UK: Values                                                                      

The 10 Core Values of the British Identity

Telegraph, July 27, 2005

Many countries try to codify their values in law. Some oblige their citizens to speak the national language and others make it a criminal offence to show disrespect to the flag. But statutory patriotism is an intrinsically un-British notion. We prefer simply to set out, in general terms, the non-negotiable components of our identity - the qualities of the citizenship that people apply for each year.

  1. The rule of law. Our society is based on the idea that we all abide by the same rules, whatever our wealth or status. No one is above the law - not even the government.
  2. The sovereignty of the Crown in Parliament. The Lords, the Commons and the monarch constitute the supreme authority in the land. There is no appeal to any higher jurisdiction, spiritual or temporal.
  3. The pluralist state. Equality before the law implies that no one should be treated differently on the basis of belonging to a particular group. Conversely, all parties, sects, faiths and ideologies must tolerate the existence of their rivals.
  4. Personal freedom. We should tolerate eccentricity in others provided no one else is harmed.
  5. Private property. Freedom must include the freedom to buy and sell without fear of confiscation, to transfer ownership, to sign contracts and have them enforced.
  6. Institutions. British freedom and character are immanent in British institutions such as schools.
  7. The family. Civic society depends on values being passed from generation to generation. Stable families are the essential ingredient of a stable society.
  8. History. British children inherit a culture, a set of legal rights and obligations, and a series of national achievements that they should learn about.
  9. The English-speaking world. The atrocities of September 11, 2001, were not simply an attack on a foreign nation; they were an attack on the anglosphere - on all of us who believe in freedom, justice and the rule of law.
  10. The British character. Shaped by and in turn shaping our national institutions is our character as a people: stubborn, stoical, indignant at injustice. "The Saxon," wrote Kipling, "never means anything seriously till he talks about justice and right."


Think about how the above noted values might differ from your values. Which ones do you agree with?


Which would you change and why?