From 2012, the Brits could celebrate their Britishness with a holiday

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London, Mar.12 : A report commissioned by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has suggested a national holiday to celebrate the glories of Britishness.

According to The Mirror, that extra day off is likely to granted from 2012, and would coincide with the London Olympics and the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's reign.

The holiday would mirror Australia Day, which features citizenship ceremonies, firework displays and celebration of their flag.

Prepared by former Attorney General Lord Goldsmith, the report said the holiday should "become the catalyst for a positive and celebratory new image of citizenship", but cautioned that the government should keep its distance and allow local communities to lead the celebrations.

Lord Goldsmith has also proposed an extra Honours List for "ordinary" people.

He said he wanted a Citizen's Charter to create a "sense of shared belonging" in a bid to encourage a new sense of citizenship and public-spirited acts.

His report said people who volunteer in their local community should get their council tax slashed and students should also get money off their fees or see their graduation debt slashed if they volunteer.

But Lord Goldsmith risked ridicule when he proposed making teenagers swear allegiance to the Queen to make them better citizens.

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg said: "If we really want to create a sense of belonging for teenagers then there are far better ways to do it than simply asking people to swear allegiance to Queen and country. People should not feel that being British is about swearing allegiance, it should be about taking an active role in society."

The Tories said swearing oaths of allegiance were "un-British".

Key aspects of he Citizen's charter are as follows:

A British national day by 2012 with an ex tra Honours List for "ordinary" people

Young people encouraged to go through a citizenship ceremony with an oath of allegiance to the Queen

Community work will be rewarded with a council tax discount

Students who carry out community work will get reduced university tuition fees

A clear statement of the rights and responsibilities of citizenship to be drawn up

Foreign nationals to be encouraged to take citizenship. A new "associate citizen" category will be created for those whose home nations do not permit dual citizenship

Citizenship should be earned by foreign nationals under a credits-based system

Citizenship lessons could be a compulsory part of curriculum at primary school level.


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