Do we really think it’s helpful to ask non-British nationals seeking residency to learn that quangos are:

independent organisations that carry out functions on behalf of the public which it would be inappropriate to place under the political control of a Cabinet minister

without giving a single example?

My head is spinning, and I have two chapters to go before cramming the census statistics for tomorrow’s Life in the UK test.

Couldn’t I just sit a theology final?  Or a set of Maths highers?  Or maybe even a French exam?    Anything, really…

13 thoughts on “quangos”

  1. Of course, translate any erotic poem by Catullus in such a way as to remove all suggestion of love or desire – what could be more British??

  2. maybe tomorrow…

    care to hear about employment regulations for 14 year olds? the nature of elections in Northern Ireland. How to buy a house in England? what is included in a tennacy agreement?

    or perhaps the difference between the Council of Europe, the European Commission and the European Parliament… the goals of the Commonwealth… The percentage of Siks in Britain and where they are most likely to live…

    FA cup anyone? the year women got the vote? When there was an influx of Indian migration from Uganda. why children don’t play outside so much anymore…

    Truly, I’m not sure I will remember all this. I am very bad at lists of isolated information.

  3. aargh.

    I am sitting the practice test.

    ‘Do many children live in single parent homes or with step-families’ (yes) (no).

    well, I can tell you that 25% live in single parent homes, and 12% live in step families. So is that ‘many’? Not for an American where the rates are much higher… but here, presumably yes???

  4. Yuck. That sounds truly horrendous. If it helps at all, where I used to work (The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education) is a quango. It gets its funding from the Scottish Funding Council and the Scottish Higher Education Institutions (okay, that’s just the Scottish office, the main office in England gets funded by the English and Welsh bodies), but is managed by a board, rather than government.

  5. I don’t know if its just me but it strikes me that this test includes a lot of things many born and bred brits wouldn’t be able to answer! I am sure you will do wonderfully though!

  6. All done, and I passed. Mostly very easy, but I could see how easily it could go wrong.

    So: is the census confidential (yes) (no) — yes, for a hundred years, no for the particularly long lived.

    I wasn’t entirely sure that the starting age for buying scratch cards and lottery tickets was 16.

    And I dithered over whether JobCentrePlus was ‘A Government Agency’ or if the Employment Somethingorother was the right answer.

    Thanks for the example, Elizabeth. I had a whole list of things that I suspect are quangos, but it seems that the testers just want us to know the word. Will you ever have to take this, or are you all set?

  7. I’m quite sure I’d fail – it is the most unBritish nonsense one could imagine.

  8. Well done! Now you can instruct us on all things British when we get confused. Thankfully, I don’t have to do this. My mother, bless her, gave birth to me in Britain while she and my father were resident here in the 1970s, before the citizenship laws were changed. So I’m a UK national, and therefore don’t have to accrue all kinds of interesting and useful knowledge about the procurement of scratch cards and the like.

  9. I couldn’t answer any of these except maybe the quango one. How absurd. Maybe I will be found out and denounced as an alien.

  10. Radio 4 were on about a “Which” guidebook on how to pass this odd test. Just be glad they don’t ask you to explain the Off side rule in footie or anything to do with cricket!

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