June 24, 2014 10.38 am This story is over 112 months old

Is the PM really promoting British values?

True values: Pete Dixon argues that David Cameron’s new push on British values may not be all it seems.

I’m afraid I greeted David Cameron’s recent calls for the teaching of “British values” in schools with equally large amounts of salt and dismay.

Statements of this nature prove two things. Firstly, how little respect this government has for the electorate and secondly how easily they believe they can manipulate us with their spin.

Mr Cameron stated that British values included “…a belief in freedom, tolerance of others, accepting personal and social responsibility, respecting and upholding the rule of law.”

For a Conservative Prime Minister to espouse social responsibility and equality is beyond funny, it’s an outrageous insult on the British people. Why? because Mr Cameron knows it isn’t true.

Under a callous policy of austerity, we have seen a massive increase in the number of foodbanks in our society, whilst The Times recently published its “Rich List” in which the top 1,000 occupants have seen their wealth double since the crash from £258bn to £519bn. Public services are being cut whilst the wealthiest in our society continue to enjoy unjust subsidies and tax cuts supplied by their friendly neighbourhood chancellor.

To talk of tolerance of others whilst the likes of Ian Duncan Smith and his Department of Work and Pensions falsely manipulate statistics through a supportive media in its relentless attacks on the disabled and unemployed beggars belief.

As for a belief in freedom? Only recently this government passed the Gagging Law. A law originally intended to limit the influence of corporate lobbyists in Westminster, the end result is very different. Civil groups, charities, environmental and other pressure groups are all now restricted in what they can do and say in the year before an election. And the lobbyists? No change there!

British values today? The every-man-for-himself attitude, the willingness to ignore the suffering of others and accept without question the distorted rhetoric of our leading politicians. The need to own the newest gadget, the biggest car, the latest phone in order to satisfy the need for possessions of “status” as determined by a free market economy.

These aren’t the values of our grandparents or parents and neither these nor traditional values are adopted in schools, they come from parents and peers. This new brand of values has been forced upon us and to our shame we have not only adopted them wholesale, we are odds on to pass them on to our children without a whimper.

It’s no coincidence this new “issue” comes on the back of Euro and local elections in which UKIP under a “let’s blame the foreigners” banner, gave all and sundry a good hiding at the polls. The Prime Minister and his spin doctors know exactly what they’re doing and it has nothing to do with the promotion of British values. This is the start of a campaign to undo the protest vote put together by UKIP before the general election next year.

Immigration is high on the political agenda, and the coalition government is under attack. Take the potential for a terrorist threat due to religious extremism, throw in our loss of identity and suggest that our children’s education is suffering. Hey presto! one fine recipe for stirring up more irrational intolerance and yet further opportunity for government legislation to limit personal freedom.

The real surprise of the recent elections? Not that so few bothered to exercise their right to vote, not even that so many voted for UKIP candidates. The real surprise was that so many continue to vote Conservative in the facing of rising poverty and inequality. We are fast becoming a nation that knows the value of nothing and holds dear nothing of value!

Pete Dixon is a town councillor for Moor ward in North Hykeham, a member of the Green Party and Chair of the local branch. He works for the NHS at Lincoln County Hospital. Father of a young daughter, he's also a keen biker and enjoys watching Moto GP or a glass of Islay malt.