Becoming British by Thom Brooks

  • May 17, 2016 15:00
  • Thom Brooks

Think you’re ready to officially become British?

Thom Brooks, author of Becoming British, has assembled the below questions, based on the Life in the United Kingdom handbook.

The ‘Life in the UK’ test, which British citizenship hopefuls must take, requires you to answer 75 per cent (in this case, twelve questions) correctly to pass.

So, put the kettle on, make yourself a nice cup of tea (not too much milk!) and see how British you really are… Answers are at the bottom of the page!


Question 1

In 1999, what happened to hereditary peers in the House of Lords?

A – Their numbers were greatly increased

B – Their salaries were stopped

C – Women were allowed to inherit their titles

D – They lost their automatic right to attend the House of Lords


Question 2

Why is 1918 an important date in the history of women’s rights?

A – The first divorce laws were introduced

B – Women were given the right to vote

C – Equal pay laws were passed

D – Women were made legally responsible for their children


Question 3

Which TWO are examples of civil law?

A – Disputes between landlords and tenants

B – Carrying a weapon

C – Discrimination in the workplace

D – Selling tobacco


Question 4

Which of the following statements is correct?

A – Magistrates usually work unpaid and do not need legal qualifications

B – Magistrates must be specially trained legal experts who have been solicitors for three years


Question 5

Which language was spoken by people during the Iron Age?

A – Latin

B – Celtic

C – English

D – Anglo-Saxon


Question 6

Which TWO religions celebrate Diwali?

A – Buddhists

B – Hindus

C – Christians

D – Sikhs


Question 7

Which of the following statements is correct?

A – The Speaker of the House of Commons remains a Member of Parliament (MP) after election as Speaker

B – The Speaker of the House of Commons has to give up being an MP when elected Speaker


Question 8

When walking your dog in a public place, what must you ensure?

A – That your dog wears a special dog coat

B – That your dog never strays more than 3 metres away from you

C – That you dog does not come into contact with other dogs

D – That your dog wears a collar showing the name and address of the owner


Question 9

Which of the following statements is correct?

A – Halloween is a modern American festival that has recently become popular in the UK

B – Halloween has its roots in an ancient pagan festival marking the beginning of winter


Question 10

For approximately how many years did the Romans stay in this country?

A – 50 years

B – 100 years

C – 400 years

D – 600 years


Question 11

Which of the following statements is correct?

A – After the age of 70, drivers must renew their licence[s] every three years

B – After the age of 70, drivers must renew their licence[s] every five years


Question 12

Which TWO are 20th-century British discoveries or inventions?

A – Cloning a mammal

B – Cash machines (ATMs)

C – Mobile phones

D – Walkmans


Question 13

How many people serve on a jury in Scotland?

A – 8

B – 11

C – 15

D – 20


Question 14

What is the highest-value note issued as British currency?

A – £20

B – £70

C – £50

D – £100


Question 15

Which of the following statements is correct?

A – James VI of Scotland was related to Queen Elizabeth I of England

B – James VI of Scotland was not related to Queen Elizabeth I of England


Question 16

Which of the following statements is correct?

A – If your driving licence is from a country in the European Union you can drive in the UK for as long as your licence is valid

B – If your driving licence is from a country in the European Union you have to apply for a UK licence in order to drive



The correct answers are below – remember, you need 12 (75 per cent) correct to pass!

Question 1 = D; Question 2 = B; Question 3 = A and C; Question 4 = A; Question 5 = B; Question 6 = B and D; Question 7 = A; Question 8 = D; Question 9 = B; Question 10 = C; Question 11 = A; Question 12 = A and B; Question 13 = C; Question 14 = C; Question 15 = A; Question 16 = A


Becoming British by Thom Brooks is available in paperback and eBook from 24 May.


3 for 2 on Provocations, or the entire collection at half price!

  • May 13, 2016 12:00
  • Sam Jones


Provocations return this month with quite possibly their most stirring lineup yet. Claire Fox, director of the Institute of Ideas and a panellist on BBC R4’s The Moral Maze, calls for us to toughen up, become more robust and make a virtue of the right to be offensive in 'I Find That Offensive!'; James Bloodworth disassembles the myth that meritocracy provides equal opportunities for all and explains why working-class kids still get working-class jobs in The Myth of Meritocracy; and in London Rules, GQ editor Dylan Jones declares that London, our glorious capital, is the greatest city on the planet.

You can get 3 for 2 on Provocations at and, or get your hands on all twelve books in the series for just £60; that's 50% off the RRP!


May releases from Biteback Publishing

  • May 06, 2016 15:00
  • Sam Jones

Pumpkinflowers: A Soldier's Story

By Matti Friedman

Pumpkinflowers is a haunting, honest tale of the lives of young Israeli soldiers stationed on an isolated hilltop – named ‘the Pumpkin’ – in Lebanon during the ’90s. ‘Flowers’ was the military term for casualties. This is a beautifully written story that needs to be read. You can take a look at the first four chapters here.





Capitalism: Money, Morals and Markets

By John Plender

The critically acclaimed examination of the world’s predominant economic system returns in paperback. In this incisive, clear-sighted guide, award-winning Financial Times journalist John Plender explores the paradoxes and pitfalls inherent in this extraordinarily dynamic mechanism – and in our attitudes to it.





‘I Find That Offensive!’

By Claire Fox

When you hear that now ubiquitous phrase ‘I find that offensive’, you know you’re being told to shut up. Claire Fox asks how we became so thin-skinned and urges us to toughen up, become more robust and make a virtue of the right to be offensive.





London Rules: So Get Over It

By Dylan Jones

Time and time again we hear how London was the best it’s ever been during the swinging ’60s, the punk ’70s or the Britpop ’90s. GQ editor Dylan Jones disagrees, and in London Rules he decrees that right now, our glorious capital is the greatest, most dynamic and diverse city in the world.





Becoming British: UK Citizenship Examined

By Thom Brooks

Immigration is one of the most controversial issues facing Britain today. Politicians kick the subject from one election to the next with energetic but ineffectual promises to ‘crack down’, while newspaper editors plaster it across front pages. In Becoming British, Durham University Professor Thom Brooks expertly examines the immigration problems that modern UK citizenship was meant to solve, what the major challenges are today and how they can be met.



Takeover: Explaining the Extraordinary Rise of the SNP

By Rob Johns and James Mitchell

For a decade now, the SNP has dominated the political narrative in Scotland. Since the dramatic end to the Scottish referendum campaign and its near clean sweep in the 2015 general election, the SNP has become one of the big stories in politics throughout the United Kingdom. Takeover is the incredible story of the SNP’s extraordinary rise.




The Myth of Meritocracy: Why Working-Class Kids Still Get Working-Class Jobs

By James Bloodworth

The best jobs in Britain today are overwhelmingly done by the children of the wealthy. Meanwhile, it is increasingly difficult for bright but poor kids to transcend their circumstances. In this incisive book, James Bloodworth argues that any genuine attempt to improve social mobility must start by reducing the gap between rich and poor.





The Best of Times

By Mark Field MP

The Best of Times collects essays, columns and speeches from City of London MP Mark Field. Following on from Field’s acclaimed first book, Between the Crashes, The Best of Times charts the rise of anti-establishment sentiment, the possibility of Brexit and a growing antagonism towards the super-rich in the final years of coalition government. It also looks further afield at global shifts of power and conflict.




The Lockerbie Bombing: The Search for Justice

By Kenny MacAskill

Scotland’s former Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill reveals the hard-fought search for justice following the bombing of Pan Am 103 in 1988. Describing the controversial release of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, MacAskill explains the international dimensions involved and lays bare the commercial interests that ran in the background throughout the investigation and trial. Finally, he explains how and why it happened – and who was really responsible for one of the worst atrocities to have occurred on British soil.


Iain Dale's introduction to the Biteback Publishing Spring/Summer 2016 catalogue

  • April 12, 2016 11:00
  • Iain Dale

Shall I tell you a secret? Sometimes I feel like I’ve fallen out of love with the book industry.

I mean, across the board it’s generally full of pleasant enough people who mean well but, it seems to me, are often damagingly risk-averse, hidebound by outmoded business practices (returns anyone?) and – whisper it – a general lack of ambition.

I travel a lot, so I spend a lot of time in bookshops, doing the kind of thing Managing Directors of publishing companies should do – like emailing my sales team and demanding to know why book x is not included in promotion y, and so on.

When I look at the new releases section, I’m afraid it leaves me cold. Old ideas continuously repackaged, once-winning formulas repeated to death, backlists mined until they’ve worn thin and a general nostalgia for a ‘better’ age; a pre-Amazon time of four-hour lunches, industry-sponsored jollies to foreign climes and ‘poet’s’ day* every Thursday and Friday. It’s all just so ‘meh’ – it bores me silly.

I read the trade press and all I seem to see are nicely-turned-out young men and women disguising a lack of imagination behind a barrage of buzzwords, setting out a vision of future publishing in the kind of language they think people working in proper industries might use. I’m afraid it makes me want to grab them, shake them and say, ‘It’s not just about the future, it’s about now. And above all, it’s about the books!’

And that’s what dispels my gloom. The books. When I look at our forward list, lovingly laid out in the catalogue you now hold in your hands, the clouds break and I fall in love all over again. Alastair Campbell’s astonishing new diaries, David Laws’s insider account of the coalition government, political giant Sir Malcolm Rifkind’s extraordinary, epoch-spanning memoirs, and many, many more; these are the bulwarks I set against my disenchantment. These are what I got into publishing for in the first place.

Another thing I can never understand is the time it takes our competitors to publish a book. At Biteback, a part of our success lies in our ability to pick up a book and get it to the consumer in the shortest time possible. The clue is in the category name: surely it’s called current affairs for a reason? Now obviously this brings its own challenges but we are fortunate in that our partners in an increasingly reactive book trade know that we will deliver the support, in the form of publicity, to make our books highly visible.

Finally, there are no books without the people. The authors, of course, but also the team who produce the books. At Biteback, we are a finely-honed (well, sometimes) outfit of publishing guerrilla fighters. Every now and then, one of the big boys will come and poach a team member, and in every case that individual will go on to improve their new company. Really, I’m surprised my competitors never drop me a line and thank me!


Managing Director, Biteback Publishing


*P*** Off Early Today

- - - 

We proudly present our Spring/Summer 2016 catalogue! It's available to view online and download as a PDF. Alternatively, if you'd like to receive a physical copy, you can get in touch by sending us an email at


April releases from Biteback Publishing

  • April 06, 2016 14:00
  • Sam Jones

Credible and True: The Political and Personal Memoir of K. Harvey Proctor

By K. Harvey Proctor

Credible and True – words famously used by the police to describe the allegations of Harvey Proctor’s traducer during the Operation Midland investigation  – is Proctor’s revealing memoir of his life both in and out of Parliament.

From the struggles and controversy surrounding his resignation in 1987 and numerous homophobic attacks since, to that fateful morning on 4 March 2015 when his home was raided by the Metropolitan Police in connection to Operation Midland, Credible and True is a frank and candid account in which Proctor details his experience as the victim of a ‘homosexual witch-hunt’ in the post-Savile world of ‘guilty until proven innocent’.


Finding the Plot: 100 Graves to Visit Before You Die

By Ann Treneman

The award-winning Times writer, best known for her incisive parliamentary sketches, has branched out – to graveyards.

Finding the Plot is a whirlwind tour of Britain’s most fascinating graves, from the real James Bond and the famous ‘M’ to Florence Nightingale and her pet baby owl, Athena. The writers, painters, poets, rakes and rogues, and the just plain mad all provide an intriguing insight into the British way of death.

Part travelogue, part biography and part social history, Finding the Plot is essential reading for everyone who isn’t dead yet.


Islam Beyond the Violent Jihadis (Provocations)

By Ziauddin Sardar

Is Islam inherently violent and misogynistic? Why do young men and women go to join the Jihadi Caliphate? Does Islam need a reformation? Should we be frightened of Shariah? What part do Muhammad’s teachings play, or what part should they play, in our own times? Writer and critic Ziauddin Sardar seeks to answer a host of questions prominent in the discourse today.

As a practicing Muslim, Sardar is as terrified by the rise of Islamic Jihadi groups as anyone else. In this remarkable book, he urges all those who feel the same way to work together to preserve the sanity of our world.


Resistance: European Resistance to the Nazis, 1940–1945 (Dialogue Espionage Classics)

By M. R. D. Foot

This brilliant book was the first to analyse the whole field of wartime resistance to the Nazis in Europe; to explain what resisters could and could not do and to assess, in outline, whether they achieved their aims.





The Mantle of Command: FDR at War, 1941–1942

By Nigel Hamilton

International bestselling historian Nigel Hamilton offers a definitive account of FDR’s masterful – and underappreciated – command of the Allied war effort. With the second volume – Commander in Chief: FDR’s Battle with Churchill, 1943 – coming in the summer, this intimate, sweeping look at a great president in one of history’s greatest conflicts is a must-read.




Foley: The Spy Who Saved 10,000 Jews (Dialogue Espionage Classics)

By Michael Smith

In this new addition to the Dialogue Espionage Classics series, bestselling author Michael Smith explores the life and work of Frank Foley, the British spy who risked arrest and worse to save over ten thousand people from the Holocaust, sheltering them in his own home and forging passports and visas for their escape.

Including the accounts of ‘living witnesses’ who had Foley to thank for their lives, Michael Smith’s work uncovered the remarkable truth that led to the recognition of Frank Foley as Righteous Among Nations, the highest honour the Jewish state can bestow upon a Gentile.


How to Be a Civil Servant

By Martin Stanley

The UK civil service employs 400,000 people across the country. Every year, over 20,000 students and graduates apply to enter the civil service through its fast stream competition alone. For those seeking a career in the profession, Martin Stanley’s comprehensive guide is a must-read, offering invaluable advice about how to most effectively carry out civil service duties, and how to respond to ethical and technical issues pertinent to the job.



How to Be a Government Whip

By Helen Jones

A frank and light-hearted insight into the mysterious engine room of Parliament, where the unseen, unsung heroes of the system bear the weight of the government on their shoulders.

From the mind-numbing tedium of debates to the dark arts of dealing with rebellious or disaffected members of their ‘flock’, former whip Helen Jones reveals how they really get business done – and what they say about their colleagues behind the closed door of the Whips’ Office.