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Original Message
Forum General 
Topic British Values 
Author Iftikhar 
Date Created 13/07/2014 16:07:41 
Message The government's crusade to embed "British values" in our education system is meaningless at best, dangerous at worst, and a perversion of British history in any case. It's meaningless because our history is the struggle of many different Britains, each with their own conflicting sets of values. 'Values' are always something that is contested and they can have real political impact. We are a very diverse country and no Government can legislate the values for a whole population. When the Conservatives talk about British values, they imagine some Arcadian idyll of Britishness that has never really existed. Even the 'British' idea of fair play is fraught with a history of contradictions and hypocrisy. Equality for all, except those whose cultures differ to yours? I must say Cameron's grasp of history (among other things) is not exactly a good advertisement for an Eton education, but I suppose there is little anyone can do with such people. As Goethe said "Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens". Tolerance, democracy, freedom of expression, equality of men and women. Let's not forget that there are Christian religious extremists out there that don't like these things either.

David Cameron said that British values was about "tolerance". Well, then, why does he have people like Esther McVeigh, Iain Duncan Smith, Alec Sherbrook et al, in his own party? These people are the most intolerant people in the Tory Party. Almost everyone in Liverpool detests the odious woman McVeigh; Smith is universally hated; and Sherbrook is also odious. We could add Gove and Lord Freud to this list. These people make it virtually impossible to be tolerant to, because their views are intolerant in themselves. Isn't this just another example of "do as I say, not as I do"? How many of our politicians and lords still in power supported Section 28 and were against equal marriage? Surely their intolerance is not Representative of "British values".I disagree strongly with Cameron's "values".

Let's not pretend this whole "British values" nonsense is about anything else than targeting British Muslims and pretending that they are somehow different from everyone else in this country. Just as demonising Jews was once the means by which a country unified itself, so now Britons who are being viciously attacked by this Government and its super rich patrons are being asked to unite behind the flag and a vicious campaign against Islam. The neoliberal revolution, as damaging to ordinary people as the enclosures of the more distant past and the industrial revolution of the more recent, is about to claim more victims: our fellow citizens who happen to be Muslim. It is not British values our children will be taught it is simply the values that enable the establishment to continue on, in the same way they make sure that is what is taught in private schools will guarantee the continuation of 'born to rule' clones, brainwashed just as much, as detached from the rest of the population as they can be, fearful that the classes should dare to mix and actually start to understand or even empathise with each other, or God forbid work together towards a more equal society. Yes, it all stinks. Not helped too with the latest news that the only extra funding this Govt deems to fit to pass on to schools is to try and encourage state school children to join military cadet organisations. Now there's a tradition that continues on - providing the next generation of cannon fodder to again continue on what the rest of us in reality should be fighting against.

When I first saw that Cameron was wittering on about teaching children "British Values", I just found it laughable. I am British and my values are no where near his values, I personally think mine are far superior, I don't lie for a start, but I doubt he would agree. There have been times during the time this government has been in power that I have almost felt ashamed of been British, with soup kitchens, child poverty increasing and vulnerable people been left without a safety net. I don't think these things represent any values worth having. I feel much the same, when I hear him chuntering on about his own beliefs and that the UK is a christian country. He should be keeping his own personal belief system out of his employment, for a start and personally I find the fact that by default, I am apparently a christian, absolutely repellent. Perhaps, if Cameron wishes to continue rabbiting on about British values he should find out what values British people actually have, because I don't believe he is speaking for anyone but himself and the fairy land he apparently lives in.
Lack of evidence about what happened at the 'Trojan Horse' school. Maybe some bad things happened but there is hardly evidence of Homophobia or fascism. If there was, then local authority oversight (like in non-academy schools) would probably have stopped it. This whole debate is designed to get Gove off the hook. Remind me again how many public schools are single-sex? Including the ones attended by our current cabinet, perhaps? All Cameron is trying to do is stop Islamists taking over schools & using the curriculum to brainwash kids impressionable minds with religious mumbo jumbo that bares little resemblance to reality, science & fact. Teaching unions seem unbothered by this creeping Islamisation of our schools. Today's 'British' values are totally based on privateering and profiteering. When I hear Cameron spouting vapid platitudes about 'British values' I wonder does he mean his own superficial and election-rigging slogans, or his efforts to portray the tiny clique of fellow frat boys' aspirations as somehow 'British'? Whatever, nothing he has done has any resemblance to anything recognisable as 'British' values. Why have Gove and Cameron started to talk about how they want schools to teach British values? Because of the Ofsted investigation into schools in Birmingham. They mean "we have to make clear that the values that were being taught in those schools are not British values". It would really be better if they said "values of modern Western liberal democracy" but I suppose they think that doesn't make a very good sound bite.Ask those in Guantanamo Bay what they think of democracy and respect for the rule of law. All values are relative, and used to suit those in power.

As for the history taught in schools, I would advocate a version in which pupils were told that most events can be interpreted in many different ways. They should then be given the evidence and the tools to make up their own minds. Rather than imposing any narrative, whether left or right on to them, let them learn to make their own judgements. This will prepare them far better for active citizenship in adult life - history lessons can help them develop skills of critical reading, how to balance different viewpoints, and how to reach conclusions based on evidence. That, for me, should be the proper role of history lessons in schools. Politicians don't always seem to like this idea, presumably because it would teach the next generation of voters how to think for themselves. Cameron and Gove's version of British history has a lot to do with the Ladybird series.Perhaps we need to teach children about a wide range of historically rooted values and teach them to analyse and question these as they are guided through the wide range of facts and myriad perspectives.If Cameron's upper crust version of historically grounded values are the only ones that children are taught then this amounts to cultural dominance ,hegemony ,an imposition of the status quo etc .Cameron's vision of values seem to be geared towards producing a mass of genuflecting supplicants. The history of Britain has always been the struggle of the majority against the minority who hold power, wealth and land. They usually have the guns as well. I was thinking about how the Royals are always embedded within the military as I watched a snippet of the Trooping of the Colour the other day. Society evolves, however the powerful also evolve and find new ways to exercise their power. They own the Westminster Parliament. There is a saying that goes, "history is written by the victors". I think that's very true of every nation. The victors like to pretend that they're the good guys. Yes, that's likely! LOL.

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