Wednesday, 11 June 2014

What are 'British Values'?

Mr Gove's been at it again. This time he's decreed schools should promote 'British Values'.  This is in response to the 'Trojan Horse' plot. 

But what exactly does the term 'British Values' mean?  The world of social media didn't take this entirely seriously and various things were suggested - my favourites being 'still buying your undies in Marks & Spencer' and 'apologizing when somebody else stands on your foot'. 

There were also the inevitable comments about the weather, queuing, tea drinking, general British awkwardness about paying, tipping etc.

I asked my Facebook friends for their suggestions.  Fortunately, I got some sensible responses (thanks everyone).  Here's an abridged version of what they think:

Manners; consideration; taking responsibility for your actions; supporting yourself and your family; having a picture of the Queen in the school hall; knowing the words to the National Anthem and singing it; celebrating St George's Day; respecting our way of life; having fish and chips on a Friday and roast beef on a Sunday; self-reliance; tolerance; compassion; accepting that we're all different, don't assume that we're right and others are wrong; keep trying; learn English if you live here.

Nobody offered 'Keep Calm and Carry On' which has unfortunately become overused, but used to be one of my favourite expressions.

I would also like to add: doing voluntary work, giving to charity, helping those less fortunate than ourselves, having a sense of humour, keeping a sense of perspective, protecting the NHS, being honest and hard-working.

'British Values' means different things to different people, but the strong overall message I got was that people are fed up with 'political correctness' and the feeling that if we're patriotic we're somehow right-wing, which isn't the case at all.  

Why should we be made to feel embarrassed to fly a Union Flag or the St George's Cross unless there's a major sporting event taking place?

Perhaps that's the message we need to be teaching our children - let's be proud to be British again.  So, Mr Gove et al, how about we start by making St George's Day a Bank Holiday?

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