Oh shut up, David Cameron.
He’s talking nationalist bullshit about “British values” again, which is a really bad idea.
People in the UK should stop being “bashful” about being British, the prime minister has urged.
Writing in the Mail on Sunday, David Cameron said the country should be “far more muscular” in promoting its values and institutions.
He backed the promotion of “British values” in the classroom amid claims conservative Muslim governors had tried to influence some Birmingham schools.
This should include teaching children about Magna Carta, Mr Cameron said.
Mr Cameron wrote that in recent years, the UK had sent out a “worrying” message: “That if you don’t want to believe in democracy, that’s fine; that if equality isn’t your bag, don’t worry about it; that if you’re completely intolerant of others, we will still tolerate you.”
That is a stupid, reckless, destructive thing to say. Democracy is not a “British” value; nor is equality; nor is tolerance. He’s basically talking about human rights, and human rights have to be treated as universal; treating them as part of nationalism makes them provincial at a stroke, and thus undermines the efforts of all human rights workers in other countries. Don’t undermine the efforts of all human rights workers in other countries, David Cameron.
In the wake of Ofsted’s findings, Mr Cameron said “British values” included: “A belief in freedom, tolerance of others, accepting personal and social responsibility, respecting and upholding the rule of law.”
These were “as British as the Union Flag, as football, as fish and chips,” he wrote in the newspaper article.
The Muslim Council of Britain said it had “deep concern at the tone and tenor over the debate on British values”.
In a motion passed at its AGM, the MCB said it had “no objection to British values” and believed in a “tolerant, more free and more equal society”.
But it said it wanted a “real debate that does not regard us as conditional Britons…. It is not Islam or Muslims that stand in the way of full participation; It is the active and vociferous campaign to exclude Muslims from the public space.”
For once I think the MCB has a point, although they’re the wrong people to make it. But yes: by calling them “British” values when they’re universal and universalist values, Cameron does tell Muslims and other exotic people that those values are foreign to them. Bad idea, on many levels.