I dread the thought of my children being taught ‘British values’

10 June 2014

I’ve been off the past week poncing around Rome in a frilly shirt, and so am naturally gloomy about coming home.

Just to make it worse, I return to hear of the death of my childhood hero and news that schools are now going to be teaching ‘British values’, following the Birmingham Trojan Horse scandal.

Many are shocked about what happened in the city. After all, who would have thought that importing millions of people from totally different cultures would cause so many problems? You’d literally have to be Nostradamus to see that one coming. And of course, this is nothing to do with the intrinsic weakness of a society in which decadent urban westerners live side-by-side with large numbers of clannish Mirpuris, but ‘faith schools’ – which have been in England since the time of King Ethelbert of Kent, but now all of a sudden are a threat to social cohesion.

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‘British values’ is a dread-inspiring term because, as was the case under New Labour, the ideas are likely to be either too vague or too debatable (this was the subject of a chapter in my book). Blair and Brown identified our values as to do with things like ‘tolerance’ and ‘fair play’, as if other nations identified themselves by their intolerance and cheating; more troubling, the values many talked about were contentious at best to my generation, and totally incomprehensible to my grandparents’ one – gay marriage, unlimited access to contraception and abortion, public displays of sexuality, all things which politicians said Muslim immigrants had to accept.

So I rather dread the thought of my kids being taught ‘British values’ at school, perhaps after the class where they make them put a condom on a dildo; and I suspect that these values will be alien to many of us, nothing like as alien as the Saudi-infused Islam of second-generation Pakistani migrants, but not the beliefs we live by.

We are stuck in a three-way culture war in which radical secularists are in conflict with socially conservative Christians, with both sides trying to use a third group, Islam, to aid their struggle. Atheists would like to abolish all faith schools to further their agenda, using the threat of sectarianism presented by Islam, while simultaneously avoiding the danger that their movement will become openly nativist; Church leaders are trying to use Muslims as socially conservative allies who also believe in ‘faith’, whatever the hell that means. The biggest victims of this Mexican stand-off are the young Muslims who have no clear path to integration, without an idea of what it means to become an Englishman, as Russian Jews attending the JFS did in the 1890s (the school was set up by Britain’s older, established Jewish community and specifically boasted of turning little Russians into English gentlemen, which it did).

Radical secularists and traditionalists have such different ideas of what British values mean that trying to teach them will only lead to failure, or the former’s victory over the latter. The best hope we have is to make sure as many children as possible learn to study Shakespeare, the King James Bible and the story of Magna Carta and Parliament. That is the essence of our culture – everything else is commentary.

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Show comments
  • Claire

    Your article highlighted the need to focus on what exactly British values are. The fact that there is a debate about whether they need to be emphasised just underlines our wishy-washy attitude to the great things about our country – the reasons why millions flock here – and the need to define the right values – to me they are integrity, honesty, equality of the sexes (vital in the threat that some other cultures pose to the hard-won laws about equality for women), tolerance (unless it goes against the laws of our land), support for entrepreneurship and some others. How difficult could it be to get a list of these together and agreed? Working in communications, i rehearse key messages and values all the time with the companies I work with. Deliberate them, but let’s come to an agreement about what British values are and then require everyone who lives in this country to support them. I believe the French are ahead of us in this and they don’t seem to have more cultural problems in their country than we do.

  • Geoffrey Jenkins

    I think that education should be secular. If parents want a religious education it should be the role of churches, mosques and temples. All religious schools should be secularised. I do not see how this is furthering and atheist agenda. It is merely preventing the teaching of intolerance in our schools.

  • SimonToo

    The idea sounds good at first, but one rather dreads how it might be put into practice. None the less, things can be taught without necessarily holding lessons in them.

  • Hehitmeanditfeltlikeakiss

    Lists are in journalistic fashion: so here’s my Iliad of British (actually English) values: hysteria masquerading as stoicism, the twin factors of empire and early industrialization leading to a certain diffidence about and distance from any ‘British Culture’, a still lingering polite understatedness, excellent traditions of scholarship and science (though less good than Germany in both), a free press with a long-held prudish and prurient streak, ecclesiastical institutions that have had a certain emphasis on reflection and non-dogmatism for at least two hundred years, flourishing non-conformist religious movements which account for a certain plainspeaking Midlands moralism. a distrust of intellectuals, a tolerance for hypocrisy since hypocrisy allows certain liberties (largely of the ‘fun’ sort) to flourish in the private sphere, the belief that irony is a good way for a post-imperial nation to get things done, a long-practised commercial streak that has always militated against sensible long-termist decision making, a limited but oft adverted to (hypocrisy again) tradition of dissent and eccentricity (especially where dissent’s practitioners are well-spoken and middle-class and non-revolutionary), a resistance to large scale political violence (unless it was against the IRA), the notion of law as a non-intellectual subject, a populist domestic tendency to talk tough about the poor or the excluded but, when it comes to it, to act soft, a suspicion of Europe, a liking for property (thank the 1930s depression and its low interest rates for this little precursor to the welfare state), a liking for gardens and their rhythms of renewing ordinariness, a resistance to emotionalism in the standard-bearers of values (much chipped away at in the last twenty years), a unwillingness to see plots and conspiracies behind government action, an emotional pettiness, a belief in various forms of localism (gardens were relevant here) at odds with the London-centred realities of power, a more social conception of social life than most other nations at our latitude (think of the high walls round every house in the French village, engines of suspicion and poison), and yet a rather reduced ability to take that social life and find appropriate institutions to ‘endow’ it for the long term, and, last but not least, the belief in humour as a social virtue (try living in Sweden, Germany or Russia and you’ll soon see how that ‘value’ has shaped us). DCA

  • therealguyfaux

    Just a thought:
    George Orwell once wrote about a police-blotter story he had read about how some Dutch sailors, in their cups, were, in the course of being apprehended for public intoxication for a fracas in a pub, biting the hands of the coppers arresting them. Hauled in front of the judge, they pleaded guilty and paid their fines; the judge then allowed that he thought what they had done was “most un-English.” Orwell wondered about that– he questioned whether barroom brawls being broken up by police being bitten for their trouble weren’t similarly frowned upon in the Netherlands as well, and in fact, in pretty much any civilised nation; just what was Lord Justice Horace Hayre-Whygge trying to say?

  • sasboy

    What is the definition of “British values” ?

    What is the definition of “integration” ?

    What is so great about British values they have to be shoved down people’s throats ? And if British values are so great, why are they above the pale of scrutiny ?

    And since the government’s inquiry has finally cleared the schools of any wrongdoing, why consider schools to be the problem for the lack of “British values” whatever that means ?

  • roger

    British values;
    Respect for and knowledge of a common law, though it is in the name of an abstract entity, the crown, it stands above all persons and groups and is common to all.
    Tolerance of the private beliefs of others .
    An expectation of privacy, holding property private , respecting others privacy.
    Willingness to help and protect others and support real charity.
    Having the right to form groups for any purpose that is lawful and to enter into abstract trusts, respect for family life.
    Understanding that with rights come responsibilities.
    At one time people of the British Isles were taught these things in school, every day by example as well as in all lessons.

  • Steven Pennington

    Holy Cow. How illogical and incomprehensible is that whole piece. Talk about Left/Right/Centre…dunno where I stand, mumbo jumbo! I’m sure the spectator used to be sensible.

  • roger

    Those people who think a dildo needs a condom are seriously sad.

  • statechaos

    You say that suddenly ‘faith schools’ are a threat to ‘social cohesion’. However, the schools we are talking about in Birmingham are not faith schools, they are straightforward state schools with no religious affiliation which have allegedly been hijacked by muslim governors intent on manipulating them into islamic schools. As to so-called ‘British values’ Michael Gove has already mentioned ‘tolerance’ and a ‘sense of fair-play’ as his interpretation of British values. Others can sneer and be cynical about what British values are to them, but in the context of the Trojan Horse scandal there is no reverence to tolerance or fair-play in what has been going on. The same is true if you look at elections in the London borough of Tower Hamlets. Tolerance, if it needs defining, means respecting people with different persuasions or beliefs to yours, and appreciating that these persuasions or beliefs may be just as valid as your own. Fair play means not manipulating or cheating for one’s own ends. Who wouldn’t want this spelt out to their children?

  • suzy61

    My Bulgarian friend tells me that Britain is the ‘Queen of Democracy’ and the ‘King of Uncorruption” (sic) where the people are safe and have the opportunity to be who they wish to be. Nice. However, my bubble has just been burst by that staunch GB supporter, the wonderfully supportive Y.A.B. who has just declared on Sky TV that anything considered to be good, British values do not belong to Britain at all…they belong to the world. Mmmmm…as in Somalia, Pakistan, North Korea??

    I wonder how much air-time this disingenuous idiot would be allowed there?

    • Damaris Tighe

      I’m afraid ‘uncorruption’ is no longer true. Read Peter Oborne’s The Triumph of the Political Class, especially on the Blair government.

      • suzy61

        Well, I wouldn’t argue with you..but my Bulgarian friend considers the level of corruption here to be negligible compared to his homeland. I have tried to explain that we have our problems all the same… class divisions, old boy network, metropolitan elite, useful idiots etc.. He laughed at some of my explanations, he actually thought I was joking!

  • solly gratia

    My understanding is that British values are a combination of Christianity and Cricket, generally summed up as ‘playing the white man’: respect, tolerance, fair play/sportsmanship, perseverence (stiff upper lip, what), cheering the underdog, respecting women and the elderly, deferential to authority (the umpire). Sadly, it’s been decided that Christianity is bunk, Cricket is corrupt and authority was on the make. Now we are told what to tolerate and thrown in prison if we don’t.

    • sfin

      Well said.

    • Liz

      Respecting women? The country of The Sun, The Sunday Sport, Zoo, Nuts, Radio 1, Channel 4, Benny Hill, Carry On, Vicars and Tarts, Bag a Sl*g, YewTree, John Inverdale, Lord whatsisface, Everyday Sexism, The Church of England, 88,000 rapes a year, a cheeky Ripper per decade with comedy tourist trails to follow the bodies? Ha ha ha. Good one.

      • sfin

        I think all of your list up to and including ‘The Church of England’ have been exploited by individual women as part of the cultural revolution which has been ongoing since the 1960’s.

        My own take on solly gratia’s post is that he was referring to that gentler, quintessentially British age before that hugely damaging ‘progressive’ decade.

        Sometimes you get what you wish for in life – there’s no point complaining if the fruits turn out to be rather bitter!

        • Liz

          The gentler age of respect for women when marital rape and domestic violence was legal and women were deprived of most of their civil rights?

      • global city

        Wow! You need a sense of perspective… your post reads like that of a lunatic!

        • Liz

          How interesting of you.

          • global city

            It was the nuclear nature of your response to the suggestion that women are respected in the UK. I know the place isn’t perfect for women but, given the context of this thread, it was very harsh.

      • global city

        Wow! You need a sense of perspective… your post reads like that of a lunatic!

      • solly gratia

        Calm down dear.
        First, it is interesting to note that a lot of the examples you give come from the media. They have worked to undermine ‘family’ values for some time, especially since the 60s, having been under the thumb of left-wing ideology for some time: sexually oriented guerilla warfare to undermine ‘family values’ has trumped adherence to identity politics up to now.
        You will also note from my comment that I implied that said British values were not seen as an option now; the media have done their work.
        Second, specific instances of the lack of said values is not an argument against those values. For instance, i don’t read the Sun, I haven’t raped anyone or fallen foul of Op Yewtree. A mentally disturbed killer is no argument at all.
        Values aren’t necessarily normal forms of behaviour, they are desired normative forms of behaviour that we seek to instill precisely because such things are needed else anarchy rules. The ones mentioned are the ones characteristic of the British in times past.
        Nor can said values validly be expected to be internalised in every single person, they are part of the outward behaviour of society, and some will ape them to conceal other motives. There have always been those who seek to undermine such values for their own ends, personal or political.
        To equate some of the excesses of our society with the kind of behaviour that allowed the women and children to make for the lifeboats while the Titanic sank is pretty dire, though, as your histrionic tirade does by seeking to invalidate the idea of respect for women as a British value. That’s a typically Foucauldian thing to do.
        Indeed, having reviewed other comments you have made. it’s obvious that nothing I say will convince you, as you appear to be under the ideological rule of militant feminism, and as resistant to dialogue, agonistic or otherwise, as a Jehovah’s Witness on the doorstep..

  • sfin

    “I dread the thought of my children being taught ‘British values.'”

    God! so do I, now!

    ‘Tolerance’ has a scalar quality and eventually becomes ‘weakness’. Continued tolerance in the face of a creed that advocates the mass murder of innocents (London tube and bus bombings) and the killing and attempted beheading of a public servant (Drummer Lee Rigby), let alone the importing of medieval and, to us, barbaric attitudes to women and ‘kaffirs’ (sometimes both at the same time in the case of the grooming gangs) and the tribal based electoral fraud – endemic in their ghettos – is, in my view ‘weakness’.

    Allowing a foreign culture into your country and allowing it to proliferate in a way that allows it’s adherents to have no intention of integrating is not called ‘immigration’ – it is called ‘invasion’ – successive governments have failed us – and continue to fail us on this point.

    My late father, who knew the muslim mindset very well, having worked in the Middle East for over twenty years said to me once.

    “One day we will all live under Sharia law”

    When I asked why he thought that, he replied.

    “Because we are tolerant…They are not”.

  • you_kid

    Huh, my heart nearly sank into my boots there. I noticed possibly the most deliberate spelling mistake in the history of Spectator blogging, it should of course read:

    Many are shocked about what happened in the [C]ity.

  • Baron

    Ok, no British values, you reckon then the values implied by the speaker in the video are better?

  • Ron Todd

    I choose who I associate with.

    I choose which god if any worship

    I choose who I vote for

    I choose who if anybody I marry

    I choose what I wear.

    And we allow other people to make those choices without fear.
    in fair play and rule of law and we have a start.

    • Ed_Burroughs

      Clearly, there is a legally enforced dress code in this country. Also there was the instance of the teacher who lost his job for voting for the BNP. So points 3 and 5 are subject to a high degree of coercion and certainly not a matter of free choice.

      • Kaine

        What teacher banned for voting for the BNP? It’s a secret ballot, how would anyone know?

  • Tom M

    Perhaps I could help you a bit here Ed. As trying to define British values seems to be a hurdle for you, can I make it easier by stating what Britian isn’t.
    In the context of the current discussion this manifests itself as Muslim. I do not wish my children to be taught Muslim values. I know what they are and so do you so stop fannying around trying to be clever and muddy the water with deliberately obtuse arguments.

  • dalai guevara

    You just have to love this chap. He is such a brilliant thinker. He covers the entire party like a true professional. He speaks for everyone:

    – the capital C Conservatives
    – the old headmaster type right wing borderline national socialists
    – the liberal free market entrepreneur let’s-get-things-done types
    – even the Conservationists, the Conservative Greens!

    Yes, he does all that, he is the man. We should listen to him.
    For first good reading I suggest one of his latest publications, published here:
    or here

    Eh … what? Both bumps? What’s going on? Closed down sites?
    What happened to the Conservative Environment Network, only launched at the beginning of this Parliament?

    Perhaps more here:

    Legacy Gove! Real values! Proud to have them!
    We just gotta lurv him.

  • Kitty MLB

    British values. Are they generosity of spirit, tolerance, kindness, patriotism and respect.
    The issue is those who despise our British and Christian values and wish to dictate
    and manipulate us into following their own alien values.
    We are also a giving nation but do not appreciate being treated like guests in our own country whilst those who follow a terrifying and barbaric agenda are allowed
    to say as they wish and if we say anything we are insulted.
    Even the Queens opposition doesn’t defend and that is treasonous.
    And why ban faith schools, we live in a Christian country, yet others that are
    Hindus , Sikhs etc have no issue. There is only one religion causing issues and we
    are not allowed to say that.

    • Damaris Tighe

      It really gets my goat that a lot of threads on this issue on other right-of-centre sites call belligerently for the exclusion of ‘faith’ from schools – a ‘plague on all your houses’ knee-jerk reaction. People in post-Christian Britain are so ignorant of their heritage they can’t see the difference between Islam & other faiths, especially Christianity. BTW, one of the benefits UKIP’s success seems to be that the wicked witch’s spell has broken & we can say that Islam is not a warm, touchy-feely religion of peace blah blah blah.

      • Kitty MLB

        Yes indeed Islam is a threat and not touchy feely

    • Fergus Pickering

      And cricket, Kitty. You left out cricket. And bitter beer. Lord, I’ve only just started. And do not say these are things. Like the Cross, they are symbols of a great truth.

      • Kitty MLB

        Fergus,how the devil did I forget cricket and bitter beer ( can’t it be ale?)
        on summer afternoons, especially on village greens.
        Also I must say afternoon tea in the garden with warm homemade scones and strawberry jam and drinking Earl Grey tea. Whilst reading something quintessentially English and funny that no one
        else in the world would understand.
        I’ve only just started too.. best not to rattle on !
        Michael Gove said a few years ago that its very Un- British to try and
        define Britishness. Maybe the excellent chap is wrong and you do need to do that from time to time, especially when your values are
        under threat.

        • Fergus Pickering

          On the button as ever, Kittyev

  • Damaris Tighe

    Re Jewish Free School (JFS) mentioned by Ed, my father (an immigrant from what is now Poland) was educated there & I only realised when I was about 10 that he wasn’t English! My half-brother was more pukka than a colonel in the Indian army!

  • Damaris Tighe

    Note to Ed: I’ve been waiting since Feb for your book to be reprinted (don’t do Kindle etc). What’s going on?

    • Ed West

      You’ll have to ask my publisher, you probably know as much as I do.

  • Ted Cunterblast

    The biggest victims of this Mexican stand-off are the young Muslims who have no clear path to integration, without an idea of what it means to become an Englishman

    (1) The biggest victims of this crisis are the English themselves.

    (2) It is impossible for young Muslims to become Englishmen. [No use in pretending otherwise]. Hence, the stand-off.

    • Kaine

      What prevents members of the third Abrahamic cult becoming ‘Englishmen’ that didn’t prevent the first and second?

      • aearon43

        Probably the whole “We shall cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve” (Quran 3.151) thing.

        • Kaine

          Oh, we’re playing this game? Cool.

          Matthew 10:

          32 “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.

          34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn

          “‘a man against his father,
          a daughter against her mother,
          a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
          36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’[c]

          37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.

          • aearon43

            Where does it instruct Christians to terrorize others?

            Your first verse indicates that people will be judged by God, not terrorized by Christians.

            Second verse is simply a prediction of the effects of Jesus’s teaching. Also not a call for terrorism.

            Third verse is also a warning of divine judgment, not a call to terrorism.

            Do you think it’s merely coincidence that nearly all terrorists are Muslims? Or might that be connected in some mysterious way to what the Quran says?

            • Nigel Toft

              ”nearly all terrorists are Muslims ” — does that include all the Irish Muslims in the IRA ?

              • aearon43

                I would imagine the IRA doesn’t have many Muslim members. I take it this is a sarcastic remark implying that terrorist attacks by the IRA are comparable to those by Muslims. There are hundreds of Muslim terrorist incidents yearly, resulting in thousands of deaths. How many IRA attacks have there been in the past decade? Any? How many people have they killed? Maybe there have been a few, but, like I said, nearly all terrorists are Muslims.

                • Nigel Toft

                  i asked because i was almost kiiled by an IRA bomb thrown into the Naval & Military Club ,Piccadilly in 1975 .. i know that there have have been many more deaths caused in the U.K. by Irish terrorism than Muslim Terorism in my lifetime .even taking in to account the tragic events of the 7th of July 2005 ( as it happens – i was also in the vicinity of that dreadful tragedy ..just near Aldgate Underground Station ) . i merely wanted to make the point that Muslims have no monopoly on terrorism .. and when i think back to the many terrorist attacks carried out in this country in the 1970s and 80s ..i do not think there is much comparison to what this country has suffered from that and the more recent outbreak of these horrible actions ..Similarly if you asked a Norweigian of his or her thoughts about terrorism — then his or her thoughts might turn to the famillies of those kiilled by Anders Behring Breivik ..77 in one day — mostly teenagers .. i do not think there has been a single such deadly attack carried out by a Muslim in Europe? — once again — i deplore all such evil attacks — i merely make the point that they are certainly not the actions only of Muslims

      • solly gratia

        Islam is a religion of rules, not character. The only commandment is, Thou shalt not get caught.
        Brutally honest, i know, but I know experts on it.

      • Chris Bond


        Deal with it.

        • Kaine

          What on earth does genetics have to do with religion?

          • Chris Bond

            O boy. You see, people from the muslim nation are of differing races. To make matter more awkward they have been practicing cousin marriage for centuries (contained in the koran). Now people of differing race have differing genetics and the matting patterns of these groups is important. Cousin marriage seems to result in greater clannishness (banned in the west for some centuries- note we had clans and tribes befoe this) and it also kicks the everloving c*ap out of IQ. (Average pakistan iq is 84 according to lynn and vanhanen)other personality traits differ on average between races due to genetics. We are in essence our genetics. Go look up Human biodiversity. Douglas wade released a book which ed reviewed in the spectator.
            Though i think you may not wish to open this pandoras box.

    • Bob339

      Wake up Homer: they have no more intention of integrating than a cat has of opening a bottle of beer with a banana.

  • nickpeters

    I think the point is that the schools in question are not faith schools at all but under the control of the local Council.

  • The Masked Marvel

    Ed, those are “British values” only according to the BBC, and to politicians who are pandering to them. No one outside the media, government, academia, or activist groups (but I repeat myself) would list those things first. Although ‘fair play’ is fair enough.

  • Bonkim

    Good and honest analysis. As an atheist religion is toxic, everyone thinks theirs is the one and only true God and theirs the best culture.

    British values ihave changed with time and continues to evolve – fair play and rule of law no one can disagree. Best keep religion out of school, as also forcing dress-codes – introduce a standard curriculum, dress code, and exclude religious classes.

    Don’t have religious or pseudo-religious festivals – Id, Diwali or Chrismas. All that is for people to observe in the confines of their homes, not in publicly funded schools.

  • roger

    During WW2 the British forces had a small army of ‘education officers’ ’embedded’ as one might say, apart from ensuring that Labour one the 1945 election they taught from a set of booklets known as BWP ( British Way and Purpose) which Gove could use as his curriculum development starting point.

  • sallyroberts

    No one says that Britain is the ONLY nation to have traditionally adopted the virtues of tolerance and fair play – but it is something we were always known for. It seems to me that anyone who resists their child being inculcated with these virtues needs to have a little chat with themself!

    • Bonkim

      more correctly what the British people thought what they were known for whilst exploiting all the lesser people of the Empire. Get real. British society has changed and all the equality and fairness you assume exists today are features that came into being in the politically correct decades since the 1960s. Getting jobs, promotions, etc, etc, all depended on who you knew or which side of clas divide you were born. Rule of Law – for those that could afford – and as long as you knew your place.

      • mohdanga

        Is this the same political correctness that is used to stifle free speech because Muslims and other special interest groups might be offended? Same with ‘affirmative action’, reverse discrimination when hiring, quotas for minorities, etc.
        And of course no one pre 1960 ever got a job or promotion unless they ‘knew someone’.

  • mightymark

    Nothing wrong with “British” or “values” or both together, but I wonder if the contrast quite gets across the sheer awfulness of Islamist particularism and its conflict with and antagonism to just about everyone else whether it is “white” girls (“prostitutes”) in Birmingham, Christian girls in Nigeria, Jews just about anywhere or Hindus in Mumbai.

    Their contempt and hatred is for what are now pretty much universal values and it might be more salutary to let them know that we have registered that.

    • Donafugata

      Islam is incompatible with any other religion or culture.
      It is often incompatible with Islam.

      • Bonkim

        Islam belongs to the dark ages and its followers don’t realise time has moved on.

  • Lux

    Banning faith schools is radical is it? I suppose then the USA is radically secularist.

    Where is this “war” between christian conservatism and secularism? Certainly, this exists amongst our neighbours across the pond, but as study after study as shown Britain is largely apathetic when it comes to religion.

    The attempt to equalise the two sides of the existing war of ideas in Britain, that of the irreligious and religious extremists, is both absurd and damaging. Objectivity does not mean presenting both sides equally, often there is a side that is correct, this is one of them.

    • Bonkim

      Be glad religious institutions don’t get state funding in proportion to their registered followers as in Germany.

  • grammarschoolman

    ‘as if other nations identified themselves by their intolerance and cheating’

    You obviously haven’t watched Uruguay or Honduras play football.

    • Bonkim

      Saudi Arabia is quite proud of its intolerance and inhuman practices and had invited Birmingham school-children to share in their ideals.

  • LunarCity7

    We live in a time in which seeing positive attributes of British society throughout its history and suggesting we embrace and celebrate our heritage a identity is greeted with outrage and accusation of all sorts of unpleasant ideologies. We’ve gone from a nation skilled at self-satire to a nation taught that anything other than being utterly ashamed of things which can be seen as specific to our land and its people is equivalent to fascism. Look at how the internet has leapt onto the #britishvalues trend to gleefully list negative stereotypes, but who would dare to openly say we have, or at least have had, some social values which might be worth preserving?

    The British used to gently poke fun at themselves for comedy. These days I see more and more vicious ridicule and rejection of anything positive which could be regarded as part of a national identity. It’s worrying.

    • Ted Cunterblast

      We saw this recently when a rural school attacked itself for being ‘too White’!

      This is utter madness and it’s not going to end well.

      • LunarCity7

        Indeed. Real news stories read more absurdly than their satire counterparts these days, whilst retaining none of the comedy value as the thought that this is how things are truly heading is just terrifying.

      • mohdanga

        Do the same idiots that complain about schools being ‘too white’ complain about them being ‘too black/Muslim/Sikh/Asian in the UK’s ‘enriched’ communities??

        • Patricia

          “Do the same idiots that complain about schools being ‘too white’ complain about them being ‘too black/Muslim/Sikh/Asian in the UK’s ‘enriched’ communities??”
          No, our vibrant communities with little or no white ethnic Brits don’t need to see the other side of the coin because it appears to be something we should be ashamed of..

    • Bonkim

      Stop worrying – ignore the idiots.

  • William_Brown

    “Unfortunately modern British culture is completely decadent.”
    When was your ‘golden age’ Damaris, when?

  • Damaris Tighe

    Unfortunately modern British culture is completely decadent. No wonder muslims are disgusted. Is the choice really to be between kids throwing up on the streets of our town centres every weekend v. a vicious misogynistic cult? Between women dressed as tarts v. women dressed in tents? I fear we’ve lost the plot ..

    • William_Brown

      “Unfortunately modern British culture is completely decadent.”

      When was your ‘golden age’ Damaris, when

      • Damaris Tighe

        I don’t think there was ever a golden age. Maybe the 50s but it was a bad time for gay people. The trouble is whenever we’ve put right social wrongs (eg the persecution of gays) the left has pressed the issue to a dysfunctional extreme. It seems impossible to ‘hold the centre’ any more.

        • fundamentallyflawed

          Where are these town centres full of people being sick apart from on the front of the Sun or a channel 5 “documentary”. My local town used to have a vibrant night life (and yes that comes with some problems) but is now like a ghost town.

          • Damaris Tighe

            Ask any member of local police force, sorry, service, of any fair sized town, especially Cardiff, Bristol, Manchester, Brighton, Worthing, Sheffield, Birmingham, Woking. I am sure other readers can name them. Is the ‘vibrancy’ you’re referring to the same sort of ‘vibrancy’ brought to us with uncontrolled immigration?

        • global city

          Because the Left only use those issues as a tool to destroy western society. You only have to look at the literature to see that they do not respect the groups who’s interests they have promoted. Plenty of comments about using these perverts to ‘pollute society’..

    • Patricia

      “Unfortunately modern British culture is completely decadent. No wonder muslims are disgusted. Is the choice really to be between kids throwing up on the streets of our town centres every weekend v. a vicious misogynistic cult? Between women dressed as tarts v. women dressed in tents? I fear we’ve lost the plot ..”

      Muslims have no right to be disgusted with a faith that supports the stoning or beheading of innocent women who have had the misfortune to have been raped or daughters killed for wanting to marry outside Islam traditions. Not all Western women dress as tarts nor does the entire nation vomit on the streets but disagreeable as these two examples of Western life are, they are small beer compared to vicious female oppression as condoned by Sharia law.

      • Damaris Tighe

        I agree. I didn’t mean to give the impression of some sort of equivalence between the two cultures. But some aspects of western culture are now very sick & Ed West is suggesting that Muslim parents, even moderate ones, have a right to be fearful about what they’re letting their children in for at non-religious schools. I really & truly wish that we were not so disarmed against Islam by not having a strong moral culture of our own any more. A moral culture that respects women & doesn’t see getting of one’s head as the acme of a good night out would be a good start in the fight back, that’s all I’m saying.

        • Patricia

          “A moral culture that respects women & doesn’t see getting of one’s head as the acme of a good night out would be a good start in the fight back, that’s all I’m saying.”

          Quite right, but I’m afraid the genie seems to be out of the bottle for both sides of the equation. I just cannot understand why our country attracts people so vehemently anti-Western; if our ways don’t suit why do they wish to live here and not settle or resettle in their spiritual homelands ?

          • Damaris Tighe

            Basic economics – follow the money trail.

        • global city

          why are you describing fads and habits as ‘culture’?

          • Damaris Tighe

            mental laziness

            • global city

              fair enough…. a fine British value!

        • mohdanga

          “…that Muslim parents, even moderate ones, have a right to be fearful about what they’re letting their children in for at non-religious schools.” Then they can b*gger off back to the Middle East if they are so concerned. I don’t have one iota of symptathy for these 7th century cave dwellers that come here and expect it to be like the utopias they came from.

    • Donafugata

      As decadent as some people are, an alien culture has no business passing judgement on the behaviour of the host nation.

      Only a tiny percentage of young people behave in this way and most people would not regard it as a British value.

      If Muslims don’t like it they should find an Islamic country that suits them better.
      Alas, they won’t.

      • Damaris Tighe

        Absolutely, it really is none of their business. A Polish guy wrote in another thread that when you are invited into someone’s home you don’t try to rearrange the furniture. But saying that doesn’t mean that we should ignore the sickness of our own society. Some of those Muslim parents will simply want to protect their children from that sickness & it’s a pity that our own culture has so little to offer because we’ve become post-Christian. Some (& I stress some) of those parents may support strict Muslim schooling because there simply is no other alternative offering moral boundaries. It’s just a pity that Islamic ‘moral’ boundaries are in all the wrong places.

        • Donafugata

          Protecting their children from contamination is exactly the excuse they give for the way they run schools.

          My problem with Islam is not about installing positive values but the rubbishing of everybody else.
          The Q’ran is the only holy book that speaks negatively of other religions.

          I liked what you said earlier about the impossibility to hold the centre, btw.

          • Donafugata

            I forgot to add that Islam is not a live and let live religion, it is a supremacist one.

            The Nazis thought pretty highly of themselves but to get an extra boost to be the master race it was necessary to see others as unter menschen.

            • Damaris Tighe

              Yes, which is why appeasement a la Munich is disastrous. Bullies are only encouraged by appeasement which in this context is our voluntary dhimmification.

          • Damaris Tighe

            Yes yes & yes, but don’t you think we make it easier by not offering an alternative apart from all that pc cr*p? Once again I have to say, is the only alternative tarts v tents (see above)?

          • Bonkim

            The Bible has many references to following false Gods – all religions profess theirs in the one and only true God – Allah/Elohim/Jehovah derived from the same God in the Abrahamic faiths. Only Islam appealed to the nomads of the Arabian desert and trimmed with their harsh cultural appendages.

      • Ted Cunterblast

        In time we’ll have to force them to find one.

  • global city

    The debate to be had with regards to ‘British values’ is not so much as to what these specifically are, but how WE created the environment in which this broad and woolly ‘values’ came about.

    ‘British values’ may now be seen as universal, but they derive from specific events in the evolution of our law and and government. As Daniel Hannan wrote, these are limited to the mindsets and systems developed in the Anglosphere.

    This is vital because the notion of ‘Common Law’ is being debased and endangered, not by mad Islamiists, but from a continental way of codifying law that derives from the state elite.

    Whether the word of God through the Koran or an elite body, personified in the principle that the State is the master of the people and not their servant, BOTH are ‘un-British’ and should be rejected.

    Equality under the law and the people taking precedence over the state is what has allowed any genuine qualities we can claim as either British or universal.

    • Kaine

      Well if it’s about freedom and throwing off the shackles of serfdom perhaps we should start with those incarnations of unelected power and authority in Buckingham Palace.

      • global city

        I agree. But you must also agree that these are merely symbols, not actual tools of oppression or dominance?

        Isn’t that the point about Common Law? it has evolved through common consensus, not handed down by a high authority, whether Prophet or King or ideology. Most importantly at all it gave no special dispensation from the law.

        Structures can be mocked and knocked but the underlying principles are vital to our wellbeing. It is these foundational principles that are under attack from hundreds of directions, usually now from those who have power lent to them by the people, but who are intent on keeping it permanently?

    • Bonkim

      Common Law can only evolve positively where all involved subscribe to certain basic concepts. Individual freedoms, choice of lifestyle, religion and political thought are fundamental values.

  • saffrin

    Gay marriage, unlimited access to contraception and abortion, public displays of
    sexuality and schools that teach classes how to put a condom on a dildo are all Labour values Ed.
    I hate the Labour party and everything it has come to represent.

    • Lux

      Neither conservatives nor lib dems oppose any of these.

      • CharlietheChump

        Which shows how far they are from the electorate

        • Kaine

          The majority of the electorate support equal marriage, as polling showed. The fact not even UKIP have said they’ll reverse it is testament to how weak the opposition to this simple legal amendment was.

      • sfin

        I hate them as well.

    • MikeF

      They are not ‘values’ – they are specific policies. Freedom of speech is a value though also one specific enough to be embodied in law as a policy. The same is true for equality before the law. The first of those, though, is incompatible with the concept of ‘hate speech’, a deliberately imprecise construct intended to stifle free speech by portraying the expression of opinion as incitement. The second is incompatible with the concept of ‘racial aggravation’ – at least as embodied in UK law at present – since it is applied in a sectarian, racially skewed manner. When a government of this country is prepared to tackle those hydras it might have some credibility when it talks about ‘British values’.

      • Kaine

        We have always taken the motive behind a crime into consideration when it comes to sentencing, or even whether the CPS prosecutes at all.

        We’ve also always had blasphemy laws, used in modern times by nice Christian types to silence poets.

        I know conservatives like to pretend we lived in some classical utopia prior to 1997, but sadly it’s not true.

        • MikeF

          The concept of ‘racial aggravation’, though, is racially biased – let’s be frank about this – against ‘white’ people and can only be justified if you think that such people have in general a greater propensity to attack people of different ethnicities than the other way round. As such it is itself ‘racist’.

          Your other point is a complete non-sequitur. Blasphemy, unlike ‘hate speech’, is at least a recognisable concept though I personally do not believe it should be enshrined in law. Whatever may have happened in the past they are now becoming dangerously intertwined and not where Christianity is concerned – remember the man jailed for burning a copy of the Koran. I trust you are consistent enough in your beliefs to regard that as an outrage.

          • Kaine

            If you can show where the law stipulates that racial aggravation can only be applied to a ‘white’ person assaulting a ‘non-white’ person then I’ll agree with you. But you can’t because it doesn’t. If your allegation is that this is the de facto implementation, then you’re saying the (overwhelmingly white and typically conservative) police force are somehow against themselves.

            In a discussion about free speech, blasphemy is hardly a “non-sequitur” is it? Blasphemy is simply “hate speech” against a deity.

            I think people who burn books are dangerous idiots as a general rule, regardless of who they are. If he was starting fires in a public place then he was disturbing the peace, regardless of anything else. People have been arrested for reading out the names of the dead at war memorials or protesting against nuclear weapons. This is the state we have always lived in. I’ve yet to see a case of someone being arrested for throwing a book on their fireplace at home.

            • MikeF

              ‘de facto’ it certainly is – the police approach to such cases is now highly selective and partisan. As for blasphemy being just a form of ‘hate speech’ then if you are against blasphemy laws, as I am, then are also absolutely against ‘hate speech’ laws as well, as I am. If not then how do you justify your inconsistency? As for the Koran burning which I do not condone – a facile, pointless action – it may well have been a library book but I don’t think he would have got 28 days if it had been by Enid Blyton.

              • Kaine

                So we agree a man who steal public property and then burns it in the town square with the intent to intimidate people is, and should be, guilty of a crime.

                The police have always been ‘highly selective’, because breaching the peace is a matter of perspective. I remember when the Fourth Plinth was given open to the public. One gentleman stripped off. An American tourist approached a policeman demanding they do something. The officer said that being nude in a public place was not in and of itself a crime, and that this was art. A remarkable piece of common sense by the bobby, but if you tried to put into law he difference between that and a random flasher you might be hard pressed to do so.

                He reason I fail to get all het up about “hate speech” laws is that anything covered by them the police could already arrest you for anyway, as anyone who’s ever been to any anti-government protest knows. In my more Machievellian moments I might even say I like them, because they have prodded thousands of conservatives who were perfectly happy for the police to crack the skulls of trade unionists or uppity students, into wondering whether all this muzzling of the right to protest was such a good thing.

                • MikeF

                  ‘hate speech’ isn’t about ‘muzzling the right to protest’ but the right to comment. There is nothing wrong with ‘muzzling’ the first of those when it becomes riotous assembly.
                  When I said ‘selective’ I meant that accusations of violence or abuse are treated more or less seriously according to the ethnicity of the person making the complaint and that of the person against whom the complaint is made and that that bias is now systemic – individual police officers do not have any leeway for personal discretion. I know of no conservatives ‘happy’ for the police to crack anybody’s skull.

                • roger

                  What has happened to the police? it used to be that all constables (an office under the Crown, not a rank) had personal discretion and couldn’t be ordered to arrest someone. What has happened to Common Law?

              • roger

                Is someone who deletes the Koran from their Kindle deserving of stoning to death?

            • aearon43

              How about the man arrested for quoting Churchill?

            • Fergus Pickering

              There are many books which would be none the worse for a burning. It does wonders for the sales of the unburnt ones. As James Joyce found.

          • Kaine

            As I suspected, you omitted several facts from the man “jailed for burning a copy of the Koran”. Such as the fact it wasn’t his copy, but one he’d stolen from a public library.

            • SomedayaRealRain

              And of course, people get jailed every day for stealing a library book, don’t they?

        • Fergus Pickering

          The poet they wished to silence was very bad. But I suppose free speech includes the right to write execrable poetry.

    • JoshuaCzajkowski

      I always find it silly that many people on the right(Of which i’m one), cry out for less Government interference in the individuals life and yet the first 3 items you listed suggest you actually want state interference.

    • Kaine

      How does anyone have a problem with contraception?

      • Fergus Pickering

        You must ask the pope. I have a bit of a problem with free condoms for eleven year olds. My daughter collected a drawerful by the time she was fourteen. But she remained pure in heart. Or that’s what she told me.

    • Fergus Pickering

      It was a banana at my daughter’s grammar school. National dildo shortage.

  • Bob Thomas

    I would venture that what Englishmen most value is their freedom. The politicians can all Foxtrot Oscar!

  • Shazza

    Read James Bartholomew’s book ‘The Welfare State We’re In’ to give you very good, non-partisan idea of what has happened to ‘British values’.

    • Kaine

      I read that book when it came out. I lost all respect when his description of the statistics on single parent families didn’t actually match the graph he presented.

      That and the relentless nonsense about single mums, and the eulogising of people content to live in squalor as long as they tugged their forelocks.

      He was very nice about Nye Bevan and the 1945-51 government though, so props for that.

  • ChrisTavareIsMyIdol

    If you need to know what British values are I suggest you read Daniel Hannan’s excellent book on the Anglosphere “How we invented freedom and why it matters”

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