Monday, January 8, 2007

All things British

This is probably one of those posts that I formerly would have used bullet points on. But bullet points don't work with this template and putting several topics into a single post makes it difficult to label. As we all know, the fate of Western Europe* rests on my putting blog posts into categories.

I spotted Saturday that I am no longer too old to join the British military. I haven't really looked into it, but I think joining up would put me on the fast track to UK citizenship. Take a bullet for the Queen and you get to be one of her subjects.

If I remember correctly, the process of naturalisation in the UK is easier for people whose grandparents were British citizens, which means my dad could apply. We only found this out recently. My dad found the naturalisation papers of my great-grandfather, John Finley Cope, stating that he became a United States citizen in 1923, formerly having been a citizen of Great Britain.

This is odd for two reasons:
1) JF was born in Texas.
2) He had never been to Great Britain.

He had, however, been to Canada. He went there to help build the Canadian National Railway, but discovered that only Canadian citizens were being hired on. So, he became a Canadian citizen, which, at the time, meant becoming a citizen of Great Britain.

There is a picture somewhere of JF holding a baby version of me, but I don't remember ever having met him. Nonetheless, he managed to pass on an economic appreciation of Britain.

*Switzerland, especially.


Annie said...

Wow, that's quite weird.

Do you want UK citizenship then?

Chris Cope said...

I don't not want UK citizenship. It's early days yet, though. We'll see how I feel at the end of this university adventure. I may want to stay on for more. I may want to move back to Minnesota and sell paint. It's hard to say.

Huw said...

My only American relation was born in Anglesey.

AOG said...

Funny how citizenship is meant to somehow define us. We can be rude or nice and be from anywhere, and still we say, "the X are so polite". Well, isn't everyone polite? Are there unpolite countries? Rude countries yes, (France), but unpolite?
Je dit non!

Anonymous said...

ynot has a good point!

After enduring a dinner party at which everyone kept saying to me 'oh, the Scots are so warm and friendly', I once drunkenly announced 'arghyabassard, thur's wankers in Scotlan' juss like thur's wankers everywhere,' which reduced everyone to embarrassed silence AND confirmed my own national stereotype.

Well done me!

Anonymous said...

UK citizenship gives you a free pass to the rest of Europe. Although does that mean you have to give up US citizenship? Or is that law just for people who are becoming US citizens (ie the other way round) I know in Canada you can retain dual citizenship.

Nic said...

My nephew is called Finley.

Just sayin'.

Chris Cope said...

Nic -- He looks nothing like my great-grandfather.

Robert Humphries said...

Good luck with whatever you decide. It's a deeply personal decision, unlike what some people think.

My ultra-Republican in-laws are constantly vexed by my ambivalence/indifference to becoming a US citizen. I've been here 18 years and I'm still technically a "Brit."

In fact, we're even planning to register our daughter with the British embassy so she’ll have both EU and US citizenship.

It's nothing against Americans, and I know that despite the rumours, I could still maintain UK citizenship. Perhaps deep down I have an irrational anxiety that I’ll suddenly acquire an insane lust to watch hillbillies chase each other around an oval in Chevies emblazoned with ads for Viagra or develop an unquenchable thirst for Bud Lite or become obsessed with whitening my teeth.

Or worse, start believing, like the aforementioned parental units, that global warming is a communist plot by gay French penguins to make everyone ride in organic solar-powered rickshaws.

I have to admit, I eat a little less Marmite every year. And now I have a hard time recalling the Blue Peter theme.

Truth be told, I’d prefer to hold Welsh citizenship, but alas, such a thing does not yet exist. And the constitutional rights of American citizenship hold little attraction to me right now. Apparently now American citizens can be shipped off indefinitely to undisclosed locations. The British government wouldn’t do diddly squat for me either. So I think I'm equally screwed under both regimes. And besides, I may decide to return to Wales at some point to work in the deli at Tesco's.

Melissa said...

Wait, Robert - global warming is not a communist plot by gay French penguins to make everyone ride in organic solar-powered rickshaws?

Chris - enjoying your blog!