Sunday, 22 June 2014
After following the debate closely, I have to say I'm not sure I'd pass the test myself, despite having lived in Britain for 67 years. If I had to prove my British credentials, I'd probably end up being deported.
When I look at all the things that are typically British, I find most of them so obnoxious I'd rather not be described as British at all. The word starts to give off a rather unpleasant stench.
Just a few of the British phenomena I'd rather not be associated with:
1) Pot noodle
2) Instant coffee
5) Racism, homophobia and misogyny
6) Tuition fees
7) Greedy landlords
8) Attacks on welfare "scroungers"
10) The war on drugs
12) The Royal Family
Most of the things I enjoy aren't typically British but a feature of societies all over the world, from Brooklyn to Brisbane. Like art, films, music, books, intelligent conversation, friendship, good food, good wine, sex, hill-walking and beautiful landscapes. Not to mention those essential human qualities of love, compassion, open-mindedness and curiosity.
Isn't the term "British values" just a sign of blinkered insularity, of a refusal to admit that other countries' values might be just as admirable as our own, maybe more so? Why be so dismissive of French values or German values? Might there be something to learn from people outside our own borders?
Personally I'd steer well clear of anyone who's passionate about British values. How about human values? How about just treating each other decently?