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Why Has Citizenship Become A Significant Political Issue In The Uk?

1288 words - 6 pages

13024684 Nana .A. Akrofi

Why has citizenship become a significant political issue in the UK?

Modern Britain sees citizenship as a status that denotes membership of a nation-state and which carries with it certain rights and duties associated with that membership. (Faulks 1998).

It has always been a sensitive and significant political issue which goes as far as when Britain opened its doors to immigrants, especially the EU to work, live and to enjoy the benefits of becoming citizens of Britain, associated with gaining access to free education, housing economic and social welfare, which (Marshal 0000)termed as social rights. This has resulted in a huge drain on the economy and resources of the country.REF. (HOW)

However, citizenship under social contract theory carries both the rights and responsibilities which in sense can be described as a bundle of rights - primarily the political participation in the community, the right to vote and the right to receive certain protections and social support. (Leary 2000).

Other factors determining citizenship could be a non- British marrying a British citizen, naturalisation, parents of a British citizen and in most exceptional cases of asylum where and individual cannot live in their country of birth due to the fear of being killed.REF

The current re-surface of issues regarding citizenship entails a number of reasons.
The post September 11 climate of terror ignited fear, creating a sense of sensitivity towards a certain group of people in the UK, believing that the attack had religious undertone which also raised concerns of the issues regarding the wearing of the hijabs (
After the abovementioned attack, the government sought to re-assess its security boarders, hence the introduction of high security measures at the arrivals and departure halls in airports in such of explosives to stop the repeating of such events.

The whole idea of immigration is another factor leading to the current interest of citizenship in the UK. REF Since the enlargement of the European Union, there has been a damaging effect that has erupted fear that migrants are thought to undercut UK labour wage rates, As a result of being used as cheap labour.

A relevant reason for this essay is the July 7 2005 bombings which was said to have been executed by home grown terrorist who do not share the same values and norms within the British community. This raised questions about gaining UK citizenship but yet being allowed to practise their religion/faith. Well, one of the issues that come to mind will be the fact that there are no rules stipulated in the legal system to emphasising that immigrants adhere to Britain’s culture in other sense.

The objective of the citizenship test is to implement British values and norms, concept of duties and rights and in a sense a means of immigration...

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