off to see if this would be proftable* lol
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    ShyBoy wrote: »

    BTW, I think residents should still have access to national services such as the NHS and police and pay tax etc., they just aren't recognised as a 'citizen' as such.

    Then what good would being a "citizen" actually be except allowing you to use that label to describe yourself?

    If being a "citizen" means national service then I'm definitely opting out.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I don't know the exact perks of it, but declaring yourself a citizen you pledge your alleigance to the country and your loyalty to the country. You are given the right to vote and given the right to certain careers. I would argue also police officers should have to be citizens as it is a position of prestige - as it is I think you already have to prove you are of good character to be a PC.

    Fiona, I don't think it should be compulsory, but if someone wants to be a citizen and be part of their country then what is the objection to 2 years or so of serving your country? It doesn't have to be shooting people, it means doing something for your country instead of yourself.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Yeah I have always wondered about something like this. I do think it is strange when I hear people talking about "all these foreigners coming and stealing all our jobs/houses/benefits while english people get nothing". Do you have a right to a job, to benefits and housing, simply by virtue of being born in a country? Especially since you can't assume that a person themselves, or their parents, have contributed much to the country. Yet many are still very critical of others coming in, working hard for a low wage and contributing to the economy.

    It seems to me sometimes like too much focus is placed on people's country of origin/place of birth, and not enough emphasis is put on the fellow humanity of those individuals and what they may have to contribute to society. And I am certainly not comfortable with this attitude that based on the simple fact one was born and raised in a particular geographical location, one is automatically entitled to a particular lifestyle and associated privileges and has the "right" to certain things that others don't, despite the fact that others may work harder/generally have more to offer.

    I don't know, it is a difficult one and would perhaps be very difficult to impose particular requirements on people to become citizens without it becoming too much of a police state and having our lives controlled to a ridiculous extent; it is an idea that could potentially lead to a lot of elitism and possibly more exclusion of certain sections of society/individuals than we have already.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    So who pays for the police and NHS? You can't take taxes off people who don't have the right to vote on those taxes.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    ShyBoy wrote: »
    Hey all. I was thinking about this earlier. Do you think you should have to opt in to become a citizen?

    This really starts from an immigration point of view. Lots of people complain about polish people stealing 'our' jobs as if we have some god given right to them. The fact remains in many cases they would work harder for less. The problem is that people born in the UK won't move out when better, more productive workers come here, they will just go on the dole.

    So I was thinking about that, and thinking about things like volunteering - how people these days on the whole don't give back so much. If you think of OAPs and how little they get in pension, but how much they give to different charities - why do the young who earn a fair wedge just blow it all on themselves?

    There is nothing wrong with this as such, I don't think it's wrong to be focused on yourself at all. But I think maybe if you are a citizen maybe with that comes responsibilities to your society. So maybe - and this may be a terrible idea but it's just something I wanted to talk about - people are born with 'resident' status and need to opt in to citizen status. There would be certain obligations like volunteering etc. maybe even a form of national service i.e. a 2 year stint as a nurse or something but also certain perks like access to certain careers (politicians etc.), being able to vote and about conciously buying into the idea of being part of the state, not just living in it. I guess also you may have to prove you are of good character, and serious criminal convictions could remove your citizen status.

    If you think about it, none of us made the choice to become british citizens, we just had the fortune of being born here. And despite the moaning and groaning I would far rather be a british citizen than a chinese citizen so I see it as something of a priveledge. Is it outdated and oldfashioned to give people such a priveledge just because they were born here?

    BTW, I think residents should still have access to national services such as the NHS and police and pay tax etc., they just aren't recognised as a 'citizen' as such.

    Been watching starship troopers?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    FireFly85 wrote: »
    And I am certainly not comfortable with this attitude that based on the simple fact one was born and raised in a particular geographical location, one is automatically entitled to a particular lifestyle and associated privileges and has the "right" to certain things that others don't, despite the fact that others may work harder/generally have more to offer.

    I don't know, it is a difficult one and would perhaps be very difficult to impose particular requirements on people to become citizens without it becoming too much of a police state and having our lives controlled to a ridiculous extent; it is an idea that could potentially lead to a lot of elitism and possibly more exclusion of certain sections of society/individuals than we have already.

    Agreed.

    ShyBoy - I really think I already give back to the country through tax and national insurance and all the other mandatory bills that I have to pay. I think encouraging people to do more volunteering is a great idea but this Citizenship thing sounds really elitist and regimented. We will be saluting the flag next.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I've been searching on google this afternoon for some kind of critique of what I'm thinking of but I can't find anything, but I'm pretty sure it's not an original idea because you see the concept in many films (often a dystopian future with a utopia and then outside people trying to kill mice to eat lol).

    I don't think people contribute as much to society as they used to. The church used to bring people together and now that's kind of gone away (which isn't a bad thing!) people are so much more focussed on themselves. But we wouldn't have anything if it wasn't for the rest of us, there is no me or I, it's a massive community and I think so many people don't appreciate that. You see it in those that do sometimes - speaking to people who have worked for charities (probably like the mods here lol) they often accept a lower paid wage because they're doing something good, something worthwhile. The way I and probably a lot of my generation have grown up it's all about the fastest way to get the biggest wage so we can buy the most stuff. Maybe that's the wrong focus...
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    fionafiona wrote: »
    Agreed.

    ShyBoy - I really think I already give back to the country through tax and national insurance and all the other mandatory bills that I have to pay. I think encouraging people to do more volunteering is a great idea but this Citizenship thing sounds really elitist and regimented. We will be saluting the flag next.

    this isnt a back door government proposal its just an idea so there is no ulterior motive. the problem is so many people dont WANT to give back through tax etc. they moan about it all the bloody time and so maybe they should have to opt in. they should make the informed decision that they WANT to be part of this country, accept the tax that is imposed on them and the duties (jury duty etc.) and in return get the benefits.

    at the moment they just pop out of their mum and thanks to their geographic location automatically agree to the terms and conditions and laws and everything of living here.

    territt like i said this concept is featured in several films so it cant be original :p but i cant find any original discourse on it.

    IWS i dont know, I haven't worked out the ins and outs as I'm not some kind of genius! it was an idea. maybe if people hate this country then they should have the freedom to not be 'part' of this country but rather just a resident here. you would still have to pay income tax and value added tax just as someone coming here on a work visa would. but they don't get the right to vote on what their tax is spent on.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    ShyBoy wrote: »
    IWS i dont know, I haven't worked out the ins and outs as I'm not some kind of genius! it was an idea. maybe if people hate this country then they should have the freedom to not be 'part' of this country but rather just a resident here. you would still have to pay income tax and value added tax just as someone coming here on a work visa would. but they don't get the right to vote on what their tax is spent on.
    So how would that differ from just being a citizen of the UK and choosing not to vote? Except in definition?

    Are you just suggesting you shouldn't be allowed to vote without having done some national service first? Sorry, but that sounds horrible. It would take five minutes for any government to abuse that massively.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    IWS you're asking me questions like I have a draft of it written up, I don't, I just want to talk about the concept of voluntary citizenship. You could scrap the national service thing even. I just thought it would be an appropriate way to give something back. Because it's more than being about money, (with what fionafiona said about doing enough in paying tax) - it's about having the right character and so on. There's a difference between a banker earning millions a year writing a cheque for £5k to the RPSCA and a teenager giving up their weekends to go and help out cleaning out the shit and piss from the kennels.

    If you accept that there's nothing wrong with people paying with money, (which is different for everyone really), what's wrong with people paying with their time and sweat? I don't really see how you go from that to saying the government will abuse it :confused: how can they abuse your hard work for something good more than they abuse your cash?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Okay, I am going to completely take the piss out of ShyBoy's idea, and declare that I am now officially a Swedish citizen. This is on the grounds that I bought something from Ikea around two years ago.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    stargalaxy wrote: »
    Okay, I am going to completely take the piss out of ShyBoy's idea, and declare that I am now officially a Swedish citizen. This is on the grounds that I bought something from Ikea around two years ago.

    seriously what the hell

    look, i spent the afternoon trying to find some info about the concept, couldn't, so posted here. it's a discussion forum. I'm not actually advocating this system, but I'm wondering whether it would be better (or 'least bad') than the current system where you automagically become a citizen of whatever geographic region you were born in (or your parents were born in) for life. if your parents are french, you can be called up in a draft in france even if you have never been there in your life. know this for a fact as one of my friends is in that situation except without the draft part lol (they stopped national service that he would have been required to attend a few years before his time tho).

    when i posted up about this abstract idea i had about politics and an AI to decide social policy for us jim kindly referred me to plato's philosopher kings.

    when i post up about this particular abstract idea (about a political convention - thus P&D) you come in and say 'lol i bought something from ikea that makes me swedish' thinking it makes you look intelligent. not in the mood for trolling.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I would think the most obvious criticism of what your suggesting is that it assumes that the State is something that we should be grateful to be a part of, that we should have to prove why we should be entitled to the benefits it provides. Your assuming that we are being made better because the state allows us to join it. In fact, I'd argue, the state exists because people choose to allow it to exist.

    By being able to collect taxes, imprison people governments oppose, send good men and women to die in foreign wars, spend money where a government chooses, a state gains far more from an individual than it ever spends.

    An individual should be owed to by it's government, they owe their people loyalty, not us them.

    But that's just my view :)

    It's also worth remembering that what you are describing isn't unheard of. People did used to be granted their rights of citizenship based on certain criteria. They were different to yours of course, but it was a similar principal - that certain people earned or deserved citizenship. Mostly commonly in the history of the UK and the world the basic test was - are you rich enough? are you a man?

    So as to the idea of rights being determined at birth and how a government could choose to grant citizenship I'd really recommend taking a look at Thomas Paine's Rights of Man

    Especially consider it from the point of view of the idea your suggesting actually being in place - how would it not become self-perpetuating, with those who are most privileged being able to prove their worth with the greatest ease?

    I'd also suggest that it is the sign of a great nation when it can accept people who would hate it equally and with the same rights as those who would love it.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    ShyBoy wrote: »
    this isnt a back door government proposal its just an idea so there is no ulterior motive. the problem is so many people dont WANT to give back through tax etc. they moan about it all the bloody time and so maybe they should have to opt in. they should make the informed decision that they WANT to be part of this country, accept the tax that is imposed on them and the duties (jury duty etc.) and in return get the benefits.

    at the moment they just pop out of their mum and thanks to their geographic location automatically agree to the terms and conditions and laws and everything of living here.

    Yeah and we just "pop out" and have to (eventually) pay loads of tax, NI, whatever else. People moan about it because it's a hell of a lot of money!! You are never, ever going to make people "want to give back through tax". Yes we should probably not take living in the UK for granted, as millions have it a lot worse off than us, but that's different from feeling pride for the country.

    I want to know what the benefits of being a citizen would be, apart from being part of an elitist club of "True Brits".
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    fionafiona wrote: »
    Yeah and we just "pop out" and have to (eventually) pay loads of tax, NI, whatever else. People moan about it because it's a hell of a lot of money!! You are never, ever going to make people "want to give back through tax". Yes we should probably not take living in the UK for granted, as millions have it a lot worse off than us, but that's different from feeling pride for the country.

    I want to know what the benefits of being a citizen would be, apart from being part of an elitist club of "True Brits".

    Well imagine if you were born on an island and had no family etc. and so were essentially stateless, then you had a choice of becoming a citizen of the UK, Finland or the US. In the US there is almost no safety net but you pay pretty low taxes, Finland the social security is amazing but the tax rates are shocking (highest quality of life in the world tho) and the UK is somewhere in between. It's your choice where you live. Or you can stay on your island and pay no taxes. Are you saying everyone would choose their island?

    I'd choose finland, and I'd prefer a UK fiscal policy more like them but that's another debate entirely. My point is, I think people can accept some tax is ok, and they're willing to pay that in exchange for the safety nets of social security etc.

    Like I said before, the benefits would be generally speaking, being part of the nation, being able to vote, take part in the political system, take careers in positions of prestige and such. It's just the concept I'm thinking about, I'm not asking you to vote on something that's been finalised lol.

    I would hope it wouldn't be an elitist system but thats a fair criticism.

    Jim - interesting view you have there. Maybe my thoughts are idealistic, I just believe that maybe we should want to be part of the state...
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    some countries do do the national service thing though don't they? my German housemate told me that everyone has to do it there and he did 2years as a paramedic.

    sorry, was just wondering as i read!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    some countries do do the national service thing though don't they? my German housemate told me that everyone has to do it there and he did 2years as a paramedic.

    sorry, was just wondering as i read!

    Yea, so it would be like that, except people have a choice rather than being forced. You know if you are born in the United States, you can emigrate to say Russia and live there all your life, but you are still 'property' of the US government in a sense. Lifetime citizenship without your consent. Pretty scary stuff eh? They could draft you into the army or make you pay tax or whatever idk the details, my brother (who left the UK and isnt counted as a resident anymore so gets by a few of the UKs things like that) told me about the US being extremely possessive over its people like that.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    ShyBoy wrote: »
    Are you saying everyone would choose their island?

    Um, no. This was never mentioned before. You were suggesting that British people need to actively Opt-In to become a citizen of the country which, ahem, they are already a citizen in.

    Anyway, I'm opting out as you have not come up with any positive, tangible benefits of doing otherwise.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    It wasn't mentioned before because it's a concept, it's not something that's going to be done, it's an idea that you DECIDE on your citizenship. We can conjecture all you like on the ins and outs of what that might mean but you're missing the point.

    Do you think we should decide to become citizens proactively?
    Or do you think it should stay the same where we automatically are citizens of the country we are born in, with all the responsibilities and such that come with that?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Apologies for getting into this late, but I've been at work a lot.

    But that was going to be precisely my point. I had two jobs not long ago, was working 7 days a week, paying a bumload of tax on both.

    Why does this make me less of a citizen than someone who has time to clean shit out of a kennel at the weekend? How exactly am I contributing less to the country?

    It's impossible to measure and I'm not sure why you'd ever really want to.

    The concept of people contributing more to society is good, just not sure who would want citizenship as a reward, seeing as it's a little woolly anyway.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    If you went to work in the USA, working two jobs, paying tax to the American government, you wouldn't be a citizen but your American born colleague would be. So you wouldn't be allowed to vote and do the things 'in principle' an American citizen could, even though you were working the same job as your colleague.

    But its just because where people were born that entitles them to different rights and/or obligations. In the United States if you happen to be born there (and male), when you reach 18 you are legally required to register for the draft so you can be forced to fight in war (or go to prison) in the event of the need for that.

    Now nobody chooses to be born in a country, they just are. On the flipside, all the perks of being able to determine the course of a country, travel as a citizen of that country with access to other countries and so on, are automatically given upon birth as well.

    So the minute your name is on the birth certificate you are in effect the legal property of the government, you have signed a contract for life (or until you officially un-become a citizen which is not easy). I think there should be no contract, no extra perks and no extra obligations, you are just resident here like any other economic migrant, until you CHOOSE to enter that contract with whatever nation.

    I guess it stems for me from a) a lack of appreciation for the priveledges of living in a state and b) a lack of freedom in deciding who owns you.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    ShyBoy wrote: »
    when you reach 18 you are legally required to register for the draft so you can be forced to fight in war (or go to prison) in the event of the need for that.

    You may be legally required to register for the draft but that is not the same as being forced to fight. All draftees volunteer/contract to do so even if the fact is obscured from them.
    ShyBoy wrote: »
    So the minute your name is on the birth certificate you are in effect the legal property of the government, you have signed a contract for life (or until you officially un-become a citizen which is not easy). I think there should be no contract, no extra perks and no extra obligations, you are just resident here like any other economic migrant, until you CHOOSE to enter that contract with whatever nation.

    Blame the parents ! !

    By signing that birth certificate and registering they are indeed relinquishing legal ownership of their offspring. They could decide not to, and when little Johnny becomes a big boy at 18 he has the choice to contract (or not, as the case may be).
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    You may be legally required to register for the draft but that is not the same as being forced to fight. All draftees volunteer/contract to do so even if the fact is obscured from them.

    Threat of imprisonment doesn't give much of a choice :/

    Blame the parents ! !

    By signing that birth certificate and registering they are indeed relinquishing legal ownership of their offspring. They could decide not to, and when little Johnny becomes a big boy at 18 he has the choice to contract (or not, as the case may be).

    I think that's against the law not 100% sure.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    ShyBoy wrote: »
    Threat of imprisonment doesn't give much of a choice :/

    The penalty is for not registering.
    ShyBoy wrote: »
    I think that's against the law not 100% sure.

    There is a statute that requires registration of births within a 42 day period. The penalty, IF prosecuted and convicted, is the lowest one that I am aware of in UK law.
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