I can’t not mention my old boss Lord Goldsmith’s report on citizenship, which has attracted a lot of attention because of its suggestion that teenagers might swear allegiance to Queen and country. I have to say if this had been in place when I was sixteen, I’d have refused.

Actually the report is more interesting than that, though. Lord Goldsmith also recommends, for instance, limiting the right to vote in Westminster elections to British citizens, giving discounts on Council tax and student loan repayments for those who do voluntary work, and, most interestingly of all, that there be an enhanced “narrative of citizenship” which could be helped by a narrative statement of rights and responsibilities which is not meant to be justiciable (para. 26 to 32 of Chapter 6). He suggest the government could think about this as part of its policy on a Bill of Rights and Responsibilities.

I think junking the Bill of R&R and doing what Lord Goldsmith suggests might be an excellent wheeze to cop out of the impossible and nonsensical task Justice ministers are currently faced with – if they’ve got any sense they’ll seize on his recommendation as a way out.