British Values?

Published: Thursday June 4, 2015

The headteacher said: “We’ve got to do assemblies on British Values – can you do one for us?  We’ve done Churchill and Wellington, but seem to have left out Shakespeare.” Well, I wasn’t sure that those three really were ‘British Values’ however you define them, but I also wasn’t sure what a British Value was anyway!  It seemed I wasn’t alone – the staff had thought that passing the problem onto the vicar might solve their inability to work out what we were supposed to be celebrating and promoting. Pity the government hadn’t thought of that one.

Perhaps standing in queues is a British Value, or always apologising even when it clearly isn’t your fault? Anyway, what primary age children have a well developed sense of is when something is fair or not. You’ll soon be told “Sir, that’s not fair!” if you transgress.

The whole sorry affair of FIFA and Sepp Blatter is an illustration of lack of being fair worked out at international level. There is no doubt that FIFA under Blatter’s presidency enabled major developments in access to sport in Africa and India to my knowledge, and probably other areas as well.  European and British criticism does not play well given the undeniable level of corruption present in some areas of the game close to home.  Yet the level of alleged bribery, sweeteners and excessive hospitality could have provided twice the resources delivered.

The reason why corruption and bribery is not fair is because it is always the poor, the marginalised and those with no voice who end up without. If being fair is a British Value then we ought to export it more. The Old Testament prophets will be cheering us on.

The Revd Canon Dr Mike Parsons, Priest-in-Charge, St Oswald Coney Hill with St Aldate

2 thoughts on “British Values?

  1. Corruption in all its forms is a major reason we have such inequalities in every society. The ‘values’ I was raised on include:

    Respect for others (often totally absent in those demanding it for themselves),
    Fair play
    Helping those less fortunate than myself
    Caring for animals …

    Sadly, we seem to have mislaid most of them in the last sixty or so years.

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