Idea that should unite with the bin

12th September 2003 at 01:00
A good few British adults go about their business unaware of our history.

But according to David Blunkett, the Home Secretary, this level of ignorance, while it exists among those who were at school during his reign as Education Secretary, is not acceptable for immigrants.

One of the questions that might feature in Mr Blunkett's citizenship test is reported to be "When was the Act of Union?"

Passing a moment while my Guinness settled in the Auld Shillelagh, I carried out a straw poll.

"When was the Act of Union?" I asked the barmaid. Without hesitation she answered, her Cork accent heavy with disapproval at my English ignorance, "that would be 1800, of course."

Lets hope this answer is acceptable to Mr Blunkett's interrogators, along with 1536 (Wales) and 1707 (Scotland). A Home Office spokesman wouldn't be drawn on which answer it had in mind. It was just "an idea being chucked around at the press conference," he explained.

Perhaps this is one "idea" that, once it has been "chucked around", could be chucked away.

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