Pledge of Allegiance


Claires Tag

This one has really rattled my cage today.

Schoolchildren, under new recommendations, would be expected to attend a ‘coming of age’ ceremony which would also include a pledge of allegiance to the Queen. Now, I have nothing against the Queen personally, but all of this feels extremely archaic and liable to cause problems. I’m all for having a bit of national pride and understanding what it means to be a British citizen, but what I really quite strongly disagree with is this ‘pledge of allegiance’ bit.

Allegiance is synonymous with obedience, and I don’t think its appropriate for schoolchildren to have to promise to be faithful and obedient to the monarchy. Fine, let’s have the National Anthem sung in schools. Fine, let’s have kids learn more about British history and citizenship. But pledging themselves to the Queen feels wrong to me for a multitude of reasons.

I have never pledged allegiance to this country, the Queen or anything else, but I am still steadfastly British, law-abiding and I hope, a generally decent person. It is outdated for children to pledge to the Queen, and surely more effort should be placed on uniting Britain in a positive way that celebrates our heritage and vast multicultural differences rather than thousands of kids reciting a meaningless pledge from the overhead projector. I have images of the same roboticised pledging that America do to their flag, and whereas this may be appropriate for them, it certainly is not for us.

My other problem is that much like the American Pledge of Allegiance, which celebrates “One Nation, under God”, I could almost guarantee that the version to the Queen would contain some sort of Christian undertones. I appreciate that the monarchy in this country is Christian, but again it is simply not appropriate for children of all faiths to pledge themselves in such a religious manner to a highly Christian hegemony to the exclusion of their own beliefs.

Much as my teeth would be set on edge by it, I’d be far happier to see schoolchildren pledging to abide by the law, value their loved ones, and become a generally good person; commonsense pledges that actually mean something to kids.