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June 10, 2014


Ben Nader

Doesn't the UK have lower wealth inequality that France, Germany, Sweden or Switzerland, though?


"The standard politicians' answer is sanctimonious and hypocritical talk of toleration and fair play - presumably to distinguish us from the bigoted Dutch and cheating Belgians."

When they say British values they really mean European values. By this they mean liberal values towards sex and religion.


Common law, habeas corpus, female suffrage, independent judiciary, respect of property rights ...


@ Ben - possibly, though there are data issues. But our equality here reflects a greater incidence of home ownership and high house prices, and it's moot whether this is a good thing:
@ Stuart - most western countries share most of those values. I'm not sure if by "British values" Gove really means that schools must assert the superiority of common law over civil law.


That ever-popular lefty trope is much in evidence, of course: if something exists, then it can be defined, if it can't be defined, then it doesn't exist. If you can't define your love for your children, for instance, then you don't love your children.


@chris Napoleonic Law, Spanish respect for property rights. As for the European Arrest Warrant. We are not the same.

Fred Fratter

@Ben you've forgotten a few British values: casual racism, studied indifference, imperialism, and generally never missing the opportunity to kick a man when he's down.


You are biasing your contrasts by deliberately leaving Third World countries out the comparison. They have values too.

How about being a bit more honest with the data?

Dave Timoney

If by values we mean distinctive social norms, rather than culturally-determined habits, such as queuing or sentimentalising pets, then we run into the problem that many of these values conflict.

For example, Britain's great contribution to philosophy is empiricism and a rejection of the supernatural. This would suggest that the abolition of religious education is overdue. However, this conflicts with tolerance and pluralism, which suggests we really ought to let the Jedi open up faith schools.

Perhaps the ultimate British value is skepticism that such a thing as "British values" actually exist.


"Perhaps the ultimate British value is skepticism that such a thing as "British values" actually exist."

Hmm. I'm sceptical about that.


"independent judiciary"
its head is appointed by the government!

"universal suffrage"
Forced after communist revolution 1917, following centuries of democracy where power and votes were for the wealthy

"property rights"
ask the farooqhi family in manchester whose home was frozen following conviction of the father for terrorism - go figure!

Igor Belanov

I'm quite glad to say that my values differ substantially from those of messrs Cameron and Gove.


"Promote British values" is a dog whistle for people who hate Muslims. It doesn't mean anything in policy terms.


It would be a good thing if Gove and his Government of repulsive people promoted Civilised British traditions but their policies show they do not believe in liberal ideas or social reform. Rather cuts to the welfare state and privatisation of public services and public space combined with a sneering attitude of a bully to any one who does not share their right wing ideas.

Stuart can explain how the Governments legislation for secret "courts" with Judges who cannot test the Governments testimony and where you cannot choose independent counsel or see the evidence against you, assuming there is any, are consistent with Magna Carta or Haebeas Corpus or an independent judiciary? All passed with the votes of "Liberals" like Mr Clegg.

These people certainly do not share my conception of British values and traditions.

They could do with an education.


I'm not about to defend rape and robbery, but it is unusually parsonical of you to condemn my fondness for idle drunkeness as something not to be encouraged. It's not so much a value as a hobby, not so frequently indulged as one might wish, but innocently pursued. And it keeps the brewer and the publican in business.

But then, I have lived in Canada for many years and have perhaps been corrupted by this nation's alleged defining values of politeness and disinclination to antagonise, even when defending a harmless pastime. I suppose if you tell me to sod off, that will be proof.


Laziness is a British value I'd defend. I think it was Bertrand Russell who observed that a great deal of harm was done by the belief in the virtue of hard work.

But is the hours worked figure reflective of Britons working short hours, or merely a consequence of the fact that Britain has many people working part-time in circumstances where others might not work at all(e.g. mothers of relatively young children?)


Middle-class white guilt seems to be a British trait too, judging from the comments.


Have pity on the poor dears. No money, no new ideas and the chicken still coming home to roost, all very troubling in the run up to an election and such a long way to go. No wonder the children are getting fractious - double Calpol all round and early to bed - if only. Are we there yet?


Does passive-aggressive behaviour count as a British value? Or is that more a national state of mind?

Span Ows

Those crime figures of course are greatly skewed by immigrant criminals (see Met arrest figures); for the rest, being a lazy fat boozer would seem a bit harsh but true of many.


The whole history of progress is driven by laziness! The TV remote control, the car instead of walking!

Without laziness we would be still living in caves!

Maybe we don't have enough laziness. Yes this is the problem.


Humour! The British produce more stand-up comedians per square acre than any other nation [citation needed]


"The British produce more stand-up comedians per square acre than any other nation [citation needed]"

And for every stand up comedian there are 10 critics!

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