British values3a
Democracy

What are 'fundamental British values'?

 

In a context of fractious social division and increasing religious tension, the Government is on a quest for national identity, and education is the means by which it will be inculcated. Intrinsic to this pursuit is the identification of a unifying polity and the propagation of a cohesive spirituality – the reification of some kind of civil religion. The Department for Education sums up their concept of ‘fundamental British values‘ as: “the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs”.

That’s it in a nutshell, almost literally. It is vague thesis; indeed, it is no thesis at all, and certainly not one which may be uniquely attributed to Britain’s history or exclusively appropriated by the British people. What about good and evil? Where is justice? How do we discern what is righteous? It is as though the Government has purposely avoided political precision and philosophical definition in order to permit legal latitude and the enforcement of social cohesion through judicial activism. Values are not abstract conceptions of nebulous notions: they are personal or cultural determinants of action. Without them, there is moral anarchy. Indeed, there is no morality at all.

So, what defines Britishness? What are our national characteristics and unique frameworks of coherence? What are British values? And in what sense may any of them be considered ‘fundamental’?

First and foremost, Britishness is about tolerance: it is the attribute which has enabled five million immigrants and their descendants to comprise a tenth of the country’s population. This pluralism is a priceless ingredient of the nation’s culture, and it is incumbent upon people of all creeds, philosophies, ethnicities and political ideologies to tolerate those with whom they do not agree.

But British culture cannot be cohesive when there is diversity of language, laws, traditions, customs and religion. Of course, culture can accommodate diversity, but ultimately the systems of governance and jurisprudence in a liberal democracy cannnot produce unity: they must be the manifest foundation of a pre-existing unity. As far as England is concerned, foreign encroachments have been fiercely resisted since the Reformation, yet the accommodation of Roman Catholics has developed incrementally of necessity to the extent that they agreed to abide by the laws of the state. A logical corollary of this is that Asian immigrants to the UK ought now to adapt their cultural traditions and religious expression to accommodate ‘British toleration’ or conform to those aspects of ‘Britishness’ which make society cohesive. And so a Briton has the right to oppose or support UK foreign policy toward (say) Israel, and may campaign to that effect, write, agitate and stand for election towards the chosen end. But it is also elementary that he does not have the right to stone adulterers to death, throw gays off the top floor of a building or plant bombs on the London Underground.

Toleration of the intolerant is distinctly un-British.

Religious practices which conflict with traditional British liberties need an urgent focus. While few would defend such abhorrent practices as forced marriages, ‘honour killings’, female genital mutilation or child abuse, there is emerging an increasing tension between the assertion of individuality over the common good, and ‘human rights’ over community cohesion. Since there are no agreed criteria by which conflicting religious claims can be settled, religion is increasingly relegated to the private sphere: morality thereby becomes largely a matter of taste or opinion, and moral error ceases to exist. We are left with autonomy, equality and rights – the credal values of liberalism that allow each to be whatever he or she chooses. Left unfettered, the assertion of these leads to anarchy, so a values system has to be imposed for society to function at all. This is perhaps what politicians mean when they refer to ‘muscular liberalism’.

This benign paternalism is thoroughly British, but only when it is consistent with the mores and traditions of the majority.

As society expands to encompass ever larger numbers of religious, ethnic and linguistic groups, rigid social structures are stretched to breaking point. Rather like the Church, society requires either cultural homogeneity or an élite sufficiently powerful to enforce conformity. But this negates the limited degree of Christian religious pluralism which the passing of the 1689 Act of Toleration specifically permitted. ‘Dissenting traditions’ have gained in number and influence and have weakened the grip of state religion. The costs of coercing religious conformity are no longer politically acceptable: the state is not willing to accept the price in social conflict and so adopts a position of ‘neutrality’ on the competing claims of various religious bodies and moral values.

The ultimate source of the state’s values system is the subject of much debate. In order to constrain religious expression in the public sphere, France has legislated to prohibit the display of all religious symbols and articles of clothing from its public buildings. Indeed, they have banned the burka altogether because, as President Sarkozy said, it “demeans and debases women”. In the UK, customs to do with dress, food laws or daily prayers have long been considered inoffensive as long as there is no compulsion or imposition. But the advent of shari’a courts, while considered ‘unavoidable’ by former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, are perceptibly inconsistent with what have become inalienable values such as equality between men and women in the sight of the law, inheritance rights, the education and employment of women, and the freedom of young people to chose themselves whom they will marry.

There have been rabbinical courts (Beth Din) in the UK for three centuries, and the Protestant state has similarly granted to Roman Catholics the right to take account of their own religious sensitivities. But these judicial provisions have always been subject to Statute Law, and appeal has always been possible from their judgements. This settlement is now being challenged by shari’a courts, some proponents of which insist that their dispensations are superior to parliamentary statute.

And so, secondly, we observe that the rule of law and equality under the law are fundamental British values. There is no doubt that some religious practices may coerce some, especially women through such conventions as child marriage or inequitable divorce settlements. But mindful of minority ethnic voting communities, politicians have trod carefully along the via media between religious liberty and cultural prohibition. It is time to end this compromise.

There are many models of ‘Britishness’, but the most enlightened and tolerant one, which is perhaps the most Christian, does not demand assimilation. It does, however, require integration: cultural relativism cannot be justified when the outcome is moral injustice. But while religion can play a role in promoting moral conduct, there is no longer agreement on which institutions are morally capable of implementing the rules of justice. While some repudiate the idea that the Christian religion can any longer be a unifying force for Britain, it has to be observed that it has bequeathed to us our system of laws, administration of justice and our understanding of liberty.

Over recent centuries, it is Protestantism which has defined the character of Great Britain: from the Armada, through the Act of Union in 1707 to the battle of Waterloo, Britain was involved in successive wars against Roman Catholic nations. It was a shared religious allegiance that permitted a sense of British national identity to emerge, and which has served as a unifying narrative under the aegis of the Established Church through which the common good has traditionally been defined. Of course, this history is peppered with myth, sentiment and flights of fancy – notions that somehow God had chosen England, and the nation is singularly blessed by virtue of the purity of Protestantism over the discredited and sullied Catholicism of continental Europe. This selective sense of religious history and an idealised perception of the moral purpose of the United Kingdom in the world are part of our ‘Britishness’. We have a cohesive religious base, which is intrinsic to the national psyche: essentially, whilst acknowledging the liberties of atheists and rights of secular humanists, to be ‘religious’ is to be British.

The Christian moral social contract which existed (at least through the tinted lens of ‘Britishness’) has now been replaced by a new liberal moral uniformity. While the former was Anglican and benign, the latter is perceived to be increasingly intolerant of the dissident and unorthodox, seeking to impose itself in order to create social cohesion and control. Indeed, although the guiding principles of liberalism are respect for and tolerance of the ‘other’, it is itself increasingly being seen to be disrespectful and intolerant of the illiberal. This is antithetical to our fundamental values. When we cease to tolerate benign dissent, we cease to act in accordance with the grand harmony of British history: indeed, we cease to be British.

And so, thirdly, to be British is to be free – to believe, to own, to contract and to associate. The state only has authority to the extent granted by Parliament, which is subject to the assent of the people. The foundations of those liberties – Magna Carta, Habeas Corpus, Bill of Rights, Act of Union – guard against state coercion. To abrogate them is to diminish our liberty and to deny our heritage. It is not British to be subject to foreign parliaments or alien courts – temporal or spiritual – especially where they seek to impose a doctrine or creed which is antithetical to that which we have evolved over the centuries. The sovereignty of the Crown in Parliament is inviolable.

To be British is to tolerate conflicting philosophies, mutually-exclusive theologies and illogical propositions.

But not at any cost.

  • Anton

    Like neutral multifaith religious lessons, multiculturalism is an incoherent myth, because in every place there must be a single legal system and an agreed way to make the laws, and these are part of the prevailing culture. In Britain that means parliamentary democracy and rule of law (which has been influenced historically for the better by Christians in public life). This system has attracted to Britain many immigrants of other cultures and languages. It is important that members of immigrant communities have their say in lawmaking through the democratic process at Westminster, but the British constitution of parliamentary democracy is still an umbrella over multiculturalism.

    Multiculturalism is a novel idea. What happens if the guest cultures do not all share the same vision of how the country should be run? In particular, what if one or more of the immigrant cultures has ambitions to overthrow parliamentary democracy? Multiculturalism cannot cope with that scenario, for Jesus warned us that a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand (Mark 3:24). It is right that Sikhs have a homeland in the Punjab, where their ancestors have long identified themselves as Sikhs; right that Hindus have a homeland in India, and so on; so why do multiculturalists seek to make England the location of an experiment for everybody else, rather than a home for English culture and for people who wish to live by it? Multiculturalists hint that this question is racist, but perhaps they are – against Englishness.

    • bluedog

      Multiculturalism can only ever be the gift of the hegemonic culture.

      Once the members of the majority, and hegemonic, demographic feel that their supremacy is threatened, they will start to withdraw the gift of multiculturalism. This is precisely what is now happening in the UK and other parts of Europe, where Muslims present an overt threat to the hegemonic culture.

      His Grace’s post and the whole quest for ‘British Values’ is a part of the process of withdrawal. The quest for ‘British Values’ implies the end of unfettered plurality and an attempted recognition of some form of commonality, together with a nostalgic return to a lost commonality. It is important to recognise that a sovereign state will always be based on a hegemonic demographic that shares any one or more of a number of common features: racial, religious, linguistic, cultural, legal, etc. Demographics that are manifestly alien to the hegemon, and determined to remain alien, are taking the considerable risk of potentially losing the right to co-exist with the threatened hegemon.

      This has happened time and time again in European history and it is naïve to think that the cycle can never repeat. Ultimately a powerful state will decide who may live within, and those who present what is deemed to be an unacceptable burden and risk will be expelled.

      As His Grace says, ‘To be British is to tolerate conflicting philosophies, mutually-exclusive theologies and illogical propositions.

      But not at any cost.’

      Only one question remains, what constitutes recognition of the unacceptability of the cost?

  • len

    Our’ British National Identity’ could only be defined under our Judeo/Christian heritage. Our value system and thereby national identity had its roots firmly set in our Judeo /Christian values.
    When those who were opposed to our Judeo/Christian moral foundation decided to smash that foundation we embarked on a course somewhat like that taken by a rudderless ship and our National Identity was thrown overboard. Many have climbed aboard our rudderless (and captainless) ship and it now drifts about wherever the wind and tides take it ….

  • The Explorer

    In ‘Boys’ Weeklies’, (1939) George Orwell satirised the British values of his day: “After all, England is always in the right and England always wins, so why worry?”
    Further, “The King is on his throne and the pound is worth a pound. Over in Europe the comic foreigners are jabbering and gesticulating, but the grim grey battleships of the British Fleet are steaming up the Channel…”
    Whatever British values may be, they certainly appear to be flexible over time

    • grutchyngfysch

      Put no particular trust in them, because when they come to collect it will be for no cause you recognise.

      Love instead your country; serve instead its people; proclaim instead the Coming Kingdom.

  • Dominic Stockford

    How about this for a British value, which seems to be proposed by the Director of Public Prosecutions: A man, when accused of rape, is guilty until he proves his innocence. (see today’s Daily Telegraph).

    I still prefer the old system, which really was a British value – always innocent until proven (or pleaded) guilty.

    • Anton

      The perceived problem was the tendency of juries to acquit when it comes down to one person’s word against another – an entirely godly tendency given that God required two witnesses in Mosaic Law. This new proposal is bad legislation, but juror’s tendencies won’t change.

  • The Explorer

    I think defining “British values” really took off as in issue for our cultural/political elites after the London bombings. I think ‘Citizenship’ as a school topic also dates from then.

  • James60498 .

    You quote the Education Department but fail to quote the Education Secretary who announced that the Christian Durham Free School would close following the OFSTED Report. She said “I’m afraid I have no sympathy for those who said that “British values need not apply to them, that this should purely be a special test for schools in predominantly Muslim communities or our inner cities”
    What was the school accused of? Failing to challenge “racist words and sexually derogative and homophobic terms” and that it was failing to promote the values set out by ministers.

    You can have all the polite chats you like on what British values are. But this government like none before it, in recent times at least, has defined British values and anyone who objects is silenced. And it is your party, Your Grace, who is in power.

    • Anton

      It’s actually a Coalition. But I take your point. Vote UKIP!

      • James60498 .

        It is. But it is a majority Conservative government and the education secretary quoted is a member of Cameron’s party.

    • Coniston

      ‘British Values’ are, and will be, determined by our ruling and cultural elite, based solely on their desires and prejudices.

    • Shadrach Fire

      Since the regulations about ‘British Values’ and social engineering have only recently been introduced, how does Ofsted expect schools to have re-educated their pupils so quickly. It is the parents who could be said to be at fault if anyone since the child picks up it’s social perceptions from it’s parents, not the school.

    • dannybhoy

      “She said “I’m afraid I have no sympathy for those who said that “British
      values need not apply to them, that this should purely be a special
      test for schools in predominantly Muslim communities or our inner
      cities”
      This is a positively Orwellian sentence.

  • saintmark

    The ability to laugh at oneself is surely a British value that noone has mentioned

    • The Explorer

      I’m not sure it’s still allowed. It went along with not laughing at anyone else. After all, oneself has an identity – race, class, sex, gender, height, weight etc etc – and the mockery thereof might give offence to one who shares some of those characteristics.

      • saintmark

        Yes, you’re probably correct, I was thinking of traditional values rather than modern ones, my apologies. That’s another traditional value, the ability to apologise, again this wouldn’t be acceptable in modern Britain since the members of a certain religion have an inability to apologise for anything(they don’t need to, since it was nothing to do with them or it was justified)

  • grutchyngfysch

    I don’t think this really holds up from a historical perspective, not least because for long periods of time that “benign” Anglican paternalism permitted no dissent – either in the form of Roman Catholicism, or, for long periods of time, non-conformist churches (it is a strange quirk of fate that in Ireland, for instance, the two groups often ended up on the same receiving end of Anglican discrimination – despite the fact that between the two they have for a very long time easily consisted of the majority).

    If anything, the history of Anglicanism teaches us that an elite can indeed hold out long enough that through sheer erosion of opposing philosophies and beliefs it ends up on top. Of course, that erosion has never been only one way: the exertion of power eroded away Catholic England, but it simultaneously eroded easy certainty in itself. A similar but not identical trend might be observed in that “sullied and discredited” continental Catholicism. I suspect we will see – and can already see hints of – the same occurring with the certainty of our elite’s broadly secular philosophy.

    If it follows the same trajectory it will ensure its ubiquity through power, and in so doing, ensure its demise. The trouble is what comes after – since what will be sullied will be “tolerance” – in the eye of the New Man, permission will become synonymous with dissent, and then we really will know what it is to be under tyranny.

  • The Explorer

    “My kingdom is not of this world.” So we are Christian first and British second (for the two could be in conflict). What then, with other religions?

  • Linus

    According to Cranmer the foundations of Britishness are all English apart from one: the Act of Union. Magna Carta, Habeus Corpus and the Bill of Rights are all English developments and may well tell us something about the nature of the English. But what do they tell us about Britain?

    Well, they certainly tell us that, in Cranmer’s head at least, “English” and “British” are interchangeable terms, and that the Scots, the Welsh and the Irish contributed nothing of worth to the concept of Britishness. Well, nothing except a new geographical term. Apparently a Scot should be proud of Magna Carta even though it had nothing to do with him or his country. He should also be proud of Henry V and all that Shakespearean rot about “once more unto the breach”, and this despite the fact that at the time those events were taking place, his country was allied with France and both were struggling against English attempts at domination.

    Britishness is an artificial concept. When the English use it, they actually mean Englishness, with the odd piece of shortbread and a bagpipe tune or two thrown in to relieve the boredom. When the Scots use it, they’re really just trying to humour their bank manager and stop him from foreclosing on the crippling mortgage that will keep them in hock to him until kingdom come (which, as it never will, means a very, very long time indeed).

    It’s therefore not surprising to see your government struggling to come up with a definition for British values. What they’re really trying to define are English values. Which is odd when you think about it. Why should the English have so much trouble figuring out what they stand for when everyone else knows only too well?

    How about arrogant domination of your smaller, weaker neighbours with little or no regard for their cultural identity? You could add the phrase “might is right” to your national mission statement.

    And what about insular closed-mindedness and resistance to any kind of novelty or progress? Unless it comes with an Apple logo on it, or contains at least 10% pure alcohol… A word or two along the lines of “if in doubt, chuck it out” would express that quite nicely.

    Of course I could go on at length describing all the virtues of Englishness, but for the purposes of brevity, I’ll stop here. If you want more input, you know where to apply. Here in Paris we’ve seen everything the English can do. We often find it on our front doorstep on a Sunday morning, mixed in with liberal quantities of regurgitated beer and various other bodily excretions. There’s not much you can hide about yourself when you’re so drunk you mistake somebody’s front door for a public lavatory.

    You should send your government over here on a taxpayer funded “fact finding mission” and let them observe the behaviour of English tourists on an average Saturday night. That’ll tell them all they need to know about English, sorry “British” values.

    • Anton

      Comes close to Rant of the Week, except that Stephen Hayes did it better on exactly the same subject on a previous thread – and, being English, did it better.

      ‘Tis our Welfare State that has brought us to this state by encouraging us not to take responsibility for ourselves. Come the financial crash, this will end. And it might be rather closer for those in the Eurozone…

    • Coniston

      I agree that the English (as opposed to the Welsh, Scots & Irish) have, for the most part, regarded England/English and Britain/British as being synonymous – which is very annoying to the non-English. I regard myself as English, but am well aware that I also have some Welsh & Irish ancestry.

    • dannybhoy

      ” When the English use it, they actually mean Englishness, with the odd
      piece of shortbread and a bagpipe tune or two thrown in to relieve the
      boredom.”

      The English are the most tolerant of all. Were it not so we wouldn’t have so many of the others living amongst us. Heck, even the French are coming over to escape the French Malaise…

  • Johnny Rottenborough

    This pluralism is a priceless ingredient of the nation’s culture

    The OED definition of ‘nation’—a large body of people united by common descent, history, culture, or language, inhabiting a particular state or territory—makes no mention of pluralism, but, if ‘nation’ now means just ‘a large body of people inhabiting a particular state or territory’, and if the hacking to death of Lee Rigby is ‘a priceless ingredient’, Your Grace’s observation is spot on.

    Britishness is about tolerance: it is the attribute which has enabled five million immigrants and their descendants to comprise a tenth of the country’s population

    When demography has worked its magic and the indigenous British comprise a tenth of the population, I doubt they will be celebrating our tolerance.

  • “Of course, this history is peppered with myth, sentiment and flights of fancy – notions that somehow God had chosen England, and the nation is singularly blessed by virtue of the purity of Protestantism over the discredited and sullied Catholicism of continental Europe. This selective sense of religious history and an idealised perception of the moral purpose of the United Kingdom in the world are part of our ‘Britishness’.”

    If it be true that Protestantism, with its “flights of fancy” and “selective sense of religious history”, remain a part of Britishness, then isn’t the problem that ‘Protestantism’ can no longer be defined and so serve as a unifying force?

    Recent threads suggest protestants nowadays protest as much against one another as they do against the old enemy, the Catholics.

    • Shadrach Fire

      I don’t think so. Justify.

      • Have a read of the recent thread on Libby Lane.

    • CliveM

      Hmm I have a memory of a certain RC being pursued across the blogs by co-religionists, very keen to continue an argument!

      It’s not just Protestants.

      • What has Jack being pursued by essentially heretical, angry Catholics with grudges against the Church, got to do with his statement?

        • CliveM

          Apologies. Twas me. I deleted it as inappropriate and off topic.

  • CliveM

    What are British values? Well we are in a period of great social flux and upheaval (and have been for some time) and whereas my parents and grandparents generations understood Britishness and British values, nowadays it isn’t clear if there are any shared national ‘values’. Although my Grandparents were Scottish and Irish, they would have recognised the Magna Carta as part of a shared history. With the growth of nationalism, that is probably no longer true. It is not only multi culturalism that has led to a fracturing of values, but also the disintegration of a national British identity.
    I don’t think we can look back into our history for the answer to the question either. Values evolve from a shared identity and it would be hard to argue that today, the peoples of this country share an identity. Whether it be ethnicity, or faith or cultural heritage our country has never been more diverse. It has brought some benefits but it would be hard to argue that it hasn’t also brought with it a fracturing of British society. For proof of this look how we live. Generally speaking we live in areas that are white or black, Muslim or Hindu, Sikh or (at least culturally) Christian. We don’t in the main mix.
    If we are to have shared values, we need to know what our shared identity is. Typically this comes from a common history or at least a willingness to embrace and identify with this. This is not happening.
    So the Govt. can pontificate as much as it wants about Britishness and values, but until it does something about fostering a shared identity, it’s simply [email protected] into the wind.

    Our values use to be fortitude, stubbornness, a scepticism of authority, politeness and an ability not to take things to seriously. It would be nice to have them back.

    • dannybhoy

      Good post Clive.
      I think the UK today (outside the country areas in which I am grateful to live) resembles a very large housing estate in which various groups live and have their own turf..
      What often springs to my mind regarding these changes, is what if we as a nation were threatened once more from without with war and subjugation.
      How many of these disparate groups would identify with and rally to the defence of Great Britain and “British values”?

      • Not many at all. The British Bulldog spirit has gone. With the fractious groups we have now we’d end up with a civil war as well.

        There are some lovely photos in Daily Mail today of life in 1958 1960’s Britain. They may well have been coloured in, but they portray an innocence and everywhere looks so neat, clean and tidy.

        • dannybhoy

          Marie
          I remember being taken with brothers and sisters up to London which was then without fail proudly referred to as our capital city. The public loos were open complete with attendants, everything was clean (if smoke darkened) and people were polite and helpful. We saw all the main sights plus Petticoat Lane. It was great.

      • CliveM

        Prior to the Great War, Britain seemed to be on the verge of civil war. The war brought people together in a common cause. Maybe it would happen again.

        Problem is the one clear external threat, fundamentalist Islam, exacerbates our internal tensions, as one element of our society is unable to transfer old tribal and religious loyalties to their new Country. Even though most Uk Muslims are peaceful, they seem unable to identify clearly with a British identity.

        • dannybhoy

          Yes Clive, and that is why there can be no replacement narrative, because it will be rejected. As far as I understand it from reading and listening to Muslims on radio talk shows, they are Muslims first and foremost. That is why many are angry ir resentful of some parts of our foreign policy in the ME especially. The Arab Spring has actually made things worse because we were too ignorant to realise that Islam does not support democracy. Instead it encouarged a resurgence of fundamentalism.
          Our older immigrant groups like Sikhs and Hindus have settled happily enough amongst us without complaint or demand.

          • CliveM

            Dannybhoy

            Aren’t British Christians meant to be Christian first and foremost?

            You see for me this is the tension at the heart of British Islam. If, as claimed, Islam is the religion of peace, then surely what is being done in the name of Islam in the ME, should be easy to condem? So why the ambiguousness? Partly it’s tribal ie Britain and the west are attacking what is still seen as ‘their’ country. Partly because I don’t think even in Islamic minds it is clear what the demands of their religion are. Because at its heart it’s schizophrenic. On one hand it proclaims tolerance and on the other it demands blood.

            Now some Muslims come down clearly on one side or the other. But for many they try and reconcile both sides, which is impossible.

            Can this tension be resolved? I don’t know but until it is, Muslims will have difficulty in integrating fully into British society.

          • dannybhoy

            ” Because at its heart it’s schizophrenic. On one hand it proclaims tolerance and on the other it demands blood.”

            I think it’s schizophrenic. During my time in “that country of which we shall not speak” I found the logic imposssible to follow. For example I disagreed with the Israeli logic of destroying the family homes of those caught in acts of terrorism, but I could understand it, even though I thought it was wrong. But I found the logic of Palestinians impossible to follow=, almost to the point that you felt that you yourself were going mad..

          • Akusia

            The house demolitions came about under Emergency Powers Britain adopted in the Mandate to discourage Arab terrorism 1936 – 1939. Those powers passed straight into Israeli law.

          • dannybhoy

            Yes I read that recenty, but I still think it would be a failed policy, stoking resentment rather than acting as a deterrent.

          • Nick

            Once again, if you are accepting this disease metaphor for this faith group then you need to accept the parameters of the disease (for the sake of accuracy). Please also be aware that as Christians we often also take offence whenever Christianity is given this linguistic treatment (e.g. Dawkins ‘virus’ terminology).

          • dannybhoy
          • Nick

            Antagonism towards the Jews? I’m not the enemy. My policy remains: a blessing on both their houses. Besides, if the prophecies are to be believed then Israel will prosper anyway. At the moment I would be happy with almost any shift in world power.

          • dannybhoy

            No Nick. The idea was to illustrate why I mentioned the schizophrenia bit regarding logic…

          • Nick

            I understand the popular understanding of the term, but the popular understanding is inaccurate. Look into it.

          • dannybhoy

            I know what it is Nick,

            a long-term mental disorder of a type involving a breakdown in the relation between thought, emotion, and behaviour, leading to faulty perception, inappropriate actions and feelings, withdrawal from reality and personal relationships into fantasy and delusion, and a sense of
            mental fragmentation.
            (in general use) a mentality or approach characterized by inconsistent or contradictory elements.

            Originally I wrote a comment about the difficulty of understanding the Muslim mentality here

            dannybhoy>CliveM
            a day ago

            ” Because at its heart it’s schizophrenic. On one hand it proclaims tolerance and on the other it demands blood.”

            I think it’s schizophrenic. During my time in “that country of which we shall not speak” I found the logic imposssible to follow. For example I disagreed with the Israeli logic of destroying the family homes of thosecaught in acts of terrorism, but I could understand it, even though I
            thought it was wrong. But I found the logic of Palestinians impossible to follow, almost to the point that you felt that you yourself were going mad..

          • Nick

            Isn’t it just that everybody wants to rule the world? There isn’t necessarily a logic to any kind of violence.

            Maybe Islam doesn’t practice what it preaches, but I am convinced that the attitude of God is that he loves Muslims and wants to see them blessed. Even if they consider themselves good and righteous and don’t see the irony in Christ’s words on that topic.

            At the moment the danger is in demonising either side and I think we should all steer away from that. Muslims are not evil, they are human beings. The same with Jews. The same with us. People make mistakes. I don’t have the answer to the Middle East crisis. I am trying to help, but I don’t think I get a say.

          • dannybhoy

            Nicky.
            do you want to rule the world?
            Nope.me neither.
            Do want to force you rbeliefs on other people?
            Nor me.
            God wants to bless good hearted Muslims and he wants them all to know the Lord.
            See how I personally think and feel towards Muslims is different to how I think and feel as a Christian citizen in a free society that is beginning to feel threatened by Muslim extremists and Jihadists who happen to have British citizenship..
            There is a difference Nicky.
            And you do have a say.

          • Nick

            I don’t mean to be pedantic but if you are labeling Islam as schizophrenic then it would be in a delusion based on an internal rationale rather than being in two minds.

            The rationale internally is very, very persuasive.

  • A free service, translating the original into modern/God-less British:

    ‘The rule of law’. Original: all people are equal in the eyes of the law – if you are poor you will receive the same quality of justice as the rich. Godless: this person obeys this law, therefore everybody must obey this law (the law is above just disobedience).

    ‘Individual liberty’. Original: your freedom exists within a balanced ecosystem that also includes your responsibilities. Godless: ‘do what thou wilt’ shall be the whole of the law.

    ‘Mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs’. Original: there is right and wrong, and good and bad. You have to put up with the fact that some people get right/wrong mixed up with good/bad. Godless: nothing is wrong, therefore it is wrong to say something is wrong. We will not put up with it.

  • Albert

    While the former was Anglican and benign

    Provided one takes a narrow enough period of history that is true, and certainly an improvement on where we seem to be going.

  • dannybhoy

    “Over recent centuries, it is Protestantism which has defined the character of Great Britain: from the Armada, through the Act of Union
    in 1707 to the battle of Waterloo, Britain was involved in successive
    wars against Roman Catholic nations. It was a shared religious
    allegiance that permitted a sense of British national identity to
    emerge, and which has served as a unifying narrative under the aegis of
    the Established Church through which the common good has traditionally
    been defined.”

    Now this I like, this I agree with.

    • Danny, you do know that a “unifying narrative” isn’t necessarily shared across all groups that make up the nations of Great Britain? And also that it isn’t necessarily an accurate construction of our history?

      The question today is, what do we now replace this narrative with?

      • dannybhoy

        “Danny, you do know that a “unifying narrative” isn’t necessarily shared across all groups that make up the nations of Great Britain?”

        Funnily enough I do know that.
        I also know that we have a shared history going back a thousand years, that the differences have been largely inspired by Protestant and Catholic aspirations and rivalries, and eventually a workable compromise was arrived at.

        I know that some Scots really dislike we English as the dominant economy, and that we English have sometimes been insufferable and ruthless in asserting our dominance.. That Northern Ireland is only just beginning to settle down, and that the Welsh are largely content with things as they are.
        I also know that these native peoples together initiated an Industrial Revolution and built an empire known as the British Empire, and in two world wars fought together for the common good.
        There is no need for for another narrative.
        The country is still 85% native British and I assume that the reason the other 15% are here is because the old narrative provides enough reasons for them to want to stay.

        But if you don’t like it Jack, you know where the door is….

        • Hah, now you’ve offered an alternative narrative which somewhat underlines Jack’s point. The two WW’s were not part of the “successive wars against Roman Catholic nations” and neither was the creation of the British Empire.

          • dannybhoy

            Yawn…
            The first world war was not primarily against Catholic countries, the second world war was against Nazi Germany’s aggressive expansionism.

          • “Yawn” !!!

            You are acquiring bad habits, Danny.

            “The first world war was not primarily against Catholic countries, the second world war was against Nazi Germany’s aggressive expansionism.”

            That is what Happy Jack has already stated. It’s evidence the old, constructed “narrative”, rooted in 16th century Christian denominational and nationalist disputes, is no longer appropriate for 21st century Britain.

          • dannybhoy

            “. It’s evidence the old, constructed “narrative”, rooted in 16th century
            Christian denominational and nationalist disputes, is no longer
            appropriate for 21st century Britain.”

            But it’s our history! We didn’t spring it on anyone, it’s who we are.
            Don’t like our history our traditions or values?
            Go!

            Go somewhere more to your taste. Don’t start talking about a new narrative because lots of people have chosen to come and make their home here. I get tired of people wanting to change things because they don’t like them or they might give offence.
            Nuts!! I mourn the passing of Guy Fawkes Night and the importation of Halloween. I liked Guy Fawkes. I knew what it was all about even as a little kid. It didn’t make me want to go out and string up a Catholic..
            One of my best friends at boarding school was a Catholic.

            And as for learning bad habits Jack, you’re talking about “replacing the narrative”, but nobody here defends the history and practices of the Catholic church more than you do…

          • “But it’s our history!”

            That’s the point, it isn’t our history at all – it’s a ‘narrative’ of our history. Our history is the emergence of Christian values and not the temporary dominance of one denomination over another for essentially social, economic and political reasons. British values do not belong to one Christian denomination who valiantly stood against another.

            And “the history and practices of the Catholic church” are supra-national, as Christian values should be. Jack defends misrepresentations of its past by the ‘old’ and outdated British and protestant ‘narrative’. There’s no need for it anymore.

          • dannybhoy

            “Jack defends misrepresentations of its past by the ‘old’ and outdated
            British and protestant ‘narrative’. There’s no need for it anymore.”
            Exactly. There’s no need for you to keep on defending (but I think you mean refuting?) misrepresentations…
            I personally don’t care about all that stuff. I only care that we have a basic Christianity taken from the Scriptures and interpreted by the Scriptures and nobody else.
            “Nowt added and nowt taken out.”
            I don’t need a priest of either persuasion to tell me what it all means or to provide “add-ons” to make life just that little bit more complicated…

          • Jack has corrected his error. Thank you for pointing it out.
            Follow your own faith, Danny. Jack believes Protestantism is unbiblical; you don’t.

          • dannybhoy

            Jack,
            I try to stay out of the earnest discussions of the “push me pull you – no we didn’t – yes you did!” college of Christianity.
            Partly because it is boring, and partly because I cannot see what good comes out of it.
            We have done the Calvinist versus Arminian debate.
            Both views have merit. As long as the end result is a practical application of the faith and a love for Jesus either view can be held.
            That’s my attitude to all this stuff. There are areas of disagreement and uncertainty surrounding the faith, we know that. But the basics of the faith are simple and easy to follow, and that’s where our energies should be directed.

            Going back to my comments on our history, who the Heck cares about whether the narrative is totally accurate. It’s a well known and observable fact that history is written by those who prevail. Those who are true Christians love each other and seek to work together to promote the Gospel regardless of denomination,

          • dannybhoy

            “By their fruits shall ye know them” Jack. That’s all that matters.

    • CliveM

      Ahem, Church of Scotland!

  • Dreadnaught

    Excellent essay Cranmer but to my mind it brings in to question the appropriateness of faith schools and academies. This is one area in which a state driven common curriculum should be established as compulsory foundation before such establishments enroll the first pupil or banked the first tax-penny.

    To do this, obviously would require a root and branch review of the education system, its purpose and and direction. We need to teach at an early stage the desirability of our democracy over other nations and what is expected of the individual towards the rest of society living in Britain.
    We could argue for ever about the origin of spiritual morality and never reach agreement but that should not exclude the necessary debate. What we are lacking and have done so for a long time is to elect politicians with no clear patriotic passion and commitment. It is time for a national reformation of identity and we have to begin with establishing a firm foundation through Education.

    We get the politicians we deserve – maybe that’s why they are happy to encourage voter apathy.

  • Doctor Crackles

    British values are defined by the generations that spilled their blood for them.

    • dannybhoy

      Amen.

    • Busy Mum

      Too true – my 8 year old came home from school yesterday saying that he has got to do a government survey. Half the class did it yesterday – online – the remaining half to do it today. A quick email in to school means my children will not be doing this (sample questions include ‘do you smoke?’ ‘do you drink alcohol?’ ‘how do you feel when you wake up in the morning?’ ‘how often do you ride your bike?’ ‘how often do you drink fizzy drinks?’). Parents have not been notified of this survey and children are spending valuable academic lesson time divulging personal information to the government, all with teachers’ connivance. And of course, 8 years olds can be just a little inaccurate as well as scrupulously honest – my children could not honestly say they ‘never’ have fizzy drinks, but ‘sometimes’ implies a lot more rotting teeth and hyperactivity than the twice a year treat probably results in! According to my child, one 8 year old responded that she ‘sometimes drinks alcohol’. This may – and probably does – refer to a parent giving her an off-putting sip, but will the government now mark this child down as ‘at risk from alcoholism’ and the parents as in need of parenting classes/social worker intervention?
      I told my children that our forebears did not die in the wars just so that this generation has no choice as to whether or not complete a government survey; my grandparents did not fight just so that my generation is not even informed that the government is taking an unhealthy interest into what is absolutely none of its business. Schools justify every action by saying ‘they have no choice’ ‘the government says we must do this’- what will they do when the government starts telling them to sit Jewish children at the back?To ensure Jewish children have yellow stars sewn to their coats? Schools need to seriously reconsider how they commemorate Remembrance Day – it is grossly hypocritical to hold elaborate ceremonial assemblies whilst actively implementing tyranny at home. The more fuss they make about ‘remembering’, the more nobody seems to notice what is actually going on.

  • DanJ0

    If British values are inextricably intertwined with our religious past then it’s no wonder people struggle to identify them now: They’ve been thrown out with the bath water!

  • The Explorer

    Schools have anti-bullying charters/mission statements or whatever. The teachers sign up to it. The victims sign up to it. The kids who don’t bully others sign up to it. The bullies don’t sign up to it, or sign and then ignore it.
    “mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.” (First paragraph). The tolerant will abide by this; the intolerant will not.
    Translated, this – it seems to me – is what the call for Britishness is saying. We don’t want to be hacked to death on British streets, or blown up on the transport system, or attacked with AK 47’s, or rendered terrified of flying. So let’s all just be nice to one another. Those of all faiths who wouldn’t dream of doing such things (and who are nice to one another already) will agree. But…

  • John Moore.

    Yes, you say that immigrants and their descendents are ten percent of the population…. maybe, but in some places mostly the big midland and northern cities it’s very much more than that and in parts — like where I am writing from in the SW counties it is far less or nil. The Peoples’ Republic of London is so separated from the rest of the country that it is unrecognisable from when I knew it well some decades ago.

  • Inspector General

    Cranmer, my dear fellow, the Inspector is not minded to rubbish quotes per se, lest he be accused of taking the things out of context. But really, sir, what in damnations name is this…

    …Britishness is about tolerance: it is the attribute which has enabled five million immigrants and their descendants to comprise a tenth of the country’s population. This pluralism is a priceless ingredient of the nation’s culture…

    {Ahem} There was no British tolerance about millions of others who shouldn’t have been allowed in coming here. If there was, it kept itself well under wraps. At the time when what can only be described as ‘the invasion’ first started in earnest, there was the greatest of resentment. A feeling of betrayal that was manifested by the support shown to an ostensibly fascist political party, the National Front. For a time in the mid 1970s, this gang was recognized as the fourth most supported party in the land, no less. They were the UKIP of their day, in a way.

    The only tolerance shown by the British was the passive type – that they did not string up their elected representatives for allowing mass alien immigration. Indeed, at the time, it was damn hard to pin anyone down for it. “Not my fault” was the individual MP’s cry.

    As for pluralism being priceless, well it ain’t. In fact, if we didn’t have this blasted pluralism, you would never have penned today’s missal. There would have been no need for the reasons you did. But you did, because you had to, because the “nation’s culture” needs to be defined, before we lose the thing to cultural Marxists out to destroy our nation state. You must admit, they’ve done well so far, haven’t they?

    Ever since the cold war ended, this country has been on the drift. Militant homosexuals have taken advantage of that to, still unbelievably, ‘marry’ each other. There are others eager to claim their pound of culture. Empty and soulless secularism among other dangers. So yes, by all means work out what it is to be British, but for God’s sake, make it the same as when this country went through its finest hour, and that means ignoring everything that came after.

  • Inspector General

    Such is the import of what Cranmer has raised today, the Inspector would like to re-iterate a few truths…

    First. Although ten percent of the population is made up of peoples from the sub-continent, the Caribbean and Africa, British values must remain steadfastly what they always were, and that is British. No watering down by ten percent or adulteration allowed. Let’s be clear about that.

    Second. British values are available to ALL immigrants. The difficult bit is their discarding of some, most, or even all of their brought in culture, as required to comply. So damn good luck to those who adapt. Of course, there will be no compulsion to come over, but if you don’t, then please live quietly, won’t you.

    Third. There will be NO concession to foreign ideas. So, whatever people decide in their sharia courts will NEVER be given the recognition of British law (Williams, take note of that you former Canterbury scoundrel). We have Easter and Christmas for our celebrations in the UK, as you would expect in a Christian country. Even the atheists join in, bless them. And that’s it, we are having nothing else. So if you have some foreign whatever you’d like enshrined into British life, forget it. We don’t want to know.

    Forth. Immigrants are free to leave and go back to where they or their parents once belonged. One has enough compassion within him to realise what a dreadful life of tolerance some in the UK might have to endure if they are unable to follow their inner most urge to kill anyone who does not go to the mosque.

    • Linus

      You forgot to add “…so let’s round up the bally blighters and dump ’em in camps until we can ship ’em all back where they came from. Except the gays. Them we can just shoot and have done with!”

      • Inspector General

        You’re an idiot…

        • Yes he is, Inspector. A selfish idiot, from all the tosh he’s been writing of late about little him and the terrwible trials he faces in life.
          He protected at the moment by ‘The Equality Act’ and the European Court of Human Rights. Everything is fine in ‘Linus World’. What he deliberately overlooks is that ultimately the rights he’s been granted will result in chaos and then order being imposed one way or another.

          His personal perspective as an atheist and homosexual is on self, not future generations. What does he care about the future? Why would he? He’s in his 50’s. Where’s his investment in it? He thinks he ‘knows’ he’ll be rotting in his godless grave when the shit hits the fan. He’ll leave no children. Life over. In his mind, nothing but annihilation awaits.

          Christians take a longer, selfless perspective. This is more particular as a parent but we all share it. We see ourselves as a part of the salvation history of mankind. We try to focus on others. Children are critical. Their futures matter. And not only their earthly existence but also their eternal salvation. This is a responsibility we take seriously because God calls us to do so. We have a duty to do so.
          Keep posting ….

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        Goodness! I don’t think the Inspector is a citizen of the Islamic State, where the things you mention are daily occurrences, but perhaps you know something we don’t, dear Linus?

        • Inspector General

          Fear not, sweet lady. He needs to blame somebody for his being gay. One suspects he’s being doing that all his life. Well, tonight he can blame the Inspector…

        • DanJ0

          Linus has got the wrong man. It’s unfortunate really because taking a shot like that could have hit any number of people here and been declared a bullseye.

      • Nah … we’ll just scrap homosexual ‘marriage’, reintroduce Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988, tolerate but not protect homosexuals as a class with distinct ‘human rights’.

        • Inspector General

          Rather easy to erase dogshit marriage, Jack. Just drag out the parliamentary velum and arm yourself with a can of tippex. Paint over all references to ‘Same Sex Marriage’ or whatever term was used, and overwrite ‘Civil Partnership’

          In generations to come, sensible types who finally recognise homosexuality for the disability it is, and not the subliminal height of mankind’s aspirations, will have before them a historical quirk from when we didn’t know our arse from our elbow…

          • Jack would scrap ‘Civil Partnership’ too. Why afford civil and legal rights to such homosexual relationships?

            And, nearly forgot, adoption by homosexual couples should be legally impossible too.

        • Linus

          You’ll need a parliamentary majority before you can reinstate Section 28, Sad Jack. None of the major political parties support such a policy. Not even Ukip, although some of their nuttier candidates probably like the idea on a personal level.

          Too bad, eh? None of them will listen to you and you just don’t understand why, do you? Poor old Sad Jack, will you ever digest your irrelevance and total lack of power to change anything?

          • Change takes time, Linus. Once the tide begins to turn who knows what becomes possible? Jack doesn’t feel powerless or despondent. Far from it. That’s for atheists and nihilists. He is a Christian and this makes him a part of an undefeatable force.

          • Linus

            An undefeatable farce? Yes, I agree. Nothing can come between a Christian and his delusions. Religious mania is a form of mental illness that remains totally impervious to any form of treatment.

            Still, no matter what you believe may happen, reality as we know it today indicates that you’ll have a hard time resurrecting Section 28.

            You’re not a young man, Sad Jack. Do you think you’ll live to see the day when Britain is ruled by a Christian junta? If that were ever to happen, you’d be long dead and will therefore never see the realisation of your dreams.

            So yes, perhaps you should be feeling powerless and despondent. The reality of the situation is such that this is exactly what you are.

          • Everything is fine in ‘Likkle Linus World’. Ultimately the rights you’ve been granted will result in chaos and order will be imposed – by consensus or by force. What cannot continue, will not continue.

            Your personal perspective as an atheist-homosexual is self, not future generations. What do you care? Why would you? You’re in your 50’s. If you’re very lucky you’ve got another 25-30 years maximum in front of you, though this is not certain. You think you ‘know’ you’ll be rotting in your godless grave when the shit hits the fan. You’ll leave no children. In your mind, nothing but annihilation awaits.

            Christians take a different, longer term and selfless perspective. This is more acutely felt as a parent but we all share it. We see ourselves as a part of the salvation history of mankind. We try to focus on others. Children are critical. Their futures matter. And not only their earthly existence but also their eternal salvation. This is a responsibility we take seriously because God calls us to do so. It’s in our make-up. We have a duty to do so.

            So you see, likkle Linus, it does not matter whether Happy Jack is a young man or whether he lives to see change or not. You worry like a spoilt child about giving up earthly comforts for God. You accuse Him of not making the world convenient for you. That you might have to “suffer” if you change your lifestyle. You stamp your feet because ‘Daddy’ wont let you play and you wave your arms at Him. Just remember, ‘Mummy’ will not be there to save you when crunch time comes Linus.

          • Linus

            I see my previous comment touched a nerve.

            Power, or the lack of it, is pretty much the only thing that can rouse passion in old bigots like Sad Jack. Reminding him that he has none, and that the world has moved on and left him and his vicious beliefs in the dust, is to wound him in the only way that really hurts.

            He’ll die believing the apocalypse is coming because we didn’t listen to him. The arrogance and pride of it all would be beyond belief, were it not for the fact that religious obsession is a sickness of the mind and, when coupled with an overweening male ego and a sense of entitlement the size of a planet, leads to exactly the kind of personality disorder Sad Jack displays here for us all to see. He’s to be pitied rather than scorned. He’ll spend what’s left of his miserable life huffing and puffing and prophesying doom until spite bursts a blood vessel somewhere in the atrophied organ that used to be his brain and he expires, rots and crumbles to dust. What a waste of a life!

            Meanwhile this godless world will continue to spin through the godless expanses of space and time, leading us all on to our godless futures. I’ll live out my life and be dust on the wind in my time. So will we all. And Sad Jack’s visions of doom and destruction will evaporate into nothingness, as those who live on go about their business, perhaps looking back from time to time and pitying their poor, ignorant, benighted ancestors and the witchcraft, magic and religions they invented to try to explain things they were too ignorant to understand.

            Hold on while you can, Sad Jack. But when you feel death approaching and your consciousness starts to slide down into that great black void of nothing that awaits us all, don’t panic. Your restless, unhappy, vicious soul will find release from the urge that drives it to hate and abuse others, and the peace of oblivion will be yours for all eternity.

          • Linus, Jack forgot to mention one other thing. After death, you being dispatched off to a boarding school, no doubt to give ‘Mummy’ and ‘Daddy’ some peace, will be the least of your worries.

  • The Explorer

    Britishness is about tolerance. (Paragraph 4). Tolerance has enabled immigrants to comprise 10% of the population.
    But in Norway, immigrants are 15% of the population. In Sweden, the figure is 16%
    Does that mean Scandinavians are more British than we are? Or is tolerance a European, rather than a strictly British, phenomenon?

    • InvictaMinor

      Think there is a logical error here @The Explorer –
      c.f.
      Orangeness is about sweetness 10% for oranges. But sweetness of Mangoes is 15% and sweetness of Lychees is 16%. So do these have more orangeness than oranges?

      • InvictaMinor

        I hope you can see it doesn’t follow for “orangeness” or “britishness”

        • The Explorer

          Right, cancel the Britishness. Are Norway and Sweden tolerant for taking in such a large proportion of immigrants, or aren’t they?

          • bluedog

            Correct. The great danger is always in assuming benign exceptionalism, as His Grace appears to do. Different nations are exceptional in different ways at different times for different reasons. We can agree there is nothing to suggest that the British are naturally pre-disposed to tolerance to a degree greater than comparable north European nations. Go to one of the remaining pubs and you’ll learn the limits, as we both know.

      • The Explorer

        That’s getting a bit profound for the likes of me, but I’d have thought for your comparison to hold good one ought to be comparing the sweetness of three types of orange.
        After all, it’s the tolerance of three nations to the same thing – immigration – rather than for three things like, say, immigration, cannabis and paedophilia.

  • Whatever happened to the ‘Family Values’ debate? Nations are built from the ground up and the family is the basic cell of society. Stable family life requires moral conduct from men and women for the procreation and raising of the next generation.
    Britain needs to rediscover fundamental individual morality. It can then look Islam in the eye and defeat it.

  • Arden Forester

    I can’t think of anything more un-British than to harp on about “British values”. There is a kind of liberal superiority about it all. “Tolerance” is the lead value, vying for pole position with “equality” followed not far behind by “respect”. This new mantra is directed by the ruling elite at the perceived fruitcakes among us and at bewildered newcomers. To what end exactly? It’s a new version of political correctness.

    Tolerance is only given to those who tolerate the new ways. Equality is bandied about without any qualification attached and respect appears only to be paper thin. I’m not sure how far all this goes. In the Church of England’s brave new world we are offered “mutual respect”. I was once asked which church I went to. I knew the person asking was a supporter of female ordination. I told her. Without receiving a reply from her I could see one nostril rise up. The subject was swiftly changed and I sensed I was seen in a totally different light.

    Tolerance and respect are excellent values to have but if they are abused they cease to be.

  • Old Nick

    I thought eccentricity was an English value. Equality is of course a French value

  • DanJ0

    Article: “Christian religion can any longer be a unifying force for Britain, it has to be observed that it has bequeathed to us our system of laws, administration of justice and our understanding of liberty.”

    Christianity is a spent force in Britain, there’s no point trying to hang onto it. Where we are now is the result of lots of our history but we’re not constrained by it going forward. Every generation has taken some things forwards, left some things behind, and introduced different ways of thinking. It’s how society evolves. We mustn’t forget our Christian past but it can slowly be moved to museums, and heritage sites, and history lessons where children can marvel at what people in the olden days did and how they thought. Perhaps we ought to create a Christian version of the Beamish village, populated by old ladies with blue rinses and beardy men in woolly jumpers, making WI jam for the punters to buy.

    • The Explorer

      In ‘The Time Machine’ the Traveller finds one of his own scientific papers in a long-abandoned museum. Historical interest only…
      The Marxists blew up some churches, but preserved others as museums to dead ideas. Now Marxism in that precise form is itself a dead idea. The churches have made something of a comeback.
      I can imagine the realists of the future running a nice little Museum of Ideas: Christianity in there along with other quaint belief systems from the past.
      I can see a heading now for one section: LIBERALISM – ITS CAUSE AND CURE.

      • DanJ0

        You’re probably right about liberalism as a political theme and way of living. However, I think liberalism recognises some key aspects of human nature, such as individuality and a desire for freedom, which will assert themselves in other ways of living. Religions recognise other keys aspects of human nature, such as a desire for meaning and purpose and a sense of community, and are designed or have evolved to appeal to those.

        • The Explorer

          When Bertrand Russell said liberalism offered much that was most hopeful in our sombre world, then I think that was a true insight, and I agree with it.
          I think the issue with Christianity is very simple. If Christ did not rise from the dead, then the religion is a lie and will die out. If Christ did rise from the dead, then it has God on its side and will survive: albeit with its back to the wall. (It’s when it doesn’t have its back to the wall that it really needs to worry.)

          • DanJ0

            The same applies to Islam too if Allah is really supporting it, and that doesn’t seem to be dying out so far. Nearly 1400 years and counting. Christianity was lucky to have a great propagation mechanism early on, or perhaps the Christian god used that to its advantage, so it’s got global spread which means it has some legs yet. For both Islam and Christianity, there’s still plenty of fertile ground in the form of poverty and powerlessness and ignorance around the world. But Britain is surely a post-Christian country now. We really need to look to the future.

          • The Explorer

            Yes, the point about Islam is a very valid one, and , yes, I see British Christianity surviving with its back to the wall in a post-Christian environment.
            There is a Millennial view that Christianity will be gradually spread across the whole world. There is another that things will get worse, with a great falling away before the Second Coming. I, obviously, adhere to the second view.
            Islam does not need to be true in order to be useful. I see it as part of the divine plan: it has kept Christendom on its toes. I anticipate that Islam will endure until the Second Coming, and may well intensify in the Last Days, whenever they may be. (That is purely by way of explanation, not because I expect you to share in my perspective. Obviously, anyone sceptical about the First Coming will be even more so about the Second.)

          • We do need to look to the future. Read the Book of Revelation and Matthew’s Gospel chapter 24. The post-Christian ‘liberalism’ will fail and be replaced by economic collapse, war and tyrrany.

            Sorry about that.

          • DanJ0

            Like most people in Britain, I don’t in reality accept the underlying premise of the Bible. It’s a work of fiction to me. Interesting in its own way but of little worth when thinking about how we should carry on.

          • dannybhoy

            Again,
            One wonders why you stay then.
            Have you no friends?

          • DanJ0

            Bless you. Bad day today for you by the look of it here and elsewhere.

          • Quite so, that is understood. Hence the terrifying words of Jesus in Matthew 24 to which I refer. People will be rejecting God’s truth right to the End.

          • DanJ0

            I interact with Muslims too, you know. You should hear some of the things they claim! The power of religions to ensnare people is very impressive.

    • Nick

      “Perhaps we ought to create a Christian version of the Beamish village, populated by old ladies with blue rinses and beardy men in woolly jumpers, making WI jam and warm beer for the punters to buy and take home after their visit”.

      I believe this may be called a stereotype. Some people object very strongly to stereotypes. I don’t think Christianity is a spent force (archaic and unloving as we can sometimes be). The hope of the country is found in a national Christian revival. I must insist that this is a matter of life and death for the people involved.

      I am not misleading you. Last night there was a report on the BBC in which the journalist took a microchip in his hand. This was misleading and irresponsible journalism because it desensitized people to the idea further and it also ignored the beliefs of Christians who largely find the idea deeply disturbing (because of our scriptures).

      The British people need a revival and it is a matter of life and death. I must insist that you hear me on this.

      • IanCad

        I heard that Nick.
        Those deeply conformist Swedes are the vanguard.
        A slight tip of the hat to the objectors but overall a sense of inevitability in the report.

        • Nick

          As in Heidi Baker? But I wonder if even the revivalists need reviving. Or reforming at least.

          I suppose open-minded scepticism is a British characteristic. But on the issue of revival everyone seems to polarise.

        • magnolia

          I agree. I found it utterly repugnant, and they tried to make out it was no big deal. Really cool to know people could track you anywhere, clearly. No doubt if questioned they would come out with that hoary and inbecilic chestnut *if you’ve done nothing wrong you have nothing to hide”.. Sometimes one cannot believe the idiocy, nor the capacity of those born free unthinkingly to allow that freedom to go bit by bit and barely really ever noticing.

          Yes, people have mostly heard of Edward Snowden, and yes they have some hazy idea about him and other whistleblowers, but they forget so so soon. The BBC was also I think trying to suggest the Russians were all communist in the same news programme, whilst a short time ago they were – more correctly- telling us that the Cold War was over and communism in Russia was dead as a dodo (sorry Happy Jack!!).

          So fed up with the way news has gone over the last 20 years.

          • Nick

            I agree with you, and I was disturbed too. It was also shoddy journalism not only because the technology reporter didn’t abide by the ‘objective’ standards of the BBC (in taking the chip), but also because it was done so uncritically. There were few questions on the ethics of it. Also, considering the BBC have a teaching part of their website on understanding faiths they showed a huge disregard to or understanding of the feeling of many believers on this issue. As you say, they made out it was no big deal. I suppose the BBC will always be linked to Government.

      • DanJ0

        “The British people need a revival and it is a matter of life and death. I must insist that you hear me on this.”

        You’re free to speak and I’m free to not listen. These are the sort of things that makes Britain a great place to live at this point in history.

        “I believe this may be called a stereotype. Some people object very strongly to stereotypes.”

        Luckily, we’re a liberal democracy so they can object all they like as far as I am concerned.

        • Nick

          Bless you anyway.

          • DanJ0

            Bless you too.

    • magnolia

      What have you got against warm beer? Don’t tell me you prefer continental beer? Where is your patriotism?

      What is wrong with wool precisely? It keeps the cold warm and the hot aerated when not worn with any ghastly synthetic material. Natural fibres are by far the best in all ways. Synthetics as and when unavoidable.

      Are you a synthetic material man? Lycra… ? Rayon? Crimplene?

      No………………..?

      May I posit natural fibres, warm-ish beer and working dogs as British values?

      • DanJ0

        Very weird. :O

        • magnolia

          You slipped into inveighing anti-British drink in markedly “Linus” fashion. Very odd for a British man to sneer at British beer, n’est-ce pas?

          • DanJ0

            Oh I see. You think I’m also Linus. Lol. I have well formed online ethics and too much integrity to do that. Also, after all the fuss I’ve made of someone using multiple concurrent identities here in the past, and all the moral hay I made when that particular sun shone, I simply wouldn’t dare even if I were of low morals. If the new forum technology here can capture IP addresses of people posting comments then I trust and invite the blog owner to expose any possible duplicity there.

          • magnolia

            Warm beer makers and wooly jumper wearers. Pretty harmless, at least, practically sensible, and in the case of jumpers colourful and fun at best. But definitely British, and right in line with Linus’ senseless bugbears against all things British and particularly the genial centuries old C of E parish church. What next for the descriptive swipe? The pub, the post office, or the village pond? Guy Fawkes night? Cake makers? Village fetes? Dog friendly shops in Keswick? Men who mend things in sheds? Just wondering…..

          • DanJ0

            You’re being weird again.

  • DanJ0

    Article: “The Christian moral social contract which existed (at least through the tinted lens of ‘Britishness’) has now been replaced by a new liberal moral uniformity.”

    It’s liberal-left uniformity of thought with very little to do with morals. No doubt some people feel as uncomfortable with it now as some outliers did with the differing constraints and pressure to conform of the 1950s, and likewise with the previous generation in the 1920s and the mainstream Edwardian views of the time. However, an enduring British trait is also eccentricity and contrariness which challenges the mainstream and stops it all being taken too seriously.

  • carl jacobs

    A few posts down (when sorted by ‘Newest’) you will find Jack and Linus trading sniper rounds over gay marriage. Jack postulates the possibility of scrapping the whole concept. In response, Linus makes a comment that reveals the unexamined question at the heart of this post:

    You’ll need a parliamentary majority before you can…

    And Linus is correct. But the unexamined question is this: “Does he need anything more?”

    A man with power can do what he pleases. He can impose his will as he sees fit. Imagine the assent to power of a new hypothetical sovereign – Bob I, King of all he Surveys. Presume he has the power to impose his will. Then if Bob should decide to cast aside gay marriage, he can do so. He could also order all homosexuals to be dragged into the street, and beheaded. Who could gainsay him? He doesn’t need anything more than power to legitimately instantiate his will. This is the problem with ignoring the unexamined question. It’s not enough to simply assert the necessity of power – unless one is also willing to assert its sufficiency. If we deny the sufficiency of power, then we must accept a significant corollary of that denial. Power has to derive from authority; an authority that simultaneously legitimizes and constrains the exercise of the power that proceeds from it.

    The temptation is to locate the missing authority in process (say for example “the democratic process”), but process is not authority. The modern world has much of process and nothing of authority. The output of its process floats in the air with no firm grounding other than the sheer power to enforce its conclusions. To know how to exercise power – in this case, whether we should celebrate homosexuality or condemn it – we need something besides this output of human dictates whether they be based upon fiat or majority or consensus. We need to know the content of justice before we can exercise power justly. Otherwise, we cannot differentiate between the actions of men. We can only say that one is more powerful than the other. But justice is not the product of fiat or majority or consensus. It must stand above these things to exist.

    The inhabitants of the modern world in their quest for freedom have cast aside the ability to know morality. It can only give non-authoritative opinions. They stare across the table at the enemy and say “One of us must die.” And the outcome of the battle, whatever it might be, will by definition be good. Because once the enemy is dead, there is no longer anything to either legitimize or constrain the victor in the exercise of the power he has just obtained.

    • dannybhoy

      ” The modern world has much of process and nothing of authority. The
      output of its process floats in the air with no firm grounding other
      than the sheer power to enforce its conclusions.”
      I like that too. It illustrates how much of the modern emphasis on tolerance, equality, diversityand inclusion ends up as disconnected solutions with no underlying unity of thought or morality. But it is the wester world which has abandoned the grounds of its moral stance in trying to accommodate the different religious and world views of those who haven’t abandoned theirs..

    • “The Good becomes conflated with the exercise of power. But it’s not enough to simply assert the exercise of power to determine Good – unless one is also willing to assert its sufficiency. If we deny the sufficiency of power to determine Good, then we must accept a significant corollary of that denial. Power has to derive from authority; an authority that simultaneously legitimizes and constrains the exercise of the power that proceeds from it.”

      “We need to know the content of justice before we can exercise power justly. But justice is not the product of fiat or majority or consensus. It must stand above these things to exist. Otherwise, we cannot differentiate between the actions of men. We can only say that one is more powerful than the other.”

      Didn’t we theoretically have all this with the right of Kings to rule according to God’s word as taught by the Church? Not a theocracy where the Church ruled but a system where earthly power was endorsed and then exercised with reference to God’s will.

      If Happy Jack was ruler he would be a Constitutional Monarch. He would just change the constitution ever so slightly. Initially he would limit the right to vote by: age, education, employment status and property ownership. Political parties would have local elections to nominate representatives to Parliament – no party lists or central imposition. Next he would focus on the family and review the options over: ‘no fault’ divorce, the availability of mass contraception and abortion on demand. Obviously, homosexual faux ‘marriage’ would be scrapped and all statutory recognition and protection of this group as a mollycoddled species with special “rights” would be binned. The welfare state would be replaced by charity run by the Church and based on voluntary contributions.

      As for the Church ……. The first big set of issue to be addressed: the selection of Bishops (a male only priesthood, btw). Then: do we have Synods where majority votes can dictate and change established doctrine thereby making the teachings unrecognisable from a few decades ago?

      • Linus

        Sad Jack can do none of these things because he’s a powerless nobody. So his musings are nothing more than intellectual masturbation.

        Thought you didn’t approve of online porn, Sad old Jack. Why force the rest of us to witness your philosophical onanism when you know it leads nowhere? All your self-induced powergasm will achieve is to send your old carcass off to the land of Nod for a brief respite from the awfulness of being Sad old Jack. When you wake up again, you’ll be just as impotent and irrelevant as you ever were.

        • Likkle Frwustrwated Linus, pour all that scornful animus out. Unlike good Danny, who read your self-indulgent, manipulative posts without adverse comment, Jack sees through them.

          • Nick

            Jack, don’t forget that the correct response for this situation is “Bless you anyway”. That way, the intellectual and personal insults of atheism are overcome by a moral high ground.

          • Nick

            Obviously, when I talk about cognitive dissonance I am speaking for myself.

          • Bless you, Nick.

          • Nick

            I’m coming to the conclusion that the Catholic church is the true church. What us protestants need is a leader who says that if someone insults your mother you are going to punch them. That way, all those people who take advantage of us will never quite know what we are going to do.

          • Linus

            Self-indulgent? Want to know the real meaning of that phrase? Re-read your pitiful “if I ruled the world” manifesto.

            You don’t rule the world, Sad old Jack. Indeed I doubt you even rule your immediate surroundings. Writing these missives to us from some miserable old people’s home where you’ve been dumped by a family pushed beyond the limits of its endurance, are you?

            Who tends to your daily needs now? Elderly masochistic nuns no doubt, probably retirees from a teaching order looking to expiate past sins against generations of helpless children by taking on the most onerous task they can find. And boy, haven’t they hit the Sad Jackpot with you?

          • Nick

            Linus, sorry to interrupt the online oppression. But can you tell me how atheism is not intellectually insulting please?

          • “Self-indulgent?”

            This is all you really want to ask about, isn’t it? Why try to camouflage it amongst the ad hominem?

            Yes, self indulgent, Linus. Psychologically speaking, it’s like making a pact with the Devil. You want to obtain the object of your desire up front, but deny the “bill” for such self-indulgence, the associated “cost” of your intemperance.

            You deny the existence of God as a way of avoiding the mental stress that conflicts with the Catholic faith you were raised in. To give this greater weight, you parade your ‘pain’ around like a cheap tart on a street corner. You want to pull at the heart-strings of Christians.

            Your twisted emotionally heart rendering thesis: Likkle Linus will be doomed to a sad, lonely celibate life if he accepts a homophobic and bigoted God’s teachings. He’s as bad as Hitler. Plus, you would become an embarrassment to family and friends and a scandal to the Church if you repented and attempted to reform. Poor you. You cannot bear to ‘suffer’ the deprivation of a comfortable home, a secure job or the company of your paramour. The tears are flowing. And life without taking ol’ one eye to the optometrist every once in a while is beyond you.
            It’s was all pitiful bollocks, Linus. Happy Jack felt embarrassed for you reading it. Man up and show some moral back-bone, for goodness sake.

          • Linus

            Just when you think his hypocrisy can’t get any more blatant, Sad Jack outdoes himself yet again.

            Accusing me of ad hominem attacks when virtually his entire input here comes in the form of insults and personal attacks thrown at anyone who dares to contradict him! He throws, I slap it right back in his face, and then he has the gall to cry “ad hominem!”

            The man is a walking lesson in what Catholicism turns you into if you persist in it long enough. An evil, vicious, hateful old man desperate to vent all the venom of a lifetime before oblivion closes over him and obliterates all his rage. Keep spewing, Sad Jack. It won’t be long now.

          • Nah, the Happy Jack you have constructed is your projection Linus. It’s the portrait you keep locked away in your attic until the time comes to pay the bill.

        • Nick

          Where I come from Linus, an individual is allowed to ‘put the world to rights’ in public whether others agree or disagree with him or her.

          I don’t agree with Jack’s personal views on ruling the country, but everybody wants to rule the world and I find Jack very likable.

          Jack – when you come in your kingdom, remember me.

          (oh-oh, wrong time, wrong place, wrong person again…)

          • DanJ0

            I’d have thought it’d be better for everyone that such views are aired. In fact, I’d quite like them to be adopted by a national political party which is open about its religiosity and intentions. For those who find them unpalatable or socially oppressive, it would be a clarion call to argue and fight for the freedoms we all currently enjoy. Personally, I think voters need to wake up to the possible threat of the religious, whether Roman Catholic, Muslim, or whatever, wanting to overlay their religiosity over the rest of us and control and restrict our lives according to their own religious beliefs.

  • educynic

    A Christian missionary friend once shocked me by saying that he thought it was impossible for different races to live in harmony – ‘even if both the races are Christian.’ I pondered over his words and eventually realised that they were born of a deep understanding of the frailty of human nature. We might want a ‘great big melting pot’ but it simply isn’t possible. Where one sees different races together in peace, they are maintained by powerful forces by the controlling races, like in Malaysia where the Chinese and Indians are absolutely subordinate to the Malays.

    Norman Tebit said in a recent blog ‘…I have been saying for many years, that no society can have more than one culture. Of course minorities should be free to practise their religion, to eat Kosher, Halal or other foods, but in matters affecting their relationship with the society in which they live, they must accept the rules and practices of the culture of the host society in which they live.’

    As we can see in Britain, our government is now aware of the need to impose a culture on the population as a whole. We see it with the ‘British values’ in school. But it is elsewhere in society as well and we can expect to see an expansion of our thought police. The key ‘British value’ that the state machinery sees is ‘tolerance’. But that tolerance does not extend as far as allowing public statements of traditional attitudes to sexuality, or the sanctity of life in the womb. There is no-one more intolerant than the man whose god is tolerance.

    In fact our society is rooted in Christianity. The story of the Good Samaritan, the entreaty to love your neighbour, the creation ordinances to multiply. What is our problem in the West? Insufficient young people, because sex has become a recreational activity, and procreation and the continued support of offspring by lifelong marriage is no longer its focus. And with insufficient babies born we turn to large scale immigration and the problems it brings.

    But be under no illusion: the Coalition, and Labour, barely out of short trousers, see nothing of the Christian foundations. They have glib words instead of a deep understanding. The ‘British values’ they string together will be as shallow, incoherent and lampoonable as Richard Dawkins’s ten commandments. But kowtowing to that particular god will undoubtedly be compulsory.

    • dannybhoy

      “There is no-one more intolerant than the man whose god is tolerance.”

      That’s a real good sentence.

      I have found this myself when discussing Christianity and society with people who are “tolerant.” Boy, they get mad with you when you step outside of “the pink, warm and fluffy, God loves everybody and everything!” socially acceptable version of Christianity.
      “You’re being intolerant and judgmental!” they cry…

      Regarding the bigger point your friend made, “…he thought it was impossible for different races to live in harmony – ‘even if both the races are Christian.”
      I think there’s truth there. Culture is a very powerful force that both unifies and divides. Even simple things like humour can be a problem. I think Mr Tebbit’s point about,
      “Of course minorities should be free to practise their religion, to eat
      Kosher, Halal or other foods, but in matters affecting their
      relationship with the society in which they live, they must accept the
      rules and practices of the culture of the host society in which they
      live.”
      is absolutely true and only the naive persist in pretending it can work otherwise.

      • CliveM

        To be honest DB I’m not entirely convinced by the Tebbit quote. Is someone celebrating their faith (say Jews), eating their food, dressing modestly, celebrating their festivals not also celebrating their difference, their own culture?

        For me it also disproves the missionaries belief that two races can’t live together. It’s only a problem if the new culture attempts to compete with the existing one.

        • bluedog

          ‘It’s only a problem if the new culture attempts to compete with the existing one.’
          The problem is that one new culture doesn’t merely want to compete but insists that it must take over because it’s deity commands it.

          • CliveM

            Yes that is the problem. Which is partly why a certain faith group find integration difficult.

          • dannybhoy

            Clive,
            Why quite a lot don’t want to integrate.
            As I said earlier, take a look around at how Christians and Jews and other minorities are treated in Muslim nations like Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan. These are real countries doing real evil things to non Muslims. It doesn’t happen here yet because we are the majority, but give it time…
            Or, even easier and less bloody, we could all bow the knee to the prophet…

        • dannybhoy

          What he’s saying I think, (and if he is I agree) is that minority communities can keep or celebrate their own cultures, but those values and practices that contradict the values of the nation they have chosen to live in will have to be abandoned.
          Like…. honour killing, female genital mutilation, forced marriages, putting your religion and its demands above the stated policies of the nation you have chosen to live in.

          Take for example the people we have connections to, the Jews. There are agnostic Jews, atheistic Jews and all shades up to very devout who tend to keep themselves to themselves.
          Whatever their beliefs and practices their attitudes to their homeland are benign and loyal. Many Jews play an important part in our society and serve with distinction in our armed forces. They are British, even though they have their own way of life. They make no special demands, threaten nobody and make a positive contribution to our nation. Check out the percentage of Jews in our penal system.
          So if we allowed all ethnic groups to practice their own codes of behaviour, it wouldn’t be a multicultural society,
          it would be sovereign cultures living side by side on the same piece of real estate. The result would be chaos and the disintegration of that nation.

          • CliveM

            “Like…. honour killing, female genital mutilation, forced marriages, putting your religion and its demands above the stated policies of the nation you have chosen to live in.”

            Yes these are clearly wrong, or are they? Your comment about a religion making demands above stated Govt policies, could that not also potentially apply to indigenous Christians?

            Anyway that aside, I don’t think for a lot of people this list would be long enough. I suspect many would also include dress, headgear beards, hairstyle, language etc!

            I do believe some cultures shouldn’t be allowed in, however defining that in a way the courts would allow is impossible (I think).

          • dannybhoy

            “Your comment about a religion making demands above stated Govt policies,
            could that not also potentially apply to indigenous Christians?”

            Hardly, since historically anyway this nation has a Christian heritage!

            I must say I find it very worrying the way some people talk as though it’s our responsibility or duty to act as though our history and culture are as it were, “optional extras” “up for grabs”, of no real consequence.
            Why?
            I think of all those who went before for whom being British, or Scottish or Welsh meant something. They spilt their blood and lost their lives in defence of their homeland.
            Now we’re starting to sound like a bunch of blooming social workers trying to reach a solution “acceptable to all.”
            Rubbish!
            Go emigrate to another country and try out this tosh there, and if they don’t string you up let us know how you got on…

          • CliveM

            Dannybhoy

            Just because we are not in complete accord, no need to be rude.

            And so unlike you as well! :0)

            I have no intention of going anywhere. If you think about what I said, you will understand we are not so far apart. I am simply highlighting the problems any proposals will have with the Courts. Is this unreasonable of me?

          • dannybhoy

            Rebuke accepted, but I stand by what I said about people being too willing to give up something once held dear because now it doesn’t suit some people.
            If there are those who don’t like what this country is and what our traditional values are, let them and those who are apologists for them clear off out of it.
            Because I guarantee these extremists and zealots won’t stop until our culture is a pile of ashes.
            But not you Clive.
            I’m sorry I vented on you a bit.

          • CliveM

            Already forgotten :0)

  • Dominic Stockford

    Mr Sizer’s comments are NOT in any way British values. What is more, whilst it is clear that he hasn’t read Paul, and accepted what he says about ‘ingrafting’, we even now have to question the validity of his claim to be a Christian.

    Discuss, with reference to New and Old Testament Scriptures.

    • CliveM

      Completely confused when I first read this! Scrolled up and down looking for this guy. Thankfully HG’s blog has clarified :0)

      • Dominic Stockford

        I thought I would get in first with a comment on this twit. Rather than let others tell us that Christians say nothing about it when “Christians” do or say some vile stuff. well researched, well found. 🙂

        • CliveM

          Just finished reading. The guy is clearly a nutter and obsessive!

      • dannybhoy

        Who is Mr Sizer? Who or what is HG?! Why this sudden epidemic of acronyms and initials?!!

        • CliveM

          Have you found out!!!!!

          • dannybhoy

            Nope. I still don’t know what you’re all on about.

          • CliveM

            Have you not got today’s posting on the site?

          • dannybhoy

            Ah..
            I see.
            We’re on to the ‘next new thing’ already…. 🙂
            I often wonder if the noun “News” in the singular should now include an adjective. That is, “new News,” a modern media obsession.

        • The Explorer

          HG = His Grace. (Ie – Cranmer)

  • IanCad

    Another superb post YG. So much food for thought, and so much time required to ponder and digest – yet alone respond.
    May I humbly suggest that, given growth of your flock, such mighty matters could be posted every other day or so?
    You must have a care for your health. Burn out and all that.

  • Nick

    This could all very well be very true. But as my wife says: “There is nothing the British love more than a man in a dress.”

    I think it would make sense to look at British folk tale and oral history to get an idea of exactly what British values are. For example, people will talk about the ‘Russian soul’ but very few people talk about the ‘British soul’ (or describe us an enigma). This is largely due to a self deprecating aspect of British character. Some people say that the British will put up with a lot of hostility until ‘backed into a corner’ and that when under intense pressure we come out fighting. Others say that the British hold dear ideas of rooting for the underdog and listening to both sides of a story.

    Obviously it depends on the individual, but the stereotypes of politeness and repression are largely dispelled for anyone who lives on this island.

    There is also the tradition of loving our eccentrics. This is another positive characteristic. A further characteristic is a level of disrespect towards authority – yes this is shared with many other countries, but there is nothing like the British attitude towards Government (on the whole). Most people find this is healthy.

    And underlying all this is a love of freedom, and a great respect for the dramatic. look at contemporary story (in popular culture and elsewhere) and you will find that the British love drama and have a great understanding of irony and also a very gentle side. Although we can be cold, there is a warm heart in many areas of the national character.

    As for democracy, tolerance etc – most people on this island would lay claim to a love of love and a love of freedom being more fundamental than these things.

    And of course we love a man in a dress above all.

    • IanCad

      Sort of agree with most of it Nick; but, please explain how HSE is tolerated.

      • Nick

        I don’t know. The people’s toleration of some Government initiatives are like miracles in reverse. Some of these things are almost supernatural in making things worse. I call it an ‘elcarim’.

  • Nick

    One thing that no-one has mentioned is the idea that a British person becoming a Christian somehow becomes less British as a result. I think there are some people who hold this view (which I would challenge). Take a look at ‘The Wicker Man’ in popular culture as an example of this theory in microcosm. The indigenous folksy islanders conspire against the Christian protagonist because the old gods need a sacrifice.

    But I don’t think this phenomenon is unique to Britain – it seems to be found in all peoples when an individual turns to the true creator of that people.

    Hopefully we won’t all be burned in the end.

  • Terry Mushroom

    I became a British citizen in 2006. I was surprised at how moved I was by the ceremony. The Registrar spoke in an understated way, but with genuine depth of feeling – about England and Wessex, although she didn’t use the latter term.

    As a new insider, Britain seems to be a collective word for the countries and province that make it up. And “British values” is a Boys Own Paper phrase like “British pluck” and “Best of British luck”.

    After the ceremony, over orange and biscuits, a lady from the Middle East startled us all. “For the first time in my life I feel really free,” she said. “Today I can speak without fear.” Perhaps that is a value – shared by other nations too – that all new citizens must subscribe to

    • dannybhoy

      ” “Today I can speak without fear.” Perhaps that is a value – shared by
      other nations too – that all new citizens must subscribe to..”
      Yes and be willing to defend.

    • CliveM

      Thank you for your comment. It is good to have this perspective.

    • Terry Mushroom

      Pleasure!

    • IanCad

      A lovely story Terry.
      Welcome to our shores and may God bless you.

    • Linus

      Wessex? As in the earl of? Now there’s a typical British value. Obsession with a quasi-mythical past to the point of resurrecting it in the form of fanciful and romantic titles.

      I shouldn’t be surprised. A nation that only gave up its claim to the throne of France a mere two hundred years ago after centuries of pretending to be what it was not clearly can’t be expected to deal with reality like grown-up nations do. A few more centuries might do the trick. Until then “British values” will continue to be unique. Every adolescent likes to be different.

      • Terry Mushroom

        “Wessex? As in the earl of?”

        No. Wessex, the place and its peoples.

        • Don’t confuse them.

          Welcome to the Happy Breed 😉

          • Terry Mushroom

            Thanks!

  • DanJ0

    I expect most people have seen this story already but this is the core of Britain and a demonstration of its values:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/11381614/Well-wishers-raise-more-than-120000-for-frail-mugging-victim-Alan-Barnes.html

    One shitty person behaving abominably towards another, and thousands coming together to try to repair the damage.

  • IanCad

    Could I suggest that there are no “British Values”?
    Characteristics? Yes. They remain. Values shift as the wind.