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back to article Huddled immigrant masses face 'British values' quiz

Foreigners wishing to obtain a British passport will henceforth face a revamped citizenship test which "focuses on values and principles at the heart of being British". According the BBC, the Home Office has dispensed with nonsense such as "information about water meters, how to find train timetables and using the internet". …

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Supposedly there are questions about Monty Python's Flying Circus on the quiz

I thought I saw something about that.

Not being a huge Python fan, I would probably never qualify for Brit citizenship. Maybe they would let me in because mum was a limey.....

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Meh

Questions Questions

1. Where do you claim asylum?

2. Where is the location of the housing benefits office?

3. How do you claim for non-existant children?

4. How do you get your whole family treated on the NHS?

5. How do you arrange a marriage to a British or EU citizen?

6. How do you claim unemployment benefit?

7. How do you play the legal system for years and gain the right to stay?

8. (For terrorists only) How do you prevent deportation?

9. How do you use the Human Rights legislation to your advantage?

10. How do you claim compensation?

10 out of 10 Sir, you can stay.

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Re: Questions Questions

The Alf Garnett Fan Club is in the house.

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Mushroom

Re: Questions Questions

Ah, spoken like a true xenophobe. Yes, let's eject all the foreigners. The Saxons and Angles can get stuffed for a start. Oh wait, they're white aren't they? Silly me.

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@LarsG

Hey Lars, I just got my British Residency Permit; the fee was about £1,000 and followed on from two other visas with similar charges, and during my time here access to benefits has been explicitly prohibited. That's what it's like for migrants who don't come from the EU, and the EU is by far the greatest source. There's a points system and most native born Brits wouldn't meet the minimum qualification to get in; that's not knocking Brits, just to point out that it's not as easy to get in as the idiots say.

So, this migrant says fuck your ignorance and your dumb-arse Daily Mail comedy routine.

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Stop

Re: @LarsG

Please ignore LarsG. This person consistently replies to the first post in a thread, even though the post made has nothing to do with the OP, presumably to ensure this crap gets listed higher up the page.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Questions Questions

You missed the questions on setting up gangs to groom underage girls and how to turn your street into a no-go zone for people who aren't from the same country as you.

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Re: Questions Questions

Lars? Doesn't sound very British to me... I think an investigation by the Commission for Purity of Britishness is in order.

Now, where is my denouncement template...?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Questions Questions

Hey Lars, I finally got my British citizenship last year, after nine years in the UK and one tour of Afghanistan with the British Army.

During that entire time I had no access to any benefits of any kind, but I was certainly paying taxes and NI. I also had to renew my visa twice, and passed the previous citizenship test to get my British citizenship. So while I agree that some people, British and foreign, abuse the asylum and benefits system, I also think the general complaining about immigration is a bit silly.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Questions Questions

Do you not count free health as a 'benefit'?

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Mushroom

Re: Do you not count free health as a 'benefit'?

Not just an ungrateful prat, but a cowardly ungrateful prat!

If the OP has served our country at the sharp end (and paid N.I.!) then fair play to him/her. I for one would happily welcome them and provide them with directions to the nearest Tobacconist*

* - but no passport unless they get the Python reference.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @LarsG

JC,

You have hit upon a very good point i.e. EU vs non-EU.

I'm quite amazed at just how many people seem to think that immigration laws apply equally, everywhere. As you say, non-EU immigration is a completely different kettle o' fish.

Most of the items on the OP's list are really an illustration of issues arising with EU cross-border migration. Maybe Lars should be directing his concerns to his MEP.

I was impressed to note that you didn't lower the standard of your response by throwing the silly 'racist/xenophobe' slight around - as seems to the norm these days.

+1

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Go

Re: Questions Questions

"Do you not count free health as a 'benefit'?"

Actually as a migrant in the UK, your health care is only free if your country has a reciprocal health agreement with the UK. If not, then you pay up front. This may not be the case for those that have been accepted as refugees, but it is for everyone else.

So this "benefit" you talk about is basically only around so that when you british buggers hurt yourself doing drunken things in another country that you get treatment there for free. I'd say thats fair wouldnt you...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Questions Questions

"Actually as a migrant in the UK, your health care is only free if your country has a reciprocal health agreement with the UK. If not, then you pay up front. This may not be the case for those that have been accepted as refugees, but it is for everyone else."

I'm not so sure that you are right there. There are 2 types of immigration. EU and non-EU. I thought that non-EU is pretty much as you stated, but EU migrants had full and unfettered access, as demanded by Brussels.

In 2012, after a bit of bickering, the European Commission said that immigrants from the EU are entitled to stay and use the NHS indefinitely, even if they do not pay taxes here.

This is what the UK Border agency has to say.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Questions Questions

I don't think you' re right there. EU citizens are not allowed to benefit shop and as a British subject living abroad in the EU, I had to prove that I could support myself and had either sufficient savings or a job.

I'd also point out that, in my experience, benefits and health care are generally better in other EU countries (I have lived and worked in several but certainly not all!).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Questions Questions

It's all a little confusing I must admit. ISTM that there's still creases to be ironed out and debates to be had.

On the one had we have the European Commission saying one thing and the UK Government saying something else. Then, I have just read this.

Brussels are demanding that Britain give EU migrants rights to a range of welfare benefits and unfettered treatment on the NHS. The UK Government, says no way. (Either way, the European Commission says that immigrants from the EU are entitled to stay and use the NHS indefinitely, even if they do not pay taxes here and threatened the UK with action in European Court of Justice if they did not comply).

As usual, a complete farce.

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Re: Questions Questions

To quote from the EU web site:

Right of residence for more than three months

The right of residence for more than three months remains subject to certain conditions. Applicants must:

either be engaged in economic activity (on an employed or self-employed basis);

or have sufficient resources and sickness insurance to ensure that they do not become a burden on the social services of the host Member State during their stay. The Member States may not specify a minimum amount which they deem sufficient, but they must take account of personal circumstances;

or be following vocational training as a student and have sufficient resources and sickness insurance to ensure that they do not become a burden on the social services of the host Member State during their stay;

or be a family member of a Union citizen who falls into one of the above categories.

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Happy

Re: Questions Questions

I think it's short for LarsTorders which may go some way to explaining the xenophobic rant

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Questions Questions

It is not a benefit in the classic "benefit system" sense.

The NHS is the National Health Service, in case you haven't noticed, and National Insurance contributions help pay for it. If you pay tax here, you are allowed to use it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Questions Questions

Yes, WASPS are fine. It's all the other foreigners we need to move on. It doesn't make any difference if you were born here - you are still a foreigner if you are not a WASP. (After all Jesus was born in a stable, but that didn't make him a horse....)

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What did Sir Henry request ...

To see the blighters off himself, because the hounds were all fagged out after yesterday's Jehovah's Witnesses, and he didn't want blood all over the lawns again ...

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Re: What did Sir Henry request ...

His pistol.

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Pint

Re: What did Sir Henry request ...

Great Scott! I had that CD playing as I read your comment.

See you in the Fool and Bladder.

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Re: What did Sir Henry request ...

His drink.

The pistol was for the hang gliders ;-)

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History and culture

I personally think that immigrants will find out by themselves how to read a water meter or similar things which they need to know in their everyday lives. It is the more underlying parts of the culture which one needs to work on. The history forms a basic framework for understanding the culture, and so does the basic workings of government and law. As a non English speaking immigrant myself (to Canada) I came at an early enough age to get this information as part of my schooling, but my parents made a point of studying the local history in order to understand their new culture. Were I to move to China I would do the same. Actually, even if I went as a tourist to England, I would read enough about it to know about Nelson and the battle of Trafalgar.

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Re: History and culture

I'm a migrant. My mother was a migrant twice. She remembers her sister being embarrassed for her, because she didn't know enough to walk on the footpath/sidewalk instead of on the road.

I personally think that it's valuable to point out the simple things like how to read a water meter or similar things they need to know in their everday lives. Once you have that basic framework for understanding the culture, you have a basis for understanding history and society.

Or to put it another way, none who doesn't understand the implacable nature of a coin-in-slot gas meter will understand Wallace & Gromit "A Grand Day Out" at a cultural level, no matter how often the see it.

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Re: History and culture

Also, stuff about water meters and so on is important for new immigrants, however one is usually only eligible to apply for citizenship after a lengthy period of residence by which time one presumably knows most of the practicalities.

Why bother applying for citizenship if you already have permanent residency, if you can't be bothered to learn a bit of the cultural history of the place? Obviously exceptions would need to be made in certain cases.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: History and culture

Actually, even if I went as a tourist to England, I would read enough about it to know about Nelson and the battle of Trafalgar.

Why Nelson & Trafalgar?

The history of this fair isle is long, rich, detailed and complex. Taking a snapshot of one event (whatever its perceived magnitude may be) gives a distorted idea of what the nation is, what it stands for and what it's culture is like.

The alternative is spending so long looking into historical events that any hope of actually being a tourist becomes impossible - try untangling the complexities of a visit to France for example: how many people would bother finding out about what the long term impact of the Carnute uprising was, but it is arguable that this had a knock on effect for all of Europe's culture.

There is nothing wrong with having an understanding of the country you are visiting - or migrating to - but local history is often quite alien to locals let alone foreigners.

Trafalgar was a key historical event in the history of the United Kingdom, but it is hard to say it is a defining event of British (or even English) culture any more than the hundreds of other related events.

In a nutshell, this is the problem with the citizenship test. If we define citizenship as being able to answer some multi-guess questions about a subset of our history then we are basically saying access to Wikipedia and a good memory is all you need to be British.

(Worryingly, I have run a short pop survey in my workplace and 90% of born-British people questioned struggled with some key questions when they were rephrased - eg. "When was the Battle of Trafalgar" and "What is important in Trafalgar Square".)

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Re: History and culture

Seriously, Ole Juul hit the nail on the head.

Not so seriously, so did Lester -

"At which supermarket chain can you get 24 cans of superstrength fighting lager for a fiver?". lol.

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Re: History and culture

Trafalgar was a key historical event in the history of the United Kingdom, but it is hard to say it is a defining event of British (or even English) culture any more than the hundreds of other related events.

It was quite definitive for British Culture,. If we'd lost we'd probably have been invaded by the French. So a bit like the Battle of Britain. (If we'd lost either we'd have been "in Europe" long ago).

If you think otherwise then read up about the public opinion of the victory at the time, or go and visit his tomb in St. Paul's crypt.

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MJI
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I am crap at history

Don't remember dates but of course I know who Nelson is. And what is significant about Trafalgar. And Waterloo.

Anything involving dates would stuff me!

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Re: History and culture

"Trafalgar was a key historical event in the history of the United Kingdom, but it is hard to say it is a defining event of British (or even English) culture any more than the hundreds of other related events."

It marks the last time the Royal Navy was challenged in an all-out fleet action. Literally from that point until the carrier age, Britain was the uncontested naval power of the world. Nations that fought Britain might try to go after her trade ships, or act where the navy was weak. But no one tried to assemble a battle fleet and fight head on.

I'd say that this had a pretty profound impact over the direction of British culture for the next century and a half or so.

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Re: History and culture

Also that the main ship timbers had to come from mainland Europe as we'd used up all the decent timber long before then.

Lester ought to do a piece on how long we've been importing what we'd considered to be locally available materials -- timber, coal etc. It's surprising how long it's been since we had decent stuff on these isles of plenty but then there seem to be few Brits who understand that for the most part we have an industrial landscape -- them Iron and Bronze ages needed a lot of fuel.

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Re: History and culture

Mike 2r wrote

"It [Trafalgar] marks the last time the Royal Navy was challenged in an all-out fleet action. Literally from that point until the carrier age, Britain was the uncontested naval power of the world. Nations that fought Britain might try to go after her trade ships, or act where the navy was weak. But no one tried to assemble a battle fleet and fight head on."

Battle of Jutland: 31 May - 1 June 1916. German Battle Fleet v. Royal Navy

World's first aircraft carrier: HMS Argus 1918

Carrier age 1935 -

Which country did you say you were from, Mike?

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Re: History and culture

My understanding - I don't claim any expertise - was that Jutland was an attempt to destroy *part* of the Royal Navy battleships by trapping them into fighting piecemeal. Not simply setting out to go toe to toe against the entire fleet in order to fight a decisive battle for naval dominance.

Anyway metal ships are boring and don't really count.

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Re: History and culture

The military importance of Trafalgar has been re-assessed somewhat since Nelson's day.

Napoleon had already withdrawn his invasion army from France and sent it toward the invasion of Austria 5days before the battle - although the news hadn't reach the British fleet.

The major strategic effect of Trafalgar was actually on the Spanish rather than the French.

They lost many more ships and officers and never managed to rebuild - 1805 marked the end of Spain as any sort of power in Europe. The French fleet was back upto strength and arguably better equipped and better led within a generation.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: History and culture

This kind of highlights the point I was making with a previous post when I wrote:

Why Nelson & Trafalgar?

The history of this fair isle is long, rich, detailed and complex. Taking a snapshot of one event (whatever its perceived magnitude may be) gives a distorted idea of what the nation is, what it stands for and what it's culture is like.

The fact is, everyone has an idea about what historical events were important but finding a consensus is very difficult.

@gordon

It was quite definitive for British Culture,. If we'd lost we'd probably have been invaded by the French. So a bit like the Battle of Britain. (If we'd lost either we'd have been "in Europe" long ago).

Does that make it more "important" to British culture than The Battle of Britain, The Glorious Revolution, The Monmouth Rebellion, the English Civil Wars, the War of the Roses, Owain Glyndwr's uprising, the Baron's revolts, Hastings, Stamford Bridge, the Viking invasions, the Saxon invasions, the Roman invasions, Celtic migrations (etc).

It could be argued that if any of these had turned out differently, British Culture would be unrecognisable from what we have today.

@mike2r

It marks the last time the Royal Navy was challenged in an all-out fleet action. Literally from that point until the carrier age, Britain was the uncontested naval power of the world. Nations that fought Britain might try to go after her trade ships, or act where the navy was weak. But no one tried to assemble a battle fleet and fight head on.

I'd say that this had a pretty profound impact over the direction of British culture for the next century and a half or so.

This isnt quite correct - it is largely the result of the PR spin placed on the battle during the Napoleonic Wars and the resulting hero-status given to Nelson.

The Royal Navy had been an uncontested naval power of the world several times previously and it could be argued that under Elizabeth I the British were at their most effective at projecting sea power and controlling world supply lanes.

Trafalgar could probably be better seen as a redemption following 40 odd years of poor naval performance rather than a game changer which asserted British naval dominance for the next 100 years. This might explain why the nation was so keen to spin it into a great victory and the most important event in our history (it wasnt).

Anyway - all this goes to my point: Nelson / Trafalgar is an arbitrary snapshot of British history that masks the underlying cultural and political changes that actually go to make up our nation. Knowing Nelson's column is in London doesn't make you a better British person than knowing how long it took Harold to get from Stamford Bridge to Battle.

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Devil

Lester, I beg to differ

The history of the country where you are applying for a citizenship is a core value. To be more exact that is valid for both the history and its specific interpretation - the bits that are included and the bits that are purposefully omitted to form the appropriate half-truth.

In this particular case however it has more to do with Mrs May desperately trying to patch up the holes under the waterline ahead of the dreadful 2014 when the Romanians and Bulgarians influx will bring the end of British civilization (according to the Daily Beobachter).

First of all, the ones that wanted to be here are already here - there is enough means in the current system for that. Second the ones that want to fleece benefits are already doing so. Third, the ones that came here to do real work are already considering to leave and leaving same as Polish and Baltic states did before them. And fourth - she should stop asking the Daily Fail if they would like it with coffee or ice-cubes. While we can understand and commiserate with the current government having to go cold turkey off gagging on a old wrinkly Australian, replacing it immediately with Volkisher Beobachter does not do them any good. The readers of Volkisher Beobachter wil not vote for them anyway.

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Re: Lester, I beg to differ

What is this "history" you speak of? The Victorian version of it that's been stamped into children since then? Something usefully focused on the period from 1066 to the Tudors? The revised version looking at atrocities from Ireland to the Raj? A more feminist one?

Can we now kick out all those residents, british-born or not, who cannot answer "What should you never mind if you're a Sex Pistols fan?" --- this solves the entire NHS and budgeting crisis, as not many over-60s would answer.

[As a Belgian, I never learned anything much at school about the few million Congolese that were killed under the glorious regime of king Leopold I... There was a hint in the margins (e.g., Stanley the newspaperman was mentioned) but it was mostly economic structures and administrative organisation.]

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Re: Lester, I beg to differ

"Can we now kick out all those residents, british-born or not, who cannot answer "What should you never mind if you're a Sex Pistols fan?"

But, surely, answering "I am not a Sex Pistols fan" would get me off the hook, right?

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Coat

Re: Lester, I beg to differ

Shirley, the correct answer to that question is, "Your principles, when selling butter."

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Re: Lester, I beg to differ

" I never learned anything much at school about the few million Congolese that were killed under the glorious regime of king Leopold"

I remember some 'inconveniences' form my history lessons -- Opium wars and the Black Hole of Calcutta were a bit of a nuisance to the English businessmen of the time.

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It's a "can you read English" test, always was

Anybody who could read and memorise the handbook would pass, and the majority of people who did not read the handbook would fail.

You could simply take a course on English language instead of doing the "Life in the UK Test" - just to hammer in that it wasn't really about knowing anything about the UK.

The test has needed updating since original publication anyway - the old book had an error on the copyright page, and also contains several incorrect statements - eg legal age for smoking is not 16 as it said in the old Handbook.

Presumably this update is to force all future Governments to update it on coming to power - after all, the second largest party may well be UKIP next time, Labour having self-immolated.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's a "can you read English" test, always was

RE "Presumably this update is to force all future Governments to update it on coming to power - after all, the second largest party may well be UKIP next time, Labour having self-immolated."

Presumably we will be able to call the second largest party "the opposition".

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Re: It's a "can you read English" test, always was

> Presumably we will be able to call the second largest party "the opposition".

No, you're confusing it with "the back benches". The second-largest party is generally known as "the other lot".

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Re: It's a "can you read English" test, always was

"after all, the second largest party may well be UKIP next time, Labour having self-immolated."

You mis-typed, it's the Conservatives who have self immolated. Nobody who traditionally might vote Tory is going to vote for David "I worship Tony Blair" Cameron.

But anyway, the purpose of this daft quiz is to avoid Westminster taking any difficult decisions, like limiting the number of immigrants to the number of emigrants less any resident population increase. As things stand, we don't have enough housing, we don't have enough jobs, we don't have the money to pay for existing demand on health, pensions and welfare, and our infrastructure struggles to cope with current levels of demand. Letting in an incremental 200,000 people a year ought to require building the equivalent of a city the size of Luton each and every year, plus about half that number for the increase in the resident population, and that's simply not happening. On the plus side (for home owners and landlords) that keeps property prices high, but that's hardly a benefit to the economy as a whole.

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Mushroom

@ledswinger

Nah, Labour self-immolated and keep on relighting the match, the Lib Dems have had a rude awakening that "sometimes being in Government means making decisions" and the Conservatives are continuing their ongoing tradition of self-harm.

Nobody in their right mind could vote Labour next time - last time they were in power they killed the economy and created a benefits system that rewards refusing to work and having as many children as physically possible, and have continued to show that they no longer have any "core values" whatsoever, their opposition has been one bandwagon after another, interspersed with "we oppose that but wouldn't change it"

The Conservatives do at least have some core values left, so even if you disagree with them you can at least understand their goals. (Although it's rare that any Government policy of any flavour could actually achieve them!)

I rather think this is what happens when you get a "Political Class" - these days you'd be hard pressed to name more than ten of MPs who've had real jobs for any length of time. I think there are none at all in Labour, and very few in the other parties.

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MJI
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Re: @Richard 12

Never overestimate the intelligence of the voters, I have the worrying thoughts that we will end up with PM Millipeed and Chancellor Bollocks.

As to Lib Dems - I think they had a huge shock, but they did need to see that being in charge means you have to be serious.

I will admit to wondering if the wrong David got the job.

But if you compare the three main party leaders, only Cameron is not a complete joke, and that is struggling!

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Re: @MJI

"But if you compare the three main party leaders, only Cameron is not a complete joke, and that is struggling!"

The only concievable explanation for the performance, actions and choices of the current crop of leaders is that each is a plant, working for another party. So just as Tory strategists celebrated the success of Operation Sad Panda, their own party was being ruled by a vacuuous human shell, the brain surgically removed, and the golem-like body remotely controlled from the basement of Labour party. Clegg of course is an agent from one extremist faction of the LibDems against the other various extremists factions that collectively pretend to be a single party.

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Re: @MJI

So, we are to get a version of Lars from earlier?

I'm sure Group Captain Farage will do the job well.

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