British Values

The Government’s master plan to combat the recruitment of terrorists in these islands is to stress “British Values”, by which they mean tolerance, democracy and other desirable ways of thinking and behaving. Of course these are not British values. Britain has no monopoly of these qualities although they do exist to some extent in the majority of the inhabitants of modern Britain but did not so exist in the not so recent past of Britain.

I am not sure that to describe these matters by the adjective “British” is helpful. In doing so we provide justification for extremists who would inevitably consider British values as making war, bombing of innocents, ruthless economic sanctions and other very undesirable policies and practices that Britain has exhibit in recent years.

We should justify our values on their own; we do not need to tag them as particularly British, when they are not either originating from these islands or practiced in particular by the governments we elect.

One value which is never mentioned when politicians talks about British values is justice. Today justice is available in Britain for the very wealthy; the majority of people have to struggle with under resourced courts, too expensive lawyers, over complex laws when often doing what is right can be illegal and do what is wrong can be legal. They also have to live with a government and its institutions – the police, the agencies and the judiciary- that have become very intolerant in the name of public order and safety.

I could also mention democracy, where it is regarded as a bad thing by the European Union when it gives the wrong result and a bad thing for Crimea, but a god thing for those politicians who are democratically elected. Selective democracy seems to be the real value here.

Perhaps politicians should discourage terrorism by talking about values, which have no patriotism but belong to all humanity. And they should practice what they preach.

2 Responses

  1. Its no wonder the UK is hated by much of the world’s population. At an international level it uses military and economic power to interfere with the freedom of other nations. The home audience is duped by media propaganda into thinking the country is acting in the best interests of democracy or freedom.

    Our foreign policy is run by the banks and corporates. Why else would we give away so much in foreign aid? We all know how it is used by kleptocratic rulers to buy weapons, expensive cars, swiss bank accounts and all of the paraphernalia of a billionaire lifestyle.

    So who really benefit benefits from the foreign aid programme…….do I need to answer that??

    Politicians of course love it because they get influence with despotic regimes and rulers.

    SO what are British values? tolerance ? democracy? freedom? no,
    I suspect that for much of the world hypocrisy is considered the predominant British value

  2. I agree that we are not perfect and should not be complacent, and I don’t agree with our foreign policy in the Middle East. We must strive to improve these things but otherwise we should not beat ourselves up too much. We have great freedom of speech, so that we are able to discuss these things in public, which is not the case everywhere. Corruption in the judiciary and in the public services is more or less unheard of. These are “British values”. In many other countries corruption is a fact of life and has to be structured into all business dealings.

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