Saturday, 2 March 2019

Subject, or Citizen

One day, they'll decide YOU'RE not British

Peter Hitchens
Daily Mail

I was born a British subject, loyal to His Majesty King George VI, and never wanted to be a citizen anyway. I was forced to become a British citizen by political meddlers in 1971, as the first step to becoming another thing I never wanted to be, a citizen of the EU.

A subject is a free man who lives under the law but otherwise acts as he wishes. A citizen owes what freedoms he is allowed to the state, which decides how free he may be and requires duties from him. Sometimes I think despots only grant us citizenship because they enjoy taking it away so much. I associate the stripping of citizenship most of all with the Soviet tyranny. They used this method on one of the greatest men of our age, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, in 1974.

So my gorge and hackles rose when the Home Secretary announced he was removing the citizenship of Shamima Begum. Ms Begum is a fool and worse than a fool. She has a big mouth out of which some very nasty sentiments come tumbling. She is open to criminal investigation if she returns here, and that would be perfectly proper.

But it is ridiculous to pretend that she was not born or raised here. And it is cheap, crowd-pleasing mob politics to leave her (and her newborn baby) trapped for ever in some Syrian camp.

I know some people, notably a British Muslim of my acquaintance, think she deserves what she has got. But they are forgetting a basic rule. What you allow to be done to others will eventually be done to you too.

If we allow politicians to strip Shamima Begum’s citizenship from her, they will get a taste for it. And so will our own, home-grown mob. And those who think they are leading mobs always end up discovering that they are, in fact, being chased by them. That never ends well.

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