Friday, 4 September 2015

It's Time We Stopped Talking About Supposedly British Values

I caught up with the last edition of Sunday Morning Live on BBC iPlayer yesterday. The main question was: Does immigration erode away British values?

Personally, I haven't got a lot of time for the term 'British values' - in fact, these days when you hear the term it's often spouted by some xenophobic knucklehead who thinks that diversity strips him of his national identity, or some claptrap like that.

As you may know, the Ofsted Handbook stipulates that British values are democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs. What should be obvious to anyone with half a brain is that these aren't 'British' values - they are human values, unbound by the national borders we've constructed or the seas that separate us from other nations.

There are no such things as British values. Sure there's a British culture consisting of old favourites like fish and chips, roast dinners, English tea, Royalty, Laurence Olivier, and what have you - but that's to describe culture and history, and they are quite separate things from qualities like democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance.

The reality is, our evolution of mental development, including those qualities, is the result of a lengthy percentage game - and my advice would be for everyone who uses the term 'British values' to stop using it, and apply a more generic human term to the qualities we value.