I am having a big problem to define exactly what British values really are, so it would be impossible for me to teach them to others until I have found some answers. For instance, I would at one time have said that a ‘sense of fair play’ would be a typical British value, but I am no longer certain that this is the case, to some extent because I no longer understand what “British” means.
You might find that a strange thing to say, but for me it is clear enough. Britain today is not the same country as I grew up in as a child. It has changed from a purposeful cooperative rebuilding the country after the ravages of the Second World War, to a seething mass of multicultural individuals with no cohesion, and apparently little common purpose.
When Cameron holds up Magna Carta as a shining example, he demonstrates quite clearly that he doesn’t understand what values are either. Magna Carta is a symbol of the oppressed rising up to throw off their oppression, and I am quite certain that this is not the value that Cameron wants to instill in his electorate! Nor does Boris Johnson by the look of it; see
“Boris Johnson to buy three water cannon for Metropolitan police”
Furthermore, it seems to me that the government operates on a different set of values to the rest of us. Austerity measures are driving so many people to desperation that fair play cannot factor in the government’s equations at all. Not content with the havoc and hardship caused by the ‘Bedroom Tax’, their latest measure is to terminate support for the disabled, see “Westminster Abbey occupied in protest against cuts to disability care funding”
“Labour MP John McDonnell has supported the demonstration, saying that government actions have left people ‘desperate'”
I am not the only one to see the confusion behind British values. Moeen Raoof, a UK-based defense consultant, asks “What are British values?”
“This is a question everyone is grappling with now that British PM David Cameron has thrown his lot in by stating that he wants a more muscular promotion of British values to include freedom, tolerance of others and respect for the rule of law.”
And from Owen Jones at the Guardian:-
Sorry, David Cameron, but your British history is not mine
“The government’s crusade to embed “British values” in our education system is meaningless at best, dangerous at worst, and a perversion of British history in any case. It’s meaningless because our history is the struggle of many different Britains, each with their own conflicting sets of values.”
And from my old friend George Monbiot, we have what I consider to be one of his best articles:-
“How Britain Denies its Holocausts”
It seems obvious enough that the British government uses a different set of values where the rest of the world is concerned. What is less obvious, is that the government uses the external values for its own electorate between elections.
Yes, that’s right. We are part of the “Us” at election time, but we swiftly revert to being “Them” when the election is over!
But then, its our own fault!