Niall Cooper: Citizens of nowhere?
We need more citizens of the world
Are you a citizen of the world or a citizen of the UK? Do you, like me, struggle with the idea of having to choose between the two?
Don’t get me wrong. There is much about being a citizen of the UK that I am proud of. Our welfare state, national health service, nonconformity and slightly wry and self-deprecating sense of humour. As a Briton, I’m proud of our tradition of celebrating diversity, openness and welcoming the stranger. In fact, many of the very things celebrated at the fantastic opening of the 2012 London Olympic Games, which now feels an eternity away.
But my patriotism doesn’t mean that my compassion stops at the English Channel. As a Christian, I’m equally concerned by the plight of fellow human beings whether they are in Liverpool or a Lebanese refugee camp, Hartlepool or a Haitian hurricane zone, a mile down the road in Moss Side or 22 miles from England, on the edge of Calais. Yes, I’m a proud citizen of the world.
Yet, according to the words of our new Prime Minister: ‘If you believe you’re a citizen of the world, you’re a citizen of nowhere. You don’t understand what the very word “citizenship” means.’…
This is an extract from the November 2016 edition of Reform.