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Sunday, 24 August 2014

"British Values"

Politicians are burbling-on about so-say "British Values" to which all citizens should subscribe. I have no idea what 'British Values' are; and I am sure that 99% of my fellow-citizens are in the same position as me. I remember in my school days the formal rhetoric was all about 'fair play': "play up, play up, and play the game!"; but if someone was able to take a point by an infringement that the referee or umpire did not see and therefore gain House Points or victory for the school, that was winked at [and occasionally, informally, commended].
 The much-vaunted adversarial system in the courts has licensed the most outrageous bullying of highly vulnerable, ill-educated, inarticulate victims of sexual violence and grooming: it may be open, but it is certainly nothing to do with justice.
Victory falls to the political party with the most seats in the House of Commons, which means that it is improbable that the government has the positive approval of even 30% of the notional electorate. The politicians who are elected do not represent the general population: they are careerist graduates who in more and more cases have no experience of poverty, ill-health or other deprivation: or of industry or commerce.
Chief executives are paid many hundreds of times the national minimum wage, while many of their employees are on the minimum.
Banks still protect their own interests - fair enough - but there should be no pretence that they altruistically support home ownership or the growth of industry.
The great bulk of Arts Council and Lottery funding of 'cultural' structures and activities is allocated to the ludicrously lavish productions of the Royal Opera House, and the 'avant garde' promotions of the South Bank and other favoured concert halls and theatres and art galleries that do not seriously reach out to more than 90% of the taxpaying and lottery-entering population.
Are these 'values', or aspects of life that we are expected to value?

No wonder that hundreds of thousands of British citizens assert their distinctness from these 'values' by wearing tribal clothes, maintaining alien languages within their 'communities', eating different food and following completely different domestic and social customs. They would prefer sharia to the common law and to statute based on the European Union's secularist Directives. How much of this lifestyle choice would people be expected to abandon in order to conform with 'British Values'?

Who is to make this definition? A gang of machine politicians? Civil servants who were in college with the ministers?
 Royal Commissions have been out of fashion for a couple of decades, but this may be the time to set one up: then we could all join in the row about the choice of the chairman and the members: at least it would kick the issue into the long grass

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