Ed West Ed West

I dread the thought of my children being taught ‘British values’

I’ve been off the past week poncing around Rome in a frilly shirt, and so am naturally gloomy about coming home.

Just to make it worse, I return to hear of the death of my childhood hero and news that schools are now going to be teaching ‘British values’, following the Birmingham Trojan Horse scandal.

Many are shocked about what happened in the city. After all, who would have thought that importing millions of people from totally different cultures would cause so many problems? You’d literally have to be Nostradamus to see that one coming. And of course, this is nothing to do with the intrinsic weakness of a society in which decadent urban westerners live side-by-side with large numbers of clannish Mirpuris, but ‘faith schools’ – which have been in England since the time of King Ethelbert of Kent, but now all of a sudden are a threat to social cohesion.

‘British values’ is a dread-inspiring term because, as was the case under New Labour, the ideas are likely to be either too vague or too debatable (this was the subject of a chapter in my book). Blair and Brown identified our values as to do with things like ‘tolerance’ and ‘fair play’, as if other nations identified themselves by their intolerance and cheating; more troubling, the values many talked about were contentious at best to my generation, and totally incomprehensible to my grandparents’ one – gay marriage, unlimited access to contraception and abortion, public displays of sexuality, all things which politicians said Muslim immigrants had to accept.

So I rather dread the thought of my kids being taught ‘British values’ at school, perhaps after the class where they make them put a condom on a dildo; and I suspect that these values will be alien to many of us, nothing like as alien as the Saudi-infused Islam of second-generation Pakistani migrants, but not the beliefs we live by.

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