THE NEWSDESK: Take this test of our culture and history
THOSE wishing to become British citizens will soon have to take a modified UK life test which puts the focus on our culture and history.
From March, there will be less of a focus on thinks like credit cards and public transport, of which the Home Office says candidates should already be aware, and more focus on Shakespeare, Burns, Fleming and Churchill.
Minister for Immigration Mark Harper said: “We’ve stripped out mundane information about water meters, how to find train timetables, and using the internet. The new book rightly focuses on values and principles at the heart of being British. Instead of telling people how to claim benefits it encourages participation in British life."
Candidates must already have a working standard of English before they take the test, though they can actually take it in Welsh in our two centres.
In 2012, 2,088 Life in the UK Tests were taken in Wales’ test centres in Cardiff and Connahs Quay. In total 151,139 tests were taken across the UK.
So in honour of the changes, here's my very own version of the UK life test - questions which I believe are a must:
* What is the national animal of Wales? Answer - write whatever you like provided you don't write 'sheep'.
* If a nation shortens the name Ian to "I", what will plimsolls be called? Answer - daps, obviously.
* What reaction do we normally expect in Wales when someone flies the flag of St David? Answer - someone scratching their head and asking: "Is that Cornish, or what?"
* How can so many Wales rugby fans have forgotten the misery of the autumn series and be posting blustering comments on social media sites ahead of the Six Nations? Answer - a combination of 1970s regression therapy and alcohol.
* On a fine day in the Welsh Valleys, where can someone go for a walk? Answer - Up the 'forestry', of course.
* Why have the Severn Crossings got such high tolls? Answer - it beats us.
* What does anyone in Britain say to the comedian Jimmy Carr when they first meet him? Answer - "Paid your taxes yet, Jimmy?" Particularly effective when shouted at him in the street.
* Is Rhydian Roberts a. Irish, b, Welsh, c. Alien? Answer - c. clearly.
* Why is there such an outcry in the UK about horse DNA being found in some burgers? Answer - because, subconsciously, people fear eating horse meat will make them French.
* Who was Owain Glyndwr? Answer - national hero, not, as one of my English colleagues said last week, "the bloke who rode the dragon".
* What is 'potching"? Answer - a Valleys slang term for a. mooching about or b. a non-serious form of sexual contact, often with someone who frankly should not be potching because they are already 'courting'.
* What is a triple-dip recession and how do we get out of it? A question set by George Osborne, who so far has no effective answer. Anyone who can answer this should immediately be given the running of the economy.
IT IS, apparently, quite hip to be a Brit at the moment. It's a post-Olympics thing.
In Havana, people are walking around in Union Flag T-shirts, while in Spain, they have developed a passion for British-style cupcakes, Jamie Oliver and the red, white and blue. Spanish clothes chain Zara is reporting customers coming into the stores asking for clothes featuring the Union Flag.
IT WAS fantastic to see such a masterful display from Cross Keys favourite Steffan Jones for the Dragons against the Ospreys on Saturday.
One fan wrote: "6 from 6...are you watching Gatland?"
It's particularly pleasing to those of us who grew up in Bargoed, as Steffan's father Huw 'Pud" Jones is something of a Bargoed RFC legend as a former first team captain.
Good rugby genes will out.