In a couple of weeks aspirant British citizens will be tested on British history for the first time. Since 2004 they’ve been tested on geography, customs and practicalities, on the basis of a book called Life in the United Kingdom, whose third edition was published in late January. Like the previous editions, the book reveals a bit about what the government thinks new citizens need to know, and a lot about how it would like Britain to be known.
In this, Britain is not unique. As you’d expect, the American citizenship test deals largely with the country’s history and constitution; the Germans concentrate on culture; while the first big section of the Canadian handbook is about taking care of the environment (good Canadians separate their trash).